ACC: Alonzo Tweedy


Heather Dinich talks about the depth the Hokies developed at the linebacker position this spring.

Better D in 2012: FSU or Virginia Tech?

June, 4, 2012
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College football guru Phil Steele picked the Noles to win it all in his preseason Top 40, and he's basing the majority of that prediction on Florida State's defense, which he holds in high regard.

Steele ranked Florida State's defensive line No. 1 in the country in his preseason magazine, and he's got the linebackers at No. 3, and the defensive backs at No. 7.

SportsNation

Which team will have the better defense in 2012?

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    47%
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    53%

Discuss (Total votes: 4,239)

One of the most exciting competitions to watch in the ACC this fall will be between Florida State and Virginia Tech's defenses. Both should be among the best in the country. We will find out which one is better when the two teams meet on Nov. 8 in Blacksburg. I have agreed with Steele, that FSU will have the best overall defense in the conference, but it's going to be close.

The Hokies' defense had a good spring, despite injuries that kept all three starting linebackers off the field. Starting mike linebacker Bruce Taylor was out along with starting backer Tariq Edwards. Starting whip linebacker Jeron Gouveia-Winslow saw only very limited time while still nursing his foot injury. That meant more reps for Jack Tyler (mike), Chase Williams (backer), Alonzo Tweedy (whip) and newcomer Ronnie Vandyke (whip).

Also during the spring, Virginia Tech's defensive coaches switched the secondary around with cornerbacks Detrick Bonner and Kyshoen Jarrett moving to the safety spots and safety Antone Exum moving to corner. Exum excelled and will now team with Kyle Fuller as the corners. Bonner was a natural at free safety and impressed the coaches this spring. Jarrett is still progressing but will take over at rover.

Steele ranked Virginia Tech's defensive line No. 8 in the country, the linebackers No. 16, and the defensive backs No. 18.

Florida State and Virginia Tech are likely to be the frontrunners to win their respective divisions this year and we could see a repeat of the 2010 ACC title game. If defense wins championships, which one will come out on top? Cast your vote now for who will have the best defense in the ACC.
Early in the regular season, Virginia Tech’s defense had already lost starting outside linebacker Jeron Gouveia-Winslow and starting defensive tackle Antoine Hopkins to season-ending knee injuries. Starting defensive end James Gayle had missed a couple of games, along with starting cornerback Jayron Hosley.

Just when it seemed it couldn’t get much worse, Virginia Tech lost linebacker Bruce Taylor – arguably the leader of the defense and the unit’s best player - to a season-ending mid-foot sprain. In a span of four games, the Hokies had lost three starters.

“That’s when you said, ‘Man, enough is enough,’” defensive coordinator Bud Foster said. “We haven’t had as many injuries on the defensive side in, I don’t know, forever, the 25 years I’ve been here.”

[+] EnlargeLuther Maddy
James Lang/US PresswireLuther Maddy, here bringing down Virginia QB Michael Rocco, is among the true freshmen contributing to Virginia Tech's improved defense.
And yet in spite of it all, with two true freshmen in the two-deep at defensive tackle, Virginia Tech enters the Allstate Sugar Bowl against Michigan with one of the nation’s top defenses. And the Hokies are going to need it. Those who have paid close attention to Virginia Tech’s defense under Foster would probably agree that this has been one of the best coaching jobs of his career. Not only did the Hokies make dramatic improvements from 2010, but they also did it with a young, inexperienced lineup forced into action because of injuries. Now they have to maintain that success against one of the nation’s top quarterbacks in Denard Robinson.

“The most recent guy we’ve probably faced like him was Pat White a few years ago at West Virginia,” Foster said. “I think he’s very similar to that guy. He’s a game-breaker. He’s a big-time athlete. He can beat you running the ball, he can beat you throwing the football. He’s just a dynamic football player, a dynamic athlete. And then he’s got some good skill guys around him to take the pressure off of him.

