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   Welcome to TSLMail #120 - Friday, March 12, 2004    
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Where the Speed Is 
by Will Stewart, TechSideline.com

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:

Top Winter Max 40 Times, by Position
Pos Player 1 Player 2 Player 3
OL Brandon Frye 4.85 Jimmy Martin 4.96 Chris Burnett 4.96
TE Jeff King 4.74 Matt Roan 4.78 Jared Mazzetta 4.82
RB Mike Imoh 4.39 Cedric Humes 4.45 T. McClelland 4.63
WR David Clowney 4.33 Chris Clifton 4.33 Robert Parker 4.36
QB Marcus Vick 4.33 Cory Holt 4.64 Winston Roett 4.79
DE Chris Ellis 4.51 Darryl Tapp 4.63 Noland Burchette 4.68
DT Jonathan Lewis 4.82 Carlton Powell 4.85 Tim Sandidge 4.87
ILB Xavier Adibi 4.51 Vince Hall 4.61 Blake Warren 4.61
WHIP Aaron Rouse 4.36 James Anderson 4.41 Brandon Manning 4.55
DB Roland Minor 4.33 Vinnie Fuller 4.34 Michael Hinton 4.34
SP Vinnie Burns 4.66 Brandon Pace 4.76 Jed Dunlevy 4.83

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.


TSL's Links Page Has Been Updated!
by Will Stewart, TechSideline.com

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:

TSL's Links Page, new for 2004


TSL/Hokie Central Celebrates 8 Years Today
by Will Stewart, TechSideline.com

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!

   TechSideline.com Pass - Your Ultimate Ticket to Hokie Sports!


TechSideline Pass - $34.95 a Year

(Monthly and Quarterly options also available)

  • Feature Articles
  • Interviews with recruits
  • Editorials
  • Flash recruiting updates from Chris Horne, our in-house specialist
  • Recruiting prospect and class evaluations
  • A subscribers-only Recruiting message board (only accessible to subscribers)
  • A subscribers-only message board for general discussion

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.

For more info on TechSideline Pass, and to subscribe, click here. To give TSL Pass as a gift (one-year subscriptions only), click here.

-- Will Stewart

   TechSideline.com Updates From the Past Week


Pitt Ends Tech Streak, 74-61
by Will Stewart, TechSideline.com, 3/11/04, 3:20 pm
New York, NY -- Playing characteristic physical basketball, Pittsburgh ended the first half with a 13-4 run and then made it stand up, ending Virginia Tech's four-game winning streak and booting the Hokies from the Big East Tournament, 74-61.
in Men's Hoops

Hokie Magic Continues; VT Advances, 61-58
by Will Stewart, TechSideline.com, 3/10/04, 3:30 pm
New York, NY -- Down by eight points at half time, the Hokies opened the second half with an 18-3 run and made it stand up down the stretch, earning their first-ever Big East Tournament win and improving their chances at an NIT bid by beating Rutgers 61-58. The Hokies were led by freshman Coleman Collins with 12 points, and Bryant Matthews and Markus Sailes chipped in 10 apiece.
in Men's Hoops

A Gym Rat's Notebook #9: Big Game, Big Year, and Big Hopes
by Elijah Kyle, 3/10/04, 10:45 am
With its ticket to New York punched and an appearance in the season-ending Big East Tournament finally on the docket, the Virginia Tech men's basketball team can focus solely on what it must do to move beyond a brief stay in the Big Apple. Ensuring that last week's thrilling movie ending is repeated would go a long way toward that goal, although the theatre venue will be a different one.
in TSL Pass

Beware The Snub
by Will Stewart, TechSideline.com, 3/9/04, 3:45 pm
As you Hokie basketball fans sit and wonder what the chances are of VT making the NIT, I send out a word of caution: Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. That's my fancy way of saying, despite Virginia Tech's two NIT championships, the tournament has been unkind to the Hokies in the past, most notably 1994, when a very good 18-10 Tech team got snubbed.
in TSL Pass

Inside the Numbers: Assessing VT's Chances for the NIT
by Kevin Cuddihy, 3/9/04, 11:00 am
Well, they did it. With a win over the Georgetown Hoyas on Saturday, the Virginia Tech Hokies became eligible for postseason play for the first time since the 1999-2000 season, when they went 16-15 in their final year in the Atlantic 10 but were bypassed due most likely to the weak status of the A-10. VT's last postseason bid came in 1995-96, when they went 23-6 and got to the second round of the NCAAs before losing to eventual champ Kentucky.
in TSL Pass

Advance Auto Parts Hokie Hotline Notes for 3/8/04
by Phil Noftsinger, 3/9/04, 10:25 am
The Hokie Hotline was broadcast live from Beamerís Restaurant in Christiansburg, VA. Guests included Athletic Director Jim Weaver with some very important news about re-seating and contribution deadlines. Also, basketball coach Seth Greenberg called in from the Queensboro Bridge as the Hokies crossed into New York City on their way to the Big East Tournament.
in Hokie Hotline Notes

These Guys Grow on You
by Jim Alderson, 3/8/04, 4:05 pm
The Virginia Tech menís basketball team completed its late-season run last Saturday by knocking off Georgetown on what was ostensibly the Hoyaís home court, the MCI Center. The Hokies, who had already qualified for their first and last Big East Tournament, gave Georgetown a conference going away present and almost caused Georgetown to join the BEís other basketball fair-haired children, St. Johnís, in sitting out the upcoming tourney. They would have, too, had Perry Clark not given Miami Athletic Director Paul Dee yet another reason to fire him.
in TSL Pass

Hokies Head to Garden as #8 Seed
by Will Stewart, TechSideline.com, 3/8/04, 10:50 am
Heading into the season picked dead last in the 14-team Big East, the Virginia Tech men find themselves in a surprising position: going to New York for the Big East Tournament as the #8 seed. Tech will be the higher seed in their first-round game, facing #9 Rutgers at noon Wednesday, on ESPN.
in News and Notes

Huskies Eliminate Hokies, 48-34
by Will Stewart, TechSideline.com, 3/7/04, 10:10 pm
Hartford, CT -- If you had told the Virginia Tech women that they would hold Connecticut to a season-low 48 points on 31.6% shooting, limiting Big East player of the year Diana Taurasi to 4 points in the process, Bonnie Henrickson's bunch would have liked that scenario. Unfortunately, though the Hokies did all that, they still lost by 14, dropping a 48-34 decision to the Huskies and bowing out of the Big East Tournament in the second round.
in Women's Hoops

Hokie Women Advance With Great Comeback, 56-47
by Will Stewart, TechSideline.com, 3/6/04, 4:45 pm
Hartford, CT -- Down 40-28 with 14 minutes to go, the Virginia Tech women exploded on Georgetown, outscoring the Hoyas 28-7 the rest of the way to grab the first-round win in the Big East Tournament. With the victory, the Hokies run their record to 22-6, dropping Georgetown to 13-15 on the year.
in Women's Hoops

Hokies Roar Past Georgetown and into New York, 60-55
by Will Stewart, TechSideline.com, 3/6/04, 3:40 pm
Washington, DC -- Apparently, just making the Big East Tournament isn't enough; Virginia Tech wants more. Led by Bryant Matthews with 26 points, the Hokies held Georgetown scoreless for the last 4:42 of the game, outscoring the Hoyas 7-0 down the stretch to win 60-55 and put an exclamation point on the end of their regular season. With the win, Tech goes to 14-13 (7-9 Big East), clinching their first winning regular season since going 15-14 in the Atlantic 10 in 1999-2000.
in Men's Hoops

 
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