News With Commentary by TSL Staff

Wednesday, March 26, 2003
by Will Stewart,

Spring Practice Update

The Hokies started spring practice last Saturday, and if you're like us, the steady stream of news about position changes and injuries has got your head spinning. Here's a quick primer on who has moved where, who's sitting out because of injury, and who is pulling ahead in the position battles in the early going.

Note that in the following information, a player's class (freshman, sophomore, etc.) refers to his class status for this fall's 2003 football season.

Position Changes

Offensive Line: Jimmy Martin (So.) has moved to left tackle to replace the departed Anthony Davis. Martin, who split time with Jon Dunn (R-Jr.) last season, has increased his weight from about 270 pounds up to 283.

Will Montgomery (R-So.) switched from backup right guard to left guard, where he is currently listed as a co-first-teamer with Jacob Gibson (R-Sr.).

Several players have moved from defensive line over to offensive line:

  • Brandon Frye (R-Fr.): From DE to offensive tackle
  • Chris Burnette (R-Fr.): From DT to offensive guard
  • Andrew Fleck (R-Fr.): From DT to center
  • Jason Murphy (R-So.): From DT to offensive guard
  • Chris Pannell (R-So.): From DT to offensive tackle

Tight End: No changes, but Jeff King (R-So.) is getting work at the fullback position (see below).

Wide Receiver: The big news here is that cornerback DeAngelo Hall (Jr.) is working with the offense this spring as a wide receiver, specifically flanker (redshirt senior Ernest Wilford holds down the split end position). Hall is listed as the #1 flanker to get maximum practice reps, and so far, reports out of spring practice are raving about his ability. Hall has shown great hands (despite dropping several interceptions last year), and has been staying late to work on his routes. Hall will still play cornerback this upcoming season, but he is currently not listed on the defensive depth chart, as wide receiver is his focus so far this spring.

Tailback: The tailbacks welcome Cedric Humes (R-So.) back, after Humes spent a year at fullback. He is listed as a co-#2 with Mike Imoh (So.), behind Kevin Jones (Jr.).

Fullback: tight end Jeff King is getting work at the fullback position, both to provide depth behind #1 Doug Easlick (R-Sr.)n and to give the Hokies some additional capabilities -- you might see King line up in the slot as an additional receiving threat.

Defensive Line: the depth at the tackle and nose positions has caused the following players to be moved from DT over to OL, as noted above: Chris Burnette, Andrew Fleck, Jason Murphy, and Chris Pannel. In addition, Brandon Frye has been moved from DE to OL.

Linebackers: James Anderson (R-So.) has been moved from the Backer position to Whip, because the Hokie coaches felt he had the physical skills for it, and that he might be more comfortable playing to one side of the field. Anderson is listed as #2 behind Brandon Manning (R-Jr.).

Defensive Backs: Mike Daniels (R-Jr.), who spent the latter part of 2001 and all of 2002 at Whip linebacker, is now back at free safety. Daniels, who weighs 205, was simply not able to put on the weight required to play Whip.

Injury Info

As usual, many Hokies have nagging injury situations right now, but some are more serious. Here's the info on some of the more significant injuries:

DE Jim Davis (Sr.): Davis has a torn pectoral muscle that will be operated on, and he will miss the rest of spring practice. He probably won't be able to participate in the fall, which would cause him to have to redshirt and miss the 2003 season (for more info, see a recent Richmond Times-Dispatch article).

If Davis were to miss the 2003 season, it would not be a total disaster. The good news is that it would space out the personnel losses due to graduation at DE a little bit. Instead of leaving with Nathaniel Adibi (R-Sr.) and Cols Colas (R-Sr.) at the conclusion of the 2003 season, Davis would be back in 2004 to provide experience at the DE position.