“He makes people miss in the hole. He jukes him and he’s off for a 40-yard touchdown. Those are things he does … and they’re using him the right way – quarterback sweeps, quarterback powers, quarterback zone play, quarterback draws. They’re doing everything. They’ve adapted to what they have and he’s done it very, very well.”

Then again, so is Foster’s defense.

Last year, Virginia Tech’s defense finished No. 52 in the country in total defense, allowing 361.5 yards per game. This year, the Hokies are No. 13 in total defense, allowing almost 50 fewer yards per game. Last year they were No. 26 in scoring defense. This year they’re No. 8, holding opponents to 17.2 points per game. After putting the No. 64 rushing defense on the field in 2010, the Hokies improved to No. 17 this year, allowing just 107.8 yards per game.

“There’s no question it was a heck of a job,” coach Frank Beamer said. “I think the people we lost, and then the people replacing them – you’ve got two true freshmen defensive tackles – that’s not the place you want a true freshman in there. You want some experience in there. And then I think (cornerback) Kyle Fuller had a tremendous year, but him being able to move around and play some different positions and come through, that made a difference. I think the guys we lost, who we lost, and then to play as well as we have defensively, the championship game was a tough game for us, but up until that point, we really played some fantastic football for what we’ve been through and the injuries we had on our defense.”

For almost the entire Wake Forest game Oct. 15, the Hokies were playing without four opening-day starters, including Hosley (hamstring), and Gayle (ankle), in addition to Hopkins and Gouveia-Winslow.

By the third quarter against Boston College a week later, Virginia Tech was missing those four, plus Taylor and Gouveia-Winslow’s backup, Alonzo Tweedy, who sprained his ankle. Two true freshmen — Luther Maddy and Corey Marshall — have taken over one of the defensive tackle positions on the two-deep. Two redshirt sophomores — Tariq Edwards and Telvion Clark — are holding down a linebacker spot.

“It all goes back to our players and our coaches,” Foster said. “We were a young group, and I’m proud of them. We had an expectation, we talked about how we wanted to get back and play the kind of defense we’re used to around here. We started that back in January. I’m proud of our kids that they stepped up and bought into that and knew that’s what we needed to get back to. I still think we’ve got a lot of room to grow, which is exciting, but then to have the injuries on top of that, and some key players, and to have some young guys step up at various times, it’s been fun to watch.”

Hokies, Michigan succeed by adapting

December, 31, 2011
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Bud Foster, Al BorgesIcon Sports MediaVirginia Tech's Bud Foster and Michigan's Al Borges have benefitted from being flexible.

NEW ORLEANS -- If ever a coach had earned the right to be stubborn about his system, it'd be Bud Foster.

He has coordinated Virginia Tech's defense for the past 16 seasons, and the unit has finished in the top 12 nationally on 10 occasions (the Hokies currently rank 13th in total defense). He has had 34 players drafted in the NFL, 45 different players score touchdowns and at least one player earn All-America honors in all 16 seasons.

The pillars of Foster's defenses -- speed, athleticism, pressure, opportunistic play -- have become synonymous with Virginia Tech's program.

Foster could enter rooms with "My Way" blaring in the background if he wanted to. But he doesn't.

His success isn't tied to stubbornness. He has adapted over time, while maintaining an attacking foundation.

"It's changed a lot but it hasn't changed a lot," Foster said Friday. "We were more of an eight-man front group in the mid-1990s through probably the mid-2000s. You were seeing a lot more two-back offenses at that time. ... We've just tweaked things year in and year out. We're always trying to make it a little better."

Michigan made more than a few tweaks in its offense this year, as coordinator Al Borges integrated some of his pro-style elements while maintaining a spread framework. The results were predictably choppy, but Michigan still scored more points (410) than it did in 2010, when the offense set several team and individual records.

Although Foster has led the Virginia Tech defense since 1995 and Borges had led the Michigan offense only since January, both have benefited from being flexible.

"He's like we have been offensively," Borges said of Foster. "Their defense is ever-evolving."

