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   Welcome to TSLMail #343- Friday, August 15, 2008    
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   Tech Sports News


Separation Saturday
by Chris Coleman, TechSideline.com

The Hokies will hold their second scrimmage of the preseason in Lane Stadium on Saturday afternoon. For some players, this will be their last chance to make a move up the depth chart. For some true freshmen, this will be their last chance to prove that they deserve to play this year. For Virginia Tech football, tomorrow is Separation Saturday.

In this week's TSLMail, we'll tell you what position battles to watch for at Saturday's scrimmage, which is open to the public. We'll also let you know which true freshmen are battling for playing time.

First off, we all know that Virginia Tech's wide receiver corps is very young. Danny Coale (r-Fr.), Zach Luckett (r-So.) and Ike Whitaker (r-Jr.) are Tech's top three receivers. Behind those guys, three true freshmen are battling it out for spots on the depth chart. At least two of them will play this year, and perhaps all three.

Dyrell Roberts was the hyped recruit, one of the top prospects in the state of Virginia. He is very good with the ball in the open field, but after playing running back his entire high school career, there is a transitional period that he'll have to go through. Despite that, he's definitely playing this year. It appears that Jarrett Boykin will join him. Boykin is the most natural receiver of them all, and has a college-ready body.

Xavier Boyce has emerged lately in the battle for early playing time. The offensive and defensive staffs fought over Boyce. Ultimately Bryan Stinespring won, and Boyce has been placed at wide receiver, where he has been a pleasant surprise. Do the Hokies want to play five or six wideouts this year? The answer to that question could determine whether or not Boyce redshirts.

This will be a big scrimmage for the running backs as well. Kenny Lewis and Jahre Cheeseman are tied at the top of the depth chart. Behind them is r-freshman Josh Oglesby, who moved up after an impressive scrimmage on Tuesday. At #4 is Darren Evans, who has not had an impressive camp so far.

If Evans wants to get his name back into the mix for playing time, he has to show up tomorrow. He was a possible candidate to start following spring practice, but he's not playing nearly as well now.

It looks like Tech will probably play three tailbacks against East Carolina. Either Lewis or Cheeseman will start, and both will play. If the game were tomorrow, Oglesby would probably get some playing time as well. True freshman Ryan Williams doesn't appear to be in the mix for playing in the rotation at this point, but a big scrimmage could change that.

Defensively, there is one more position battle remaining. Tech's top three defensive tackles are pretty much set. John Graves and Cordarrow Thompson are starting, and Demetrius Taylor is the top backup. True freshman Antoine Hopkins is battling r-freshmen Kwamaine Battle and Justin Young for the #4 spot. Expect this to come down to Hopkins or Battle.

Tech could use both Hopkins and Battle, creating a rotation of five defensive tackles. At any rate, watch those guys in the scrimmage on Saturday to see if either player stands out.

There are also a number of true freshmen who are still competing for playing time. I've organized all the true freshmen into a table, and they all have varying chances of playing. I've thrown each guy into the table based on his chances of playing. Those chances are based on depth at the position, talent, performance in camp so far, and pure guesswork.

True Freshman Status
Definite
Redshirt
Unlikely 
to Play
Chance
of Playing
Likely
Playing

Nick Becton

Quillie Odom

Xavier Boyce

Jarrett Boykin

Ju-Ju Clayton

Vinston Painter

Jeron Gouveia-Winslow

Antoine Hopkins

Marcus Davis

Allen Stephens

Jake Johnson

Dyrell Roberts

Randall Dunn

Alonzo Tweedy

 

Bruce Taylor

Austin Fuller

Eddie Whitley

Ryan Williams

Lyndell Gibson

Lorenzo Williams

 

Isaiah Hamlette

 

Joe Jones

 

Courtney Prince

 

Dwight Tucker

 

Michael Via

 

The top two freshman wideouts, Boykin and Roberts, are likely going to play. I'd even say it's definite at this point. Xavier Boyce still has a chance to play as well. It sounds as if Charlie Wiles is leaning strongly towards throwing Antoine Hopkins into the fire. Bruce Taylor is currently #3 at mike, and he looks like a great candidate to play special teams.

Ryan Williams needs to redshirt. There is a lot of talent ahead of him. But he came to Tech dead set on playing this year, and he might not take kindly to a redshirt because he feels he was promised playing time by the coaching staff.

Early reviews of Jeron Gouveia-Winslow are encouraging, and the coaching staff is giving him every opportunity to work his way into the field. If he plays well in the scrimmage on Saturday, he could become a special teams contributor this year. Jake Johnson stands a solid shot at playing as well.

Eddie Whitley probably could play, but he isn't needed. Lorenzo Williams was on his way to challenging for playing time, but a concussion has held him back. Quillie Odom doesn't quite have it down mentally yet, but you never know what could happen on Saturday. Vinston Painter has been held back by a high ankles sprain. Allen Stephens and Alonzo Tweedy are probably a year away, but they are still impressive freshmen.

