News With Commentary by TSL Staff

Monday, April 15, 2002
by Will Stewart,

Football Notes

The Hokies practiced their two-minute drill Friday and held a game-like scrimmage with 8-minute quarters Saturday. The quarterbacks did well both days.

Friday's Practice

The Hokies worked on their two-minute offense Friday, and by all accounts, Grant Noel had perhaps his best practice ever, according to Coach Beamer's comments on QB Coach Kevin Rogers also stated that because of Noel's Friday performance, he had separated himself a little from backup Bryan Randall, who was previously closing the gap.

But Randall was no slouch Friday. In one two-minute drill, he led the offense to a TD from the 50 yard line in just three plays. He threw a 35-yard pass to open the drill, and two plays later, he avoided the rush from Cols Colas and threw a TD pass.

Saturday's Scrimmage

On Saturday, the Hokies stepped into Lane Stadium and scrimmaged on Worsham Field. The scrimmage format was four 8-minute quarters, with the #1 offense going against the #2 defense and the #2 offense going against the #1 defense.

Noel and Randall were only 16-44 between the two of them, but they totaled 282 yards passing (17.6 yards per completion), 3 TD's, and 2 INT's. Noel was 9-24 for 179 yards and 2 TD's (19 yards to tight end Keith Willis and 71 yards to flanker Shawn Witten). Randall was 7-20 for 103 yards and 1 TD (a 23-yarder to Richard Johnson).

Both QB's threw an interception. Randall's INT was returned 16 yards for a TD by Sam Fatherly, and Noel's was a tipped pass by defensive end Jim Davis that Ronyell Whitaker intercepted.

Among the receiving corps, Witten had two catches for 89 yards, Johnson caught three for 69, Ernest Wilford caught three for 45 yards, and Terrell Parham caught three for 27 yards. Those are impressive statistics, but Coach Beamer used one of his favorite words, "consistency," when he told, "We still need to be more consistent catching the ball."

That's Beamer-speak for "We made some mistakes," and indeed, Wilford reportedly dropped a perfectly-thrown deep ball (about 35 yards) from Randall. Randall's passing stats were a little deceiving, as he was the victim of most of the drops that occurred.

But obviously, with the yardage totals, the receivers made some good plays, as well. Randall hooked up with Johnson on a slant that Johnson turned into a long gain by juking defenders. On Witten's TD, he outfought Garnell Wilds for the ball on a fade route, made the catch, and then broke Wilds' tackle attempt and turned the catch into a long TD.

Randall had 28 yards on 14 carries. Cedric Humes rushed for 25 yards on 11 carries, and Kevin Jones had 15 yards on 6 carries. Lee Suggs did not play.

Defensively, standouts were Fatherly, with his interception return, and linebackers Vegas Robinson and Alex Markogiannakis. Lamar Cobb and Mikal Baaqee were "all over the field," each making seven tackles. Cobb had two sacks.

Depth Chart Moves

In depth chart moves, the action continues to be hot and heavy at the wide receiver position, as the players shuffle up and down on an almost daily basis.

As of the latest depth chart (released on at the end of Saturday's action), Shawn Witten and Justin Hamilton are listed as co-number ones at the flanker position. The coaches appear to be disappointed with Richard Johnson, and he is listed as the co-number two flanker with Keith Burnell.

The split end position has Ernest Wilford and Chris Clifton listed as co-number ones. Chris Shreve and Terrell Parham are in worse shape than Johnson, as they are listed as co-number threes, with the depth chart blank at the number two slot.

At tight end, a race that was previously a two-horse race between Jared Mazzetta and Keith Willis has turned into a logjam, as Jeff King is now listed as a co-number one with both Mazzetta and Willis.

One More Practice and the Spring Game Left to Go

The Hokies only have one more practice, and that will be Wednesday, before they play the Spring Game Saturday at 2 o'clock in Lane Stadium. The Spring Game is open to the public. It is free, and there is no ticketing or reserved parking.

Tech announced Sunday that the Spring Game will be broadcast live on the radio, on "The Bear," a classic rock station that reaches the New River Valley, Roanoke, and central Virginia. Fans in Blacksburg can hear the game on 105.3 FM. Those in the Roanoke Valley can listen on 97.3 FM. Listeners in Lynchburg and other points in central Virginia can hear it on 106.9 FM.

Don't forget TSL's Spring Game Tailgate. For details, click here (scroll down). Things are coming together nicely, and it looks like it will be a heck of a party. We'll see you there.


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