Wednesday, December 1, 2004
by Stefan Adams,

Injuries, Injuries ... and More Injuries

As the culmination point arrives for the regular seasons of Miami and Virginia Tech, everyone is looking for where each team can find advantages. The No. 9 Hurricanes and No. 10 Hokies both go into Saturday’s game playing their best football of the season, and any slight advantage gained could be a deciding factor.

Injuries most definitely stand out as a place where Miami and Virginia Tech can alter game plans to try and create mismatches. The Hurricanes have battled through injuries for a large majority for the season. Unfortunately for the Hokies, it appears the injury bug has reared its ugly head in Blacksburg after being dormant much of the season.

Going into Saturday, question marks will be next to some of Tech’s most important players including Mike Imoh, Jimmy Martin, Jonathan and Kevin Lewis and Josh Hyman.

Tech’s No. 1 tailback, Imoh, was used briefly against the University of Virginia last Saturday. Imoh carried the ball just seven times for 22 yards before coming out of the game and giving way to Cedric Humes, who tallied 95 yards on 15 carries. Head coach Frank Beamer said on Tuesday that the team hopes Imoh will be full speed by the end of the week and ready to go against the Hurricanes. The return of Imoh, coupled with the re-discovered confidence of Humes could create a very formidable duo in Coral Gables.

The news is not so positive for one of the tackles that blocks for Tech’s running backs. Junior Jimmy Martin suffered a high ankle sprain during the game against the Cavaliers. Martin continued to play in the game after injuring his ankle, but it was obvious he was playing in pain, and the hobbled Martin was beaten several times off the ball by linebacker Darryl Blackstock.

Martin is listed as questionable this weekend and the coaching staff has expressed great concern for the recovery of the ankle in the limited amount of time before the game. Martin has been limited to crutches and his ankle is in a boot, not allowing him to practice on Monday. If Martin cannot go on Saturday, expect the tandem of Reggie Butler and Brandon Gore to fill in at the left tackle spot. If this is the case, they will need to elevate their level of play to protect the blindside of Bryan Randall.

Also on offense, freshman Josh Hyman will spend the week recovering from a sprained knee suffered against the Cavaliers. In that game, Hyman caught 4 passes for 93 yards and two touchdowns and was later named ACC Rookie of the Week. Hyman is listed as probable and will be worked on a limited basis throughout the week. As the week progresses, expect to hear more positive news about Hyman’s knee and expect him to be ready for the game on Saturday.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Lewis brothers, who spend Saturdays clogging up the middle of the line, are both hampered by hand injuries. The injuries to Jonathan and Kevin are extremely crucial.

Jonathan has a pinky finger that is broken in three different places. The injury may require surgery after the Miami game; the decision depends on the healing of the finger now that it is set back in place. He will be wearing a cast, which does create some concern for the coaching staff, but Beamer sounded optimistic about the situation on Tuesday. Kevin is hampered by a broken bone in his hand, but his situation is not as serious and the coaches are optimistic about him playing against the Hurricanes. Should Kevin and Jonathan be slowed down by their injuries, expect a heavy dose of Jim Davis, Carlton Powell, Tim Sandidge and possibly Kory Robertson.

As for the Hurricanes, they have been riddled with injuries on and off throughout the season. The Canes’ last game was against Wake Forest on November 21, giving them two weeks to heal from recent injuries. Going into Saturday’s game, Miami starters have missed a total of 34 games this season.

A boost for Miami’s defense will be the return of defensive tackle Santonio Thomas to the lineup. Against North Carolina State on October 23, Thomas suffered a sprained knee and has not seen the field since. Since his absence, the average total rushing yards yielded by the Hurricanes has gone up 60 yards.

Miami’s offensive protection continues to be banged up and its situation will not change drastically going into Saturday’s game. Offensive tackle Eric Winston, guard Tyler McMeans, and fullback Kyle Cobia will remain sidelined with various injuries. Also on offense, wide receiver Ryan Moore has been plagued by the injury bug but returned against Wake Forest to catch two passes for 14 yards and a touchdown.

Basketball prepares for UT-Chattanooga

The Virginia Tech men’s basketball team is off to a 3-0 start with wins over Loyola (MD), Maryland-Eastern Shore and William and Mary. The team’s toughest challenge of the first four games of the season will come this Thursday night against the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga.

Most non-college basketball enthusiasts will think I am crazy for saying this is a tough challenge for the Hokies, but it is. The Mocs are 2-1 with their one loss coming in an 84-67 game against Ohio State. I don’t play the “who has played whom” game, so that is not the motivation for saying while UTC will provide a good game on Thursday. It comes down to match ups, and the Mocs will be able bang inside with the Hokies, which will be a good test for what is to come.

The Mocs are anchored by their front count players. UTC’s top four scorers are at least 6-7 — be ready, Coleman Collins and Co. Here are the top four producers for UTC in its first three games this season:

UTC Post Players






15 Katelynas Mindaugas


Sr. Forward



44 Chris Brown


Sr. Forward



50 Charles Anderson


Jr. Forward



34 Matt Malone


Fr. Center



That's productive depth, and there is more height that plays behind these four as well. Missing behind these four is Alphonso Pugh who averaged 11.1 points and 5.2 rebounds per game last season—this year, Pugh is averaging 6.7 points and 3.7 rebounds and is playing 20 minutes per contest. Tech will really have to step up its interior defense to shut down UTC’s inside attack. Players like Allen Calloway could see ample time on the floor in an effort to shut down the Mucs.

UTC is a member of the Southern Conference and CBS Sportsline picked the Mucs to finish in the middle of the pack this season while other analysts think they will be near the top of the division vying for a berth to the NCAA Tournament.

The Hokies will need to be sharp against the Mucs, who are coached by John Shulman in his first season at UTC. Tech must improve its rebounding; they are currently a (-4) in rebounding margin this season.

The cliché “every game is a big game” applies to Virginia Tech basketball this season. The Hokies, who were snubbed from the National Invitation Tournament last year, could find a way into the NIT this season, but must finish at least .500. The chances of this happening are much higher if Tech can win nearly all of its out-of-conference games, including Thursday night’s.

Considering the UTC game on Thursday is a good test to see how the Hokies can handle a team with productive size, a foreshadowing of how the team can handle the big men of Wake Forest, UNC, Duke and others may not be unfair.

Tip-off against the Mocs in Cassell Coliseum is slated for 8pm. The game will be broadcast by Comcast SportsNet (CSN, formerly Home Team Sports).

UVa to Boise, Not Shreveport

Update to yesterday's News and Notes: Virginia's efforts to get an invitation to the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana fell through, and the Cavs instead are ticketed for the MPC Computers Bowl in Boise, Idaho, on Dec. 27th at 2:00 pm. The Cavaliers (8-3) will most likely face Fresno State, also 8-3.

So the ACC bowl picture shakes out like this: Miami and Virginia Tech will go to the BCS and Peach Bowls, depending upon the outcome of Saturday's game; Florida State will take on West Virginia in the Gator Bowl; Georgia Tech will play in the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando; North Carolina will tangle with Boston College in the Continental Tire Bowl in Charlotte; and Virginia will take the MPC Computers Bowl slot.


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