Saturday, August 12, 2006

Turkey Talk Update

Those of you wishing to find the lowdown regarding Virginia Tech position previews as well as season opponent analysis, trust me -- it's on the way, but for you hardcore readers wonderin' what's the delay, here's my excuse:

With the start of the fall semester at Virginia Tech just around the corner (classes begin Aug. 21), all next week I will be out of town relaxing at the beach, getting my act together, if you will, before heading back to Tech. (Not that bad of a way for a 19-year-old college student to spend the last seven days of his summer after bein' on the grind for the past three months).

So, big deal Andrew, right? Well upon returning, I will be part of a new blogging network, with a completely new site, but still devoted to the same ol' Hokies. My writing responsibilities with the Virginia Tech school newspaper, the Collegiate Times, will have returned, seeing as I already have three football stories lined up, all of which are going to be published in the CT's team preview. These individual works are not to be outdone by additional team insight posted online, and actually just an overall total commitment to posting anything and everything considered Hokie.

Until then, LET'S GO ... HO - KIES !!!

Andrew Kinney
Turkey Talk

Friday, August 11, 2006

Hokie Football: CB Jahre Cheeseman Injured

Another Tech injury in the secondary. Just days after first-string cornerback Roland Minor got in a car wreck, redshirt freshman Jahre Cheeseman tore his lateral meniscus and is expected to have surgery. The 5-9, 200 prospect was reportedly coming along well, having made the most progress of anyone in the secondary during the spring training sessions. Diagnosis on his recovery time is listed at three to six weeks.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Hokie Football: Season Tickets

Keeping all you future Hokie season ticket holders out there up to date, courtesy of Hokiesports.com
Season football tickets to be mailed this week
All tickets anticipated to be delivered by Monday
August 9, 2006

BLACKSBURG - The Virginia Tech Athletics Department announced Wednesday that the 2006 season football tickets would be shipped starting today and should be completed by tomorrow. The shipping is being handled by Virginia Tech's contracted ticket printer, Weldon, Williams and Lick. The company will coordinate the shipping from Fort Smith, Ark.

UPS will begin processing the first shipment of the packages marked for Three Day Delivery today but due to the size of the shipment, some packages may not be en route until Thursday.

Individuals with post office boxes will have their packages sent via First Class Mail. The Athletic Ticket Office anticipates that most customers will have their tickets in hand by Monday, Aug. 14.

Every patron who has an email account listed with the athletic ticket office will be notified of their tracking number via email.
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They're coming ... 2006 Virginia Tech Football season tickets ... Are you ready?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Hokie Athletics: 2005 - 2006 ACC Honor Roll

It's always a good thing to read about Hokie student-athletes excelling at that other reason they came to college -- academics, and yesterday I was able to do just that, as the ACC announced its 2005-2006 Academic Honor Roll, recognizing student-athletes from all 12 schools who maintained a 3.0 grade point average or better for the full academic year.

Altogether, more than 2,500 student-athletes in the conference were honored for their hard work in the classroom, with the top representation on the list from one school coming from Duke (of course) with 362 students. Tech placed 177 of their very own on the list, and of those represented by the university, 24 football players made the cut, including starters Sean Glennon, Brandon Pace, and Carlton Powell.

Hokie Football: Grohing for the Better

Al GrohJust a little letter I composed this morning to Virginia Cavalier head coach Al Groh. I'll be sure to send this out later today.

Al Groh
University of Virginia Athletic Department
McCue Center - PO Box 400837
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4837
August 8, 2006

Dear Mr. Groh,

Now I know your title as Virginia Cavalier head coach has been extremely frustrating as of late, especially with the troubled offseason you and your program have being experiencing, as well as the recent success (or lack thereof) against in-state rival Virginia Tech, so on that note, I send this letter in the highest regard and respect for your program, free of any ill will. More specifically, however, this letter pertains to the recent news regarding one of the better players on your roster, Mr. Deyon Williams.

First of all, let me be the one to praise you for your coaching skills in turning Mr. Williams into such a talented prospect, with the young man currently having several impressive accomplishments to his name, all of which I am sure you are familiar, such as ranking amongst the top three in the conference last season in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns. The time you have spent nurturing this talent seems to have been well spent, and for that I commend you.

That being said however, I found it appropriate to mention a brief recommendation to you and your program on behalf of Mr. Williams' recent injury -- the stress fracture to his foot that he suffered earlier this week.

As I continue, please do realize that I say the following not knowing, perhaps, every detailed aspect of background information on the following issue, but, in addition to possessing a legitimate amount of football knowledge, as well as having read the report regarding Mr. Williams' injury, I have accumulated enough information on the topic to come up with a simple conclusion, which I offer to you.

Today's local area newspapers reported on Mr. Williams' injury, and for the following example, let's refer to the work of the renowned Hampton Roads newspaper, The Virginian-Pilot, whose sportswriter Ed Miller was all over yesterday's incident, writing about the costly loss of Williams that your program now has to address.

After reading the first few lines of the piece, which announced Williams had succumbed to a serious injury, being the devoted Hokie fan that I am, I grinned, for I always find it satisfying to relish in the misfortunes of your program. All in all though, Williams' particular story wasn't too much of a shock, seeing as all programs encounter injuries, and there really isn't anything you, as a coach, can do to prevent such things from occurring.

Or so I thought, until my eyes scrolled over the next line of the said article, which read something like this:
Williams, an All-ACC candidate, had been practicing since camp opened Friday but complained of soreness in his foot. Virginia head coach Al Groh said he did not recall which one.
Immediately upon finishing that sentence, I stopped reading. Though I'm sure no other readers found that statement as nearly offensive as I did, I couldn't contain myself, forcing me to go as far as to type up this letter and speak my mind, giving you a simple piece of advice, perhaps letting you 'Groh for the Better'.

Which leads me, Mr. Groh, to my point. In regards to Mr. Williams' injury (and do correct me if I am wrong here), but wouldn't it have been ideal to pay a tad bit more attention to the needs of Mr. Williams, arguably your best offensive player, especially when he specifically told you he was in pain, as to avoid him suffering a major injury only days later?

On the contrary however, I know football players are expected to maintain an invincible, 'Bad to the Bone' mentality, showing no signs of weakness and playing through any degree of pain, but in this case -- during a mere training session in early August, is the participation of a player, and one of your best ones at that, all that necessary? Would it have been too much of a detriment to your program to let Mr. Williams sit out a week or two to recover? Regardless how you answer, now you've lost his skills for almost two months -- the estimated amount of time a player with an injury of this sort needs to fully heal.

In conclusion, though my opinions and background reasoning throughout this letter have been thorough and detailed in nature, my suggestion for you comes as a brief, simple bit of advice. I am sure you are kicking yourself for the way this incident has unfolded, so the following words are most likely an utter reiteration of what you have been thinking over the few days to do about the situation. Had you taken the simple time to address Williams' mild situation (when it was first presented to you), you quite possibly could have prevented his resulting injury. Your lack of judgment and decisive action just sums up the overall mediocrity of your performance during your tenure in Charlottesville, and things don't look to get better for your team anytime soon..

So, Mr. Groh, without further ado, here's my advice:

Just quit.

Sincerely,
Andrew Kinney
Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University
Class of 2008

23 2
Hey, there's always NASCAR.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Hokie Football: Catchin' Up

Several events in regards to Hokie football transpired over the weekend while I was out of town (and unable to access any computer with internet connection capability), so here's a quick recap of what I missed:

  • With less than a month remaining before Virginia Tech's home opener against Northeastern, the Hokies held their first fall practice Friday afternoon. The team workout, which reportedly had a total turnout of more than a hundred players (105 to be exact, 17 of them being D-1A college football newbies), lasted two hours, and featured each player practicing in helmets, jerseys and shorts. Practices featuring full pads for the Hokies are set to begin today.

