Martin injury leaves him questionable for Gator
Gator Gator Bites Bites
December 30, 2005

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A fine practice took a turn for the worse on Friday as Tech offensive tackle Jimmy Martin suffered a knee injury late in the Hokies' workout Friday afternoon at Jacksonville University's football practice field.

In the next-to-last period of the day, a team period in which Tech's offense goes up against Tech's defense, Martin went down in a pile of players attempting to get to quarterback Marcus Vick. Martin, a 6-foot-5, 311-pound senior from Chantilly, Va., immediately clutched his right knee and concern over his injury cast a somber pall over what had been a rather spirited practice. Martin had to be carted off the field and into the locker room, where he was checked out thoroughly by Tech's sports medicine staff.

Later in the afternoon, Tech head trainer Mike Goforth diagnosed Martin's injury as a sprained knee, possibly a sprained medial collateral ligament. He's listing Martin as questionable for the Hokies' Gator Bowl game against Louisville on Monday afternoon. Goforth and his staff plan on re-evaluating Martin early Saturday morning.

If Martin is unable to go, Tech's staff will insert Brandon Frye, a 6-4, 302-pound redshirt junior from Myrtle Beach, S.C., at the left tackle spot. Frye would be making his first career start, and probably would see his fair share of Louisville Elvis Dumervil, who leads the nation with 20 sacks. Frye has played in just 13 games in his career.

Martin's injury could snap his streak of starts at 45 straight games - the longest active streak on the team. This bowl game would mark his fourth straight start in a bowl for Tech, with Jonathan Lewis as the only other current Hokie on track to do that.

In other news:

Tech's players went to Adventure Landing for a bowl-sponsored outing after their practice and enjoyed a late lunch, arriving back at the Omni [the team's headquarters] around 5:30 p.m. They then were free to do as they pleased until 12:30 p.m. as head coach Frank Beamer moves the curfew up gradually each night.

Some coaches use bowl practices to get some of their younger players some reps in preparation for next season. But Beamer said he and his staff are only doing that on a limited basis.

"We do that a little bit, but we don't do that probably as much as some people," Beamer said. "We use spring practice as the time when we start looking at next year's team. But we do have some of that.

"I wanted to get our timing back in Blacksburg, so our practices there weren't long. I was more concerned with having good, crisp practices there. Then when we got here, it's game week. When you start trying to work with a lot of younger guys, your practices get longer and I don't want it to get to where our players don't want to go to a bowl because the practices are too long. I'm more concerned with winning this football game and playing well against Louisville. That's how we do it."

Tech's staff, though, has tried to work with a couple of the younger players. Most notably, receiver Jeremy Gilchrist and cornerback Macho Harris have gotten a lot of practice reps.

Former Tech player Nick Sorensen, who plays for the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars, stopped by practice on Friday to check out his alma mater. Sorensen, a special teams standout with the Jaguars, is out for the remainder of this season after breaking his leg in a game against the Tennessee Titans. He was in a cast for a while, but is now wearing a protective boot and hopes to be running again by late March or early April.

Sorensen is quite familiar with Gator Bowl games. He played in two of them during his career at Tech in the late 1990s/early 2000s. In fact, as a freshman in 1997, he was the Tech MVP in the Gator Bowl.

"I won that won by default," he joked.

Tech lost that game 42-3 against North Carolina, and Sorensen was a quarterback. He later played safety for the Hokies.