Tech begins practicing for 2005 season
By Jimmy Robertson
August 5, 2005

BLACKSBURG - The Virginia Tech football team held its first practice of the fall Friday afternoon on the practice fields behind the Jamerson Athletic Center as the Hokies begin preparations for their Sept. 4th opener at N.C. State.

On Thursday evening, 105 players, including 28 newcomers (six walk-ons), reported to Blacksburg on the eve of the first practice. Tech spent the first day in helmets, jerseys and shorts and practiced for more than two hours. The Hokies plan on practicing in full pads this Tuesday for the first time.

Tech's first practice went smoothly, and the Hokies looked sharp for a first practice.

"Today, I thought we were very good," Tech head coach Frank Beamer said. "I thought we were sharp on both sides of the ball, and the weather probably helped. It was hot early, but it cooled off. This is one of the better first days that I can remember."

Beamer said he and his staff are taking a close look at several positions, with plans of firming up the two-deep depth chart heading into the N.C. State game quickly. One of those positions is the back-up quarterback spot, where sophomore Sean Glennon and redshirt freshman Cory Holt are battling it out behind Marcus Vick.

"We need to decide who the back-up quarterback is going to be," Beamer said. "We need to get Marcus plenty of reps with the first team and then decide on our back-up quickly and get that guy ready.

"We have a lot of good competition at several spots and I like that. I think we've got good competition at rover [between Aaron Rouse and Cary Wade] and safety [between D.J. Parker and Justin Hamilton], and I think Chris Ellis at defensive end is really making a push."

The coaching staff and the players will participate in Tech's annual media day on Saturday, and then practice Saturday afternoon from 3:15-5:30.

Other notes from the first day of practice:
  • Other than cramping, the only injury of the first practice was freshman offensive lineman Robert Norris, a 6-3, 338-pounder from Maryland. Norris sprained his knee during one of the scout-team periods and will be re-evaluated on Saturday.

  • Tech opened camp without offensive lineman Matt Welsh, who underwent surgery a couple of weeks ago on his knee to repair a torn meniscus. The surgery was on the same knee that Welsh injured last year when he tore his anterior cruciate ligament - an injury that forced him to redshirt. The 6-foot-4, 290-pound redshirt freshman from Clifton, Va., will not report to camp until school starts and is expected to miss one game, perhaps two.

  • Greg Boone, one of Tech's top recruits, received good news Friday when an MRI revealed a partially torn MCL in his knee. Tech's sports medicine staff had feared a torn ACL, which would have required surgery and forced him to redshirt. Boone, a 6-3, 287-pound quarterback from Chesapeake, Va., will not have to undergo surgery.

  • Of the recruits, Demetrius Taylor, a linebacker from Norfolk, Va., turned in the most impressive performance during freshmen testing. The 6-0, 235-pounder recorded a 385-pound bench press, a 34-inch vertical jump and 4.69-second 40-yard dash. His bench press was tops among freshmen.

    Defensive backs Jahre Cheeseman, Dorian Porch and Macho Harris recorded the fastest 40 times at 4.5 seconds, while Mark Muncey, a walk-on from Tazewell, Va., had the highest vertical (36 inches).