Monday, July 7th, 1997
A Recap of Last Week's News
Here's a rundown on all the Hokie news that occurred last week, as reported in The Roanoke Times, on the Roanoke TV stations, on the Internet, and by that cute little cat's head that's mounted on a spike on the corner of my desk:
- As of Tuesday last week, Tech had sold nearly 15,000 football season tickets and is expected to break last year's record of just under 16,000. But it ain't over till it's over. I remember last year, when season ticket sales were going pretty well early, and Dave Braine gushed, "We expect to sell 17,000." That didn't happen. Tech officials are projecting 17,500-18,000 this year. I think 17,000 would be nice. That would be up from about 13,000 during the Gator Bowl year of 1994, so at least we're making progress. Baby steps, baby steps...
- After spending a whopping 35 days on the job, new Tech assistant basketball coach Tyrone Beaman has skipped town for the greener pastures of Alabama and the SEC. Don't let the door hit you on your way out, Tyrone. What reeks about this whole deal are two things: (1) the completely unprofessional behavior of both Alabama and Beaman. Alabama never made the obligatory courtesy call requesting to interview Beaman, and Beaman never gave Hussey any inkling of what was coming. He just dropped the bombshell on him; (2) it's the beginning of recruiting season. Coaches are allowed to contact recruits by phone and hit the road to evaluate them in person. Tech had their recruiting schedule and strategy all laid out, and now it's in a shambles. Restricted-earnings coach Scott Davis will take over Beaman's duties until a new assistant is hired.
- Ace Custis spent three days working out for the Miami Heat week before last, and this week, he is scheduled to work out for the Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors. Although the Golden State workout brings up the possibility of Ace landing on the same team with Bimbo Coles, don't bet on it. Bimbo has asked to be traded, telling the Warriors that he wants to return to the East Coast (the man has taste). Bimbo's numbers were down last year after he was traded out of a starting job with the Miami Heat and into a backup role with the Warriors. I think it would be cool if Bimbo landed in Charlotte and got to play alongside Dell Curry. Well, duh. Of course it would be cool.
- Penn State has contacted Tech about a possible home-and-home football series in 2005-2006, but I wouldn't get too excited if I were you. Number one, from what I understand, PSU is calling a number of schools with the same inquiry, so Tech is just one of many schools that the Nittany Lions are courting. Number two, 2005 is a looong
way away, and a lot can happen between now and then (i.e., conference realignments) to void any deal that is signed. So I'll believe the Tech/PSU matchup when it happens, and I suggest you take the same approach.
- In other scheduling news, N.C. State negotiations continue, and the Wolfpack could be back on Tech's home schedule as early as 2001. A series with Marshall has been suggested as desirable by many Hokie fans, and those who are in favor of it will get their wish, as the Thundering Herd are slated to visit Blacksburg twice from 2002-2004. So, if you can survive the cupcake avalanche between now and the year 2000, things should start to brighten up after that.
- Amazingly, the Miami-Tech game on November 8th is being forecasted as a (gulp) ESPN2
telecast. I guess Tech's thrilling 21-7 victory over the Canes last year wasn't exciting enough for CBS, and they've decided to showcase Kentucky-Florida or Tennessee-Vanderbilt that day instead. Can somebody actually research what SEC games are being played that day and let me know why CBS would choose not to pick up Tech-Miami? The good news is that the game is being projected as a 6:00 start. Yee-hah! Another night game, this one in November, against a warm-weather team. I'm drooling already. In other news, the time of the Tech/UVa game has not been announced yet.
The Latest on NFL Hokies
Here's the lowdown on what's up with former Hokies and their status in the NFL. Most of this news comes from CBS Sportsline, although some of it was reported elsewhere.
- First of all, John Burke decided to resign with the Patriots, despite the fact that Ben Coates has also resigned. I guess Big John took a look at the situation and decided to hang tough for one more year. I believe this means that Burke now qualifies for an NFL pension. Congrats to John - a five-year career in the NFL for a former VT walk-on is a great accomplishment.
- Druck is still unsigned and is projected as the #3 quarterback in the Niners system, at least until he learns enough for Jeff Brohm (former Louisville Cardinal, ugh) to take a back seat.
- Waverly Jackson is projected as a backup for the Carolina Panthers, which must mean that Carolina likes what they've seen from the Hokie free agent and are going to keep him around. There was no mention of Myron Newsome in the team report that I read, so it looks as if Myron has not fared as well as Waverly down in Charlotte.
- Bryan Still has had a tremendous Spring for the Chargers and is now projected as a starter, after a terrible rookie year that saw him barely make a dent in the stat sheet. I think that his performance in the Sugar Bowl made Still's pro career. It vaulted him into the Top 50 draft picks (he was San Diego's first selection at #41 that year), and that helped him keep his job when he was playing badly enough that, were he a free agent or a lower-round pick, he would have been cut.
- Jim Pyne has resigned for 1 year, $800,000, and is projected to start at left guard for the Tampa Bay Bucs. Speaking of Tampa Bay, former Tech running back Dwayne Thomas has not resurfaced there. It looked as if DT was going to make the team last year before he blew his knee out in a freak injury. He spent the year rehabbing, but the Bucs have apparently not asked him back.
- Vaughan Hebron is projected as a kickoff returner and backup running back for the Denver Broncos.
- Out in Minnesota, the Vikings appear to like both Torrian Gray and Antonio Banks, in particular Gray. Banks has signed a 3-year, $706,000 contract with a $215,000 signing bonus, while Gray has inked a 3-year, $1.4 million contract with a $518,000 signing bonus (that's $2,839,000 going out to two former Hokies, for those of you who are keeping track). On the field, Viking FS Orlando Thomas is rehabbing a knee, so they're moving their SS Griffith over to FS, and Gray will play at SS for much of training camp. When Thomas returns and Griffith slides back over to SS, Gray is expected to challenge him for the starting job. In other words, the Vikings are finding out what the Hokies already knew - Torrian Gray is a tremendous defensive back.
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