August 29, 2014
    Camp Confidential: 30/30/30 Blog Follows Tech Football Camp
    Updated: August 29, 8:30 AM

    Welcome to the Dog Days of Summer, the time of year when football teams around the country go to work for the 2014 season. Go behind the scenes of the Virginia Tech camp here at hokiesports.com, home of our 30/30/30 site. Here, you will find 30 stories in 30 days leading up to the Aug. 30 opener against William & Mary. We’ll have information, practice reports, scrimmage statistics, quotes, blogs, tweets, photos, videos and more as Tech begins its preparations for the 2014 campaign.

    Check back each day for all of the latest on the Hokies!


    1 Day Away: Aug. 29

    It's hard to believe, but we are just one day away! It's been a pleasure writing this blog for you and we hope you enjoyed it. We'll be transitioning over to a new blog called The Hokie Huddle for game weekends. It will launch today and will run Friday-Sunday of each game week. Jimmy Robertson will spearhead it with quick notes and updates, as well as behind-the-scenes stories and photos. Be sure to make it part of your game weekend experience.

    To read about everything that is new at Lane Stadium for football weekends, be sure to check out the link in the tweet below. We'll have a few more minor updates today, but will transition most of it over to the new blog. We hope to see everyone tomorrow at Lane Stadium. Go Hokies!


    2 Days Away: Aug. 28

    Your last three Senior Instagram Spotlights are up, featuring Laurence Gibson, Michael Branthover and Mark Leal talking about the best part of Lane Stadium.

    3 Days Away: Aug. 27

    BREAKING - Virginia Tech announces contract extension for Frank Beamer.

    David Wilson stopped by practice today. See what he had to say to the team.

    As many as 16 true freshmen could dress for Saturday’s home opener against William & Mary (4 p.m.; ESPNEWS). While it hasn’t been determined how many will play, a record number could see the field this year. The most true freshmen to play in a season under head coach Frank Beamer is 11, set just last year. Here’s a look at who has played as a true freshman under Beamer:

    2013 (11) – Woody Baron, Chuck Clark, Kalvin Cline, Brandon Facyson, Kendall Fuller, Eric Kristensen, Mitchell Ludwig, Jonathan McLaughlin, Carlis Parker, Sam Rogers, Jerome Wright

    2012 (8) – Brooks Abbott, Deon Clarke, J.C. Coleman, Desmond Frye, A.J. Hughes, Donaldven Manning, Donovan Riley, Joshua Stanford

    2011 (7) – Boye Aromire, Michael Branthover, Caleb Farris, Kyshoen Jarrett, Luther Maddy, Ryan Malleck, Corey Marshall

    2010 (2) – Kyle Fuller, Derrick Hopkins

    2009 (3) – D.J. Coles, Jayron Hosley, David Wilson

    2008 (6) – Xavier Boyce, Jarrett Boykin, Jake Johnson, Justin Myer, Dyrell Roberts, Eddie Whitley

    2007 (3) – Chris Drager, Davon Morgan, Tyrod Taylor

    2006 (5) – Nekos Brown, Kam Chancellor, Sergio Render, Stephan Virgil, Jason Worilds

    2005 (1) – Macho Harris

    2004 (8) – Jared Develli, Brandon Flowers, Sean Glennon, Justin Harper, Josh Morgan, D.J. Parker, Eddie Royal, Brett Warren

    2003 (3) – David Clowney, Ryan Hash, Thomas McClelland

    2002 (9) – Reggie Butler, John Candelas, Mike Imoh, Jonathan Lewis, Jimmy Martin, Danny McGrath, Darryl Tapp, Cary Wade, Jimmy Williams

    2001 (5) – DeAngelo Hall, Kevin Jones, Jim Miller, Bryan Randall, Jeff Werner

    2000 (3) – Jim Davis, Eric Green, Kevin Lewis

    1999 (2) – Anthony Davis, Shawn Witten

    1998 (4) – Jake Houseright, Emmett Johnson, Ben Taylor, Matt Wincek

    1997 (5) – Derek Carter, Rashad Jenkins, Dave Kadela, Matt Lehr, Chris Steadley

    1996 (7) – Carl Bradley, Shayne Graham, Cullen Hawkins, Caleb Hurd, Anthony Midget, Tim Schnecker, Shyrone Stith

    1995 (5) – Keion Carpenter, Tyron Edmond, Angelo Harrison, Loren Johnson, Pierson Prioleau

    1994 (7) – Brad Baylor, Gennaro DiNapoli, Tony Morrison, Keith Moyer, Ken Oxendine, Marcus Parker, Todd Washington

    1993 (7) – Willie Wilkins, Bryan Jennings, Cornell Brown, Brandon Semones, Antonio Banks, Larry Green, Danny Osborne

    1992 (3) – Jared Hamlin, Eugene Mays, Bryan Still

    1991 (1) – Ken Brown

    1990 (5) – Chris Barry, Tyronne Drakeford, Mike Hodges, Jim Pyne, Steve Sanders

    1989 (8) – Kirk Alexander, Kevin Bennett, Melendez Byrd, Vaughan Hebron, Rusty Pendleton, Jerome Preston, Jim McKechnie, Brian Reaves

    1988 (6) – Phil Bryant, Don Davis, Kelly Fitzgerald, Marcus Mickel, Wooster Pack, Damien Russell

    1987 (3) – Nick Cullen, John Granby, Jon Jeffries

    Note: some of these players redshirted later on in their careers. Additionally, all of these players played as true freshmen, but some received medical hardship waivers after getting injured that year.


    4 Days Away: Aug. 26

    Tom Gabbard gives you an Indoor Practice Facility update

    Here are five things you need to know for Saturday

    1) Kickoff to start the season is at 4 pm, a later kickoff than usual so take advantage of it!
    2) Come early and enjoy a full day of fun with your friends. Parking lots open at 6 am; Gates open at 2 pm.
    3) The fan-friendly and FREE Hokie Village opens at 12:30 with a blast from Skipper. The Village is located on the turf soccer field across from the stadium.
    4) The Hokie Walk starts at 1:45 pm on Spring Road. Come support the team when they arrive!
    5) Tickets are still available and are $50. They are available for purchase at hokietickets.com.

