Defense, special teams highlight final scrimmage
By Jimmy Robertson
August 25, 2006

Virginia Tech's defense forced five turnovers and the Hokies' special teams enjoyed a huge day as Tech held its final intrasquad scrimmage of the preseason on Friday evening at Lane Stadium.

Of the five turnovers forced by the defense, four came by interception as four different defenders recorded picks. Brenden Hill, Kam Chancellor, Jake Patten and Purnell Sturdivant accounted for the interceptions, with Sturdivant returning his 45 yards for a touchdown. Jonas Houseright recovered a fumble that was forced by Nekos Brown to account for the other turnover.

Sturdivant, a 5-foot-10, 216-pound redshirt sophomore from Norfolk, Va., also finished with six tackles. Brett Warren led all defenders with nine tackles, while William Wall and Houseright each finished with five. Noland Burchette had 1.5 sacks on the day.

On special teams, Brandon Pace drilled field goals of 23, 22 and 51 yards, while Jared Develli made one from 36 yards. The Hokies also blocked a punt, with Chancellor, a 6-3, 215-pound freshman from Norfolk, Va., blocking Nic Schmitt's punt early in the scrimmage.

"He doesn't play like a freshman," Tech head coach Frank Beamer said of Chancellor. "He's mature and he's got football sense. I like that guy. He blocked one yesterday [Thursday], too. The game just makes sense to him."

As a group, Tech's quarterbacks struggled somewhat, though starter Sean Glennon enjoyed a solid evening. Glennon completed 18-of-32 for 189 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. He threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to former high school teammate Eddie Royal. Elan Lewis' 5-yard run in a goal-line possession accounted for the Hokies' only other offensive score.

The other two quarterbacks, however, struggled. Ike Whitaker completed 6-of-11 for 25 yards, but threw two interceptions, including the one returned for a touchdown by Sturdivant. Cory Holt completed 2-of-7 for 11 yards, but he, too, threw an interception before leaving the scrimmage with a sprained right hand.

"I thought today we were kind of dragging," Beamer said, referring to his offense. "I didn't feel the tempo, and maybe it's just the time of year. But next week is game week. We've got to look at this, make some decisions and crank it up Monday.

"Going against our defense is hard, too. We're moving around and we've got some good players on that side of the ball and they can make you look bad. You can be a good player and look bad. I think we've made progress on offense, but we've still got to keep working."

Josh Hyman led all receivers with four catches for 44 yards, while Royal, Branden Ore and Josh Morgan caught three each. Lewis led the Hokies in rushing with 26 yards on seven carries. Ore rushed six times for 24 yards.

Tech suffered a couple of injuries in the scrimmage. Holt went to the locker room for X-rays on his right hand, but those were negative. Still, he may miss some practice time in the coming week. Also, starting guard Ryan Shuman injured his right wrist and X-rays showed a slight fracture in that wrist. His wrist will be put in a cast and he's not expected to miss any time.

The Hokies now get ready to begin game-week preparations. Tech will hold a "script" scrimmage on Saturday, will take Sunday off and then being preparations for Northeastern on Monday.

The Hokies take on Northeastern next Saturday at Lane Stadium, with kickoff slated for 1:30 p.m.