    Following Friday's team workout, Hokie Boss Frank Beamer didn't seem too impressed with his team's overall performance, stating:
    "It was a typical first day ... we didn't throw the ball great, we didn't catch it great, the timing was off a little bit ... I think the effort's good, the attitude's good, but we've got to improve on some football."
    Again, just like Beamer's recent comments about VT's special teams last week (see the article below), his remarks aren't much for Hokie followers to fret upon, seeing as he's just going on another one of his typical rants, and in all fairness, it was the team's first official get-together since spring training ended in mid-April.

    In injury notes, Tech's secondary took a big hit talent-wise as starting cornerback Roland Minor, one of the few returning leaders from last season's top-ranked Hokie defense, suffered knee and wrist injuries following a car wreck while riding around his hometown of Washington D.C.

    According to team trainer Mike Goforth, Minor's wrist required surgery Friday to insert pins that will remain there for a period of four to six weeks, with a full recovery expected to take almost two months.

    Tech's costly loss of the experienced returnee in Minor comes at a time when the abundance of talented starters with playing time under their belt is limited, and the redshirt junior's injury will undoubtedly prompt defensive coordinator Bud Foster to rethink a few coverages heading into the earlier part of the year.

    Last year, Minor served as a talented sidekick to All-American cornerback Jimmy Williams in the defensive backfield, and on the season, the duo, combined with safeties Justin Hamilton and Aaron Rouse, combined to form a pass defense that ranked second in the nation in terms of opponent passing yards per game (149.1), second only to Miami (148.2). Also of note from that secondary was the fact they managed to only allow a total of eight scores through the air, good enough for third in the nation, all the while snatching a smooth total of 19 picks in the process, with Minor recording for three.

    Despite the fact Minor was (and, in fact, still is) expected to play an instrumental part of Foster's lockdown pass defense this year, expect true sophomore Victor Harris, one of the few freshman from last season who got to see significant playing time, to step in and fill the void left by Minor's injury.

    Victor Harris Overall, the kid's cocky, and rightfully so. He's got the speed (4.4), the durability (6-0, 200), and the swagger (his nickname is 'Macho' for crying out loud), to really emerge on the ACC scene as a star. After taking his first year to make the adjustment to college from the high school level, word is that he's developed significantly over the off-season, and is ready to showcase his improved skills come September.

    Much of Harris' time on the field last year was spent getting reps in at defensive back as well as spending significant time on special teams. Those around him have realized the tremendous amount of athleticism and potential he possesses -- Beamer and Tech's coaching staff have known this ever since welcoming the five-star recruit to Blacksburg, and are anxious to let him blossom on the season as a starter.

    One obvious example of Beamer's determination in attempting to utilize Harris' talent took place earlier this year during the team's spring training sessions. With top rushers Brandon Ore and George Bell out nursing injuries, Beamer and his staff worked the rising sophomore at running back -- point being, they had to get the kid on the field some way or another.

    Looking at Harris' new found situation though, heading into the team's season opener next month, his desired starting spot at right cornerback, playing opposite junior CB Brandon Flowers, basically fell right into his lap. Expect him to have a strong August training session, taking the time to soak in his newly acquired role and heavily prepare for the team's September season kickoff.

    Come to think of it now, as September rolls through, it'll be a relief for the young Hokie that his first few games as a starter are against some very weak competition in Northeastern, Duke, North Carolina and Cincinatti. Also a plus for Harris and the Tech secondary is by the time Georgia Tech's phenomenal supreme being at wide receiver, Calvin Johnson, and his Yellow Jackets buddies come to town, Minor should be back and ready to go, and hopefully every other Hokie will be too.

  • The USA Today Coaches' Polls were released on Friday, listing the Hokies as 16th on the list. Definitely a bit higher than I (and everyone else) would have expected, but it's nothing to get riled up about -- they're just preseason rankings, y'all.
  • Sunday, August 06, 2006

    Hokie Football: Switcheroo

    Here's an article, courtesy of The Virginian-Pilot, which mainly focuses on the current status of ex-Hampton Roads quarterbacks Greg Boone and Kam Chancellor, who are currently undergoing what many Hokie football players are doing -- changing positions. With the concept of both players most likely not being able to become a factor in the QB battle as well as possessing substantial size and speed, leave it to Frank Beamer to find one way or another to best utilize their talent, in this case, at tight end.
    Two area high school QBs likely will be playing new positions for Va. Tech
    By KYLE TUCKER, The Virginian-Pilot
    August 6, 2006

    BLACKSBURG - Greg Boone and Kam Chancellor both left South Hampton Roads as heralded high school quarterbacks. Each hoped the Hokies would give them a shot under center.

    And, to an extent, they have.

    Boone, the former Oscar Smith star, handled a handful of snaps in practice as he redshirted last season, then tossed a few more passes during the spring.

    Chancellor, a recent Maury grad, is Tech's fourth quarterback through two days of fall practice.

    But two factors should see both at new positions by the time the season starts.

    First, the battle for the starting quarterback job is a three-man race with Sean Glennon, Cory Holt and Ike Whitaker - all of whom have a better grasp of the offense than Boone or Chancellor.

    Second, and perhaps more important, both local products have bodies and abilities that are conducive to playing elsewhere.

    Boone, a redshirt freshman, is 6-foot-3, 275 pounds (he wants to drop 15 of those) and surprisingly agile. Sounds like a tight end, right?

    Given that Tech doesn't have a single experienced player at that position, Boone has already made the switch and could compete for the starting spot.

    "I'll be on the field this fall," he said. "I can't sit anymore."

    And Chancellor, a true freshman who has wowed the coaches since arriving this summer, could be soon to follow.

    At 6-foot-4, 218 pounds, Chancellor's athleticism is hard to ignore. In summer testing, he ran the 40 in 4.54 seconds, bench-pressed 320 pounds and had a 30-inch vertical leap.

    After Saturday's practice, Beamer pulled Chancellor and fellow true freshman Zach Luckett, a muscular 6-foot-3 player recruited as an athlete, to the side.

    He watched both work at defensive back and receiver against each other.

    "Those big guys that are fast, I'd kind of like to get them on the field," Beamer said.

    Wednesday, August 02, 2006

    Hokie Football: Beamer's Special Thoughts

    Here's hoping we don't see this sight too often, or better yet, any at all, in 2006.

    While skimming through the pages of today's sports section in the Daily Press (Hampton, Virginia's local newspaper to which I frequently refer to), I was quick to discover the following article on Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer, written by veteran sportswriter David Teel, one of the paper's premiere staff members who regularly contributes pieces covering the Hokies.

    In the write-up, Teel illustrates Beamer's preseason concerns with VT's special teams, particularly in regards to the talents of kickers Brandon Pace and Jared Develli, by saying:
    "I want to make it clear," Beamer said. "I think we've got to get better in the kicking game."
    To be honest, Beamer's remark comes off as a bit of a surprise, seeing as Tech's kicking game features two of the conference's best in Pace and Develli, who are both coming off stellar years with impressive season statistics that Teel specifically points out later in his writing.
    "...Develli produced 29 touchbacks in 64 kickoffs; (while) Pace made 19 of 22 field goals and scored a school-record 108 points, this after a first-team all-conference season in 2004."
    Beamer's concerns aside, after witnessing Tech's special teams have a solid 2005 season, I can't really picture the strengths of that unit, the kicking and punting game in particular, falling off much at all, seeing as both Pace and Develli, as well as one hoss of a man in punter Nic Schmitt are all returning, and shouldn't be too hesitant in getting back to business from where they left off.