    See you Saturday! For all your game day information, go to hokiesports.com/football/gameday


    5 Days Away: Aug. 25

    I'm ready for Virginia Tech Football! Are you?

    Here's the press conference from today:

    Classes have begun and we move into game week officially! We'll have the weekly press conference starting at 12:30 pm with three players and then Coach Beamer at 1 p.m. Be sure to check it out live and for free on Hokies Xtra. Also, here is the link to the weekly game notes for you to peruse.

    Also, we'll start phasing this blog out and transition over to the new gameday blog which will crank up late in the week of each game week. We'll share the link with you when it becomes finalized, but that will be a great place for exclusive content before, during and after the game as we work hard to give you the best information out there.

    Until then ... 5 Days!!!!!

    6 Days Away: Aug. 24

    You made it guys! It's officially game week. Camp is over and we can now officially turn our attention to William & Mary in six days. You'll see a few preseason issues out today on the newstands, so check them out. Locally, "DBU" is featured in the Roanoke Times as @AndyBitterVT writes a great piece on the history of Virginia Tech's defensive backs. Check it out.

    One other important tweet from the day:

    Tomorrow, we'll have the weekly press conference streamed live and for free on hokiesports.com starting with Michael Brewer, Willie Byrn and Luther Maddy starting at 12:30 p.m., and Coach Beamer at 1 p.m. Finally, we'll continue with our Senior Instagram Spotlights today as Luther Maddy, Caleb Farris and Greg Gadell talk about the best part of camp


    7 Days Away: Aug. 23

    We just got done sitting down with our new starting quarterback, Michael Brewer. Below is the Q&A with the Lake Travis, Texas, product, exclusively on hokiesports.com.

    Q: How are you feeling now that you know that it’s official?
    A: I feel good. I’m extremely honored to be labeled the starter at a program like Virginia Tech. I’m very thankful for my teammates and the coaching staff for entrusting me and giving me this opportunity. I’m looking forward to this season.

    Q: Did you ever doubt you’d be the starter?
    A:
    I came here with a purpose, and that purpose was to play. Throughout the summer workouts and fall camp, I tried to do everything that I could to make sure that happened.

    Q: Does having the job allow you to approach practice or the way you talk with the team or run the huddle differently now?
    A:
    Before, I liked to pretend like and act like I was the guy every day. I don’t think it’ll be too much different, but now that there’s a title, obviously it’ll mean a little bit more.

    Q: What’s been the most difficult part of the process moving from Texas Tech to Virginia Tech?
    A:
    A little bit of everything. Living in Texas my whole life and going to college at Texas Tech and playing football there for three and a half years, and then having to move all the way out here and not really knowing anybody or anything like that and having to hit the ground running was kind of the toughest part. I had to get used to everything and everybody, but it didn’t take long. Everybody’s been really good to me and made the transition really easy.

    Q: Can you put in perspective to be at this point from where you were a year ago to being a starting quarterback and what that’s meant to you in everything?
    A:
    It’s surreal. You know, looking back on it, when you have an injury like that - which was basically a season-ending injury since I wasn’t able to come back until the last couple games of the year - and then the whole transfer process ... it was tough. All of the bad things I’ve gone through in the last year and being able to bounce back to be named the starting quarterback at a place like Virginia Tech is something special to me. I’m extremely thankful for the opportunity.

    Q: Coach Beamer said your leadership was one of the factors in his decision. What’s your approach in the huddle and in the meeting rooms?
    A:
    You have to act like you’re the guy. You have to demand perfection. Nobody’s perfect and no team is perfect, but every day, we want to strive to be as close to perfect as we possibly can. If you continuously do that, it makes you better every day.

    Q: You haven’t been on the field as a starter since 2010 when you were a senior in high school. What’s that going to feel like next Saturday when you trot onto the field for the first offensive play?
    A:
    It’s going to be a special moment for me, my family, all my friends and everybody that’s involved in my life and knows what I’ve been through. Growing up in a special program like Lake Travis and having the success that we did, to everything that I went through at Texas Tech and to where I’m at now, it’s going to be special.

    Q: What kind of family support will you have Saturday?
    A:
    For my first game, I’ll have my mom and my dad and I’m sure my grandparents and some aunts and uncles will be here. My sister just enrolled at TCU, so she won’t be here, and my brother will be playing Friday night, making his first start at Lake Travis, so he’ll have to miss it as well. I’m hoping they can make it throughout the season.

    Q: Many people outside the program at least assumed this day would come and you’d be named starter. How much did Mark and Brenden push you?
    A:
    They pushed me extremely hard. We all just pushed each other. Any time you’re in a quarterback battle, it’s tough. It’s tough to be competitive on the field, and yet get along for the sake of the team off the field. I think that’s been done really well between all of us. We all get along really well in the film room and off the field, and even on the field. But at the same time, everybody has that drive to be the guy and only one guy can be the guy. Everybody pushed each other really hard.

    Q: Virginia Tech has had some pretty solid quarterback play over the past 15 years, including three guys in the NFL right now. How do you see yourself stacking up to them, or do you just go out and do your own thing?
    A:
    I’m not going to compare myself to anybody else. I’m going to go out there and be Michael Brewer. I have confidence in myself that that will be just fine.

    Q: How are you going to celebrate?
    A:
    I’m going to celebrate by preparing to beat William & Mary in the first game. You know, they’re a tough opponent. We’ve seen a little bit of film on them and they’ve got a lot of seniors, they play really hard and they had a good season last year. So the only celebration will be working that much harder.

    BREAKING NEWS: Michael Brewer has been named Virginia Tech's starting quarterback. We'll have a full Q&A with Brewer here in a bit.


    8 Days Away: Aug. 22

    3:15 pm - Off to the scrimmage, but until then ...

