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NFL Combine Tidbits
The NFL Combine was held last weekend, spanning March 1st through March 4th, in Indianapolis. For those of you unfamiliar with the NFL Combine, it's an invitation-only event that brings the best college players to one location for a few days of workouts, weigh-ins, questionnaires, poking and prodding. NFL scouts can all converge to one spot and see several hundred of the best college players without having to travel all over the place or fly the players somewhere themselves.
The players are weighed and interviewed by NFL scouts and team physicians, and they are given the option of undergoing physical tests such as bench pressing (how many times a player bench press 225 pounds), 40-yard dashes, jumping drills, and position-specific football drills.
Invitations to the combine were extended to 333 college players this year. The list included 240 players from the BCS conferences and Notre Dame. The SEC had 55 players invited; the Big Ten -- 44; the Big 12 -- 40; the Pac-10 -- 38; the Big East -- 27; the ACC -- 26; and Notre Dame -- 10 (the most of any individual school -- go figure).
Five players from the Hokies attended: Andre Davis, Emmett Johnson, Ben Taylor, Chad Beasley, and Derrius Monroe. That's an interesting mix, particularly since it includes Monroe and does not include David Pugh.
Monroe, standing 6-4 and weighing 269, shocked scouts by running 40-yard dashes of 4.51 and 4.58, both clockings faster than Pitt WR Antonio Bryant's 4.59 and 4.64. Monroe was named one of seven Winners from the Combine by ESPN's Len Pasquarelli.
In a pre-combine article by Gil Brandt that appeared on NFL.com, Davis was named #7 on the list of 37 wide receivers, and Taylor was ranked #7 on a list of 34 linebackers.
Davis was competitive in the 40-yard dash on a track that Pasquarelli called "notoriously slow" in one article. Davis ran a 4.42 and a 4.37 forty, which put him in the middle of the pack speed-wise for the receivers that ran. Tim Carter of Auburn turned in a 4.33 and a 4.34, Javon Walker of Florida State did 4.39 and 4.40, and Utah's Cliff Russell was timed at 4.39 and 4.41. Emmett Johnson was timed by one team at 4.45 and 4.46, not too shabby.
Hokie Women Waiting on NCAA/NIT News
The Tech women's basketball team was bounced out of the Big East tournament early, falling to Rutgers 44-43 in the first round last Saturday in Piscataway, NJ.
You could see this coming. The Hokies had struggled a little with a lightly-regarded Rutgers team (the Scarlet Knights finished the season at 9-20) in beating them 70-63 in the regular season finale at Cassell Coliseum. When the Hokies, who had a six-game road losing streak going into the tournament, drew Rutgers on their home floor in the first round, the handwriting was on the wall.
Sure enough, Tech couldn't shake off their road woes and lost yet again, this one possibly proving fatal to the Hokies' NCAA hopes.
The NCAA tournament pairings will be announced at 5 p.m. Sunday on ESPN, and if ever there were a bubble team, Tech is it. In the Hokies' favor: a #35 RPI rating, wins over ODU (#18) Boston College (#22), Syracuse (#41), and Clemson (#60), plus narrow losses to UConn (#2), LSU (#23), and Virginia (#34).
Working against the Hokies: 3-8 in their last 11 games, plus losses to Miami (#77 RPI), Providence (#103 RPI), and Rutgers (#117).
Men End Season on an Up Note
Meanwhile, the Hokie men's basketball team, after suffering through a horrible mid-season slump that included a 10-game losing streak, finished 4-3 over their last seven games, posting a 10-18 record overall, 4-12 in the Big East conference.
Tech lost their last game of the season at #16 Miami last weekend in a contest that went much like their season: they were down big at one point (the Canes led by 20 early in the second half), they finished strong (closing it to 3 points with a few minutes to go), but they ended up on the losing side of the ledger, 83-77.
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