Hokie Football Outlook, Part VI
July 30, 2007

Outlook Schedule on hokiesports.comGeneral Outlook: Tuesday, July 17
Offensive Line: Thursday, July 19
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: Monday, July 23
Wednesday, July 25
Defensive Line: Friday, July 27
Linebackers: Monday, July 30
Secondary: Wednesday, August 1
Specialists: Friday, August 3

  • Key loss: Whip Brenden Hill

  • Key returnees: Linebackers Vince Hall and Xavier Adibi - Bud Foster thinks they could both be in the mix for the Butkus Award. Hall has made more tackles (304) than any player in the ACC since the Hokies joined the league three years ago, while Adibi is Tech's active leader in the turnover game (6 INT, 1 FR, 4 FF).

  • Battle to watch: Backup Whip - Cam Martin begins fall practice second on the depth chart, but Cody Grimm is a close No. 3. The two traded spots throughout the spring, and the winner will definitely see playing time when the season starts.

  • Spring standout: Purnell Sturdivant had a great off-season and earned the Excalibur Award - the highest honor given in the weight room. He carried that onto the field, and the coaches were proud of the way he improved.

11Xavier Adibir-Sr.ILB
6Andrew Bowmanr-Jr.ILB
82Steven Fridayr-Fr.OLB
13Corey Gordonr-Sr.OLB
26Cody Grimmr-So.OLB
9Vince Hallr-Sr.ILB
52Jonas Houserightr-Jr.ILB
41Cam Martinr-So.OLB
Mark Munceyr-Fr.ILB
45Purnell Sturdivantr-Jr.ILB
33Brett Warrenr-Jr.ILB

Quillie OdomFr.LB
Hunter OvensFr.LB
Barquell RiversFr.LB
Alonzo TweedyFr.LB

The Players
VINCE HALL (R-Sr.) - A first-team All-ACC selection a year ago after leading the league in tackles ... A complete linebacker who can still improve ... Foster says he's the best LB in his 20 years, and probably one of the best in Tech history ... Has incomparable vision and instincts ... Has great quickness and a nose for the football.

BRETT WARREN (R-Jr.) - Made the most improvement of any LB last spring and summer, and had another outstanding spring in 2007 ... Used a medical redshirt after hurting his foot vs. UNC ... Has gotten better in the coverage game ... Should be the top backup to Hall.

ANDREW BOWMAN (R-Jr.) - A smart and intelligent player who is trusted ... Knows what to do, but needs to work hard at his physical abilities to be able to do it.

XAVIER ADIBI (R-Sr.) - Combines with Hall to make the best tandem of linebackers in Foster's tenure ... Possesses all of the abilities, but can afford to get physically stronger ... Has great speed to go with good coverage and blitzing ability ... Has a knack for being around the football and creating big plays ... Tidied up a lot of things in the spring, including his key reads.

PURNELL STURDIVANT (R-Jr.) - Was one of the most improved during the spring ... Has become more comfortable with understanding the position and not letting his mind tie up his feet.

JONAS HOUSERIGHT (R-Jr.) - A hard worker who should excel on special teams ... Is very intelligent with a high football IQ ... Needs to get stronger ... A dependable and steady guy who can be trusted.

MARK MUNCEY (R-Fr.) - A walk-on without a defined role, but had a great off-season and showed a big improvement from a year ago ... Will work at both mike and backer.

COREY GORDON (R-Sr.) - Backed up Brenden Hill last year and enters fall practice as the starter after a very good and consistent spring ... Needs to have better awareness and reaction to the plays unfolding before him ... Does a good job once he reacts, but needs to compute the information quicker.

CAM MARTIN (R-So.) - Is moving from free safety, and will only get better with more reps ... Ended the spring second on the depth chart, and along with Cody Grimm, is right on Gordon's heels ... Is very intelligent and picks things up quickly.

CODY GRIMM (R-So.) - Played whip on the scout team and was among the ACC leaders in special teams tackles ... Intrigues the coaches and they want to see what he can do with a lot of reps ... Has a good football IQ to go with good quickness and speed.

STEVEN FRIDAY (R-Fr.) - Was moved from defensive end because he was too light ... It will be a new experience for him as he has always played down as a rusher ... Has great strength and moved around well for a defensive end ... Will be a good whip, but has a lot to learn.

Coach Foster on the Linebackers
"All in all, I thought we made good improvement. Obviously, I feel good about the return of Vince Hall and Xavier Adibi, but the biggest focus for us was to create a little bit of depth at that position, and I think we did that. I really feel good about Brett Warren and Purnell Sturdivant, and I think they give us quality depth that we can win with. We needed to get them up to par where they could keep us competing at a high level should they be called upon, and I think we closed the gap in that regard."

Coach Foster on the Defense
"As an overall defense, I was pleased with our effort. We've got eight starters coming back who have been really good football players for us, but we really targeted creating some depth. If we start off the fall where we left off in the spring, we're going to be in good hands. We would've liked to have gotten that last week of practice in to see how the young guys would respond to 40,000 people in the stands at the spring game, but I feel confident about them and I think we'll be in good shape when it's all said and done."