    We are counting down the days until kickoff! The team will have its final full scrimmage this afternoon and we'll hopefully have a starting quarterback named this weekend. The team will have tomorrow off and then will go into game week as William & Mary looms just eight days from now. Check back later for a recap of the scrimmage and our post of the day as we go over the team's motto for this year: Don't ever, ever, ring the bell.


    9 Days Away: Aug. 21

    The team has the afternoon off from practice, but is currently enjoying a special treat downtown with a special screening of "When the Game Stands Tall" which opens tomorrow nationwide. Inspired by a true story, the movie tells the remarkable journey of legendary football coach Bob Ladouceur, who took the De La Salle High School Spartans from obscurity to a 151-game winning streak that shattered all records for any American sport.

    Today is an off day in terms of practice, but everyone lifted this morning and the team just finished up helping with the move-in. Here's a photo gallery and video from the event

    For now, don't forget that the deadline for student season tickets is 4 pm TODAY!!! Students who want to be guaranteed a ticket to every home game in the same seat need to go to hokietickets.com/student in the next three hours to sign up. The price is just $77 for all seven games! Michael Brewer's doing his part to sell the tickets, so help him out.


    10 Days Away: Aug. 20

    In the ongoing effort to foster a fan-friendly atmosphere on football game days, the Virginia Tech Athletics Department announced Wednesday the addition of Hokie Village, a festival that will give fans the opportunity to come to Blacksburg on home game days and provide them with free pregame entertainment. Check out the full release in the link below.

    3:15 pm - Quarterback battle continues by @jrobIHS

    Tech’s staff wanted to name a starting quarterback quickly once August practices started, but it’s 10 days before the season opener, and the coaches have yet to settle on a starter. Or at least that’s what they are telling the public.

    Tech offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler said the competition will continue through Friday’s scrimmage, and then he expects to make a decision. It appears to be a two-person race between Texas Tech transfer Michael Brewer and redshirt senior Mark Leal.

    “I think we’ve done a very thorough job,” Loeffler said. “I think we’ve put these guys in a lot of different scenarios. I think we’ve done this thing as thorough as you can get it. We wanted to put them in every single scenario, both of them. We wanted to put pressure on them. The longer this goes, the more stressful it gets, and that’s exactly the way you like it. You want it stressful, competitive and I think we’re really close.

    “We’re going to let the thing play out through Friday. Right after that, obviously, we have to go in the direction we want to go.”

    Loeffler continues to like what he sees in Brewer, but he also likes the improvement he’s seen in Leal, who struggled in relief of Logan Thomas in the Sun Bowl and then played inconsistently this past spring. But he has turned things around this August, making things harder for Loeffler.

    “I think Mark has improved immensely,” Loeffler said. “He looks nothing like he did last year, which is great. Michael obviously is a very good player. It’s extremely competitive right now. It’s exactly the type of environment you want. Whoever we decide, we’re still going to need two or three quarterbacks. You’re only a play away from being the next guy up.”

    Brenden Motley, who came out of spring practice in the top spot on the depth chart, has been hampered by a sore back and only recently returned to practice at full speed. He appears to be battling freshman Andrew Ford for the No. 3 spot, though Loeffler did not say that.

    “He’s healthy and rusty,” Loeffler said of Motley. “He looks like he hasn’t practiced all camp, but that’s the nature of not practicing for 14 practices. It’s hard to look the way you want to look.”

    Loeffler offered high praise for Ford, who quietly has put together a nice August.

    "It’s night and day,” Loeffler said. “He’s a completely different guy. He felt my wrath for about three months. He’s done a great, great job in terms of understanding and getting better. It’s one of the quiet highlights of the camp. It’s really exciting for me, for him and the team.”

    The final quarterback, freshman Chris Durkin, hasn’t practiced for nine days because of an injury. Loeffler didn’t say whether Durkin was taking a redshirt year.

    “I think he’s a good young player,” Loeffler said. “He’s got character, but he needs to learn the day in and day out aspects of the position. It’s an all-the-time deal. That’s what he’s learning now. I think he’s going to be a good player.”

    Loeffler did rule out using a two-quarterback platoon system for this season.

    In other news:

    • Sorting out the tailback position is probably more difficult than sorting out the quarterback position. Running backs coach Shane Beamer didn’t rule out dressing six tailbacks for the opener against William & Mary, but he wants to get the rotation down to three.

    One thing holding up the decision there is the process of finding out whether unless freshman tailbacks Travon McMillian, Marshawn Williams and Shai McKenzie can contribute on special teams. Tech’s staff continues to work McMillian on special teams in practices. Beamer said he didn’t want to burn a redshirt unless the young man could help on special teams.

    • On the offensive line, line coach Stacy Searels has been pleased with the play of Caleb Farris at center and likes the consistency of Augie Conte. Laurence Gibson and Jonathan McLaughlin appear to be set at the tackle spots, meaning only the left guard position is vacant. David Wang, last year’s starting center, Wyatt Teller and Alston Smith are battling for the position.

    10:30 am - Move-in has officially begun and campus is abuzz as freshmen and their parents are busy unloading all of their luggage and furniture into their dorms. We'll be there tomorrow as the team helps with move-in and then will have a special surpise later in the afternoon.

    Until then, we present to you your weekly infographic as we highlight the training room and the nutrition department. Take a look at what it takes for each group to run each day.


    11 Days Away: Aug. 19

    We've extended the deadline on student season ticket sales until Thursday at 4 pm. Take advantage of this great deal ($77 for the year or just $11 per game).

    Freshmen will begin invading the campus later this week as move-in begins. The football freshmen have the advantage of already doing it when they enrolled for summer school and in January, but what would they do different? Check out what Andrew Ford, Cam Phillips, Melvin Keihn and Colt Pettit think the newbies arriving this week should expect and how they should pack.

