Day 2 complete for Hokies in Jacksonville
Gator Gator Bites Bites
December 28, 2005

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Virginia Tech football team put on the pads for the first time since arriving in Jacksonville, and went through a short, efficient practice Wednesday afternoon at Jacksonville University's football practice field.

Tech's staff put the team through its normal 'Monday' practice as the Hokies continued their normal practice routine leading up to a game.

"Things are going well," Tech head coach Frank Beamer said. "We had four practices back in Blacksburg and got our timing back down. Now, we're into our regular game week. We always try to stay in the same routine, which I believe is important."

Tech's first night in Jacksonville went without incident as all players made it in by Beamer's 2 a.m. curfew. The Hokies' curfew for Wednesday night is also at 2 a.m., but Beamer starts to reel the players in as the week goes along. Thursday night's curfew will be at 1 a.m.

"I do think it's important for these players to have fun at a bowl game," Beamer said. "I don't want them dreading a bowl. So I treat them like men. I want them to enjoy Jacksonville while at the same time preparing for a great team like Louisville. I'm going to be calling on our seniors again to keep everything in perspective this week."

After Wednesday's practice, Tech's players enjoyed a lunch sponsored by Outback Steakhouse and then were free to do as they pleased for the remainder of the day. The Hokies continue their preparations on Thursday morning.

In other news:

While a lot of Tech players went out Tuesday night to enjoy the nightlife in Jacksonville - a majority went to Jacksonville Landing, an area along the St. John's River and adjacent to the Omni Hotel, where the Hokies are staying. But not surprisingly, a certain player of superstar ilk decided to stay in his room.

"I stayed in and watched Arizona State and Rutgers," said first-team All-ACC defensive end Darryl Tapp. "Me and Cary [Wade, Tapp's roommate on this trip] were pulling for Rutgers, but they couldn't quite pull it out.

"I may go out tonight since it's our last 2 a.m. curfew. But I might not. I may stay in and watch football or play video games."

One player who figured to be going out Wednesday night was kickoff specialist Jared Develli. Develli celebrated his 20th birthday on Wednesday.

Tech's orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. Marc Siegel, will be busy once the team returns to Blacksburg after the game Jan. 2nd. He'll be operating on three players the following day to take care of various injuries. Branden Ore (shoulder), Aaron Rouse (wrist) and Nick Marshman (knee) all need surgery, and Jesse Allen will have surgery on his wrist on Jan. 6th. Ore's is the most serious of the group as Tech's sports medicine staff isn't exactly sure what the problem is - a main reason for the surgery.

Bowl games aren't just rewards for players and coaches, but also for student trainers and student managers, who put in an immense amount of time and perform an invaluable service to the football program. Because of that, a Richmond television station plans on doing a story on two Richmond natives who happen to be managers on the team - senior Travis Benn and freshman Brian Equi. Those two were interviewed before practice, much to the delight of Tech's players, many of whom appreciate what those kids and others do. The story will air on Thursday's 5:30 p.m. newscast.