    Following what Frank had to say, I see the scenario as this: At this point and time, with only a month remaining before Virginia Tech's season opener, Beamer is trying to inspire and motivate his special teams to stay focused in their preseason training and work harder than ever prior to September's opening kickoff, thus reiterating their importance to the team in the process.

    One of Beamer's main claims to fame was his personal connection to the success of his special teams, whose game-breaking performances over the years garnered huge attention for the program. With the unit's style and success becoming so recognized, there success went as far as to even have a specific nickname coined after them in BeamerBall.

    Back to Beamer's comments though, ultimately, there shouldn't be any real worry for Hokie fans about Beamer and his ranting, seeing as he has also been notorious for being a perfectionist when it comes to Hokie special teams, seeing as he has taken on the sole title of special teams coach and views their performance as a direct reflection upon himself.

    All that being said, here's what Teel had to say, you can take a look at the article in its original state here, or read below.
    Beamer's worries special
    by David Teel, Daily Press
    August 2, 2006

    Virginia Tech football faithful, not to mention coach Frank Beamer, know their list of preseason concerns by heart: inexperience at quarterback, tight end and guard; lack of depth at tailback, linebacker and the defensive line.

    But as the Hokies await Friday's opening practice, Beamer raises another issue.

    "I want to make it clear," he said. "I think we've got to get better in the kicking game."

    Huh? Beamer bemoaning his special teams? That's like Exxon Mobil carping about its second-quarter profit ($7.64 billion, but who's counting?).

    If there's been one constant during the Beamer era, poised for its 20th season, a top-shelf kicking game is it.

    "That's the part of college football that (Beamer) put as much emphasis on, and brought to the forefront, as anybody," Boston College coach Tom O'Brien said. "Everybody would give lip service to it, but (he) actually made it work."

    So well that the Hokies blocked 62 kicks during the 1990s, more than any other Division I-A program. So well that kick returners such as Andre Davis and DeAngelo Hall, and placekickers such as Shayne Graham and Brandon Pace, have orchestrated many a victory.

    Moreover, Tech boasts what Beamer considers the best group of kickers he's coached: punter Nic Schmitt, kickoff specialist Jared Develli and Pace. Schmitt averaged 43.2 yards per punt last season and placed 15 punts inside the 20-yard line; Develli produced 29 touchbacks in 64 kickoffs; Pace made 19 of 22 field goals and scored a school-record 108 points, this after a first-team all-conference season in 2004.

    Still, Beamer's not happy. Not happy with coverages and returns. Not happy with a decline in blocked kicks.

    Nor should he be. The Hokies haven't returned a kickoff or punt for a touchdown in either of the last two seasons, and last year they ranked 88th nationally in kickoff returns, 62nd in punt returns. Their third-quarter meltdown in the ACC championship game began when Florida State's Willie Reid scored on an 83-yard punt return.

    Most worrisome, blocked kicks, the staple of Beamerball, have slowed to a relative trickle. Last season the Hokies blocked two field goals and a punt, matching the second-lowest total of Beamer's tenure. In the last three seasons, Tech has blocked 11 kicks; in the previous three seasons the Hokies blocked 22.

    "We've been back there ... and haven't quite gotten them blocked," Beamer said.

    Only one player on this season's roster has blocked a kick in a college game. Sophomore cornerback Macho Harris deflected a punt in the 2005 regular-season finale against North Carolina.

    Have opponents finally caught on to Beamer's special-teams legerdemain? He doesn't believe so. "We've just got to perform," he said.

    More so because with new starters at quarterback (either Sean Glennon, Cory Holt or Ike Whitaker), guard (some combination of Nick Marshman, Sergio Render and Ryan Shuman) and tight end (Sam Wheeler), Tech's offense may stagger out of the gate. If the kicking game can generate touchdowns and/or good field position, the untested offense can afford some missteps.

    The critical early test will come at North Carolina in the season's second week. The Tar Heels won three of four home conference games last year, and in 2004 extended the visiting Hokies until the final horn before losing 27-24. That game turned dicey when UNC blocked a Vinnie Burns punt for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

    "In the last 10 years I think one of the biggest changes in college football is that people have concentrated on special teams much more," Beamer said. "I mean everyone. Ten years ago you had a chance to get a little advantage on people because maybe they didn't emphasize them as much as you did."

    Virginia Tech needs that little advantage more than ever.

    Tuesday, August 01, 2006

    Hokie Football: Rackin' Up Recruits

    With Virginia Tech's official summer training sessions just around the corner, and the Northeastern season opener looming in the near future, it's safe to say that the Hokies' coaching staff has been extremely busy over the past month, with perhaps no bigger testament to this statement being the recent results produced by VT strong safety and outside linebacker coach, Jim Cavanaugh.

    Cavanaugh, currently going on his 10th year with the program, also serves as the team's recruiting coordinator, a title he earned back in 2002. His full acquiring of the job was undoubtedly a direct result of the major role he played in bringing Michael Vick to come play for the Orange and Maroon. Cavanaugh's current list of other recruits he has brought into Blacksburg doesn't look too shabby either, as in addition to Vick, he has landed the talents of 2004 ACC Player of the Year Bryan Randall, both Nathaniel and Xavier Adibi, plus standout defensive linemen Jonathan Lewis and Chris Ellis.

    Lately though, Cavanaugh has been on a roll in attracting new talent to the Burg, as the coach has been racking up a boatload of recruits -- an ACC-leading 21 to be exact, with 19 of those recruits coming throughout the month of July.

    Since acquiring quarterback sensation Tyrod Taylor on July 22, eight additional recruits have declared their verbal commitments to Virginia Tech, with the following four having announced their decision during just yesterday alone:

    NamePositionStarsHeightWeight40HometownStateStatus
    Ellison, RhettTE* * *6-5230N/AMountain ViewCAVT Commit
    Latif, KhalilOL* * *6-32904.92MidlothianVAVT Commit
    Prince, CourtneyDEPending6-22605.0BrandywineMDVT Commit
    Tweedy, AlonzoDB* *6-11734.5RichmondVAVT Commit

    After having to endure all the controversy, speculation, and let-downs over this past year with VT, Hokie readers should be relieved to see things starting to come together for the program, especially in regards to the team's recruiting practices and success. Tech's roster future is shaping up in a promising fashion, with the potential for several more big name recruits to declare themselves future Hokies highly likely to occur.

    All in all, things couldn't be going any better for Cavanaugh and his 2006 recruiting campaign, except perhaps for the factoring in of a successful regular season, conference title win and Bowl Game victory.

    But all that happening is purely another story, and good enough to cause a migraine. Let's just take this time to focus on the good news rolling in for VT, and save the headaches for later.

