Hokies hold first scrimmage of preseason
By Jimmy Robertson
August 13, 2005

BLACKSBURG - Brandon Pace drilled three field goals and Tech's defense recorded 11 sacks to headline the Hokies' first full-squad scrimmage of the fall on a steamy Saturday afternoon on the practice fields behind the Jamerson Athletics Center.

According to the Weather Channel, temperatures reached a record 91 degrees in Blacksburg, with a heat index of 95. That may have contributed in part to a 62-play scrimmage that didn't exactly leave head coach Frank Beamer thrilled. The Hokies committed 12 penalties for 70 yards and completed just 9 of 20 passes.

"We were ragged," he said. "We had too many offsides penalties [at least five by the defense] and we had some throws that weren't very good. Our effort was good, but we were just ragged."

Pace hit field goals from 45, 47, and 32 yards to supply the offense for Tech on this day. The Hokies' only other score on the afternoon came from Jonathan Lewis, who would have returned a fumble for a touchdown had the officials not blown the play dead to protect some Tech coaches who were standing behind the offense on the field. On that play, defensive tackle Tim Sandidge jarred the ball loose from tailback George Bell, and Lewis scooped it up.

Offensively, quarterback Marcus Vick got the majority of the reps and completed 4-of-9 for 82 yards, with a long of 37 yards to David Clowney. Sean Glennon completed 5-of-6 for 21 yards, while Cory Holt was 0-for-2 and Ike Whitaker, the true freshman, went 0-3, with an interception.

"I thought, as an offense, we were about a 'C'" Vick said. "We were just average. We missed some blocks and we had some inaccurate passes. But we'll come back Monday and get it worked out. We've only been practicing a week. We just have to maintain our composure and our focus, and we'll be fine.

In fairness to Tech's offense, the officials blew the whistle quickly, leading to so many sacks - Tech's staff doesn't let the quarterbacks get hit. Vick and the Hokies' other quarterbacks probably would have completed passes, scrambled or thrown the ball away on half of those.

"I can't wait to get out of this yellow jersey," Vick said. "I was trying to get rid of the ball quickly. But between Coach Beamer and the officials, I couldn't get rid of it quick enough."

Eddie Royal led the Hokies in receiving with two catches for 26 yards. On the rushing front, Tech's rushing game was non-existent with the exception of true freshman Elan Lewis, who rushed for an impressive 54 yards on 10 carries. No other Hokie finished with more than 14 yards rushing.

Defensively, the Hokies got a huge game from an unlikely person - defensive tackle Kory Robertson. The big 331-pound redshirt sophomore finished with four solo tackles, including three sacks. Defensive end Darryl Tapp also had three sacks and Chris Ellis had two sacks and made arguably the most impressive play of the scrimmage when he chased down Clowney on a pass play.

"Chris Ellis and Kory Robertson really showed up," Beamer said. "They made some big-time plays. I've been waiting to see that out of Kory. He's got that type of ability."

In the battle for the punting job, both Nic Schmitt and Brent Bowden had average days. Schmitt averaged 41 yards per punt on two punts, while Bowden, the true freshman, averaged 36.5 on two punts.

Tech continues practice on Monday morning, with two practices slated for Monday. The Hokies open the season on Sept. 4th at N.C. State.

Here are some other notes from Saturday's scrimmage:

Defensive backs Brandon Flowers and Theodore Miller both returned to action Saturday, playing for the first time in about a week. Both nursed hamstring injuries and both played in the scrimmage.

Four players did not play in the scrimmage because of injuries - defensive tackle Barry Booker, rover Cary Wade (ankle), linebacker Andrew Bowman (ankle) and tailback Mike Imoh (knee). Imoh, a senior who is competing with Cedric Humes for the starting job, had some fluid drained from his knee. None of these injuries is serious.

Tech's next scrimmage is slated for next Saturday, and Beamer plans on playing his regulars a little more in that one. The Hokies' staff played a lot of second- and third-teamers in Saturday's scrimmage (guys like Jimmy Williams and Cedric Humes saw only a few reps).

"We've got to work and see who's going to be with us on the bus to N.C. State and who isn't," Beamer said. "We've got to be sharper than we were today."