Tech begins practicing for 2006 season
Hokies open campaign Sept. 2 against Northeastern
August 4, 2006

BLACKSBURG - The Virginia Tech football team held its first practice of the fall Friday afternoon in the heat and on the practice fields behind the Jamerson Athletic Center as the Hokies begin preparations for their Sept. 2 opener against Northeastern.

On Thursday evening, 105 players, including 17 newcomers (three walk-ons), reported to Blacksburg on the eve of the first practice. Tech spent the first day in helmets, jerseys and shorts and practiced for more than two hours. The Hokies plan on practicing in full pads this Tuesday for the first time.

Tech's first practice went smoothly, but head coach Frank Beamer wasn't totally pleased with the Hokies.

"It was exceptionally hot today, but we had some that didn't finish very well," Beamer said. "That's part of preseason practice, trying to get that conditioning a little bit better. It was a typical first day ... we didn't throw the ball great, we didn't catch it great, the timing was off a little bit, our long snappers didn't snap the ball great, so it's one of those deals where we've got work to do. I think the effort's good, the attitude's good, but we've got to improve on some football."

Beamer said he and his staff are taking a close look at several positions, with plans of firming up the two-deep depth chart quickly heading into the Northeastern game. One of those positions obviously is the quarterback spot, where redshirt sophomore Sean Glennon, redshirt sophomore Cory Holt and redshirt freshman Ike Whitaker are battling it out.

"We'll go in and talk about it in our staff meeting tomorrow," Beamer said. "I've got my opinions, but we'll see what Coach O'Cain and Coach Stinespring think. We'll talk about it every day. I thought Glennon held up well today. I thought he commanded the practice and threw the ball well for the most part."

The other area of immediate concern is tight end, where three players who haven't played a snap in college - Sam Wheeler, Greg Boone and Ed Wang - lead the pack for the starting job.

The coaching staff and the players will participate in Tech's annual media day on Saturday, and then practice Saturday afternoon. Both are closed to the public.

Other notes from the first day of practice:

Tech opened camp without cornerback Roland Minor and reserve holder/quarterback Grant Throckmorton. Minor has a sprained right wrist and sprained right knee and underwent surgery Friday by Dr. Marc Siegel, team orthopaedic surgeon, at Montgomery Regional Hospital. Head athletic trainer Mike Goforth expects Minor to miss six to eight weeks of practice. Throckmorton underwent surgery a couple of weeks ago after breaking the fibula and tearing ligaments in his right leg and ankle. He is expected to be out at least another month and will not report to camp until school starts. Those two wer the only members of last year's varsity squad who didn't report to camp because of injury.

Other than cramping, Goforth reported no major injuries.

While it wasn't as hot as it was earlier in the week, the Hokies didn't catch much of a break as camp opened. With the heat index in the low 90s, the training staff had their hands full. Everyone on the fields caught a break midway through practice as clouds rolled in and a light breeze picked up.

In fall weight room testing, five position records were broken. Junior Josh Morgan broke the receiver record with a 326-pound power clean while Jahre Cheeseman broke the cornerbacks mark with a 321-pound effort and D.J. Parker set a new free safety record with a 304-pound lift in the power clean. In the bench, guard Sergio Render set a new position record with a 480-pound lift. While it wasn't an all-time record, Nick Marshman's 710-pound back squat is the second-best in Tech football history.

Of the recruits, Devven Sutton, a linebacker from Elizabeth City, N.C., turned in a record-breaking performance during freshmen testing. The 6-1, 254-pounder recorded a 455-pound bench press, tops by over 100 pounds (Joey Hall and John Graves, 350 pounds) among the freshmen. That mark is also a new linebacker position record. Nekos Brown, a linebacker from Brandywine, Md., turned in an all-around impressive performance, posting a 325-pound bench press, a 30-inch vertical and a 4.64 40 time.

Defensive back Rashad Carmichael clocked the fastest 40 time, coming in at 4.44 seconds while receiver Zach Luckett checked in at 4.49 seconds. Free safety Mario Edwards (4.53) and quarterback Kam Chancellor (4.54) also posted impressive times. Chancellor also benched 320 pounds and had a 30-inch vertical. Luckett and defensive end Jason Adjepong had the highest vertical (31 inches).