    Monday, July 31, 2006

    Hokie Football: Familiar Faces, New Places

    Just a few snapshots of former Hokie standouts Marcus Vick, Jimmy Williams, and Daryl Tapp in their respective NFL training camps over the past weekend.
    71526457DB005_Miami_Dolphin_8_41_19_PM
    DAVIE, FL - JULY 30: Wide receiver Marcus Vick #16 of the Miami Dolphins reaches up to catch a pass during training camp at Nova Southeastern University on July 30, 2006 in Davie, Florida. (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)

    71519766BW001_falcons_6_32_56_PM
    FLOWERY BRANCH, GA - JULY 27: Cornerback Jimmy Williams #4 (Left) and wide receiver Michael Jenkins #12 of the Altanta Falcons go for the ball during the Atlanta Falcons training camp on July 27, 2006 in Flowery Branch, Georgia. (Photo by Barry Williams/Getty Images)
    71522779OG025_Seahawks_Camp_7_55_00_PM
    CHENEY, WA - JULY 29: Defensive end Darryl Tapp #55 of the Seattle Seahawks looks to tackle running back Josh Scobey #33 as fullback David Kirtman #34 blocks during training camp on July 29, 2006 at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

    Saturday, July 29, 2006

    Hokie Football: 2007 Recruit - Jaymes Brooks

    Ever since last week's signing of Tidewater QB Tyrod Taylor, the recruits for VT keep rolling in, and there doesn't seem to be a dropoff in the immediate future. That's what five-star prospects can do for a program.

    That being said, here's the latest on Tech's newest recruit, Jaymes Brooks, a rising senior offensive lineman with some size at Denbigh High in Newport News, courtesy of The Virginian-Pilot sportswriter Kyle Tucker:
    Denbigh lineman commits to Virginia Tech

    Momentum is barreling in Virginia Tech's favor these days.

    On Friday, the Hokies picked up their 15th football commitment in July and 17th overall when Newport News offensive lineman Jaymes Brooks picked Tech at a news conference.

    The 6-foot-3, 295-pound guard from Denbigh High chose the Hokies over offers from Florida, Maryland, North Carolina, N.C. State, South Carolina and Tennessee. Offensive line was Tech's biggest area of need in its 2007 recruiting class, and the Hokies have received verbal commitments from four offensive linemen. A fifth, Khalil Latif from Midlothian, visited Blacksburg on Friday and could make a decision before the end of the weekend.

    Latif is rated the No. 13 player in the state by techsideline.com, while Brooks is No. 11. Rivals.com rates Latif No. 18 in Virginia and Brooks No. 23. So far, the average size of Tech's offensive line prospects is 6-4-1/2 and 291 pounds.

    The Hokies also got a commitment this week from Kellam tight end Greg Nosal - who at 6-7, 255 pounds projects favorably as a future lineman. The depth of blockers piling up bodes well for the jewel of Tech's class, five-star quarterback Tyrod Taylor.

    Tuesday, July 25, 2006

    Hokie Football: 2006 Schedule

    Virginia Tech 2006 Schedule
    Realistic best case record with this schedule: 12-0
    Barring total disaster worst case record: 8-4Realistic record: 10-2
    It'll be a major shocker if the Hokies aren't 5-0 going into a nationally televised road trip to Boston College. This is a tailor-made national title schedule with only one game, at Miami, that Tech is likely to be the underdog, and there isn't another killer to be found. Outside of the trip to Miami, the road schedule is a light breeze playing at North Carolina, BC and Wake Forest.
    Sept. 2 - NortheasternOct. 21 - Southern Mississippi
    Sept. 9 - @ North CarolinaOct. 26 - (Thurs.) Clemson
    Sept. 16 - DukeNov. 4 - @ Miami
    Sept. 23 - CincinnatiNov. 11 - Kent State
    Sept. 30 - Georgia TechNov. 16 - @ Wake Forest
    Oct. 12 - (Thurs.) @ Boston CollegeNov. 25 - Virginia
    Almost certain winLikely lossCould go either way

    I've been all over CollegeFootballNews.com this week, as lately they've been unleashing preview after preview regarding practically every football team worth a damn, and while taking a glance at several ACC schedules, I stumbled upon their brief outlook on Virginia Tech's upcoming season. I decided to take it a little further, putting the schedule into a easy-to-read table and put in my two cents worth.

    For the most part, this simply is a schedule for Virginia Tech with national title implications. In fact, the idea of a perfect season in 2006 for the Hokies is not at all far-fetched. All four out-of-conference matchups are a joke and will undoubtedly serve as a breeze for head coach Frank Beamer and his crew. The only obvious test for the Hokies will be their mid-season trip down to the sunny beaches in Miami, where VT has, in fact played better over the past few years. Other conference matchups such as hosting North Carolina and a trip to take on BC shouldn't be too much of a cause of concern for Hokie fans, as CFN summed it up best in their preview by stating:
    If the Tar Heels and the Eagles are two of your biggest road obstacles to playing in the national title game, you're going to be in the hunt.
    Virginia and Georgia Tech could also be deemed as big-time threats to dethrone any Hokie hopes at an unblemished record, but I just don't see these teams causing much of a ruckus against Bud Foster's stellar returning defensive unit led by the Big Three -- Xavier Adibi, Vince Hall and Aaron Rouse. Coming off career seasons, their individual performances will ultimately compromise much of the team's success or failures, so don't be surprised for them to surpass last year's numbers with ease.

    Hokie Football: Don't Believe the Preseason Hype

    With the AP Preseason Polls just weeks away from being released, I couldn't help but indulge in a piece written over at CollegeFootballNews.com by columnist Richard Cirminiello, who in his article entitled, "Don't Believe the (Preseason) Hype", offers insight into which programs around the country in recent years have been over- or under-hyped based on their placement in the AP Preseason poll heading into the season. The main premise surrouding Ciriminiello's article revolves around the big question:
    Which teams are the most consistently overrated (and underrated) by the preseason polls?
    When actually addressing the question, however, one may find it a bit harder than usual to put aside any biases against a certain program, select a list of teams, and then back up their answer with a significant amount of research and analysis to further their claim.

    That's where Cirminiello comes in, addressing the issue using a strict formula and composite score to judge each program without a tainted eye. In fact, here is what he describes as the main criteria to base his formula upon:
    For this exercise, we’ve sampled AP rankings from the last 35 years and are only evaluating schools that have been recognized in 10 or more preseason polls. Trying to cull some meaning out of, say, Kansas, Indiana or any other school that makes a once-every-decade cameo in summer rankings would prove fruitless.
    And Ciriminiello's individual composite score for each school is as follows:
    Composite score represents the average annual number of spots a school's final ranking fell below its preseason ranking since 1971.
    Now of the 31 teams Ciriminiello analyzed, Virginia Tech ranked 29th on the list of the teams considered to be the most overrated in college football over the past 35 years, meaning over the studied time-period, the average post-season ranking to pre-season ranking was lower in difference for Virginia Tech than 28 of the other programs. This ranking for the Hokies was just two spots behind the overall leader considered by Ciriminiello's formula as the must underrated team in college football history -- the Miami Hurricanes, whose program posted a composite score of -2.41, as opposed to Tech's score of -2.70.

    Moving along the topic however, in looking back on last year, several teams entered the preseason polls being considered 'underrated', as they weren't making too much of a splash on the college scene -- with the main exception being USC at #1. No matter how you looked at it, aside from USC fans, many football followers in general put the Trojans in that 'overrated' category from the season's beginning to end, especially after seeing the Trojans show signs of weakness against conference opponents Oregon, Arizona State, and Washington, as well as seeing them literally push their way to a controversial overtime victory in South Bend.

    The ultimate fact of the matter was despite the majority of college football fans recognizing USC's tandem of Reggie Bush and LenDale White as an unstoppable duo on the ground, other aspects of the team (primarily their defense), weren't thought of as highly, and the college football world watched in January as their respective flaws were exploited by the Texas Longhorns in the national title game.

