Friday, August 8th, 1997

Football Starts Up; Hokies Ranked #25 in Coaches Poll

On Wednesday, the Hokie freshmen and walk-ons got their introduction to Hokie football and started their conditioning drills. Channel 10 out of Roanoke has done a great job covering the frosh in the last two days, showing clips of 18 and 19 year old kids being dogged by Strength and Conditioning Coach (actually, Assistant AD) Mike Gentry. Some of the more impressive-looking kids on the video clips I've seen are prospective tight end James Lomax and defensive lineman Chad Beasley. They didn't have any quotes from Lomax, but he's a hoss, and I look for him to get some playing time this year, as long as his work ethic is good.

As for Beasley, whose father is former Hokie and Pittsburgh Steeler DL Tom Beasley, he was quoted on the TV clips. He expressed a willingness (heck, even a preference) to redshirt, but he indicated that he would do whatever the coaches told him to do. His team attitude has already made some new Beasley fans out of those who saw the broadcast, including me.

The "old-timers" start practicing with the freshmen today. Physicals will be conducted on Saturday, and then on Sunday, full contact drills will get underway. Beamer is, uh, "beaming" with pride over this class, and I look for them to achieve great things, too, due to the outstanding character of the kids I've seen (Camm Jackson, Chad Beasley, David Pugh, et al). Tech has put together some good recruiting classes the last two years, and hopefully, we'll put together a great one this year and be well on our way to continued success.

Things are kicking into high gear elsewhere, as well. "hokienj" has posted the Rutgers weekend activities over on the message board, for those of you who are going to the game. I'll leave the message and the link up for a while so everyone can make their plans.

The official VT football web site has been updated, with new player profiles and a 1997 outlook. Some of the new graphics look sharp, and I couldn't help but notice that the graphic on the main Football page says "Official Site." Gee, why was the word "official" necessary (heh, heh)? In any event, be sure to check out the player profiles. The main profile page is guaranteed to cause a little eye strain, but the pictures of the individual players are slick (note that pics of the freshmen are not available yet, unless they all look like the Hokie Bird).

In addition to all that, the new coaches poll has been released. The poll is now affiliated with ESPN, instead of CNN, so the name has been changed from CNN/USA Today Coaches Poll to ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. The poll will now premiere each week on Sunday mornings on ESPN, much like it used to on CNN's old Sunday College Football program that ran in the mornings.

The Hokies landed at #25 in the poll, which is about where most people expected us to show up. A few Hokie fans are complaining, but in my opinion, when we can lose as many top players as we did to graduation and still be ranked in the Top 25, well, that's confirmation that the college football world has a lot of new-found respect for the Hokies. Think about it: we lost the top QB in the draft, an All-American defensive end, an NFL-caliber DT, two NFL-draftee DB's, our entire linebacking crew, and three offensive linemen who are in NFL training camps. And still we're ranked.

For the record, the Miami Hurricanes are #14 and the Syracuse Orangemen came in at #16. For you Hoo haters (aren't we all?), UVa came in at #32. WVU was #33. But the most ludicrous item in the entire poll, as a message board poster pointed out, was the 2 votes that Duke got. Folks, we're talking about a team that went 0-11 last year! At least one coach, and (horrors!) maybe two, actually voted for them! The world is a bizarre place, isn't it?

So get psyched, Hokie fans! It's been a long wait, but the season is just around the corner!


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