The next step in the evolution takes place Tuesday night at the Allstate Sugar Bowl, as Virginia Tech's defense and Michigan's offense square off in a fascinating matchup.

Both units faced some obstacles to reach this point. A look at Virginia Tech's defensive depth chart shows seven sophomores and a freshman in the starting lineup. The Hokies were hit particularly hard by injuries this season, losing starters Antoine Hopkins, Jeron Gouveia-Winslow and Bruce Taylor as well as key reserves like Kwamaine Battle.

Despite the losses and the abundance of youth, Virginia Tech maintained its standards on defense, ranking in the top 20 nationally in scoring defense (17.2 ppg), total defense (313.9), pass-efficiency defense (111.8), rushing defense (107.8 ypg) and sacks (2.92 spg).

"[Foster] has enough flexibility," Borges said. "He's been there a long time. That system, although he's got some young players, that system that he has ... they know it. ... You're not teaching every little tiny thing, and you can start dealing more with nuance and things like that. Bud's at that point because he's been there so long."

Borges inherited a more seasoned offense and benefited from a lack of major injuries. His challenge was blending what he had done for decades with personnel suited to a vastly different scheme, particularly junior quarterback Denard Robinson.

"You can see they've done a great job adapting to their talent," Foster said. "But then, there's nothing real fancy about them, either. They're going to line up and hit you in the mouth and be physical."

Virginia Tech must not only contain Robinson on Tuesday night but be wary of Michigan's power game, which features sophomore running back Fitzgerald Toussaint and a big offensive line led by All-America center David Molk.

While the Hokies boast good size at defensive tackle, they're giving up a few pounds elsewhere. Sophomore defensive end J.R. Collins checks in at 240, while outside linebacker Alonzo Tweedy weighs just 189 pounds.

"We obviously have to get off on the football and be physical," Foster said. "That's what [Michigan] is going to do."

Virginia Tech has faced mobile quarterbacks in the past -- former West Virginia star Pat White among them -- and practiced against one the past few seasons in Tyrod Taylor. But linebacker Jack Fuller said Robinson gives the Hokies a look they haven't seen this season.

The closest comparison, according to Tyler, is Clemson's Tajh Boyd, who torched the Hokies in the ACC title game (240 pass yards, 3 TDs).

"But [Boyd's] not much of a scrambler," Fuller said. "He's quick and he can run the ball, but they look for Denard to run the ball. They have set plays for him and that's part of their offense, getting him to run the ball and getting that extra blocker."

Michigan also must adjust to some different elements from Virginia Tech, which doesn't shy away from press coverage and has the athletes to do so.

"It is a challenge," Robinson said. "They have some unique defenses and great athletes."

Added Toussaint: "They are very athletic at every position and play every play with maximum effort."

Virginia Tech's defense and Michigan's offense both should be improved in 2012, as only a handful of players depart each unit.

Both groups will look to use Tuesday night's game as a springboard.

"This is a big step for all of us," Toussaint said.

Greetings from New Orleans

December, 30, 2011
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NEW ORLEANS, La. — Welcome to the football capital of the season, home of the Allstate Sugar Bowl, a Saints game on Sunday, and the BCS national championship. The Hokies took over the Mercedes-Benz Superdome for practice this afternoon, and several of the defensive assistants were made available to the media, along with Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer. All of the coaches were laid-back, in good spirits, and defensive line coach Charley Wiles was particularly entertaining and engaging.

The good news: There haven't been any injuries yet that will sideline any Hokies for Tuesday's game against Michigan. The hard artificial surface is beginning to wear on some of the players, and they're getting adjusted to the indoor lights, but the controlled climate will be good for ...

The bad news: Virginia Tech is down two kickers, and Beamer said today that recent practices haven't provided any answer. And no, Danny Coale won't be receiving, punting, returning punts AND kicking field goals. Starter Cody Journell spent almost a week in jail after felony breaking-and-entering charges, and then one day after he was released, his backup, fifth-year senior Tyler Weiss was sent home on a Greyhound bus for breaking curfew.

