Hokie Football Outlook, Part VI
Linebackers
July 25, 2005

Outlook Schedule on hokiesports.com:
General OutlookWednesday, July 13
Offensive LineFriday, July 15
Wide Receivers/Tight EndsMonday, July 18
Tailbacks/Fullbacks/QuarterbacksWednesday, July 20
Defensive LineFriday, July 22
LinebackersMonday, July 25
SecondaryWednesday, July 27
SpecialistsFriday, July 29
Headlines
  • Two of the three starting linebackers from last year return, including redshirt freshman Vince Hall, who ranked second on the team in tackles with 64. Hall was named the ACC Defensive Freshman of the Year by The Sporting News.

  • Gone from last year's squad is starting backer Mikal Baaqee, who led the team in tackles in 2004 and 2002, and finished third in 2003.

  • The Warren brothers, Blake and Brett, are listed as the top backups at the two inside linebacker spots and could see some playing time side-by-side. Their father, Don, played 14 years for the Washington Redskins.

RETURNERS
No.NameCl.Pos.
11Xavier Adibir-So.ILB
42James Andersonr-Sr.OLB
6Andrew Bowmanr-Fr.ILB
13Corey Gordonr-So.OLB
Chad GrimmJr.OLB
9Vince Hallr-So.ILB
Jonas Houserightr-Fr.OLB
35Stevie Ray Lloydr-So.OLB
36Aaron Rouser-Jr.OLB
80Purnell Sturdivantr-Fr.ILB
40Blake Warrenr-Sr.ILB
33Brett WarrenSo.ILB
NEWCOMERS
No.NameCl.Pos.
Deveon SimmonsFr.ILB
Demetrius TaylorFr.ILB
The Players
Mike Linebacker
VINCE HALL - Proved to be one of the top freshmen in the ACC last season after starting 12 games at the mike spot ... Posted 10 tackles against Virginia and eight versus Miami on the way to 64 total tackles ... A tough defender against the run who is becoming a complete linebacker after making strides in the passing game during the spring.

BRETT WARREN - Is No. 2 after making the most progress among the linebackers during spring practice ... Still needs to improve against the passing game, but he has a great nose for the football ... Lettered for his play on special teams last year as a true freshman.

Backer
XAVIER ADIBI - Made a remarkable recovery last season after suffering a torn tendon in his right biceps muscle in the first game ... Returned for the Hokies' last six games and made an impact ... Is ready to move into the starting lineup following a productive spring in the weight room and on the field ... He has all the skills to become a special player.

BLAKE WARREN - An experienced performer who will be counted on for leadership and productive play ... Has shown play-making ability and the coaches are hoping to see that on a more consistent basis this fall ... Posted 28 tackles last season and intercepted two passes, one of which he returned 46 yards for a touchdown against Florida A&M.

Whip Linebacker
JAMES ANDERSON - Returns for his second year as the starter at whip ... Was seventh on the team in tackles last season with 48 ... Also contributed an interception and 6.5 tackles behind the line ... Has quietly become one of the Hokies' best defenders through hard work ... An award-winning strength and conditioning athlete.

AARON ROUSE - An outstanding athlete who shared time with Anderson at whip last season and played well, registering 37 tackles ...He spent most of his time at rover during the spring and could end up starting at that position ... Even if he moves, he will still spend some time at the whip spot during games.

COREY GORDON - Will be a player to watch during the preseason after moving over from safety during the spring ... Made a good adjustment, which could ease Rouse's move to rover.

Coach Foster on the ILBs
"I like the emergence of our young players at linebacker. I like the way they have played and I'm excited about the way they are progressing. Xavier (Adibi) and Vince (Hall) were as good of freshman linebackers as I've had since I've been here, and even though they are just going to be sophomores, I'm expecting them to be leaders for us."
Coach Cavanaugh on the OLBs
"James Anderson is everything you want in a player. Last year was his first year as a starter and he alternated every two series or so with (Aaron) Rouse and did a great job. He afforded us the opportunity to move Rouse to rover for some of the spring.

"Corey Gordon's move to whip turned out to be a positive move for him. He had a very good spring considering when we moved him and what he had to do. We sort of threw him in and he picked it up pretty well."
Foster on His Newcomers
"I'm anxious to see Demetrius Taylor. I think he's got some good physical skills for the mike position. As for Deveon Simmons, what a football player! He's a lot like Adibi. He's a heat-seeking missile that will run right through you."