Thursday, April 13, 2000
by Will Stewart, HokieCentral.com
Defense Dominates Scrimmage
Well, so much for pithy pronouncements. Six days ago, I said "The offense will lead," so yesterday, the defense went out and shut them down in a scrimmage. Every time you think you know something…
For the official press release on the scrimmage, visit this link at HokieSportsInfo.com:
Defense Dominates Tech Scrimmage -- April 12, 2000
Also coming out on the official web site yesterday was an article written by Jimmy Robertson of The Hokie Huddler:
Hard Hitting Signifies Sound of Progress -- April 12, 2000
An interesting exercise is to bounce Jimmy's article off of yesterday's scrimmage result. Here's what happens when you do that:
Huddler quote #1: "Other than Michael Vick, defensive end Nathaniel Adibi is the best talent to enroll at Tech in the past four years. He has been wreaking havoc against Tech's veteran offensive line so far, particularly the tackles who try to block him off the edge."
That's some serious hyperbole to lavish on a redshirt freshman, but in all fairness, one source close to the team gushed to me, "He's going to be better than Corey Moore!" I can't remember if my source said that himself, or if the source was passing on a quote from the coaches, but either way, somebody said it. Consider that your cue to start obsessing over whether or not Adibi will leave early for the pros.
Seriously, between Robertson's quote and the buzz that is starting to build about the 242-pound Adibi, the spotlight is about to shine on young Nathaniel. But for the record, yesterday's scrimmage report doesn't even mention him.
Huddler Quote #2: "In addition to Adibi, there's been a couple of other surprises on the defensive line. Kevin Lewis, who enrolled in January, and Mark Costen, a walk-on who redshirted last season, continue to get better with each practice and continue to make plays. Though undersized at 267 pounds, Lewis possesses a quick first step and can chase down plays from behind."
Right on cue, Lewis tied for the team lead in tackles yesterday with five, including a sack. To this point, he has slipped under my radar screen, but those days are over, as of today.
Lewis, who enrolled in January, was part of the 1999 recruiting class, and as the #20 prospect in the state of Virginia per the Roanoke Times, didn't get much publicity. He also came in as a 248-pound defensive tackle, which has "project" written all over it.
Well, the Lewis Project is well underway, and he has already put on almost 20 pounds to tip the scales at 267. One more year like that, and the Hokies will have a bona fide, Tech-sized defensive tackle in the mold of Waverly Jackson or Carl Bradley.
If Lewis pans out, he'll be a key component in a defensive line that is getting thin on quality tackles. The Hokies desperately need two tackles who can back up Chad Beasley and David Pugh like they backed up Bradley and Williams.
Huddler Quote #3: "Someone still needs to step up at safety, where Willie Pile holds the lead over Deon Provitt and Sam Fatherly."
The lead may have gotten bigger yesterday, with Pile picking up three tackles and an interception. A single pickoff doesn't automatically qualify a guy as the next great Tech safety, but it's a good start. The "buzz" on Pile has been kind of lukewarm, but he has made some plays in scrimmages, including two interceptions for touchdowns in a jayvee game last year. He's got a good sense of timing, good hands, and can cover ground. As noted before, if he can become more physical, he'll be another step closer to being a complete safety.
One more note about the scrimmage: that Vick kid's a bust. 3 for 8 with an interception? Please.
Spring Football Updates
Attack of the Ugly Uniforms: Is VT Next?
The Miami Hurricanes had their spring game last Saturday, and it generated a ton of conversation on the HokieCentral message board. Not because of the game, mind you, but because of the new Nike-designed uniforms that they unveiled:
New Century, New Look -- www.caneshooter.com
The uniforms are, eh, shall we say, not something that I like. I've seen a number of Nike redesigns over the last few years, and I've hated them all.
Why is this important to Tech fans? The answer should be obvious. Tech is now a Nike school, so a Nike redesign of the Tech uniforms may be in the cards someday, particularly now that the Hokies are a media darling with Michael Vick at the helm. And in my opinion, the Nike people messing with Tech uniforms is a bad idea.
To show you just how bad, I decided to fire up a graphics program and do a color replacement on a couple of pictures of the new Cane uniforms, in order to demonstrate what their jerseys would look like in orange and maroon. The graphics are a bit crude, but not so crude that they won’t scare the bejeebies out of you (click the thumbnails to see the full-sized images):
If you're a traditionalist like me, those pictures make you want to run away screaming, and believe me, I've got my fingers crossed that a Nike redesign will never come to Virginia Tech. It is a redesign that Virginia Tech would not refuse, because Nike writes big checks to this school for the right to display their swoosh on Tech uniforms. If you've ever heard Frank Beamer comment on Tech's relationship with Nike, Beamer makes comments to the effect of, "Hey whatever they've got, we'll wear it."
So, if you like the classic maroon and orange uni's that the Hokies are wearing now, I suggest that you take a good, long look at those togs and enjoy the sight of them, because they may go away some day. I hope not, but it may be inevitable.