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TechSideline.com has come a long way since its conception in 1996. We are the #1 media source and community covering Virginia Tech athletics; producing an average of 110,000 unique viewers and over 6 million page views each month.
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The Virginia Tech football team recently finished winter max. testing, and the latest edition of hokiesports the newspaper prints the top five forty times by position. So who are the standouts?
First of all, no position records were broken, and DeAngelo Hall's absolutely silly team record of 4.15 was not threatened. The Hokies still showed some good speed, with some of the new guys that you've never seen play posting some good numbers.
Here are the top 3 at every position:
Out of the 33 players listed, 13 have never been seen on the playing field for VT. Of those 13, three of them are walk-on position players: TE Matt Roan, RB Thomas McClelland, and QB Winston Roett. Three others are kicking specialists for whom speed isn't an issue: Brandon Pace, Jed Dunlevy, and Vinnie Burns (though speed can come in handy on a fake punt).
Of the remaining seven players who registered on the chart but have never played for VT, some are potentially high-impact players, either now or down the road: Robert Parker at wide receiver, Cory Holt at QB, and a handful of guys on the defense.
On the defensive side of the ball, several of Tech's more highly-anticipated redshirt freshman have put up good 40 times. Defensive end Chris Ellis (4.51) tops the DEs, Carlton Powell (4.85) is second among the DTs, and Xavier Adibi (4.51) leads the inside linebackers. Right behind Adibi is Vince Hall (4.61), and at the defensive back spot, Roland Minor tied for the fastest speed on the team (4.33), and Michael Hinton was right on his heels.
The defense lost some fast guys -- Vegas Robinson (4.46 in 2001) was the record holder at the ILB position, DeAngelo Hall was the fastest player ever at Tech (4.15), and Cols Colas ran a sub-4.5 forty, with Nathaniel Adibi running a 4.5 -- but they have infused the D with some fresh speed in Ellis, Adibi, Powell, Minor, and Hinton.
On the offensive side of the ball, the speed at wide receiver has gone up significantly. Last year, only one VT wide receiver ran a sub 4.4 forty (Chris Shreve, 4.33), and only four receivers ran sub 4.5s -- Shreve, Fred Lee (4.45), Justin Hamilton (4.46), and Robert Parker (4.48). Richard Johnson didn't run the 40 in winter max. testing last year.
This year, four wide receivers ran under 4.4: Clowney, Clifton, Parker, and Josh Hyman (4.37). Three more ran under 4.5: Chris Ceasar (4.44), Richard Johnson (4.45, from BeamerBall.com) and Josh Morgan (4.49, also from BB.com).
Speed Increases: At the QB position, Marcus Vick lowered his 40 time from 4.48 to 4.33, and at wide receiver, Clifton went from a 4.52 to 4.33, and Parker dropped from 4.48 to 4.36.
Vick's 4.33 is just -- here comes the inevitable comparison -- 0.08 behind his superfast brother, QB record holder Michael Vick at 4.25. The 4.48 that Marcus ran last year was a bit of a disappointment to some fans who wanted to see him as the second coming, and to be honest, it didn't really jibe with the speed he showed on the field last fall. The 4.33 actually matches the acceleration and wheels he demonstrated during games in the 2003 season.
If Vick winds up playing wide receiver in 2004, think about it: that gives VT three wide receivers that ran a 4.33.
But to me, the most interesting 40 time printed in hokiesports the newspaper was that of walk-on Rashad Ferebee, a scout team and JV player. Ferebee ran a 5.03. Nothing special, you say? Well, it is the fifth-fastest time among the offensive linemen.
And Ferebee is 5-8, 254 pounds.
If you have a chance, go to a JV game next fall and watch this guy play. It's fun to see him out there on the field -- heck, it's just fun to see him in a uniform. He's been with the team since 2002, and he can bench 340 pounds and squat 525.
Many of you have requested an update to the "Football Opponents' Links" section of TechSideline.com's Links Page, and we're happy to report that we've managed to fit it in. Check out the new schedule, links, and helmet graphics:
Treat yourself to a birthday cake today, because TechSideline.com turns an amazing eight years old today! That's an eternity in Internet terms.
The web site was launched on March 12, 1996 as "Will's Hokie Sports Home Page" (clever name, that). The informal name "Hokie Central" caught on, and one year later, on March 12, 1997, the site officially moved to HokieCentral.com. The site remained there until November 10, 2000, when it switched to its current name of TechSideline.com.
At first, the site was updated only weekly and did not have a message board. As the 1996 football season approached, updates became more frequent, eventually occurring every day, and "Hokie Central's" first football game analysis articles appeared.
February of 1997 brought HC's first message board, a board that was hosted on the server of a Miami Hurricanes web site, Grassy.com (Grassy has since joined the Insiders network and is now CanesTime.com). In case you're wondering about the peculiar name "Grassy," the old Grassy site was run by a guy named Bryan Knoll -- "Grassy Knoll," get it?