If Davis can't come back for 2003, you may see some player movement at the DE spots. The Hokies have two DE positions, "Stud" and "End." They currently have three scholarship Stud ends -- Nathaniel Adibi, Cols Colas, and Noland Burchette (R-Fr.) -- but only two scholarship Ends -- Davis and Darryl Tapp (So.).

If Davis leaves, that will unbalance the depth chart, so don't be surprised to see Adibi move to End, backed up by Tapp, with Colas the #1 Stud, backed up by Burchette. With Tech's rotation of defensive linemen, both Burchette and Tapp would get significant snaps in 2003, and in 2004, Davis could rejoin them, with perhaps incoming recruit Chris Ellis getting playing time as a redshirt freshman in 2004.

The 2004 defensive end depth chart would then feature Davis (R-Sr.), Tapp (Jr.), Burchette (R-So.), and Ellis (R-Fr.). The Hokies would only lose one of those players per year, and can recruit in a more balanced fashion to maintain depth.

DE Cols Colas (R-Sr.): Colas had knee surgery to remove part of a tendon that had tendinitis in it. He will see no contact this spring, but then again, he doesn't need the practice. With Colas out, Noland Burchette (R-Fr.) will get a lot of work.

DT Kevin Lewis (R-Jr.): Lewis is still recovering from surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle last season. He will not participate in contact this spring, but he should be ready to go in the fall.

LB Vegas Robinson (R-Sr.): Robinson injured his ankle last season, and it never really healed, so he'll have surgery on it and miss spring practice. Unlike Davis, Robinson should be fine and ready to go next fall.

OL Tripp Carroll (Fr.): The latest on Carroll is that he has Compartment Syndrome, which causes swelling in his leg and numbness in his foot. The Hokies should know soon if he'll recover and be able to participate in the remaining spring practices. If Carroll has hopes of playing this fall, it's critical that he recover quickly and participate -- spring is the time for learning and player development. There's not much time to teach players in the fall, when game preparation takes precedence over teaching.

Depth Chart Notes

Scanning Monday's depth chart on, here are some of the more interesting observations:

Quarterback: Bryan Randall (Jr.) is listed as #1 over #2 Marcus Vick (R-Fr.). Randall has shown up for spring practice as a better QB than he was last fall, and he continues to improve, which bodes well for the Tech program.

Right Guard (OL): Jim Miller (Jr.) is solidly entrenched as the #1 guy, with former DT Jason Murphy (R-So.) tied at #2 with Brandon Gore (R-Fr.).

Right Tackle (OL): Tripp Carroll (Fr.) is currently listed here (as injured). The coaches have said they would ultimately like him at center, and that they might start him out at guard, but for now, he's listed as a tackle.

Tight End: Jeff King (R-So.) and Keith Willis (R-Sr.) are listed as co-#1's, with Jared Mazetta (R-Jr.) as #2.

Whip Linebacker: Aaron Rouse (R-Fr.), despite receiving much hype from players and coaches alike, is listed as #3 here, behind #1 Brandon Manning (R-Jr.) and #2 James Anderson (R-So.)

Defensive Tackle: Jimmy Williams (Sr.) and Isaac Montgomery (R-Jr.) are not listed as #1's at either position. Williams is #2 behind Tim Sandidge (R-So.), and Montgomery is listed as #2 behind co-#1's Jason Lallis (R-Jr.) and Jonathan Lewis (So.).

Linebacker: Chad Cooper (R-Jr.) is listed as co-#2 at both the Mike and Backer positions, where he is tied with Jordan Trott (R-So.) at Mike and Blake Warren (R-So.) at Backer.

Cornerback: With DeAngelo Hall not being listed, the #1 corners are Vince Fuller (R-Jr.) and Garnell Wilds (R-Sr.). #2 corners are Eric Green (R-Jr.) and Cary Wade (So.).

Free Safety/Rover: As newcomers, Corey Gordon (Fr.) and James Griffin (Jr.) are listed as #3 at FS and Rover, respectively. This spring is critical if both players want to move up and play a key role next fall.


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