Justin Myer is expected to handle the placekicking duties against Michigan, but Michael Branthover is also an option. Myer has a strong leg, but he has struggled with his accuracy. He is 0-for-2 against Virginia Tech. Prediction? If he has to make a choice — go for it or kick a field goal, Beamer might try and goferit when he usually wouldn't in some situations.

The majority of questions today were about how Virginia Tech plans to account for Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson, and it's the key to the game. While the Hokies' defense has spent plenty of time going against former quarterback Tyrod Taylor in practice, defensive backs coach Torrian Gray said Robinson is faster than Taylor, and that nobody on the team could simulate what Robinson does. This will be a big test for a young defense, but Beamer said linebacker Alonzo Tweedy (ankle) is close enough to 100 percent.

"I don’t know that he’s totally 100 percent, but I think he’s close enough that he can be back to the old Tweedy,” Beamer said. “We need that. I think he gives you some options back in there defensively and on our special teams."

Gray said there's been an "edginess" to the Hokies' defense in their bowl game preparations, so it sounds like the guys are ready to redeem themselves from their performance against Clemson, but this will be an even bigger challenge.

Pregame lineup notes: UVa vs. VT

November, 26, 2011
11/26/11
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- A few quick notes on the depth charts for you:

Virginia Tech center Andrew Miller is going to try to play today, according to a school spokesman, despite nagging hip and ankle injuries, but the staff is going to determine it from how he's warming up here and pretty much leave the decision up to him. If Miller can't go, Michael Via will take his place, and he has played sparingly at center. Defensively, outside linebacker Alonzo Tweedy is available, despite a high ankle sprain, and his role will likely be limited to special teams and designated situations on defense. He hasn't practiced a lot recently. Kyle Fuller is expected to start at cornerback instead of Cris Hill.

There are no lineup changes for Virginia.

Injury reports - UNC vs. VT

November, 17, 2011
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Here are the final injury reports for tonight's game:

NORTH CAROLINA

Out

Casey Barth, PK Thigh
T.J. Leifheit, OT Ankle
Matt Merletti, FS Knee
Norkeithus Otis, LB Thigh
Devon Ramsay, FB Knee
Reggie Wilkins, WR Ankle

VIRGINIA TECH

Out for the Season

Kwamaine Battle (knee)
Jeron Gouveia-Winslow (foot)
Antoine Hopkins (knee)
Dyrell Roberts (arm)
E.L. Smiling (wrist)
Bruce Taylor (foot)

Out

David Wang (foot)

Doubtful

Scott Demler (back)
Alonzo Tweedy (ankle)

Bud Foster works magic for the Hokies

November, 17, 2011
11/17/11
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Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster already has a reputation as one of best in the business.

This season, though, he might have officially outdone himself.

If there is one assistant in the ACC this year who would be worthy of an assistant coach of the year title, it would be Virginia Tech's Foster. Not only have the Hokies improved tremendously from a year ago, but they have managed to do it with one of the most injury-laden defenses in the conference. In a span of four games, the Hokies lost three starters:
  • Starting inside linebacker Bruce Taylor was done for the season because of a mid-foot sprain.
  • Starting outside linebacker Jeron Gouveia-Winslow also suffered a season-ending foot sprain.
  • Starting defensive tackle Antoine Hopkins suffered a torn ACL.

For almost the entire Wake Forest game, the Hokies were playing without four opening-day starters, including cornerback Jayron Hosley (hamstring), and defensive end James Gayle (ankle), in addition to Hopkins and Gouveia-Winslow.

By the third quarter against Boston College, Virginia Tech was missing those four, plus Taylor and Gouveia-Winslow's backup, Alonzo Tweedy, who sprained his ankle. Two true freshmen -- Luther Maddy and Corey Marshall -- have taken over one of the defensive tackle positions on the two-deep. Two redshirt sophomores -- Tariq Edwards and Telvion Clark -- are manning a linebacker spot.