As noted, the HokieCentral.com name was officially launched on March 12, 1997, and HC started taking paid memberships for the first time on that date. The concept proved popular, and memberships grew and grew through 1997, 1998, and 1999.
In the summer of 1999, just in time for VT's national championship run in football, the site went from a part-time endeavor -- I chuckle at the thought of the site ever being "part time" -- to a full-time venture, as I quit my job as a programmer and started working on the site full-time. The membership concept was dropped, and for a while, all HC content went back to being free.
That happened on August 1, 1999, and in October, we were moved to the same server as TheSabre.com, and our new message board was launched, the same one you see today on TSL.
In November of 1999, we added TechLocker.com, just in time to see a sales boom from Tech's Sugar Bowl trip.
The next big change came in November of 2000, when HokieCentral.com, in response to a request from the Virginia Tech Licensing Department, underwent a name change. VT Licensing had requested that all domain names containing the terms hokie, hokies, or virginiatech change their names, and HC was, we believe today, the only site to actually comply with the request.
The name was changed to TechSideline.com, a suggestion made by an old college friend of mine who doesn't even visit the site and doesn't have much interest in Tech sports. A bit of trivia: we settled on the abbreviation TSL because the natural acronym, TS, made some readers think of "toxic shock," as in "toxic shock syndrome." So we added the L, as you can imagine.
Also at that time, we launched the TSL Extra, a monthly subscription e-magazine that marked HC/TSL's re-entry into subscription content. The TSL Extra cost $24.95 a year for 12 "issues."
That's how things stayed until December 31, 2002, when we changed the monthly TSL Extra format, which was good content but wasn't selling well, into TSL Pass, a "streaming article" format in which we released articles one a time, instead of in monthly e-magazine format.
We also added recruiting analyst Chris Horne, who worked with a new subscription recruiting database.
And that's how things are today. It has obviously been a wild ride, with many ups and downs. When the technology stock market crashed in March of 2000, we went from being a hot commodity to damaged "Internet" goods that no one wanted to touch, but through it all, we stuck to our vision, which is to provide the best VT sports coverage and discussion forums available on the Internet.
The reason we stuck by our vision was because of the positive feedback that we continually received from you, the readership, and because you have always done such a great job of supporting the site at every opportunity. Many people groused when HC and TSL changed from free content to a pay content model, but many more of you also "got it" and understood what it took to run a site like this, and you have pitched in your support and kept us going through the rough times.
So, many thanks. Not to get mushy about it, but this site works because you want it to work, and because you have always done a great job of providing feedback, and as I said, supporting both us and our sponsors.
In the time that HC/TSL has been around, I've gone from a single, fresh-faced 31-year-old to a 39-year-old married father of three with gray at his temples and wrinkles starting to show up around his eyes (I don't know if it's the kids, the web site, or both). My arms are getting shorter too -- it's getting to where I can't see things that are right in front of my face, and I have to hold them farther out in order to focus.
I will never forget when I made the trip to my post office box two days after launching the HokieCentral.com membership concept back in March of 1997. It was the first time I had ever asked for donations, memberships, or whatever on the web site, and I wasn't sure how people would respond.
I opened the P.O. Box and found six envelopes inside, each with a membership check enclosed. I remember mentally scratching my chin and thinking, "Hmmm, you know, this might be going somewhere." I was working as a software engineer at the time and running HC part-time, but the future suddenly looked like something that might be drastically different than what I was used to.
I was video interviewed by a fan of the web site -- I think it was either "Technically" or "SteveinBaltimore," but please don't get upset at me if I got that wrong, guys -- at the first ever HokieCentral tailgate, the day of the 1997 Syracuse game, and I remember one question I was asked: "Is there anything you want to say to the HokieCentral faithful?"
"Sure," I answered right away. "I'm not going anywhere. I plan on doing this for a long time. Tell them that."
So far, so good. Eight years and counting. Thanks, everyone!
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As an additional bonus, all subscribers will receive a 10% discount on all purchases made at Techlocker.com, our online store providing Hokie-related apparel and gift items. If that's not enough, you should know that your subscription will help support your favorite website, TechSideline.com.
|TechSideline.com Updates From the Past Week|
Hokie Magic Continues; VT Advances, 61-58
A Gym Rat's Notebook #9: Big Game, Big Year, and Big Hopes
Beware The Snub
Inside the Numbers: Assessing VT's Chances for the NIT
Advance Auto Parts Hokie Hotline Notes for 3/8/04
These Guys Grow on You
Hokies Head to Garden as #8 Seed
Huskies Eliminate Hokies, 48-34
Hokie Women Advance With Great Comeback, 56-47
Hokies Roar Past Georgetown and into New York, 60-55
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