Whitaker TD pass, Tech 'D' headline first scrimmage
By Jimmy Robertson
August 12, 2006

Tech quarterback Ike Whitaker completed 9-of-11 for 93 yards and a touchdown, and the Hokies' defense played well, headlining Tech's first scrimmage of the fall on Saturday afternoon at Lane Stadium.

Whitaker, a redshirt freshman from Maryland, was a bright spot for Tech's offense. He and true freshman Zach Luckett accounted for the 66-play scrimmage's only touchdown when Whitaker threw a 43-yard scoring strike to Luckett, who slipped past true freshman Rashad Carmichael on the play. Luckett caught two passes for 46 yards, leading all receivers in terms of yardage.

Whitaker, who entered the scrimmage third on the depth chart behind Sean Glennon and Cory Holt, also led the Hokies in rushing on the day, amassing 28 yards on five carries. He may have added some intrigue into the battle for Tech's starting quarterback job, though he racked up most of his completions and yardage against Tech's second- and third-team defenses. After the scrimmage, head coach Frank Beamer planned on watching the film of the scrimmage and did not commit to naming a starting quarterback just yet.

"We need to make an assessment on our quarterback position," Beamer said. "I thought Ike did some nice things today, and all of them had their moments. We'll look at that closely and see where we're at."

Glennon, who is at the top spot on the depth chart, completed 5-of-10 for 26 yards. Cory Holt also completed 5-of-10, with his five completions going for 44 yards. None of the quarterbacks turned the ball over.

Glennon played in the yellow jersey, which means defenders can't touch him. Both Whitaker and Holt went live in the scrimmage.

"Sean is the first guy right now and I'm going to protect that guy," Beamer said. "And the other two, you want to give them every opportunity to make plays and their best opportunity sometimes is when it's full speed. They made some nice plays when the play broke down, and if you whistle it dead, you don't give them a chance to do that. I just thought that was the best way to give them an opportunity to show something."

Josh Morgan led the Hokies in receptions with three that went for 13 yards. Eddie Royal caught one pass for 23 yards and Justin Harper caught a pass for 14 yards.

Greg Boone opened some eyes at the tight end position with a catch late in the scrimmage. Boone, a redshirt freshman who moved to the tight end spot from the quarterback spot at the end of spring practice, caught a short pass and ran over Chad Grimm in the open field. Then it took four other defenders to bring him down. The play went for just eight yards, but certainly got his teammates - and coaches - excited.

"That's what he can do," Beamer said. "We need to get some weight off of him, but he's an athlete and he's tough and he can really help this football team. He's just playing tight end for the first time and there's a lot of stuff going on. A lot of the changing in the formation involves him, so it's going to take some time. But if he keeps making catches and running like that, then we'll take the time to get right."

Defensively, Xavier Adibi paced the starters with four tackles. Back-ups Brett Warren and Dorian Porch added five tackles each to lead the defenders in the scrimmage. Tech's defense held the offense's rushing attack in check as Whitaker and Dustin Pickle led the offense with 28 and 22 yards rushing, respectively. Projected starting tailback Branden Ore carried the ball just twice in the scrimmage for six yards.

"The defense is usually ahead at this time, especially if you've got a decent defense, and I think we've got a decent defense," Beamer said. "Offensively, we've got work to do. We're a work in progress. We've got to evaluate the video and probably cut back on the numbers we're working with a little bit."

On special teams, Beamer liked what he saw out of his block units. The Hokies blocked two field goals and partially blocked a punt. Kicker Brandon Pace connected on a 35-yarder, but saw two 50-yard attempts blocked. Chris Ellis and Barry Booker accounted for those.

"That's OK unless you're on the side that's trying to kick it," Beamer said. "I liked it from one standpoint, but the other side needs to protect better."

The Hokies will hold another scrimmage next Saturday. Tech opens the season against Northeastern on Sept. 2nd.