    Contrary to programs like USC, however, as the season progressed, several teams saw their underrated preseason status change for the better, grabbing the attention of college football fans by storm, with one clear-cut example of this being the Virginia Tech Hokies.

    Entering the 2005 season ranked eighth in the AP Preseason Polls, Virginia Tech raced to an 8-0 start, earning a ranking as high as third in the nation, unfortunately however, everything for Virginia Tech came to a screeching halt following the university's 20-point loss to longtime rival Miami in a defeat that would go down as one of, if not the most devastating of all Hokie setbacks.

    With that being said however, writing about the event caused me to reminisce. It takes great pains every time to take a minute and think about such a promising season and ask the question, "What could have been?"
    - Had Virginia Tech won, would they have played better against Florida State, and gone into Bowl Season with a perfect record?
    - Had Virginia Tech won, could Texas or USC have crumbled under the pressure of maintaining perfection and done the unthinkable -- actually drop a game?
    The boundaries for queries are limitless, and though those questions pertain to a scenario that has no significance now, I still look back and try not to remember the season that ‘Could Have Been’ for VT, as well as the events that led to the downfall. Unfortunately though, I remember it a bit too well…

    Virginia Tech’s success all began by the resurgence of a humble-mannered, well-behaved (aside from the Morgantown flip) Marcus Vick, who returning off a one-year suspension, got the ball rolling early for the Hokies with a crucial win over N.C. State and their star-studded defensive line. This victory was followed by a handful of dominant victories that came off as no surprise, unlike Vick’s success under center, whose flashes of brilliance on the field seemed reminiscent of his older brother. With everything going well heading into the later half of the season, the Hokies saw their winning streak unfold to eight consecutive games, causing many to take notice.

    Perhaps no rise in the amount of publicity towards a program compared to that of VT’s in '05, and this was all arranged with a mid-season climax in mind when Larry Coker and company would be making a certain trip to Blacksburg. Looking back, if any attempt to limit school publicity was ever made (a highly unimaginable and extremely ludicrous feat in its own right), it sure didn't help that throughout the fall, the heralded and ever-popular ESPN Gameday crew came to Blacksburg for the first time in five years, twice. Hokie Hype was going through the roof, and there were no signs of it stopping anytime soon.

    Meanwhile in the BCS, with the end of the season within sight, controversy was brewing on the thought regarding USC, Texas, and Virginia Tech all finishing the year with untainted records. The difference in strength of schedule between VT and Texas was razor thin, and talks arose as to who would play for a title, had the three-way tie been played out. Statistics and probability aside however, priority number one for the Hokies was, if they were to make any case at deserving a stab at a national championship, to make a strong showing come November 5 against ‘The U’.

    Going into the highly publicized meeting with Miami, the Hokies were undefeated at 8-0, and the Hurricanes, under rookie quarterback Kyle Wright, were riding high as well, standing at 6-1 -- their only defeat being a three-point loss to in-state rival Florida State. On top of the impressive records, both Tech and Miami boasted the right as the top two defenses in the nation, respectively.

    Though Tech had the better record going in, they were simply overwhelmed by the Hurricane defensive line, as they tore Vick and the Hokie offense to pieces, causing six turnovers from the Hokie playmaker, alone. From the opening kickoff to the final whistle, Miami dominated all 60 minutes, and had pulled out a much-more-lopsided victory than the final score of 27-7 indicated.

    Immediately following that first loss for the Hokies, as expected, Tech went straight to being thrown in that pool of overrated programs in college football, and deservingly so -- their inability to win the big game came back to haunt the Hokies, and in regards to the BCS picture left them on the outside looking in.

    When I look back at this time and moment of the 2005 season, as cliché as it sounds, that specific loss to Miami truly hurt my heart, and let me be the first to admit that I am not one to totally preoccupy my life so much with sports to the point where a loss during the regular season gets to me personally. To some that may come off as not being the diehard fan, but I see it as not getting too caught up in the physical endeavors of 11 grown men on a stretch of grass. On that note, however, that defeat was an extreme low-point during my tenure as a Virginia Tech student. It hit hard. Perhaps a simple explanation of the events leading up to the game would highlight what this game meant to not only myself, but the university as well.

    In the week leading up to that game, all throughout campus there was that certain indescribable atmosphere -- the city of Blacksburg was literally booming and bustling with excitement towards the Saturday night matchup. Not only was the increased interest towards the two teams' meeting found amongst the students, but between the faculty and staff as well. Many professors, who usually made it a point to keep class lectures 'strictly business', were in this case, constantly talking amongst students in class about all things related to the approaching Saturday Night Showdown. Even at the dining halls, employees serving meals or working the cash register always seemed to work in a line or two regarding the game to the students as they came and went. All anyone seemed to be concerned with was the upcoming Miami game itself -- nothing more, nothing less.

    With so much hype surrounding this one game with monumental consequences and ramifications to the rankings of each program, if you were hoping to attend, yet were not a season ticket holder or a student fortunate enough to land a ticket, then basically you were SOL in finding a seat in Lane without having to pay an arm and a leg. In fact, friends of mine amongst the stadium at kickoff said scalpers were, no joke, charging a full $1,000 for individual tickets spread throughout the upper to nosebleed sections, and people were paying. The public's desire to see this game in person was ridiculous.

    Unfortunately for every ticket holder in attendance, there wasn't much of a game to be played, as all 65,000+ in attendance at Lane and millions nationwide watching on Primetime ESPN witnessed Frank Beamer's lineup get completely worked by a better, more determined Miami team from start to finish, erasing all hopes of a undefeated season and any remote chance at playing for a national title.

    What ensued amongst the Virginia Tech campus following that loss was a complete and utter reversal in the overall demeanor of every single Blacksburg student and resident alike to the point where crowd-chant starters, notoriously known as the loudest and rowdiest of the diehard Hokie fans, were walking back to their cars, dorms, or buses with their heads hung low, in silence amongst throngs of depressed crowds everywhere. There would be no post-game rally, parties or celebrations, and rightfully so -- for all there was for the majority was just a dismal, disappointing ending to a dismal, disappointing showing by the home team on a night where they couldn't have played any worse.

    Campus the following morning was a ghost town from dawn until dusk, compromising what arguably could have been considered the gloomiest day ever at Virginia Tech, period. The streets were pure silence. There were no cars, no students, no nothing -- hardly the case on the weekends. I specifically took note of this when I strolled through to get a quick bite at one of the on-campus dining halls. I never spent less time finding a parking spot or waiting to get my meal -- it seemed everyone was spending the day sulking up the loss in their room, depressed beyond any immediate types of consolement following such a devastating event.

    The university would eventually return to normalcy two weeks later following a bye week with a 52-14 drubbing of bitter rival Virginia for the Commonwealth Cup and in-state bragging rights. Reflecting back on the Miami loss though, it seems unfathomable how the effects of just one game made such an impact on the university, and unfortunately, things would only get worse. Only a month later Hokie fans would have to witness the team's defeat at the hands of Florida State in the Conference Championship, in addition to having to experience the eventual dismissal of quarterback Marcus Vick from the program once again.

    Skipping ahead to present day, foregoing a few minor developments for the Hokies during the off-season, the Hokies' ranking will be heavily affected by the loss of several key starters and a lack of experience all throughout the offensive depth chart. Despite that, however, led by a strong defensive rating, the Hokies should land a spot in the preseason rankings ranging in the mid-twenties, and with their relatively easy schedule this year, could go as well as 12-0, that's right, 12-0.