    It's hard to believe that we're just 11 days away from kick off, but we're coming up on game week quickly. With the end of preseason means the end of summer school and the beginning of fall classes next week. The Virginia Tech football program is very proud of its academic success. Did you know:

    • Of the 13 seniors on the 2014 roster, there are eight Hokie graduates, with four others slated to graduate in December.
    • Here’s a list of the current seniors, listed alphabetically, who have graduated: Detrick Bonner (Fall 2013), Willie Byrn (Spring 2014), Daniel Dyer (Spring 2014), Greg Gadell (Summer I 2014), Laurence Gibson (Fall 2013), Mark Leal (Spring 2014), David Wang (Summer II 2012, Summer II 2013) and Chase Williams (Fall 2013).
    The five other seniors are all on track to graduate by the end of the 2015 school year: Michael Branthover (Spring 2015), Derek Di Nardo (Fall 2014), Caleb Farris (Fall 2014), Kyshoen Jarrett (Fall 2014) and Luther Maddy (Fall 2014).
    • Wang has earned a pair of bachelor’s degree and is on track to earn his master’s degree in Fall 2014 in addition to the two bachelor’s degrees. Williams and Gibson are on track to earn their second undergraduate degrees this fall.
    • With four Fall 2014 graduates on track (Di Nardo, Farris, Jarrett, Maddy), Tech should have 12 of its 13 seniors with degrees at the end of the semester.
    • Junior Dadi Nicolas is on track to graduate in Fall, 2014.
    • In 11 of the past 13 years, Tech has graduated at least 70 percent of its class.
    • From 2001-2013, there were 229 senior Tech football players on the roster with 213 earning their degree, 93 percent. By the time this year is over, 78 of 80 seniors since 2010 will have graduated from Tech.
    • The Tech football program scored 977 for its multi-year APR – its highest score ever. Tech eclipsed its previous best score for the seventh straight year, and the Hokies’ 977 score ranked fifth in the ACC behind Duke (992), Clemson (983), Georgia Tech (983) and BC (981).

    Check out the infographic above highlighting Tech's academic achievements.

    10:15 am - For any freshmen moving in this week who want to get rid of some old baseball and softball equipment, bring it with you to move-in and drop it off on Friday or Saturday. It's not a football-related equipment drive, but in the spirit of Ut Prosim, we'll promote good servicable charities here, especially from our student-athletes.


    12 Days Away: Aug. 18

    The rain is steady and heavy, so the team is moving indoors today. But the gloomy weather is no reason not to get excited for Hokie football. Tickets for several games are on sale now if you want to take advantage of the opportunity. Find all the information in the link below.

    We are LIVE with LaneStadium50.com. Be sure to check out all the cool features that are already active, including voting on the All-Lane Team presented by nTelos. This week, fans can vote for the quarterbacks, so be sure to come back often and vote for who YOU think should be on the team. While you're there, check out the infographics comparing life from 1965 to now, as well as every game program cover. Starting next week, we'll add top plays and moments of each decade, and will have another position group for fans to vote on. If you missed the full release last week on the site, you can check it out here.

    Welcome aboard Carly!

    After having yesterday off, the team is back at it today and just finished its morning walk-thru. The media got to talk to two of Tech's kickers - Michael Santamaria and Joey Slye - who are among the top candidates for the placekicking job - and several defensive players. I'm sure you'll see several good stories come out of it, but here are a few tweets.


    13 Days Away: Aug. 17

    After a hard scrimmage yesterday, the coaches will gather to watch the video and try to sort out the depth chart, freshmen who are going to play, and most importantly, the starting quarterback. Without much action on the field, unless something big breaks, it'll be a slow day on the blog. Fear not, though, as next week will ramp up as freshmen begin to move onto campus and the team gets closer to that Aug. 30 opener against William & Mary. The way-too-early forecast says "80 and abundant sun" so that sounds like wonderful football weather, but we all know that forecast can change 14 times in the next 13 days as Blacksburg's weather is known to fluctuate. Also, Virginia Tech Sports Today makes its 2014 dubut on stations around the region so check that out.

    For today, we have three Senior Instagram Spotlights from Chase Williams, Daniel Dyer and Mark Shuman, so check them out. Have a great Sunday and Go Hokies!


    14 Days Away: Aug. 16

    The scrimmage is in the books and a story, a photo gallery and post-scrimmage video with Coach Beamer is below.

    It's getting close as we are just two weeks away at this point. This afternoon, the team will hold its first full-scale scrimmage of the preseason camp and we'll be there for a recap and photo gallery for you after it's all over. Come back this evening for your report from Lane Stadium

    You know the season is getting near when Virginia Tech Sports Today starts up. Be sure to catch the premier tomorrow on your local station


    15 Days Away: Aug. 15

    9 pm - The #Hokies wrap up Friday with dinner, meetings, practice film and a snack to go. Now it's time to rest up for tomorrow's scrimmage. Thanks for following along all day.

    5:40 pm - As Week 2 winds down, another great practice is in the books and the #Hokies are ready for tomorrow's scrimmage. The rest of the evening will involve dinner and meetings before we break for the night.

    3:13 pm - The calm before the afternoon storm. The midday around here includes coaches meetings, workouts, naps and practice prep.

    10:15 am - To begin our day in the life series we start with the morning session, which included treatment, meetings, walk thru, lifting and lunch to-go. Check back throughout the day as we continue to follow the #Hokies on this glorious Friday in Blacksburg.

    Today will be a busy day on the blog as we're doing our annual "Day in the Life" series. We're going to do them with Flipagram this year, following several groups throughout the day. Be sure to check back often for new videos on what's going on with such groups as athletic trainers, coaches, equipment managers, players, nutrition, weightlifting and more.

    Until then, we have a challenge for all the Hokie fans as we want to get to 50,000 Twitter followers by opening day. Right now, we're just over 4,000 away from the magic number and need your help. Spread the word to all of your friends to follow @VT_Football. Currently, we are ranked just outside the top 20 nationally in the FBS in terms of Twitter followers, right behind Ole Miss, Oklahoma State and Arkansas. Get us to 50K and into the top 20! #Project50K


    16 Days Away: Aug. 14

    How well do you Know Your Fullers? Check out how Kyshoen Jarrett did and see if you can beat his score in this new game show.

