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   Welcome to TSLMail #93 - Friday, August 22, 2003    
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   Tech Sports News

Looking at Last Year's Tapes
by Will Stewart,

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I'm in the midst of watching last year's game tapes to refresh my memory and to look for things that I might have missed "in the heat of battle," so to speak.

I skipped the Arkansas State game tape. There's not really anything to be gleaned from it, other than there's a bunch of true freshman who played in it who should have taken a redshirt, instead -- (cough!) Mike Imoh! (cough!) -- and I have watched the LSU tape and the first half of the Marshall tape.

Some random observations...

1.) Vince Fuller was a good cornerback from day one. He was switched from safety to cornerback when Eric Green suffered a season-ending knee injury and Ronyell Whitaker was suspended for the first two games. In the first two games, Fuller messed up a few times, but none of them were costly, and he showed good coverage technique right off the bat, earning him playing time for the rest of the season and four total starts. It's almost enough to make you wonder why he was at safety in the first place.

(Disclaimer: I haven't seen the part where Marshall scored their three touchdowns, and it's possible that Fuller gave one or more of those up. I don't recall.)

2.) Tim Sandidge stood out among the reserve defensive tackles, even early in the season. While the rest of us were watching ballyhooed true freshman Jonathan Lewis, Sandidge was separating himself from fellow redshirt freshman DT's Jason Murphy and Chris Pannell.

Of that trio -- Sandidge, Murphy, and Pannell -- Sandidge was the only one to remain a DT, with Murphy and Pannell being switched to offensive line. Watching even the early films from last year, it's not hard to figure out why. Sandidge, who led the DT's in sacks with four, stood out as an active playmaker.

And this summer, he won the Ironman contest. VT (and other schools) aren't allowed to publicize the results of contests like those anymore, due to an NCAA rule, but it was "leaked" in the latest hokiesports the newspaper that Sandidge won it.

As for Murphy and Pannell, Pannell is now an offensive tackle who has some catching up to do, but the coaches, we hear, are very excited about Murphy at right guard. He is backing up Jim Miller there, and he has a bright future, we're told.

3.) Both LSU and Marshall were let down by their receivers. LSU was not sharp mentally in their 26-8 loss to VT, and they dropped a ton of passes. Marshall, meanwhile, dropped two TD passes that, had they caught them, would have made the score 14-13, Herd, early on, instead of 13-0, VT. The second drop was followed immediately by a Mikal Baaqee interception that VT turned into a TD to make it 20-0. So the Herd, two drops away from a 14-13 lead, were behind by three TD's, instead.

4.) Both LSU and Marshall did poorly on special teams. Against LSU, the Hokies returned a short punt to the LSU 27-yard line and turned it into a TD for a 7-0 lead. Then Tech blocked a punt, took possession at LSU's 29-yard line, and scored again to go up 14-0.

In the Marshall game, with the Herd down 3-0, they drove deep into VT territory, and after one of the TD drops discussed above, lined up for a short field goal. The Marshall kicker drilled his center in the butt with the kick, and VT got credit for a block.

(On that play, DeAngelo Hall returned the "block" for a TD, but it was called back because Vince Fuller had recovered the ball and fumbled it forward, Kenny Stabler-style, to Hall.)

5.) DeAngelo Hall missed a chance to really make a name for himself nationally. Hall had a punt return for a TD against Arkansas State, but he dropped a "pick-six" against LSU and then narrowly missed a special teams TD against Marshall in the play discussed above.

6.) The VT defense definitely had more zip to them in the early going last year. Yeah, I know -- duh. But watching early game film of the LSU and Marshall games is like day and night from the tentative defensive unit that ended the season against Syracuse, WVU, etc.

The Hokie defensive is famed for "flying around the ball," but they didn't do a lot of that last year. "Flying around the ball" is a fancy way of saying that if you can see a VT defender on your TV screen, he's piling on the ball carrier, with five or six of his closest maroon-clad friends. That wasn't true a lot of the time last year -- I recall many plays where VT defenders trailed the play without getting in on the tackle, ran by a play as the tackle was made, or just watched a teammate or two make the tackle.

The Hokie defense was pretty sharp in the early games last year, but if you want to see a VT defense in a feeding frenzy, watch game film from 1999, of course, or even the Miami game film from 1997.

Hokies Up for National Awards, Revisited

Last week, we talked about DeAngelo Hall, Bryan Randall, Cols Colas, Nathaniel Adibi, and Jake Grove being up for national awards like the Thorpe, the Hendricks, and the Davey O'Brien.

That's not nearly the complete list of VT players up for such awards. To see the complete list and other information, visit the Virginia Tech All-Stars web site. There you can read all about:

  • DE Nathaniel Adibi (Hendricks Award, Lombardi Award)
  • P Vinnie Burns (Ray Guy Award)
  • DE Cols Colas (Hendricks Award, Lombardi Award)
  • C Jake Grove (Rimington Trophy, Lombardi Award, Outland Trophy)
  • CB DeAngelo Hall (Thorpe Award, Nagurski Award)
  • RB Kevin Jones (Doak Walker Award)
  • DT Kevin Lewis (Lombardi Award)
  • QB Bryan Randall (Davey O'Brien Award)
  • LB Vegas Robinson (Butkus Award)
  • WR Ernest Wilford (Biletnikoff Award)
  • TE Keith Willis (Mackey Award)

Our apologies to the other players for only citing Hall, Randall, Colas, Adibi, and Grove last week.