    With that being said though, we'll save the reasoning behind that claim for another time, for as for right now, let's shift gears back to Ciriminiello and his article -- do have a peak at it.
    Since 1971, 31 college football programs have graced the AP’s preseason Top 20—Top 25 beginning in 1989—at least 10 different years. Some have routinely lived up to their expectations, rewarding voters by either meeting or exceeding summer expectations with a solid season. Many others over the last 35 years, however, have not been as kind to the pollsters, often fading quickly and failing to meet their advanced billing.

    Beyond being just interesting factoids and fodder for message boards, it’s relevant to understand which programs have historically received the benefit of the doubt in August, only to tank once the one meaningful barometer of success—live action—begins in September.

    Preseason polls are vital because they establish expectations and give those chosen schools a decided head start in the race for a national championship. And if Behemoth U. is getting a perennial lofty ranking because of its reputation and national notoriety, well, that’s cause for a closer look. There’s little debate that biases exist in the rankings, but until preseason and postseason polls are compared side-by-side, it’s difficult to truly and tangibly know which schools have been overrated and which have earned their station on the charts.

    For this exercise, we’ve sampled AP rankings from the last 35 years and are only evaluating schools that have been recognized in 10 or more preseason polls. Trying to cull some meaning out of, say, Kansas, Indiana or any other school that makes a once-every-decade cameo in summer rankings would prove fruitless.

    Composite score represents the average annual number of spots a school's final ranking fell below its preseason ranking since 1971.

    The 31 teams that have been in at least ten preseason AP polls

    The Most Underrated Team Has Been...

    31. Miami – The ‘Canes were a little late getting to this party, but once they arrived in the early 1980s, they were here to stay. The 1983 team traveled from No. 20 to No. 1, and kicked off a 10-year stretch in which Miami finished in the Top 10 eight times. Since that championship season, they’ve also crashed and burned just once. That was the one-year rebuilding period of 1997, when the ‘Canes went 5-6, lost by 47 to Florida State and had a rare postseason without a bowl game.

    *Composite Score: -2.41

    29. Virginia Tech – The Hokies’ first preseason AP ranking didn’t occur until 1994, but they’ve attracted enough attention to pick up the requisite 10 mentions to qualify for this debate. They’ve replaced spectacular with steady, notching at least seven wins and a bowl berth in each of the last 13 seasons. The bottom has yet to fall out since they started getting respect in the polls, and they’ve had just enough double-digit jumps in the polls to manufacture a very respectable composite score.

    *Composite Score: -2.70

    The Most Overrated Team Has Been...

    1. Michigan State – No matter how good they look or how many starters are back, do not do it. Do not champion the Spartans, America’s most overrated college football program. Resist that temptation and you’ll prove wiser than your peers in the end. Ten times since 1971, Michigan State has been ranked in the preseason. In nine of those years, they ended the season unranked. And there are some real clunkers in the school vault, including Bobby Williams’ last team, which opened 2002 at No. 17, yet could only manage four victories and a host of off-field missteps.

    *Composite Score: -19.80

    Saturday, July 22, 2006

    Hokie Football: Virginia Tech Lands QB Tyrod Taylor

    Last night amongst a crowded press conference with much of the Tidewater area tuning in, Hampton High quarterback Tyrod Taylor announced his decision to play next year for Frank Beamer and 'The University of Virginia Tech', kicking his other prime choice of Florida University to the curb. Though it's no official letter-of-intent towards VT, this is still big, big news not only for the Hokies, but for many colleges around the nation as well, as the rising senior admitted to having been offered a total of over 50 scholarships altogether during his recruitment.

    Hokie followers everywhere should be ecstatic upon hearing the newest of Hokies' commitment to come to Blacksburg, especially with the aftermath of the Marcus Vick controversy still looming as well as having to witness Tech's troubles at quarterback throughout the training sessions this past spring. Though Virginia Tech has been praised for their tremendous job towards in-state recruiting, it's been several years since the program landed a five-star quarterback, and this one is shaped exactly in the on-field mold of Marcus and his older brother, Michael.

    As you may have already read in my earlier posts not more than a few days ago, this young man from Hampton Roads is the real deal, and to illustrate the effect his decision has already made in the area, here are several full articles from the local paper, the Daily Press, that have been all over this story since it unfolded last night:

    Taylor's choice: Virginia Tech
    Hampton High quarterback Tyrod Taylor picks Virginia Tech, saying he wants the chance to play close to his home and his family.

    July 22, 2006
    By Melinda Waldrop

    In the end, Tyrod Taylor wanted to be close to his family.

    Taylor, Hampton High School's highly sought-after quarterback, ended months of suspense Friday, announcing that he will stay in state and attend Virginia Tech next season.

    His family - both immediate, including his two great-grandmothers, and extended, totaling about 200 people - was mighty glad to hear it.

    The crowd, gathered at Crabbers Restaurant in Hampton, broke into a loud, lengthy cheer when Taylor made his choice live on WAVY News 10 TV. "I wanted to be around my family where they could come see me play, (and) I fit in well with the coaches and the players," Taylor said.

    Taylor, who his dad said had been offered more than 50 scholarships, narrowed his choices to Florida and Virginia Tech. But after attending a camp for rising high school seniors at Tech on July 8, Taylor became more certain of his decision, and he canceled a visit to Florida he'd scheduled for last week.

    "I had a real good feeling," after the camp, said Taylor, who said he also took into account the Hokies' pledge not to recruit any other quarterbacks from the class of 2007.

    After he announced his choice - by saying "the University of Virginia Tech," which caused a few heads in the audience to snap around before he finished his unconventional phrasing - Taylor donned a maroon hat emblazoned with the letters VT that his mother, Trina Taylor, pulled from a gold bag. His dad, Rodney Taylor, soon sported similar headgear.

    Rodney Taylor said his son liked Tech's academics, and the fact that he'll be competing on a national stage for the perennial ACC title contender.

    "You know they're gonna be in some big games," Rodney Taylor said.

    "Playing at Hampton High School, all the games are big over there. You can't lose any of them. We expect that same thing at Virginia Tech."

    Rodney said his son visited Penn State, N.C. State, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and South Carolina.

    Tyrod Taylor wanted to make his decision public before attending the Elite 11 quarterback camp in Los Angeles this weekend, and before beginning practice with the Crabbers, whom he led to the Division 5 state championship last season.

    Several members of the championship team were on hand for the announcement, as was Elton Brown of the Arizona Cardinals, who played at Heritage and Hampton.

    Taylor accounted for 2,588 total yards - 1,544 through the air and 1,044 on the ground - in 2005. Hampton coach Mike Smith said the process of choosing a college hasn't deterred Taylor from focusing on duplicating, if not bettering, those numbers this year.

    "He hasn't quit working. I'll tell you that," Smith said. "I don't know that there's anybody that's worked any harder than he has. He's really put some time in in the offseason on his own. I think he's gonna go out and have a good showing at the Elite 11, come back, and be ready to roll."

    Taylor's announcement came as no surprise to Smith, who gave Hampton native Curt Newsome credit for sealing Taylor's choice. Newsome, Tech's offensive line coach, who recruits the Southside and Hampton High, is a former coach at Kecoughtan and Heritage high schools and has enjoyed a long relationship with Smith and his players.

    "He's just a really well-established name here in the community and in the state of Virginia," Smith said.

    Smith also thinks the Hokies' offensive scheme will appeal to Taylor.