    Things we learned today:

    We have to report a little bit of sad news today as Mark Shuman has decided to walk away from football after suffering a torn meniscus in his knee for the third time since coming to Tech. Mark has already graduated from Virginia Tech and is working on a second degree, so we know he'll be successful in future endeavors. Thanks for your service, Mark, and best of luck down the road.


    17 Days Away: Aug. 13

    Coach Bud Foster checks in with Andrew Allegretta post-practice today.

    Virginia Tech Student Season Tickets went on sale today and Luther Maddy has a challenge for all his fellow Hokies. Check it out.

    Last night, the team got a special treat as former Hokie receiver and NFL standout Antonio Freeman returned to campus in the capacity of an NFL Ambassador. Freeman talked to the team as part of the education series Coach Beamer has each night and gave some insight on social networking etiquite. Check out the powerful video from his talk.

    Things we learned at this morning's media session:


    18 Days Away: Aug. 12

    PRACTICE REPORT - by @jrobIHS

    There were several tidbits of information that came out of Tuesday morning’s interviews with Tech’s players and coaches, so rather than write a broad story, we’re going to give you some bullet points as to what came out:

    • Tech defensive line coach Charley Wiles told reporters that the staff has moved Wade Hansen from defensive tackle to offensive line, and Hansen worked at right tackle during Tuesday’s practice. Hansen, a redshirt junior from Troy, New York, transferred to Tech from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a Division III school in New York, and sat out last season.

    • In other defensive line news, Wiles said that true freshman Ricky Walker, a defensive tackle from Hampton, Virginia, will play this season. The 6-foot-1, 282-pounder has been impressive and moved his way up the depth chart behind Corey Marshall.

    Walker was one of the more impressive freshmen during strength and conditioning testing. He recorded a 345-pound bench press.

    • Also, defensive coordinator Bud Foster said that he is taking a look at freshman Melvin Keihn at defensive end from linebacker. Foster said the 6-1, 211-pounder from Towson, Maryland, didn’t appear natural at linebacker and thinks he can grow into a very good defensive end. Foster mentioned that former player and current coach Cornell Brown made a similar move and that worked out pretty well.

    Keihn needs to add weight, but he runs well, having recorded a 4.65 in the 40 during testing. He also recorded a 32.5-inch vertical jump and a 335-pound bench press.

    • Defensive tackle Woody Baron said last Saturday at Tech’s Media Day that he hoped to get back on the field this week, and after meeting with Tech’s sports medicine staff on Monday, he was able to get on the field for Tuesday’s practice. Baron wore a blue jersey, signifying limited contact. He has been recovering from offseason ankle surgery.

    Baron got a good chuckle when told that Tech’s strength and conditioning staff listed him at 296 pounds after weigh-ins. Baron said the staff must have transposed the numbers. He said he weighed 269 pounds.

    • Several Tech players were dressed in blue jerseys on Tuesday, but the Hokies did see punter A.J. Hughes (lower back) and offensive linemen David Wang (hamstring) and Jonathan McLaughlin (hamstring) return to the field. Hughes said he would need about three practices to get his timing back. McLaughlin worked with the first team at right tackle because of a knee sprain suffered by Mark Shuman, who had been working with the first team.

    • True freshman receivers Isaiah Ford and Cam Phillips, who have been the buzz of preseason practices, were seen returning punts during Tuesday’s practice. So far, both have displayed great hands and an ability to make plays in space, so it comes as no surprise that head coach Frank Beamer would see what they could do returning punts.

    • Freshman quarterback Chris Durkin was wearing a maroon jersey during Tuesday’s practice as opposed to the yellow quarterback jersey. He still worked with the quarterbacks, though.

    Durkin certainly brings Logan Thomas-type size to the quarterback position. He checked in at 242 pounds, and he recorded a 315-pound bench press during strength and conditioning testing.

    4:30 pm - You think you know him, but here are 5 Things You Don't Know About ... The HokieBird!

    The Hokies are on the field as we type this after getting yesterday off to freshen their legs. We'll have a brief practice report later on, but for now, here's a great interview with Michael Kelly, the Chief Operating Officer of the College Football Playoff, discussing how the playoff works and what to expect this season.


    19 Days Away: Aug. 11

    Last week, Coach Beamer took the Ice Bucket Challenge to fight ALS and issued a challenge to Arizona Cardinals head coach and former Tech QB Bruce Arians. Well, he accepted the challenge!

    Last week, we broke down the roster in our weekly #HokieGFX14 site. This week, the Equipment Room is up. Check out these interesting numbers from the guys who make the Hokies look good.

    There won't be a whole lot to report to day as the coaching staff decided to give the players the day off. The team reported for breakfast and was excused for the day, much to the delight of the players. Coach Foster told us that the guys have been going extremely hard for seven days and they earned it. Also, with as much rain as Blacksburg has seen over the past four days, the team has spent a lot of time in Rector Field House and that takes a toll on the players' legs, so hopefully this will reinvigorate them.

    Here's something cool that we think everyone will enjoy as the season goes along. This year is the 50th season of Lane Stadium and the Athletics Department has put together a special website to commemorate it. LaneStadium50.com will go live with all of the features at noon one week from today, Aug. 18. You can read all of the information on what's planned in the link below, but below that, be sure to check out the goose-bump inducing video put out by @HokieVision to commemorate 50 years of Lane. It'll get you ready for football season, for sure. Enjoy!


    20 Days Away: Aug. 10

    The Outback Welcome Back picnic is in the books and was a success, as usual. Here's a photo gallery from the event.

    The end of the first week of camp is here as we get closer to that Aug. 30 kick-off against William & Mary. The team will go through its usual schedule today with morning meetings and a walk thru and then practice this afternoon. After that, it will be the Outback Welcome Back Picnic in Lane Stadium with the team. It's a great event and proceeds go toward Virginia Tech scholarships and facilities.

