News With Commentary by TSL Staff

Friday, April 19, 2002
by Will Stewart,

Noel's Knee Injury Clouds the Future

(Note: this text was included in today's TSLMail)

With one twist of the knee and a pop of a ligament, Virginia Tech's immediate and future football fortunes are up in the air.

First string quarterback Grant Noel tore his ACL in a non-contact situation Wednesday, when he made a cut on an option run to avoid a defender. He was tackled on the play, but the knee gave way before he was hit.

The diagnosis? A torn ACL. Tech trainer Mike Goforth and team physician Dr. Duane Lagan feel that Noel might be able to forego surgery, but they won't know for sure until they can evaluate him over the next couple of weeks.

Noel might be able to skip surgery, go through rehab, and try to play next fall. It's possible that Noel might be able to have some arthroscopic surgery to clear the knee up some, but if full reconstruction of the ACL is the recommendation, then Noel's Tech career is over. The determination (surgery or no surgery) will be made May 1st.

As it is, he's in limbo now. Only time will tell if he will be able to get himself back into playing shape for next fall. For the immediate future, with third-string QB Will Hunt's throwing shoulder injured, backup QB Bryan Randall will have to play for both teams in the Spring Game Saturday.

Randall will not wear a yellow jersey Saturday, but will instead be "live." (Note: reported this after today's TSLMail was released, so TSLMail is in conflict with this information. The information here is correct). Wide receiver Chris Clifton will not be moved back to QB.

The injury to Noel denies Hokie fans -- and the coaches -- the opportunity to see both QB's play and compare the two. Not that Spring Game performance is necessarily an indicator of how a QB will fare on the depth chart -- in last year's Spring Game, most observers agreed that backup Jason Davis outplayed Noel, but Davis remained buried on the depth chart and later transferred to ETSU.

As things stand, Hokie fans will have to watch just Randall and try to figure out how they think he compares to Noel -- and to the way Randall himself played in 2001.

The Spring Game starts at 2:00 p.m. Saturday. It will be broadcast locally on 105.3 FM in Blacksburg, 97.3 FM in Roanoke, and 106.9 FM in Lynchburg. It will also be available on the Internet -- see for details.

The weather forecast is not promising, as is calling for rain. Click here to see their Blacksburg forecast.

Kingsport Classic Next Week

The former Hokie-Smokie Classic, which pitted Virginia Tech against Tennessee in baseball, has been renamed to the Kingsport Classic. Virginia Tech will now play ETSU (East Tennessee State University). Here are the details:

Date: Tuesday, April 23, 2002 (rain date is 1/24/02).

Location: Hunter Wright Park, Kingsport, TN

Pre-Game Dinner: 5:30-6:30, catered by Sagebrush. Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for children. Meet "Big Tom" Buchanon from "Survivor: Africa" and get his autograph. VT and ETSU will split the proceeds from the dinner after expenses.

Game Details: Game starts at 7:30, with Big Tom throwing out the first pitch. Tickets are $10 for reserved seats, $4 for general admission.

Show up and support the Hokie baseball team!


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