Coolest feature of the All-Stars web site?  You can download wallpaper for each player. As a former little-league OL (I'm 5-8, 160 now, and it cracks me up to think I ever played OL), I downloaded Grove.

This Week in Recruiting

by Chris Horne

What a week for Hokie fans. After not receiving any commitments up to this point, the Hokie staff made a big splash last weekend by earning three in two days when Westfield (VA) QB Sean Glennon, HD Woodson (DC) defensive end William Wall, and HD Woodson (DC) cornerback Theodore Miller verbally committed.

Expect a decision soon from Lynchburg Christian Academy (VA) DE/LB Rashad Jennings. The 6-2, 258 pound Jennings will decide between the Hokies and Pittsburgh on or before August 29th.

Also close to a decision is LB/DE Hilee Taylor (Laurinburg, NC). He will choose between Virginia Tech, North Carolina, South Carolina, Clemson, East Carolina, and NC State by no later than this Friday, which is the start of his senior football season.

Check out the profile on the newest FUMA post-grad football team member, LB Maurice Reevey. After only playing one season at Highland Springs in Richmond, VA, Reevey has the athletic ability and dedication to be a big-time force in prep football.

Deep Creek (Chesapeake, VA) tailback Antwain Carey is making progress with his fractured foot. This week, he had his cast removed and will begin undergoing rehabilitation. Carey has been offered by Virginia Tech, Syracuse, and NC State. Virginia is actively recruiting him.

Kecoughtan (Hampton, VA) LB Jerod Mayo indicated that he will definitely take official visits to Virginia and Virginia Tech, with the other visits unknown. NC State is a likely possibility for one of those visits. Tennessee may get one as well. UVA, VT, and NCSU have all offered.

Video clips have been posted for Washington Township (NJ) LB/TE Hugh D’Imperio. The clips show D’Imperio’s football savvy and instinct on defense as well as his blocking skills on offense. D’Imperio is a top target on the Hokies' board.

For updates and information on all these players and more, subscribe to TechSideline Pass. Information on how to subscribe follows.

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-- Will Stewart Updates From the Past Week

Beerman's Picks
by Ben Shapiro, 8/21/03, 4:45 pm
Last Season: They were the best of times, they were the worst of times. Solid non-conference victories, and puzzling Big East upsets. Offensive explosions and defensive collapses. Blocked kicks and missed field goals. Fourteen weeks never seemed to go by so fast, however, and I'm glad we're back here again.
in Voice of the Fan

2003 Big East Offensive Unit Rankings
by Jeff Ouellet, 8/21/03, 10:40 am
In the game of football, the sum total of a team often is predicated on the value of its individual parts. For example, a team can have a great wide receiver corps, but without a capable offensive line and quarterback the passing game won’t click. Likewise, even the best defensive backs have to have a pass rush or they won’t be successful. While obviously each team has individual positions that are stronger than another, these groups must work together in order to consistently win.
in TSL Pass

Hokie Hotline Notes
by Wayne Clevenger, 8/20/03, 3:30 pm
Bill Roth opened the 2003-2004 debut broadcast from "Beamers" by welcoming listeners from new coverage areas and noted that, although the format will be similar to years past, this season’s Monday night broadcasts have been lengthened to two hours from 7 PM to 9 PM ET. Roth then explained how listeners can email or call and ask questions during the program.
in Hokie Hotline Notes

2003 Preseason All-Big East Defense
by Jeff Ouellet, 8/20/03, 9:10 am
The Big East should boast some outstanding defenses in 2003. VT, Miami and Pittsburgh all return at least 7 starters from last year and have quality depth, so it wouldn’t surprise me if all were improved this season.
in TSL Pass

2003 Preseason All-Big East Offense
by Jeff Ouellet, 8/18/03, 11:55 pm
With the college football season starting very soon, it is time to bring to the forefront the inevitable preseason debates about the best players in the league. Without further ado, here is my preseason 2003 All-Big East First Team on offense.
in TSL Pass

Hokies Hold First Scrimmage
by Will Stewart,, 8/18/03, 2:45 pm
Defense and penalties dominated the Hokies' first fall scrimmage Saturday, with Chris Clifton providing the only TD on a 63-yard option keeper.
Also: Hokie Hotline Show Gets Underway Tonight; Hokies Ranked #9 by AP, Game Times Set for First Five Games.
in News and Notes

Following in the Footsteps of Beamer Ball
by Gary Cope, 8/17/03, 11:30 pm
When you hear the name "Beamer" along with the word "coach," most college football fans immediately think of Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech’s living legend of a coach. But, for the last three years, another Beamer has quietly established his own reputation. Shane Beamer, the older of Frank’s two grown children, is wrapping up his third and final season as a graduate assistant under the tutelage of Phillip Fulmer and his coaching staff at the University of Tennessee.
in TSL Pass

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