    First up today, we have a video recap of yesterday's #VTFanDay, put together by @HokieVision.

    Also, here's an interview from ACC Kickoff with national writer Tony Barnhart. He talks about the College Football Playoff, the addition of Louisville to the ACC and his favorite memory of Lane Stadium as it enters its 50th year (hint, it involves a car and lightning).

    ICYMI from late last night, two former Hokie players had big nights in NFL preseason games, so congrats to Corey Fuller and Logan Thomas as they try to make their respective squads. Thomas went 11-for-12 with a touchdown and Fuller caught the game-winning touchdown pass with just over a minute left.


    21 Days Away: Aug. 9

    A soggy and rainy Media Day and Fan Day has come to a close here in Blacksburg. We want to wish a hearty THANK YOU to all who braved the elements today for coming out. While there was no official count, estimates range around 4,700 fans came through the gates to meet their 2014 Hokies. For our first Fan Day, we know there were probably some things people wish we would have done differently, but all-in-all, it was a great event.

    Below are links to two stories from the day as Jimmy Robertson recaps Media Day and Marc Mullen writes about Fan Day.

    Here are a pair of photo galleries from the day

    And the day on Storify

    Here is a video from Media Day of Coach Frank Beamer.

    Hard to believe, but we're just 21 days away from kickoff!


    22 Days Away: Aug. 8

    Fan Day is still on. We've made some logistical changes, so check them out.

    2:20 pm - Three offensive linemen earn Excalibur Awards by @jrobIHS


    Tech offensive linemen Augie Conte, Wyatt Teller and Laurence Gibson earned Excalibur Awards, the top honor in Dr. Mike Gentry’s strength and conditioning program. The Excalibur Award is more comprehensive than the program’s other honors (e.g. Super Iron Hokie, Iron Hokie, etc.), looking at all areas of football strength and conditioning from strength and power to acceleration, speed, flexibility and agility.

    How difficult is the Excalibur Award to obtain? The actual grading scale was created from test data collected from college and pro teams. To receive the highly competitive and esteemed Excalibur Award, the player must average in the top eight percent of the chart (superior level) for all tested criteria.

    The trio became the first Tech football players to earn the award since former standouts Marcus Davis and Joey Phillips received the honor in 2012. They became the first offensive linemen to earn the honor since Brandon Frye won it back in 2006.

    Conte, a 6-foot-6, 295-pound redshirt sophomore from Richmond, led all Tech players in the bench press (440 pounds), front squat (460) and push jerk (385). Teller, a 6-6, 301-pound redshirt freshman from Bealeton, Virginia, finished second behind Conte in the front squat (450) and push jerk (375), and he actually tied Conte in the bench press, but Conte is considered the leader because he weighs less than Teller (weight is the tiebreaker). Gibson, a 6-6, 297-pound redshirt senior from Sierra Vista, Arizona, led all Tech players in the power clean (385) and finished fourth in the bench press (430) and fifth in the push jerk (340).

    Gibson’s 385-pound power clean broke the position record for an offensive tackle. Conte held the previous record of 375 pounds, which he set last year.

    All three are currently running on the first-team offensive line.

    1:20 pm - Rain, rain, go away. A light drizzle has started to fall on Blacksburg, which may hamper practice plans. Right now, it isn't too bad, but if it picks up, the team will make its first appearance in Rector Field House. This time next year, hopefully that won't be a problem as the new indoor training facility should be done and usable. But alas, it's still in its infant stages and the groundwork is still beind laid. We were told that the first piece of steel is scheduled to be put in place on Aug. 20, so that's another date to circle on the calendar.

    8:45 am - It's hard to believe the first week of camp is almost over. Tomorrow, we'll have Media Day and Fan Appreciation Day, rain or shine. Our marketing crew will consult with the grounds crew and weather folks tonight and make the decision on tomorrow and we'll let everyone know when it's finalized. Even if it's raining, SHOW UP! At worst, we'll do the Fan Day on all three concourses of Lane Stadium, so the show will go on!

    Later today, we'll have a nice picture and feature on the three Excalibur winners from the weight room and will also post a roster with numbers and positions for tomorrow for fans to print off.

    But first, we continue our Senior Instagram Spotlights as Joe St. Germain, David Wang and Derek Di Nardo share with us the worst preseason camp drill. Enjoy!


    23 Days Away: Aug. 7

    In preparation for Saturday's Fan Appreciation Day, Bud Foster stars in this video with his precious granddaughter, Jaiden. Remember, the event goes on rain or shine!

    Today we will focus on three Tech seniors - Kyshoen Jarrett, Detrick Bonner and Willie Byrn - as they each tell us their favorite moment in Lane Stadium in an Instagram Senior Spotlight. Be sure to follow us on Twitter (@VT_Football) and Instagram (vthokiefootball) for updates throughout the year.

    9:15 am - In case you missed it last night, Coach Frank Beamer took the Ice Bucket Challenge to raise awareness for ALS and challenged Arizona Cardinals head coach and Hokie alum Bruce Arians to the challenge. Check it out!


    24 Days Away: Aug. 6

    9:30 pm - Loeffler talks quarterbacks, Tech offense by @jrobIHS

    Tech offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler met with the media for the first time since the end of spring practice, and the second-year coordinator was in a good mood, as the Hokies entered their third day of fall practices.

    In short, he liked what he was seeing – both from the quarterbacks and the offense as a whole.

    “We’re moving in the right direction,” he said. “We just need to move fast.”

    Loeffler is facing the most important decision of any coach – naming a starting quarterback. The list of contenders is extensive, starting with returners Mark Leal and Brenden Motley, transfer Michael Brewer, and freshmen Andrew Ford, Chris Durkin and Travon McMillian.

    As expected, Loeffler didn’t put a timetable on the decision. After all, the Hokies haven’t practiced in full pads yet. Most quarterbacks look sharp in a helmet, shirt and shorts. The cream rises when the pads go on, so Tech fans shouldn’t expect a decision in the immediate future.