And yet here they are, heading into the North Carolina game tonight with the nation's No. 8 scoring defense, No. 7 pass efficiency defense, No. 11 total defense, No. 13 rushing defense, and being No. 5 in sacks.

It's a Hokie miracle.

"You lose Bruce Taylor, your leading tackler, and two whip guys," said coach Frank Beamer. "Not one, but two, I think they've probably handled it as well as you possibly could. The players keep playing hard and make some plays. But I do think probably Bud and his guys have done a tremendous job there. There is no question about it."

Injury report for Thursday matchup

November, 8, 2011
11/08/11
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Georgia Tech

Questionable:

Tyler Morgan, LS

Out for the season:

Fred Holton, S

Jimmie Kitchen, DL

Lance Richardson, S

Virginia Tech

Out for the Season

Kwamaine Battle (knee)

Jeron Gouveia-Winslow (foot)

Antoine Hopkins (knee)

Dyrell Roberts (arm)

E.L. Smiling (wrist)

Bruce Taylor (foot)

Out

Mark Shuman (knee/ankle)

Alonzo Tweedy (ankle)

David Wang (foot)

Probable

Cody Journell (quad)

ACC injury reports: Week 9

October, 28, 2011
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Here are the latest injury reports from the schools that reported them:

BOSTON COLLEGE

Out
WR Ifeanyi Momah (knee)
DB CJ Jones (knee)
DT Connor Wujciak (shoulder)
TB Montel Harris (knee)
DT Kaleb Ramsey (foot)
DT Dillon Quinn (shoulder)
OG Nate Richman (back)
LB Kevin Pierre-Louis (leg)
DE Dan Williams (leg)

Doubtful
DT Conor O’Neal (illness)

Questionable
WR Bobby Swigert (shoulder)

CLEMSON

Out
Joe Gore, DE, Knee
Spencer Benton, PK, shoulder
Tony Steward, LB, Knee

Questionable
Andre Ellington, RB, ankle
Note: D.J. Howard will start at running back.

DUKE

Probable
WR Brandon Braxton (head)
S Matt Daniels (leg)
OG Dave Harding (leg)
QB Sean Renfree (leg)

Questionable
DE Justin Foxx (leg)

Doubtful
CB Johnny Williams (leg)

Out
S Lee Butler (leg)
QB Brandon Connette

Out for season
TE Jack Farrell (leg)
DE Kenny Anunike (leg)

FLORIDA STATE

Out
Andrew Datko (shoulder)
David Spurlock (knee)
Henry Orelus (head)
Moses McCray (knee)
Darious Cummings (hand)
Willie Haulstead (head)
Josh Gehres (knee)

Doubtful
Rashad Greene (ankle)

Out for season
Jacobbi McDaniel (ankle)
Chris Thompson (back)

GEORGIA TECH

Out
Jay Finch, C
Tyler Morgan, LS

Out for season
Fred Holton, S
Jimmie Kitchen, DL
Lance Richardson, S

MARYLAND

Out for season
WR Tyrek Cheeseboro
OL Andrew Gonnella
DB Avery Graham
LB Garrett Lederman
DB Matt Robinson
DL Isaiah Ross
TE Dave Stinebaugh
LB Kenny Tate

Out
WR Kevin Dorsey
OL Justin Gilbert
DB Jeremiah Johnson;

Doubtful
DL Justin Anderson

Questionable WR/PR Tony Logan
DL Andre Monroe

Probable
OL Max Garcia

NORTH CAROLINA

Out
Casey Barth, PK Thigh
Sean Fitzpatrick, TE Concussion
Kiaro Holts, OT Wrist
Matt Merletti, FS Knee
Devon Ramsay, FB Knee
Reggie Wilkins, WR Ankle

Questionable
Curtis Byrd, RB Knee
T.J. Leifheit, OT Ankle

Probable
Cam Holland, OC Back
Dwight Jones, WR Thigh
Kevin Reddick, LB Chest

NC STATE

Out for season
Jarvis Byrd, CB - knee
Mustafa Greene, HB - foot
Sterling Lucas, LB - knee

