Hokie Football Outlook, Part VII
August 1, 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 losses: Rovers Aaron Rouse and Cary Wade

  • Key returnee: Cornerback Brandon Flowers - He is the latest in a recent line of All-America defensive backs (Anthony Midget, Ronyell Whitaker, DeAngelo Hall, Jimmy Williams), but is the first to return following the honor since Whitaker in 2001, and the first ever to do so with two remaining years of eligibility.

  • Battle to watch: If Roland Minor stays focused in the classroom, he is a super-talented guy who will contend with Stephan Virgil for the third cornerback spot.

  • Spring standout: Macho Harris was the most consistent guy from the first practice to the last practice, and he really made an effort to get better from a mental and technique standpoint. Kam Chancellor was also a pleasant surprise in his first workouts as a rover.

21Rashad Carmichaelr-Fr.CB
17Kam ChancellorSo.ROV
23Mario Edwardsr-Fr.FS
18Brandon Flowersr-Jr.CB
1Victor HarrisJr.CB
15Roland Minorr-Sr.CB
25D.J. ParkerSr.FS
24Dorian Porchr-So.ROV
Matt Reidyr-Fr.ROV
22Stephan VirgilSo.CB

Cris HillFr.CB
Davon MorganFr.FS

The Players
Boundary Corner
BRANDON FLOWERS (R-Jr.) - A returning third-team AP All-American who led the ACC with 21 passes defended ... Wasn't entirely healthy during spring due to an ankle injury sustained in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, but will be good to go come August ... Needs to stay hungry and focused despite the recognition he's received ... Already good at everything, needs to keep working to be great at everything.

STEPHAN VIRGIL (So.) - Gained some experience on special teams, and heads into the fall as Flowers' backup ... Took some time to understand coverages and adjustments, but a year of sitting in the meeting room will give him a head-start on that when fall comes around ... Coaches liked the way he progressed in the spring.

Field Corner
VICTOR "MACHO" HARRIS (Jr.) - A starter who led the team with four interceptions a year ago ... Progressed tremendously last season, and took another step forward in the spring ... Coaches could see him starting to understand the game and get better as the year went on ... An exceptional talent, but can still improve on some of the mental nuances of the game ... A solid tackler and very good playmaker when the opportunity presents itself.

RASHAD CARMICHAEL (R-Fr.) - Redshirted last year and is still learning the position ... Performed very well on the scout team, and is doing a good job in the strength and conditioning program ... Has shown a lot of leadership qualities, and has great speed.

ROLAND MINOR (R-Sr.) - Started in 2005 but missed the first half of 2006 due to a wrist injury sustained in a car accident ... Handled his injury recovery pretty well, but it limited how aggressive he could be with his hand, thus taking away some of his confidence ... Was fully healed by the bowl practices, which was when he finally started to buy into his new backup role, let loose and play football.

Free Safety
D.J. PARKER (Sr.) - A starter who did a great job last season ... Coaches know he's always going to be consistent, and they looked to him for leadership among the defensive backs ... Embraced his role as a leader, and coaches appreciated how he handled the group ... As a senior, will be expected to be more of a team leader as opposed to strictly a secondary leader.

MARIO EDWARDS (R-Fr.) - Another redshirt who has shown some ability and a willingness to tackle ... Has worked hard in the weight room, but still needs to pick up the mental part of the game ... The free safety position demands leadership and comfort in making calls and checks, and he really got better and did some good things as the spring went on.

KAM CHANCELLOR (So.) - Moved to rover from cornerback, where he backed up Brandon Flowers as a freshman ... Started on three special teams units ... Did a great job in the spring and showed an impressive level of ability at such an early stage in the position change ... Made plenty of eye-opening plays.

DORIAN PORCH (R-So.) - Is the most experienced returnee at rover ... Didn't get a lot of playing time having served behind Aaron Rouse and Cary Wade, but got a lot of practice time and should benefit from that ... Improved in the spring, but needs to develop consistency.

Coach Gray on the Defensive Backs
"I thought the spring went well for the first group - Brandon Flowers, Macho Harris and D.J. Parker - the guys who had lots of experience after last season. Those guys are in sync, and they know what my expectations are with practices and meetings. I really liked the way that they approached things. The younger guys still have a ways to go, but I think Stephan Virgil could end up being a solid backup for us, and I was pleased with Mario Edwards as a free safety."

Coach Cavanaugh on the Rovers & Whips
"At least at the start of the season, I see us using two guys at both rover and whip. If we played tomorrow, Kam Chancellor would start the game at rover, but Dorian Porch would also play. It would be similar with the whips. Last year, Brenden Hill played the whole game, and I don't see that happening again. Corey Gordon would start, and whoever ends up at No. 2 would play as well. I wanted to establish a depth chart with my guys, and I think I've done that to a degree. If you came in and asked them where they stand right now, I think they could tell you the same things that I'm thinking."