    “I prefer to make it as soon as we can, but we also want to do our justice and those kids’ justice in terms of we want to be accurate in our decision and we want to make the right decision,” Loeffler said. “We’ve been out there two days, and we’re still playing basketball right now. We’re not in full pads.

    “We’ll make it whenever it is the right time to be made. Could it happen in the next five days? Possibly. It could happen two weeks from now.”

    Brewer is the most intriguing quarterback, if nothing else, because he possesses the most experience. He played in 13 games the past two years for Texas Tech. Two years ago, he completed 34 of 48 passes for 375 yards, with four touchdowns and no interceptions. But a back injury last season led to a couple of other Red Raider quarterbacks to jump him on the depth chart. So Brewer, who graduated last spring, decided to transfer and play his final two seasons at Tech.

    When asked what he liked about Brewer, whether it be his experience, his work in a passing offense, or his ability to be eligible immediately. Loeffler gave a short reply.

    “All of the above,” he said.

    Then he added, “You knew him when he came out as a high school kid, and he has character. He’s a winner. If you look at his high school record, he’s a winner. Chad [Morris, Clemson’s offensive coordinator] had him and you know he’s well coached. So all that made him attractive.”

    Interestingly, Morris recommended Brewer, whom he coached at Lake Travis High School in Texas four years ago, to Shane Beamer. Beamer told Loeffler about Brewer and that got the ball rolling.

    The biggest adjustment for Brewer has been taking the snap from underneath the center – he played in shotgun offenses in high school and at Texas Tech. Taking a snap seems like the simplest of tasks, but Loeffler said people would be surprised at how much some spread-offense quarterbacks struggle with it.

    “The art of being able to put your hands underneath center … it’s difficult for guys who have been in a shotgun offense,” he said. “Even guys who have been drafted, it takes them a while. But he’s [Brewer] savvy. He’s athletic. He’s much farther ahead in that regard. I’ve had guys in a shotgun offense, who, literally in 365 days, couldn’t get a snap. That’s not the case with him.”

    Whoever wins the quarterback will have some weapons around him. Tech returns four starters on the offensive line, a tight end, two tailbacks with starting experience and nearly all of the receiving crew. That should lead to better numbers.

    Loeffler’s big focus in August has been in two areas – turnovers and running the football.

    “We were great in turnover ratio early in the season,” he said. “Then in the Duke and Boston College games, if you don’t turn over the football, you win both games, and we look at the season as a success. We need to stop throwing interceptions (15 last year). You’re going to throw a few – that’s part of the game – but we had too many last year.

    “Then obviously, the biggest change that has to occur is the past two years we haven’t ran the ball consistently. The vision that we have, what we want to be like, is what you saw at Miami (183 yards rushing, 366 passing).

    “So without a doubt, it’s the turnovers and running the football. That’s where we need to improve.”

    The return of Ryan Malleck from injury at the tight end position has Loeffler excited, along with the return of Kalvin Cline, who emerged as the starter last season as a true freshman. Plus, Bucky Hodges brings immense potential to the spot.

    Loeffler said he had Malleck pegged for 60 or 70 catches last year. Malleck’s shoulder injury forced him to come up with a completely different scheme.

    When asked about last year’s packages with the tight end, Loeffler half jokingly said, “We didn’t have one last year.”

    “We had a plan last year, and we had to scrap the entire deal,” he said. “When you’re in training camp and you’re sleeping three and half, four hours a night and you have to restructure your entire deal, that was a bear. That was not an easy gig.”

    But Loeffler liked what he saw in spring practice, for the most part. And he likes where the Hokies can go.

    “I like where we are,” he said. “We’re systematic right now. I think our kids understand what we’re trying to accomplish. I knock on wood that we don’t have to do what we did last year.

    “Right now, we’ve had six or seven months of logical thought as to what we’re trying to get done. We’ve got a great understanding, because we’ve been here a year, of what guys can do and can’t do. There’s a peace of mind, knowing what we’re trying to accomplish. We’ve just got to solidify the backfield, get settled at quarterback and tailback. But we have a much better feel of what we are and what we’re not. “

    5:15 pm - Practice is underway as the Hokies put on shoulder pads for the first time. We'll have a photo gallery, as well as a story from @jrobIHS tonight on the quarterbacks. Until then, check out the rules of #VTFanDay, as told by the Hokie Bird thru Flipagram.

    3:15 pm - The first Kroger Roth Report is out ... give it a read.

    2:30 pm - Each night during preseason, Coach Beamer sets aside time after practice for education on off-the-field topics. Some of the topics this month include the standard speaches on hydration, nutrition, judicial affairs and parking services. But the program does more by bringing in speakers to talk about financial planning and life after football. The perfect example of why this is done is the recent retirement of former Hokie running back David Wilson due to a neck injury. A former first-round pick with a bright NFL future ahead of him, he must now figure out his next path in life and hopefully the things he learned at Tech will help him continue to be successful.

    Last night, Coach Beamer brought in Doug Rhoads, who is the ACC head of offficials, to talk about the rule changes for the 2014 football season. He emphasized the targeting rule that was put in last year and the tweaks made to the enforcement for this year, along with the forceable low hit on defenseless players. Go behind the scenes to hear what Rhoads told the team last night.

    10:30 am - The team has broken for the morning as several freshmen go to class late in the morning. Everyone will reconvene this afternoon for practice No. 3, when the shoulder pads will be added to the practice. On Friday, the team will go in full pads for the first time, but the first 12 full live contact practices, as allowed by the NCAA, until Saturday.

    After the morning walk-thru, the offensive players met with the media for the first time this camp and you can find the videos below. It was the first time that new Hokie quarterback Michael Brewer met with the Virginia Tech media. Brewer, who is one of seven quarterbacks battling for the starting job, transferred from Texas Tech after graduating in three years. He'll have two years of eligibility left. Below are some highlights via Twitter from the Tech scribes.

