Hokies conclude bowl practices at Georgia Tech
Chick-fil-A Bowl Nuggets
December 28, 2006

ATLANTA -The Virginia Tech football team wrapped up its practices for the Chick-fil-A Bowl against the Georgia Bulldogs this upcoming Saturday night with a light 90-minute workout at the Rose Bowl practice field on the campus of Georgia Tech. This marked Tech's final full-scale practice before the game. The team will go through a walkthrough on Friday at the Georgia Dome.

After the practice, coordinators Bud Foster and Bryan Stinespring attended a press conference at the Georgia Dome, along with players Xavier Adibi and Sean Glennon. The foursome fielded questions for roughly 25 minutes, with most of those questions centering on the Bulldogs and stuff relating to the game.

For example, Foster doesn't expect to see much different in the way of Georgia's play calling even though head coach Mark Richt handed over the play-calling duties to Mike Bobo late in the season.

"I didn't see a lot different in the Georgia Tech game than what I saw the rest of the season," Foster said. "I think it's still Mark's philosophy. They're going to take some deep shots, run the ball when you don't expect it, run some screens, and take some more deep shots. They'll take 8-10 deep shots a game. I expect them to do a lot of the same things."

And Stinespring received a question about talented tailback Branden Ore, who missed basically the final two games with a high ankle sprain.

"From what we've seen in practice, we feel very confident and comfortable that the Branden Ore that's carried us a long way this season will be the same Branden Ore that steps on the field this Saturday night," Stinespring said. "We won't know that for sure until we see him go full speed, but we've seen nothing in practice to indicate that he won't be ready to go."

Tech's seniors quickly changed after practice and headed by bus to a local hospital, where they visited with young children suffering from various ailments. They handed out some Virginia Tech paraphernalia as presents and spent more than an hour hanging out and cheering up those children.

Several members of the team spent the remainder of the afternoon at the Martin Luther King Jr. Historical Site in Atlanta. This site, where King Jr. was born, pays tribute to the accomplishments of the former civil rights activist.

The team had the rest of the evening to do as it pleased. However, curfew was set for 11, and most of the players planned on staying at the team's hotel.

Here are a few more of the day's nuggets:

At the end of practice, Tech head coach Frank Beamer gathered the team around and handed out the season awards as voted on by the players. The winners were as follows:

Most outstanding defensive lineman - Noland Burchette

Most outstanding linebacker - Vince Hall

Most outstanding defensive back - Brandon Flowers

Most outstanding offensive lineman - Duane Brown

Most outstanding wide receiver - Josh Morgan

Most outstanding running back - Branden Ore

Most outstanding specialist - Brandon Pace

Most valuable player - Branden Ore

Also, four players were named permanent team captains for the 2006 season - Burchette, Pace, Danny McGrath and Aaron Rouse.

Beamer said that Pace will handle the kickoff duties at the start of the game in place of Jared Develli, who didn't make the trip because he's recovering from hernia surgery. But he didn't rule out using both Pace and Jud Dunlevy.

"I've done it before [as a freshman and some this season], so it's nothing new," Pace said. "I wanted to do it this year, but Develli has just done such a great job."

Beamer also said that Greg Boone, a redshirt freshman tight end, would be the third quarterback in the event of an emergency. Boone played quarterback throughout spring practice, but moved to tight end before fall practice started. He did not take any reps at quarterback in practice this week.

"If we get to that point, you're going to see a lot of scrambling on our sideline," Beamer said.

Then he added to the reporter who asked the question about who was the No. 3 QB, "It might be you."

Stinespring said Brandon Gore will get the nod over Ryan Shuman at left guard on Saturday night. Gore, a 6-foot-5, 350-pound redshirt senior, started the final four games of the season after Shuman went down with a knee injury in the Clemson game.

"He's a senior, he played the last four games and did a nice job for us, and he deserves the opportunity to start this game," Stinespring said. "Ryan is 100 percent healthy. But there's an aspect of whether someone when they come back from injury is game-sharp, game-ready and in game shape, and you have to take that into account. There was a lot of rehabbing going on, but not a lot of conditioning. He's ready and I feel confident, but there's that conditioning aspect that you have to take into account.

"We're looking to get 20-30 snaps out of him [Shuman]. That will allow us to keep our guards fresh. We'll see how he does and rotate and see who's doing the best. Then those will be the ones playing more at the end."

Tech's beloved lunch pail, the symbol that epitomizes the defense, did not make the trip to Atlanta. Foster left the lunch pail on his desk, saying that he wasn't superstitious, but the Hokies had played well since he took over ownership of pail and placed it on his desk in his office.

"Hopefully, I'll have something to take back with me to put in it," Foster said.