Out
Brandon Pittman, LB - leg
Taylor Gentry, FB - foot
Jake Kahut, DE - knee
Jeff Rieskamp, DE - shoulder
Thomas Teal, DT - foot

VIRGINIA TECH

Out for season
Kwamaine Battle (knee)
Jeron Gouveia-Winslow (foot)
Antoine Hopkins (knee)
Dyrell Roberts (arm)
E.L. Smiling (wrist)
Bruce Taylor (foot)

Out
Mark Shuman (knee/ankle)
Alonzo Tweedy (ankle)
You are going to argue about this. How do I know? Because I'm still arguing with myself over it ...

[+] EnlargeLuke Kuechly
Michael Tureski/Icon SMILuke Kuechly leads a deep group of Boston College linebackers.
1. Boston College: Luke Kuechly is one of the best in the country, but he’s not alone. The Eagles also have Kevin Pierre-Louis, who ranked second nationally among all freshmen in tackles per game last season with 7.15 -- ninth in the ACC. It won’t be easy to replace Mark Herzlich, on or off the field, but Steele Divitto played in 11 games last season, and Nick Clancy and Will Thompson both saw time on the second team.

2. Florida State: The Noles had to replace two starters, including Kendall Smith, the team’s second-leading tackler, last season, and Mister Alexander, but the upcoming talent could be even better. Nigel Bradham led the team with 98 tackles and five pass breakups last season, and Christian Jones, Jeff Luc, Telvin Smith and Vince Williams will also be competing for playing time.

3. Miami: Sean Spence, who has 30 career starts, should be one of the best in the country, and Ramon Buchanon, another senior, also returns. The Canes have five other linebackers with experience in Kelvin Cain, who started seven games, Jordan Futch, who had a great spring and will see the field, Tyrone Cornelius, Shayon Green and C.J. Holton.

4. North Carolina: Kevin Reddick, who led the Tar Heels with 74 tackles last season, returns for his third season as starter. Zach Brown is also a returning starter with game-changing capabilities, and there is plenty of depth with Dion Guy, Darius Lipford, Ebele Okakpu and Herman Davidson. Junior college transfer Fabby Desir could also have an impact.

5. NC State: Audie Cole and Terrell Manning have combined for 39 career starts, and Cole fared well this spring moving to the middle to replace Nate Irving. With the return of Sterling Lucas, Dwayne Maddox and Colby Jackson, there is plenty of experience, but not quite as much depth as some other programs.

6. Georgia Tech: The Jackets return both starters in Steven Sylvester and Julian Burnett. There is no shortage of depth with Jeremy Attaochu, Quayshawn Nealey, Brandon Watts, Albert Rocker, Malcolm Munroe and Daniel Drummond.

7. Clemson: This group has a lot of potential, especially if true freshmen Tony Steward and Stephone Anthony make an immediate impact. There’s no question they’ll be given a chance, but the Tigers already have a good group with Corico Hawkins, Quandon Christian and Jonathan Willard.

8. Virginia Tech: It seems like this rotation has been in flux for a while now. The Hokies’ leading tackler returns in Bruce Taylor, Barquell Rivers had 96 tackles as a starter in 2009 but was injured last season, and there are several young players adding to the competition. Chase Williams, Tariq Edwards, Telvion Clark and Jack Tyler are only a few. Whip linebacker Jeron Gouveia-Winslow will have to earn his spot back over Alonzo Tweedy, Dominique Patterson and Nick Dew.

9. Maryland: The Terps were hit hard here with the losses of Alex Wujciak (381 career tackles) and Adrian Moten (14.5 career sacks). Demetrius Hartsfield returns with 20 career starts, and there are four lettermen returning including Darin Drakeford, Isaiah Ross, David Mackall and Bradley Johnson.