    Also of note, senior offensive lineman Laurence Gibson, who weighed around 274 pounds in the spring, packed on 25 pounds this offseason to get back up to near 300 pounds thanks to this diet:


    25 Days Away: Aug. 5

    10:15 pm - That's it for tonight. For the education meeting, ACC head of officials Doug Rhoads spoke to the team about the rule changes this year. We hope to have a video up of that tomorrow. In the meantime, here are a few tweets and Instagram photos to hold you over til tomorrow, including two awesome shots from the MetLife blimp which was over campus today.

    3:15 pm - It's practice time! In the first installment of a new weekly feature, we break down the Hokies 2014 football roster via infographic. Click the link in the tweet and check back next week for a recap of week 1 and a equipment room show. Go Hokies!

    2:10 pm - We're just four days away from #VTFanDay! Are you coming to town on Saturday for the special event? Here's a video starring the Beamers to put out the word.

    Noon - Today was the defense's day to meet with the media and you can find the videos below. Kendall Fuller had the best lines of day when discussing his the new name on the back of his jersey this season.

    10 am - We're off an running on day 2 of practice. The team has already met by positions, done a morning walk-through and then the defensive players met with the media. A little bit off-football, but did you see that Virginia Tech was rated No. 1 in the country for best on-campus dining prgram by Princeton Review? You can find the Associated Press article here, but Tech got some good pub this morning on The Today Show as they talked about Tech's dining program.


    26 Days Away: Aug. 4

    8:30 pm - Here's a video of Coach Beamer's post-practice media session.

    7:15 pm - Here is the link to the practice report filed this evening. Be sure to check out the photo gallery on the side for some excellent images from the session.

    6:45 pm - Day 1 of practice is in the books. The team is finishing up dinner and will have a team meeting tonight before breaking for the evening. It'll all ramp up again tomorrow with breakfast at 7 a.m. We'll have a full practice report and photo gallery in a little while, but here's a short video to hold you over until we can get that up.

    9 am - The day everyone has been awaiting for has arrived - the first day of practice. Currently, the team is in morning meetings and walk-thru and will break about 11:15 a.m. before returning this afternoon for practice. We'll have a depth chart and updated roster, plus an injury report from Mike Goforth, before practice and then we'll have a full practice report and photo gallery after practice.


    27 Days Away: Aug. 3

    Today is check-in day as the team reports back to campus before tomorrow’s first practice. Hokiesports.com was there as the players got their height and weight recorded, as well as several other medical tests done. Afterwards, the first meeting was held, where Coach Beamer set the tone for the season. This year’s theme will be “Change the World” and we’ll have more on that slogan as camp goes along.

    The updated heights and weights will be posted on the roster page Monday morning, so be sure to check that out.

    In case you missed it, our own Kevin Jones threw out the cermemonial first pitch at the Norfolk Tides game tonight as part of Hokie Night. Check out the video.


    28 Days Away: Aug. 2
    Today, we sit down with offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler, who gives us his top two priorities for the offense heading into preseason camp, which opens Monday. Tomorrow, the team will check in and have some meetings to kick off camp and then it all gets going on Monday. Don’t forget to join us one week from today for Fan Appreciation Day at Lane Stadium. Full details can be found here.

    There isn’t a lot to report today as the football complex is pretty quiet. Downtown is a different story as the 34th Annual Steppin’ Out Festival is taking place this weekend. The street festival features over 200 artists and crafts people from around the United States selling unique handcrafted items and Downtown Blacksburg merchants also hold their much-awaited final clearance sidewalk sales during Steppin’ Out. There’s also festival foods and music stages to really give it a special feel. Anyone who’s been in Blacksburg for the summer knows what a fun event this is and it usually signifies that football is right around the corner. Practice starts Monday, but today we are officially four weeks away from game day! You can still buy Orange Pack mini-plans, but they are going fast.

    Don’t forget, one week from today will be the first Fan Apprecation Day. The Hokie Bird was downtown at Steppin’ Out handing out flyers for the event and we want you there! Let us show you how much you mean to us by coming out Aug. 9 at 11:30 a.m. Get there early to get in line and spend some time with your Hokies!

    Tomorrow, we'll be around the complex as the players check in and have a team meeting. See you then! Go Hokies!


    29 Days Away: Aug. 1
    Today, we sit down with defensive coordinator Bud Foster, who gives us his top two priorities for the defense heading into preseason camp, which opens Monday. Tomorrow, we’ll check in with the offense as Scot Loeffler gives us his top priorities heading into camp.

    The staff traveled to West Virginia today to take in a New Orleans Saints practice at The Greenbrier and will be back in town to ge things cranked up this weekend. Below is Coach Beamer with former Hokie kicker Shayne Graham and Saints head coach Sean Payton.

    If you follow the players on Twitter, you'll see many are going home for the weekend before having to report back on Sunday. Max lifting wrapped up this week and it's a chance to go visit their families before the grind of the season starts. That doesn't mean nothing is happening around here as the equipment room is hard at work preparing for Sunday's check-in.

    Finally, many of you have gotten your season tickets in the mail this week. We thank you for supporting the Hokies and can't wait to see you in 29 days! Go Hokies!

    30 Days Away: July 31
    We kick off our preseason blog with a behind-the-scenes look at head coach Frank Beamer’s “Car Wash” in Bristol, Connecticut, on Tuesday. The Car Wash signifies the end of summer and the beginning of football as each coach from the ACC made the rounds of ESPN. Beamer, who is beginning his 28th year at Tech and is the winningest active coach in the FBS with 266 wins, had five hours of interviews with stops at ESPNU, College Football Live and the new SportsCenter set, among others.

    Check back tomorrow and Saturday as we check in with the coordinators on their two main points of emphasis as the Hokies enter camp. On Sunday, we’ll be around as the team checks in, and on Monday, we’ll have full coverage of the first day of practice. Go Hokies!


    Season tickets are available for the 2014 Virginia Tech football season through hokietickets.com.

    For updates on Virginia Tech football, follow the Hokies on Twitter

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