News With Commentary by TSL Staff

Tuesday, August 31, 2004
by Chris James,

With Adibi Out, Hokies Shuffle Linebackers

The biggest news that emerged from Virginia Techís loss to #1 USC on Saturday night was word that redshirt freshman lineman Xavier Adibi is done for the 2004 season after tearing a bicep tendon in his right arm. One of the highest touted recruits that Virginia Tech has ever signed, Adibi redshirted in 2003 to add weight and strength. He was dominant at times during Spring practice as well as August two-a-days, and his loss is a devastating blow to Bud Fosterís defense.

With such a blow dealt this early in the season, the coaching staff has decided to make some moves at the linebacker position. First, starting Mike linebacker Mikal Baaqee will be moved to Backer, which is Adibiís position. Second, the other highly touted redshirt freshman linebacker, Vince Hall, will start at Mike. Blake Warren, who started the USC game at Backer, will backup Baaqee. Brett Warren, a true freshman and Blakeís brother, will backup Hall.

Hall, who was just as highly regarded as Adibi coming out of high school, hasnít received quite the same attention since he actually enrolled at Virginia Tech. He isnít as fast as Adibi, nor does he have the same athletic ability, but he is very strong and has a nose for the football. He played most of the snaps at Mike against USC, despite Mikal Baaqee being the senior starter, so itís easy to see that the coaches donít have a problem at all with throwing him into the starting lineup.

The coaches had several options when deciding what move to make at linebacker after Adibiís injury. They could have continued to let Warren start at Backer, and use Baaqee at both Mike and Backer. They also could have moved James Anderson inside from the Whip linebacker position. In all likelihood, the coaching staff decided against keeping Warren as the starter because they want more speed from the starters as a whole. Warren is solid against the run, but can be taken advantage of when matched up against a running back, as USC proved on Saturday night, on Reggie Bush's 29-yard TD on a wheel route. In the James Anderson scenario, it probably would have been an unwise decision to move Anderson back inside, where he struggled in 2002, when he is just coming into his own at Whip. Anderson is poised to have a breakout year, and the Hokies need his speed and athleticism coming off the edge.

At Backer, Mikal Baaqee wonít be quite as exposed to big lineman as he was in the middle at the Mike position. Baaqee is at his best when he is allowed to run from sideline to sideline, not taking on 320-pound offensive guards.

Tech to Make $1 Million from BCA Classic

In other news, the Hokies will rake in approximately $1 million from the BCA Classic, according to the Roanoke Times. Both USC and Virginia Tech were guaranteed the highest of either $600,000 or 30% of the revenue. With the game being a sellout, both the Trojans and the Hokies will receive 30% each, which is expected to be about $1 million. That is a nice chunk of change for the Hokies to take home, and to make matters even better, they donít have to share it with the ACC, as reported on the Virginia Tech post-game radio show.

Other Notes

  • The Hokies have a light week of practice during the bye week. They will practice on Wednesday and Thursday, taking every other day of the week off. They will begin game preparations for Western Michigan on Monday, Sept. 6.

  • The Hokies played five true freshmen on Saturday night. In alphabetical order they are: kicker Jared Develli, wide receiver Justin Harper, cornerback D.J. Parker, wide receiver Eddie Royal and linebacker Brett Warren.


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