News With Commentary by TSL Staff

Monday, April 9, 2001
by Will Stewart,

Spring Football Update

The Hokies are halfway through their spring scrimmages and a little over halfway through spring practice as a whole. As expected, defense has dominated the scrimmages. Here are scrimmage updates and depth chart notes.

Scrimmage #1 (April 4th)

Scrimmage #1 featured an 89-yard touchdown pass from Jason Davis to Richard Johnson, but little else from the offense. Lee Suggs had 46 yards on two carries, and Davis and Grant Noel combined to go 6-of-19 for 128 yards and one interception.

The defense, on the other hand, had many highlights. Ronyell Whitaker returned the interception of Noel's pass 15 yards for a TD, and the defenders recorded 8 sacks and 3 fumble recoveries. Defensive tackle Kevin Lewis was the leading tackler with five.

Coach Beamer commended the effort and noted that they had just put the offense in, and the defense definitely has the advantage over the offense at this point.

Scrimmage #2 (April 9th)

This scrimmage included four goal-line offense sets, and the offense scored all four times. The ball is placed at the four-yard line to start the set, so it's a real challenge to the defense. Backup fullback Doug Easlick, who is reportedly having a strong spring, scored twice from the one- and two-yard lines, Lee Suggs scored from the four, and Grant Noel threw a four-yard TD pass to backup tight end Keith Willis.

Outside of the goal-line sets, the defense dominated once again. Kevin McCadam, who has been moved from free safety to Rover, picked off Jason Davis and returned it 90 yards for a TD. Backup safety Vincent Fuller also had an interception, and DE Lamar Cobb and safety Billy Hardee led with 5 tackles each. The defense had 10 sacks overall.

On offense, Easlick did well with 12 carries for 50 yards. With that many attempts, the coaches are obviously taking a good hard look at him. Noel and Davis did much better from a completion percentage standpoint, with both of them going 6-14. Noel had 55 yards passing and Davis 91, and each QB had one interception.

Scrimmage #1 Report from
Scrimmage #2 Report from

Depth Chart Notes

A look at the evolution of the depth charts from 2/17/01 to 4/2/01 reveals who has been stepping up in practice and scrimmages.

On the offensive line, there have been some injuries and a lot of player movement, so you can't necessarily draw conclusions about player performance from the depth chart. But one player that you can draw conclusions about is redshirt freshman Jon Dunn. Dunn, who is 6-7, 320 pounds, has done so well that he has moved from the #3 slot at right tackle on the early depth chart to #1 on the latest depth chart.

To be fair, Tim Selmon and Matt Wincek were moved from the 1-2 spots at RT to the 1-2 spots at left tackle. That spot used to belong to Anthony Davis, who has been moved to guard for the spring to cover for some injuries, and ... it quickly becomes clear just how much player movement and injuries have been occurring.  We'll try to sort it out in an article later this week about the offensive line.

Note: after this news and Notes update was posted, a update for 4/9/01 revealed that Davis was back at tackle.

At quarterback, tailback, fullback, and split end, the depth chart hasn't really changed, but at the flanker position, Richard Johnson has moved up from third on the chart to tied for second with Shawn Witten (both of them are behind Andre Davis).

The defensive line remains unchanged (except for injuries sidelining players here and there), but there has been some action at linebacker. At the whip linebacker spot, T.J. Jackson still leads Deon Provitt and Brandon Manning. Jackson received praise from linebackers coach Jim Cavanaugh as being a "pleasant surprise," and Cavanaugh called Manning out as a guy to whom "the game makes sense."

At the Mike linebacker spot, Jake Houseright is out with injury this spring, so the depth chart doesn't include him. Brian Welch holds the top spot ahead of Alex Markogianakis, and it's worth noting that rising redshirt sophomore Chris Buie has fallen from being tied at #2 with Markogianakis to holding down the #3 spot by himself.

Rising redshirt freshman Chad Cooper has been moved from Mike to Backer. Backer is Ben Taylor's spot, and like Houseright, Taylor is out with an injury this spring. The top two Backers are listed as Vegas Robinson (a strength and conditioning marvel) and Mikal Baaqee, with Cooper at #3.

In the defensive backfield, the most significant move since late February has been Billy Hardee moving from the backup Field cornerback slot (behind Ronyell Whitaker) to the starting free safety spot. Willie Pile has been slowed by injury, which is why Hardee is listed at the #1 free safety spot, where he is backed up by rising redshirt freshman Vincent Fuller.

Kevin McCadam is holding down the #1 Rover spot and the buzz is that he's doing very well. His 90-yard interception return for a touchdown doesn't do anything to refute that.

Vick Products to be Rolled Out Tomorrow

Shifting gears now, a press conference will be held Tuesday at 1:30 at Tech Bookstore on Main Street to roll out the first few products that are being produced as a result of last month's licensing agreement between Vick, Octagon Sports (his agency), and the Virginia Tech Licensing Department (see News and Notes for March 9, 2001).

Vick, representatives from Octagon, and Tech Coach Frank Beamer and members of his staff will be on hand to answer questions from the media.

Products, which feature Vick's name, signature, and likeness, will hit the market that day, and will only be available until Sept. 1, 2001. After that date, no other items will be in stores.

Money raised from the sale of the Vick-related products will go toward the university's general scholarship fund.

The VT Licensing Department notes that the public is welcome to attend, but also wanted to note that this is not a scheduled "public appearance" by Vick, and the purpose is not to have him sign autographs. If you do choose to attend, please do not disrupt the proceedings.


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