10. Wake Forest: Kyle Wilber’s move to outside linebacker will give this position a boost, as he led the Deacs with 14.5 tackles for loss and six sacks last season. His backup is Gelo Orange (22 tackles). The Deacs also have Tristan Dorty, Joey Ehrmann, Mike Olsen, Scott Betros, Riley Haynes and Justin Jackson.

11. Virginia: Starters LaRoy Reynolds and Ausar Walcott both return, but neither has started more than 11 career games. Junior Steve Greer has prior starting experience but played mainly as a reserve last season. Adam Taliaferro, Conner McCartin, Tucker Windle and LoVante Battle are also in the mix for playing time.

12. Duke: Kelby Brown is the lone returning starter, but he’s a promising young player who led the nation last season as a freshman in fumbles recovered. He missed spring ball while recovering from a knee injury, but is expected to start with Tyree Glover or Kevin Rojas.
Tags:

Boston College Eagles, Duke Blue Devils, Virginia Tech Hokies, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, North Carolina Tar Heels, Clemson Tigers, Florida State Seminoles, North Carolina State Wolfpack, Maryland Terrapins, Virginia Cavaliers, Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Miami Hurricanes, ACC, Jeron Gouveia-Winslow, Vince Williams, Kevin Reddick, Barquell RIvers, Sterling Lucas, Herman Davidson, Tristan Dorty, Steven Sylvester, Demetrius Hartsfield, David Mackall, Jordan Futch, Adrian Moten, Ramon Buchanon, Terrell Manning, Tariq Edwards, Sean Spence, Malcolm Munroe, Kendall Smith, Nigel Bradham, Darin Drakeford, Alonzo Tweedy, Bruce Taylor, Zach Brown, Gelo Orange, Nate Irving, Dwayne Maddox, Steve Greer, Audie Cole, Nick Clancy, Mark Herzlich, C.J. Holton, Colby Jackson, Alex Wujciak, Will Thompson, Tyree Glover, Luke Kuechly, Shayon Green, Ausar Walcott, Julian Burnett, LaRoy Reynolds, Joey Ehrmann, Christian Jones, Kevin Pierre-Louis, Daniel Drummond, Kevin Rojas, Corico Hawkins, Brandon Watts, LoVante Battle, Quandon Christian, Justin Jackson, Chase Williams, Jonathan Willard, Telvion Clark, Kelvin Cain, Riley Haynes, Darius Lipford, Mister Alexander, Kelby Brown, Jack Tyler, Telvin Smith, Stephone Anthony, Tony Steward, Fabby Desir, Dominique Patterson, 2011 ACC position rankings, 2011 ACC summer position rankings, Bradley Johnson, Steele Divitto, Tyrone Cornelius, Ebele Okakpu, Kyle Wisber, Mike Olsen, Scott Betros, Jeremy Attaochu, Quayshawn Nealey, Albert Rocker, Isiah Ross, Adam Taliaferro, Conner McCartin, Tucker Windle

Virginia Tech injury update

August, 25, 2010
8/25/10
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Virginia Tech wide receiver Xavier Boyce and linebacker Lorenzo Williams underwent MRIs on Tuesday night at Montgomery Regional Hospital in Blacksburg to evaluate the injuries they sustained in Saturday's scrimmage.

Williams tested positive for a Lisfranc sprain in his right foot and is tentatively set to have surgery next Thursday. He is expected to miss the season.

Boyce's MRI revealed a grade 2 MCL sprain in his left knee and no surgery is required. He is expected to miss four to six weeks.

While this obviously isn't good news, they are both injuries the Hokies can overcome. Virginia Tech is five deep at wide receiver -- six if you count redshirt sophomore Austin Fuller. Boyce probably would've been No. 4 or 5 on the depth chart.

Williams was a backup at the whip linebacker position, where there's not a lot of depth. Having Alonzo Tweedy back from his groin injury will be helpful, as he's the No. 2 there now. There's a little more depth with the return of Zach Luckett, but he's still not 100 percent from his knee injury.

