Tech Concludes Practices At UNF
Gator Bites
December 30, 2001

JACKSONVILLE - The Hokies held their final practice Sunday at the University of North Florida in preparation for Tuesday's Gator Bowl game against Florida State. Tech practiced for 90 minutes in helmets, jerseys and shorts, fine-tuning their game plan for the Seminoles. The Hokies will conduct a final walk-through Monday afternoon at Alltel Stadium before they take the field Tuesday against the Seminoles.

"I think if you ask any college football fan to name to the five top programs over the past few years, they'd all mention Florida State," Tech head coach Frank Beamer said. "We're going to have to play our very best to come out of here with a win."

The Hokies go into the game in good health, with only Jacob Gibson missing the game because of a bad back. Shawn Witten (leg), Jim Davis (pectoral muscle), Anthony Nelson (dehydration, heart murmur) and Willie Pile all received clearance to play in the game.

In other news:

Pugh no longer shuns media: On Sunday, Tech defensive tackle David Pugh spoke to the media for the first time all week. Pugh had been requested by several reporters throughout the week but declined to talk with any of them. He told the reporters he was battling a cold and a bout with laryngitis and was trying to save his voice. He should be 100 percent for the game.

A taste of the NFL: Tech's players got a taste of the NFL when nearly 100 of them attended the Jacksonville-Kansas City game Sunday at Alltel Stadium. The Gator Bowl secured the tickets for players from both Florida State and Tech.

Seniors take the wheel: In a rare light moment during the week, three seniors had a fun moment during their last full practice of their Tech careers. During the kicking period, Brian Welch, Jake Houseright and Ben Taylor hopped in one of the "Gators" and took it for a spin around the field. After a brief tour, the three returned the vehicle, used to transport equipment around the field, back to its resting place.

Injury report: There were no new injuries to report at Sunday's practice. Offensive lineman Anthony Nelson (dehydration) has been cleared to play and should be ready to go. Shawn Witten (leg) and Jim Davis (pectoral muscle) are still listed as probable.

2001 Awards Banquet on deck: When the players return from the game, they will go to the 2001 Football Awards Banquet to be held in the Garden Terrace tent at the Sawgrass Marriott. The team award winners will be recognized at this time.