    "He can play under center or in the shotgun, either one, and they utilize both aspects," Smith said. "They throw a lot of play-action, and the things that we do are similar in that respect. So I think he's gonna fit in extremely well."

    Taylor isn't worried about any potential comparisons to former area standouts-turned-star Hokie QBs, such as Michael Vick, with whom he spoke before making his decision.

    He's just eager to get to Blacksburg and begin competing for the starting job, currently being contested between Sean Glennon and Cory Holt.

    Taylor said he's eligible to graduate from Hampton in December and enroll in Tech in January. He'll make that decision, he said, before the Crabbers' season starts in September.

    "I just want to get there and play," Taylor said.
    Taylor decision sparks Tech
    With Tyrod Taylor's recruitment behind him, he's in the process of doing some recruiting of his own for Virginia Tech.
    July 22, 2006
    By Norm Wood

    HAMPTON -- Tyrod Taylor looked comfortable early Friday evening with the Virginia Tech baseball cap pulled down over his eyes. He was ready to get back to his part-time job as one of Tech's biggest unofficial recruiters.

    There will be time in the future to worry about Tech's depth chart at the quarterback position. That situation wasn't his most pressing concern Friday after he committed to Tech at a Hampton restaurant. Forget about Jim Cavanaugh, Bryan Stinespring and Curt Newsome, all Tech assistant coaches and the football program's primary recruiters. For the next few months, Taylor will be Tech's most influential recruiter.

    "I'm going to try to bring in as many players as I can," Taylor said. "If I can't bring in any, I'll just work with what's there."

    Taylor, who will be a senior at Hampton High this fall, has already started stumping for Tech with some of the nation's top wide receiver recruits. Numbers for receivers Jay Smith from Virginia Beach, Mark Barnes from South Carolina and Arrelious Benn from Washington, D.C., are all in his Taylor's cell phone.

    Smith had 17 catches for 276 yards and six touchdowns last season at Kempsville, and will attend Lake Taylor High in Norfolk this fall. Taylor said he and Smith have had many conversations about college plans.

    Smith is considering scholarship offers from Clemson, Michigan State, Miami, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Virginia and Virginia Tech. After hearing about Taylor's commitment to Tech, Smith's father, Mordecai, admitted it's bound to affect his son's decision.

    "I thought it was a great decision to go to Tech," said Mordecai, who added Jay plans to announce his intentions after this coming football season. "In my opinion, and my son's opinion, he's one of the best players in the nation. My son would love to have the opportunity to play with him. It's definitely in our thought pattern (to go to Tech)."

    Mordecai said Jay has official visits scheduled for both U.Va. and Tech. U.Va. picked up a commitment in April from Peter Lalich, a top-rated quarterback from West Springfield High in Northern Virginia. Despite Lalich's commitment, Mordecai said if Jay had to narrow his list down today, U.Va. would get cut before Tech.

    It's all because of Taylor.

    "Not taking anything away from Pete Lalich and Virginia, because the Virginia assistant coaches are great people, but this decision (by Taylor) does play a major factor," Mordecai said. "It's a new era at Virginia Tech. It's the Tyrod Taylor era. We saw the Michael Vick era. Now, we have to brace ourselves for this Tyrod Taylor era."

    Taylor said he has spoken with Barnes, and has gotten a positive response regarding Tech, but hasn't had the opportunity to talk with Benn. Benn said he's looking forward to listening to what Taylor has to say.

    "I've never really seen him play, so I don't really know much about him, but I definitely want to talk to him," said Benn, who added that Tech is currently behind Notre Dame, Florida State, Illinois and Maryland on his list. "I know who he is. I'm going to go check out some video and things (on Taylor) right now."

    Though Taylor just made public one of the worst-kept secrets in recruiting circles, his college future hasn't been any mystery to Tech recruits. At a July 8 camp at Tech for rising high school senior football players, Taylor said he told a few recruits he was going to commit to Tech.

    He said he spoke with offensive linemen William Alvarez and Blake DeChristopher and receiver Patrick Terry. DeChristopher had committed to Tech two days earlier. Terry committed on the day of the camp, and Alvarez committed July 15. They were three of Tech's 10 commitments during a torrid 11-day span.

    After he's done making his phone calls to recruits, Taylor said he will make a decision on whether to enroll at Tech in January or wait until fall 2007. With sophomores Sean Glennon and Cory Holt fighting for Tech's starting quarterback job this fall, and redshirt freshman Ike Whitaker waiting in the wings, the sooner Taylor gets to Tech may be the better.

    Considering Tech has had its share of success with mobile quarterbacks in recent history (see Michael Vick, Bryan Randall and Marcus Vick), it might not take long for Taylor to move ahead of Glennon, Holt and Whitaker.

    "They're all good players," Taylor said. "I love to compete. There's competition wherever you go. I want to compete for that job as long as it's fair.
    LET'S GO HOKIES!

    Friday, July 21, 2006

    Hokie Football: Taylor: 'It's Virginia Tech'

    This is BIG. More tomorrow.

    TYROD TAYLOR: IT'S VIRGINIA TECH
    Highly regarded Hampton quarterback picks Hokies over the University of Florida.
    MELINDA WALDROP and LYNN BURKE
    Daily Press
    July 21, 2006, 6:29 PM EDT

    HAMPTON -- Tyrod Taylor, Hampton High School's highly touted and heavily recruited quarterback, will play his college football at Virginia Tech.

    Taylor picked Virginia Tech over traditional SEC title contender Florida during a televised press conference Friday night. He becomes the fourth high-profile Peninsula quarterback in the last decade to pick Virginia Tech, following Michael Vick and Marcus Vick, both from Warwick, and Bruton's Bryan Randall.

    Taylor also considered Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina State.

    The crowd gathered at Crabbers Restaurant in Hampton broke into a loud, lengthy cheer when Taylor made his choice live on WAVY News 10.

    "I wanted to be around my family where they could come see me play, (and) I fit in well with the coaches and the players," Taylor said.

    Taylor, who his dad said had been offered upwards of 50 total scholarships, narrowed his choices to Florida and Virginia Tech in late spring. But after attending a camp for rising high school seniors at Tech on July 8, Taylor became more certain of his decision, and he canceled a visit to Florida he'd scheduled for last week.

    "I had a real good feeling" after the camp, said Taylor, who said he also took into account the Hokies' pledge not to recruit any other quarterbacks from the class of 2007.

    Taylor amassed 2,588 yards -- 1,544 passing and 1,044 rushing - as he led the Crabbers to the Division 5 state championship last season as a junior. Rivals.com, a website that tracks high school recruits, ranks Taylor as the fourth-best quarterback prospect in the country and the No. 18 prospect overall. Scout.com ranks Taylor as the No. 7 quarterback prospect nationally.

    Taylor has said he wanted to announce his decision before attending the Elite 11 quarterback camp in Southern California this weekend. Nike selected 12 top rising senior quarterbacks from a pool of more than 1,000 candidates to attend the camp.

    Hampton coach Mike Smith said he and Taylor discussed several different schools, taking into account things such as whether Taylor's family would be able to see him play.

    Smith's program also has produced such high school quarterbacks as Ronald Curry, now a wide reciever with the Oakland Raiders, and Marques Hagans, who was drafted by St. Louis out of Virginia in May.

    Smith said Taylor reminds him of those two in several key ways.

    "I think all three of those guys had the same God-given ability," Smith said. "They're talented, and they don't let things bother them. If they make a mistake or somebody on their team makes a mistake, they don't dwell on it. They're all confident. They all take command in the huddle, but they don't let things bother them, and I think that's really, really important as a quarterback, that you don't dwell on what's happened."

