August 11, 2009
Hokies hold first scrimmage
By Jimmy Robertson

BLACKSBURG – On a somber day when the Virginia Tech football team lost star tailback Darren Evans for the season with a torn ligament in his left knee, the staff did conduct a scrimmage at the end of practice, mostly for the freshmen and third-teamers. None of the projected starters and only a smattering of second-teamers played, as the staff wanted to take a close look at some of the younger players.

Logan Thomas, the true freshman from Brookville High in Lynchburg, Va., took all the snaps at quarterback. He completed 5-of-15 for 153 yards, with one touchdown and no interceptions. The score came on a 49-yard pass to Brandon Dillard, who came back for the ball and got past freshman defensive back Jayron Hosley for the touchdown.

Thomas also threw a 41-yard completion to redshirt freshman tight end Randall Dunn and a 35-yard completion to freshman Nubian Peak. Thomas was sacked three times, once each by Kwamaine Battle, James Gayle and Isaiah Hamlette.

On the rushing side, Ryan Williams and David Wilson led the way and figure to do more of that (along with Josh Oglesby, who did not play in the scrimmage) with Evans out. Wilson, the true freshman from Danville, Va., paced all rushers with 46 yards on six carries, while Williams, a redshirt freshman, added 31 yards on five carries. Zac Evans, a walk-on, rushed seven times for 26 yards.

The Hokies are slated to scrimmage again on Saturday at Lane Stadium. That scrimmage is open to the public.

Other notes from preseason practice:

• Also on the injury front, Cam Martin is sitting out until Thursday to rest an ailing knee. Martin, a redshirt senior from Martinsville, Va., underwent surgery in the spring, but the knee has been bothering him in the early going.

Eric Martin, a true freshman tight end, and Lorenzo Williams, a sophomore safety, dressed in a blue jerseys today because of slightly pulled hamstrings.

• One player who can relate to Darren Evans is Davon Morgan, who tore the ACL in his knee during the Nebraska game last season and missed the rest of the year. The rover from Richmond also missed some time in high school because of injuries.

“It’s disappointing, but I didn’t get down on myself,” Morgan said. “I had been through it before when I was in high school and had to miss a season. It hurt because I wanted to be out there with the guys sweating and all that kind of good stuff. But I had the opportunity to get a lot of mental reps, so I think it helped me.”

Morgan was the starter at rover at the time of his injury, and now, he finds himself trying to battle ahead of redshirt senior Dorian Porch, who started the final nine games of last season and played very well, on the depth chart.

“He’s on top right now,” Morgan admitted. “But we’re going to work hard in practice and battle it out. Me and Dorian are good friends. We’ll see what the outcome is.”

And as for the knee, no worries.

“The knee feels really good,” Morgan said. “I’ve been breaking on balls again and feeling more like myself. I’ve been a little sore, but that will go away with repetition.”

• The best position battle this August is arguably at field corner, where three players continue to battle it out for the starting nod. The group includes Rashad Carmichael, Cris Hill and Eddie Whitley. Carmichael, a redshirt junior, started a game last season (ECU) in place of Macho Harris and ranks as the fastest guy on the team. Those two things may give him a slight advantage over the other two.

“I might have a little bit of an advantage,” Carmichael said. “Not really the speed, because Cris’ 40 time was right behind mine. But I’ve got a little bit more experience. I’ve got a year on those guys. Other than that, it comes down to who works the hardest.”

Carmichael understands why there is so much focus on the cornerback positions – after all, the Hokies have a tradition of excellent play in the defensive backfield. But from his perspective, the pressure comes from looking at the play of the guys around him.

“We’ve got guys who have been there and done it and you don’t want to let your brothers down,” he said. “That’s the hardest part. The hardest part is getting to the level of the guys who have done it already.”

As an aside, Whitley has been working more at safety than at field corner. As stated earlier, Lorenzo Williams has been hampered with a hamstring injury.

• Matt Waldron and Justin Myer have been battling for the starting kicker position, but they’re also receiving some heat from Cody Journell, the true freshman from Ripplemead, Va. Journell booted a 54-yarder from the left hash to edge Waldron in Monday’s kicking competition. Waldron had slightly hooked his attempt wide left.

All three have been kicking well and the competition will obviously continue.

For updates on Virginia Tech football, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Football).

For updates on the Hokies, follow Jimmy Robertson on Twitter (@jrobIHS).

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