 

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   TechSideline.com Updates From the Past Week
Friday Football Q&A: August 15, 2008
August 15, 2008
Raleigh Hokie and Chris Coleman are back at it this week in our Friday Q&A. Raleigh discusses how Virginia Tech could attack blitzing defenses this year, and also talks about what is needed from a running back in Tech's zone blocking schemes. Chris Coleman talks about the 2009 season opener in the Georgia Dome.
more

2008 ACC Football Season Preview: Virginia Tech
August 15, 2008
Virginia Tech had eight players drafted by the NFL in April, the second most of any school. They lost the best linebacker duo in school history, and three very good defensive linemen, not to mention arguably the best cornerback to ever come through Blacksburg.
more

Top In-State Junior Primed for Big Season
August 15, 2008
One of Virginia Tech's biggest commitments from the June camp was not expected but very welcomed. It came from top rising junior Nick Acree, a 6-5 1/2, 310-pound defensive tackle out of King William High School (VA). As is the case with many top prospects, though, other schools are continuing their pursuit.
more

2008 Hokie Football Season Preview: Special Teams
August 14, 2008
There is plenty of talk about quarterbacks, wide receivers and defensive tackles, but there isn't much talk about special teams. The Hokies will likely play a lot of close games this year, and one special teams play could make the difference. That generally favors Tech, but they lost a very good kicker in Jud Dunlevy, and the ACC's all-time punt return leader, Eddie Royal.
more

Williams Impressive Heading Into 2008 Season
August 14, 2008
On a Daniel (Central, S.C.) varsity football squad expected to compete for a state championship this season, 6-1, 185-pound Jerrodd Williams is one of the stars and one of the leaders. The Virginia Tech cornerback recruit, a speedster who has been timed in the 40 in sub-4.5 seconds, has shown very well in preseason practice and head coach Randy Robinson expects a big year from his star on both sides of the ball.
more

Hopper to Land at Tech Early?
August 14, 2008
A scheduling conflict almost caused James Hopper to miss Virginia Tech's senior camp in June. Fortunately for the Seventy-First (Fayetteville, N.C.) star, he was able to make the camp and turned in an offer-earning performance. The 5-10, 180-pound prospect recalled the camp expereince and his subsequent commitment to Virginia Tech.
more

2008 ACC Football Season Preview: Wake Forest
August 13, 2008
Wake Forest has won 20 games over the past two seasons, trailing only Virginia Tech and Boston College in the ACC in total wins. The Demon Deacons return almost their entire defense intact this year, and it was already a pretty good unit in 2007. They are picked to finish #2 in the ACC Atlantic Division.
more

TSL Audio: The Jerry Miller Show, 8/12/08
August 13, 2008
Yesterday, TSL's Chris Coleman and Jerry Miller of The Sports Addict Radio Network talked Hokie football. Subjects were wide and varied, ranging from the tailbacks to the wide receivers and other topics. The Jerry Miller Show appears on The Sports Addict Radio Network every afternoon from 1:00-3:00 pm in Blacksburg (1430 AM), Charlottesville (840 AM), and Bluefield (1050 AM), and from 2:00-4:00 in Martinsville (1160 AM) (WMA format, 3.0 MB, 12:55).
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Scrimmage Report: Defense Impressive, As Usual
August 12, 2008
The Hokies held their first full scrimmage of August on Tuesday afternoon in Lane Stadium. As usual, the defense dominated. The offense couldn't get much accomplished against Bud Foster's defense. However, there were bright spots on the offensive side of the ball, mostly on the offensive line and in the backfield.
more

2008 Hokie Football Season Preview: Quarterbacks
August 12, 2008
Those of us who have the pleasure of covering Virginia Tech football for a living have gotten this question a lot recently, whether it's from somebody at the local sports bar, or a radio show host. Who is going to be the starting quarterback this year? My answer is always the same. Sean Glennon will start against East Carolina, but Tyrod Taylor will see a lot of action in that game as well. After that, all bets are off.
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2010 Q&A: Brookville DE/TE Zack McCray
August 12, 2008
6-5, 235-pound Zack McCray plays defensive end and tight end for head coach Jeff Woody and the Brookville Bees (Lynchburg, VA) varsity football squad. McCray, who has been verbally offered by six Division 1A program, is one of the top players in the state of Virginia's 2010 class.
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2008 ACC Football Season Preview: Virginia
August 11, 2008
Virginia had a very good 2007 season, coming within a game of representing the Coastal Division in the ACC Championship. They overachieved, however they had so many losses in the offseason that any bowl game could be considered a solid result in 2008.
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2008 Fall Practice Report: Week 1
August 11, 2008
We're only one week into practice, but already a few position battles are starting to clear up. The Hokies look to have five receivers who will contribute, and offensive line depth is starting to shape up nicely. On the defensive side of the ball, the biggest question is still defensive tackle depth. More questions will be answered during Tech's first full scrimmage on Tuesday.
more

Virginia Tech Remains in Picture with Bell
August 11, 2008
Butler (Matthews, N.C.) linebacker Hawatha Bell spoke this spring of the possibility of making a college choice by this spring or summer, but, as of now, that no longer appears likely to happen. The 6-1, 225-pound prospect, one of the top defensive recruits in the Tar Heel state's 2009 class, would like to commit as soon as possible but would first like to make official visits.
more
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