So ... heading into the Boise State game, the only two starters still hampered by injuries are linebacker Barquell Rivers, who is doubtful for the opener, and offensive lineman Nick Becton, who is still nursing his turf toe and hasn't practiced much lately.
Virginia will show off its new 4-3 defensive scheme during Saturday’s spring game.

Ryan Norton, one of South Carolina’s top defensive prospects, has Georgia Tech in his top three.

Alonzo Tweedy continues to audition for the whip linebacker role for Virginia Tech.

The pressure is on North Carolina senior quarterback T.J. Yates with the Tar Heels' spring game on national television.

Maryland gets its fifth commitment after wide receiver Marcus Leak made his pledge.
Virginia Tech is the final ACC team to open spring practice, and you could say the best comes last.

Just don't tell that to Hokies head coach Frank Beamer.

Virginia Tech likely will be a preseason top-10 team and a popular choice to win the league for the third time in the past four years. Beamer's bunch is absolutely loaded at running back with Ryan Williams and Darren Evans. The Hokies also bring back ACC pass efficiency leader Tyrod Taylor and several solid defenders.

It's a strong group, but Beamer has no plans to sit back and relax this spring.

"Any time you're talking about top 10, and you're talking about replacing both kickers, that's a concern ...," Beamer told reporters Monday. "I think the talent level is good. It's just you've got some young guys there."

What are some key areas to watch as Virginia Tech opens spring drills? Here's a quick look:

  • Position changes: Virginia Tech has several of them, most notably Josh Oglesby moving from running back to fullback and Jake Johnson moving from linebacker to defensive end. The Hokies don't normally feature their fullbacks but could look to do more with Oglesby, a highly touted prospect buried on the depth chart.
  • Running back: The Hokies know they have a great option in Williams, but they'll be closely watching how Evans responds this spring after missing all of last season with a torn ACL. Beamer expects Evans to push Williams for the starting job, but you never know how players respond to major knee injuries.
  • Specialists: As Beamer mentioned, both the starting kicker and punter jobs are open after the departures of Matt Waldron and Brent Bowden. Several players are in the mix at kicker, including Chris Hazley and Justin Myer, while Brian Saunders is expected to step in at punter. Special teams are a huge deal at Virginia Tech, so plenty of eyes will be on these two competitions.
  • Defense: Virginia Tech loses seven starters, including three along the defensive line and All-ACC linebacker Cody Grimm. In addition, linebacker Barquell Rivers is out for the spring following quadriceps surgery. Alonzo Tweedy, Jeron Gouveia-Winslow and Lorenzo Williams are in the mix to fill Grimm's spot at outside linebacker. The Hokies need to build depth along the line and especially at the end spots, where Chris Drager and Steven Friday try to nail down starting spots.

Virginia Tech's mini-scrimmage report

April, 8, 2009
4/08/09
7:19
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

This scrimmage report just came in from Virginia Tech's sports information office:

Tyrod Taylor's 65-yard touchdown run and Eddie Whitley's 61-yard interception return for a touchdown highlighted the Virginia Tech's 40-play mini scrimmage Wednesday afternoon on the practice field.

Taylor attempted only two passes and ended up with 67 yards rushing. Darren Evans carried the ball three times for 28 yards while Ryan Williams carried it five times for 12 yards. Josh Oglesby had six carries for 27 yards.

Below are some quick stats from the scrimmage for the leaders. Tech will hold its first formal scrimmage Friday afternoon, rain or shine, in Lane Stadium. Stretching will start at 4:30 and the scrimmage is open to the public.

Rushing
Taylor -- 5 rushes, 67 yards, TD (65 yard TD run)
D. Evans -- 3 rushes, 28 yards

Passing
Ju-Ju Clayton -- 3-8, 26 yards, INT

Receiving
Dyrell Roberts -- 2 rec., 16 yards

Defense
Alonzo Tweedy -- 3 tackles
Jeron Gouveia-Winslow -- 1 tackle, 1 INT, 1 PBU
Nekos Brown -- 1 sack
Jake Johnson -- 1 tackle, 1 FR
Eddie Whitley -- INT for TD

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