    Smith said the hype surrounding Taylor's decision is probably the greatest of the three because of the national exposure he's gotten through camps and combines.

    Hagans went on to a successful four-year career at Virginia, becoming the school's second-most accurate passer, and is expected to contribute to the Rams on special teams. Curry's collegiate career at North Carolina was injury-plagued, and he's currently trying to recover from a torn Achilles' tendon.

    Taylor, Smith thinks, has the potential to achieve great success at the next level.

    "He's played against a lot of speed," Smith said. "He's played against a lot of great athletes. He's a very disciplined kid. He's got all the characteristics that he would need. … Barring injury, he's gonna be a good one."

    For more details, read the Saturday editions of the Daily Press.

    Wednesday, July 19, 2006

    Hokie Football: NCAA 07 Player Ratings

    As I write this, I'm fairly confident that the majority of people reading this already hopped over yesterday to their local Wal-Mart or video game retailer and picked up a copy of this year's NCAA Football title, so on that note, many of you are probably already aware of the ratings of the players posted in this piece. But for any of you Hokie fans out there who haven't bought the game yet or perhaps were just curious as to see how the guys over at EA Sports made Beamer's Boys for this upcoming season, this post is for you.

    *Disclaimer: Before posting, I briefly browsed for other sites around the web for a simple player rating database for this year's roster, but to my dismay I found only one, and as of today it was not updated with the new ratings.*

    NCAA Football 07 Virginia Tech Hokies Player Ratings
    NumberLastFirstPositionYearOverall Rating
    1HarrisVictorCBSo.80
    2MorganJoshWRJr.87
    4RoyalEddieWRJr.87
    6BowmanAndrewLBr-So.72
    7GlennonSeanQBr-So.82
    8BooneGregQBr-Fr.71
    9HallVinceLBr-Jr.93
    11AdibiXavierLBr-Jr.96
    12HoltCoryQBr-So.80
    13GordonCoreyLBr-Jr.75
    15MinorRolandCBr-Jr.87
    18FlowersBrandonCBr-So.82
    19HymanJoshWRr-Jr.83
    20Lewis Jr.KennyRBFr.77
    23SchmittNicPr-Sr.93
    25ParkerD.J.FSJr.87
    26HicksKentCBr-So.75
    27CheesemanJahreCBr-Fr.76
    28OreBrandenRBr-So.76
    30WadeCaryROVr-Sr.85
    31HillBrendenLBr-Sr.86
    33WarrenBrettLBJr.80
    34BellGeorgeRBr-So.86
    36RouseAaronROVr-Sr.94
    37AllenJesseFBr-Sr.92
    38LewisElanRBr-Fr.81
    39WeatherfordCarltonFBr-Jr.75
    40WallWilliamDEr-Fr.82
    41MartinCamFSr-Fr.80
    43VirgilStephenCBFr.74
    45SturdivantPurnellLBr-So.76
    46PaceBrandonKr-Sr.94
    49EllisChrisDEr-Jr.93
    51WelshMattGr-So.75
    58ShumanRyanC/Gr-So.80
    59BookerBarryDTr-Jr.85
    60BurnettChrisDTr-Sr.77
    63NorrisRobertGr-Fr.70
    67MarshmanNickGr-So.74
    69McGrathDannyCr-Sr.88
    70RenderSergioGFr.76
    71BrownAaronTFr.77
    74FryeBrandonTr-Sr.86
    75RobertsonKoryDTr-Jr.86
    76BrownDuaneTr-Jr.85
    77GoreBrandonGr-Sr.82
    79DavisEricGr-Fr.72
    80DillardBrandonWRr-Fr.67
    81HarperJustinWRJr.83
    82FridayJustinDEFr.77
    83WheelerSamTEFr.83
    85WangEdTEr-Fr.75
    87ClowneyDavidWRSr.86
    90MartinOrionDEr-So.78
    92DunlevyJudPKr-Jr.80
    93GreenHiveraDTr-Fr.73
    95ThompsonCordarrowDTr-Fr.71
    96BurchetteNolandDEr-Sr.92
    98DevelliJaredPKJr.82
    99PowellCarltonDTr-Jr.88

    Hokie Football: Individual Game Tickets Now On Sale

    Courtesy of Hokiesports.com
    BLACKSBURG, Va. - The Virginia Tech Athletics Department announced today that a limited number of football tickets are now on sale for three of the eight home games scheduled in 2006. Tickets are available for Tech's home opener vs. Northeastern on Saturday, Sept. 2; Tech's ACC home opener vs. Duke on Saturday, Sept. 16; and the Hokies' Nov. 11 contest with Kent State. The available tickets are due in part to each of the visiting teams returning a portion of their ticket allotments.
    To purchase tickets call the Virginia Tech Athletic Ticket Office at (540) 231-6731 or toll-free at 1-800 VA TECH4 (1-800-828-3244), or log on to Hokietickets.com.

    Monday, July 17, 2006

    Hokie Football: Four New Commitments

    Courtesy of Staff Wire Reports from the Daily Press
    Hokies get four more commitments
    July 17, 2006

    Though the pace is sure to slow down, Virginia Tech might fill all available spots for its 2007 football recruiting class by the end of July if commitments continue to roll in at this rate.

    Tech added four more commitments this past weekend, all from offensive players: tackle William Alvarez, wide receiver Danny Coale and running backs Darren Evans and Josh Oglesby. They bring Tech's commitment total to 11. Tech picked up nine of those players in nine days (July 6-15). Feb. 7 is the first day recruits can sign a letter of intent with a university.

    Alvarez, a 6-foot-6, 305-pounder from C.D. Hylton High in Woodbridge, got scholarship offers from Virginia, West Virginia, Florida, Tennessee, Penn State, Miami, North Carolina and others.

    Coale, a 6-foot, 195-pound student at Episcopal High in Alexandria, had an offer from Virginia Military Institute in his hometown of Lexington. He had 14 touchdown receptions last season.

    Evans, a 6-foot, 215-pounder from Warren Central High in Indianapolis, considered offers from Purdue, Colorado, Washington, Louisville and others. He has more than 4,300 rushing yards and has scored 66 TDs in the last two seasons combined.

    Oglesby, a 6-foot, 210-pound recruit from Garner High in Garner, N.C., turned down offers from Wake Forest, N.C. State, East Carolina and UNC.
    As mentioned, with the added recruits, our current total of commitments increased to 11. Here's a look at who has verbally committed to becoming a Hokie.
    NamePositionStarsHeightWeight40HometownStateStatus
    Alvarez, WilliamOL* * *6-5305N/AWoodbridgeVAVT Commit
    Barden, BrandonTE* * *6-52204.57LincolntonGAVT Commit
    Battle, KwamaineDT* *6-12604.8BaileyNCVT Commit
    Coale, DannyWR* *6-01954.42LexingtonVAVT Commit
    DeChristopher, BlakeOL* * *6-52905.0MidlothianVAVT Commit
    Drager, ChrisTE* * *6-42354.8Jefferson HillsPAVT Commit
    Evans, DarrenRB* * *6-02054.55IndianapolisINVT Commit
    Lanier, AndrewTE* *6-53054.75RoebuckSCVT Commit
    Odom, QuillieLB* * *6-12004.6ManassasVAVT Commit
    Oglesby, JoshRB* * *6-52204.57LincolntonGAVT Commit
    Terry, PatrickWR* *6-01824.39South BostonVAVT Commit