Tech QB meets the media as Hokies continue Gator preparations
Gator Gator Bites Bites
December 29, 2005

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Virginia Tech coaching staff put the players through their second bowl practice in Jacksonville as the Hokies went through a full-pad, two-hour workout on Thursday afternoon at Jacksonville University's football practice field.

But the big news of the day came before the practice when Tech quarterback Marcus Vick met with the media for the first time since before the Hokies took on Florida State in the ACC championship game. Vick declined to do interviews after the Hokies' loss to the Seminoles in the ACC title game and did not participate in the team's bowl press conference held in Blacksburg on Dec. 17th.

Vick, a redshirt junior from Newport News, Va., received questions on an array of topics, but several questions concerned his future as the Tech signal-caller. As expected, Vick plans on returning to Blacksburg for his senior season and not follow in his brother Michael's footsteps by leaving early for the NFL.

"No, not really," Vick said when asked if he really considered going pro early. "I don't feel like I've had that kind of a year to be pressing that kind of point. So no, I didn't really think about it.

"I don't think one year is enough for me. I feel like I need that second year. The NFL is tough. It's the real deal and you have to be ready for it. You don't want to rush into it and throw yourself out there because of the money. You have to really be prepared for it.

"I feel I can play at that level, but I need more reps. I need to see more defenses. I need to really be comfortable with myself and my game first."

Vick first wants to lead the Hokies to a bowl victory over Louisville in the Gator Bowl on Jan. 2nd.

"We want to prove something to ourselves," he said. "Not to the nation, but to ourselves. We want to prove that we're a good team and we deserve to be in the top 10. We want to prove that to our team and our fans, not to anyone else."

The Hokies went through their normal 'Tuesday' practice, which is their longest practice of the week. The Tuesday practice also involves the most hitting.

After practice ended, the defensive players lifted weights while the offensive players went back to the hotel for lunch (the offensive players will lift on Friday after practice). After lifting, the defensive players then came back to the hotel for lunch. All players then had the rest of the evening free to do as they pleased until the 1 a.m. curfew that Tech head coach Frank Beamer set before the trip.

The Hokies continue their preparations on Friday morning.

In other news:

Most members of the media continue to ask questions about the match-up between Tech's highly ranked defense against Louisville's potent offense that averages almost 500 yards and more than 40 points per game. But Beamer says that's not the match-up he's watching.

"I think our offense versus their defense is where the battle is," he said. "I think our offense can really help us if they can control the ball and get points, and get the game going that way. The big issue is our offense against their defense."

"That's going to be a big part," Vick agreed. "We can't have turnovers. Guys have to hang on to the ball and I've got to throw the ball correctly and accurately. How we play on offense will play a major part in this game."

The Hokies have suffered a couple of injuries in Jacksonville, but none to players who are playing in the Gator Bowl. Chris Burnett, a scout-team defensive lineman, suffered a sprained knee in the Hokies' middle drill and missed the remainder of practice. His status for Friday's practice is doubtful. Also, Hivera Green, a freshman who is redshirting this season, sprained a foot and missed Thursday's practice. Green, a native of Conway, S.C., is one of the Hokies' promising defensive line prospects.

Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster is a finalist for the prestigious Broyles Award, which goes annually to the nation's top assistant football coach. The other finalists include: Oregon offensive coordinator Gary Crowton; Texas offensive coordinator Greg Davis; Alabama defensive coordinator Joe Kines; Iowa defensive coordinator Norm Parker; and UCLA quarterbacks coach Jim Svoboda.

Foster became the first ever three-time finalist for the award - he was a finalist in 1999 and 2001. The award will be presented on Jan. 17th in Little Rock, Ark.