ACC: Brandon Dillard

Virginia Tech injury report

November, 3, 2009
11/03/09
5:00
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Here's the report for the Hokies' Thursday night game against East Carolina:

Out for Season

Darren Evans (ACL)

Probable

John Graves (ankle)

Doubtful

Beau Warren (knee)

Out

Brandon Dillard (ankle)

Thursday night injury reports

October, 28, 2009
10/28/09
9:30
AM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Here are the injury reports for Thursday night's game between Virginia Tech and North Carolina:

NORTH CAROLINA

Out
  • AJ Blue TB/QB Knee
  • Carl Gaskins OT Knee
  • Matt Merletti S Knee
  • Trevor Stuart DS Knee
  • Jamal Womble TB Wrist
Doubtful
Questionable
Probable
  • Jonathan Cooper OG Ankle
  • Lowell Dyer C Shoulder
  • Linwan Euwall LB Ankle
  • Kyle Jolly OT Ankle
  • Zack Pianalto TE Concussion
  • Devon Ramsay RB Knee
  • E.J. Wilson DE Thigh
VIRGINIA TECH

Out for Season
Probable
  • John Graves (ankle)
Out

ACC injury reports: Week 7

October, 16, 2009
10/16/09
9:00
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich


BOSTON COLLEGE

OUT FOR SEASON

LB Mark Herzlich (illness)

FOR NC STATE GAME

WR Ifeanyi Momah (knee) – OUT

TE Jordon McMichael (hip) – DOUBTFUL

LB Will Thompson (shoulder) – DOUBTFUL

FB James McCluskey (Achilles) – QUESTIONABLE

FS Okechukwu Okoroha (leg) – PROBABLE

DT Austin Giles (back) – PROBABLE

CB Roderick Rollins (Leg) – PROBABLE

DE Alex Albright (ankle) – PROBABLE

DT Damik Scafe (neck/shoulder) – PROBABLE

CLEMSON

I don't have an injury report, but I do have the following lineup changes:

After practice Thursday coach Dabo Swinney announced that Dalton Freeman would start at center. Scotty Cooper will miss the game while still recovering from a concussion suffered at Maryland. Daniel Andrews will move up to second-team strongside linebacker behind Kevin Alexander.

GEORGIA TECH

Out

Kevin Cone, r-Jr., WR (ankle)

Robert Hall, r-Jr., DE (knee)

Questionable

Anthony Egbuniwe, Jr., DE (illness)

Cooper Taylor, So., S (undisclosed)

Out For Season

Kyle Jackson, r-So., LB (foot)

MARYLAND

Out for season:

Tyler Bowen (foot)

Nolan Carroll (leg)

Out:

Travis Baltz (ankle)

Masengo Kabongo (leg)

Da’Rel Scott (wrist)

Questionable:

Bruce Campbell (leg)

Demetrius Hartsfield (hand)

MIAMI

Probable

RB Lee Chambers – Lower Extremity

RB Graig Cooper – Lower Extremity

Doubtful

OL Joel Figueroa – Lower Extremity

Out

FB Patrick Hill – Lower Extremity

DL Josh Holmes – Lower Extremity

WR Aldarius Johnson – Upper Extremity

DL Eric Moncur – Lower Extremity

DB JoJo Nicolas – Upper Extremity

DB Randy Phillips – Upper Extremity

Surgery and Out for the Season

DL Dyron Dye – Lower Extremity

DL Marcus Forston – Lower Extremity

LB Jordan Futch – Lower Extremity

TE Richard Gordon – Upper Extremity

LB Shayon Green – Lower Extremity

DE Gavin Hardin – Upper Extremity

DB Ryan Hill – Upper Extremity

DE Adewale Ojomo – Jaw

NC STATE

OUT FOR SEASON

Mario Carter, TE - knee

Ryan Cheek, LB - hip

Denzelle Good, OL - shoulder

Nate Irving, LB - leg

Colby Jackson, FB - knee

Everett Proctor, QB - shoulder

Javon Walker, S - knee

OUT

Jeff Rieskamp, DE – hip

Jesse Riley, DB - knee

VIRGINIA

Out

Javaris Brown (ankle)

Doubtful

Mikell Simpson (neck)

Questionable

none

Probable

Landon Bradley (knee)

BJ Cabbell (ankle)

Patch Duda (flu)

Mike Parker (knee)

Zane Parr (ankle)

Brandon Woods (foot)

VIRGINIA TECH

Out for Season

Darren Evans (ACL)

Probable

Marcus Davis (ankle)

Mark Muncey (knee)

Sergio Render (pec strain)

Eddie Whitley (ankle)

Ryan Williams (illness)

Out

Brandon Dillard (ankle)

Ranking the ACC units: Wide receivers

July, 15, 2009
7/15/09
5:01
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Tuesday we broke down the quarterbacks in the ACC, so let's figure out who the best targets are in the conference:

1. Miami -- No doubt this is the deepest group in the ACC, and it comes with a wide range of abilities. Seven freshmen were introduced last season, and five of them -- Travis Benjamin, LaRon Byrd, Aldarius Johnson, Thearon Collier and Davon Johnson -- scored touchdowns. Both Tommy Streeter (wrist surgery) and Kendall Thompkins (shoulder surgery) redshirted last year but should be factors this fall. Leonard Hankerson, a junior, is the veteran of the group.

2. Maryland -- The Terps had nine different scholarship wideouts show promise this spring, so replacing Darrius Heyward-Bey should be a smooth transition. Quintin McCree was the star in the spring game, but all of them have had their moments and should excel in the second season under offensive coordinator James Franklin. Torrey Smith and Ronnie Tyler should build upon last year's success, especially with a veteran quarterback throwing to them in Chris Turner.

3. Virginia Tech -- There are plenty of talented options here, but this was a young group a year ago and it's still a young group. The Hokies have something to prove on offense, and this is the year to do it. They started to turn the corner in the last two or three games of 2008 and can build on that momentum. Jarrett Boykin, Xavier Boyce, Danny Coale, Dyrell Roberts, Brandon Dillard ... depth should not be a problem. Boykin earned eight starts as a true freshman and was second with 30 receptions.

4. Boston College -- When the Eagles figure out who their quarterback is, he'll have dependable options to throw to. Rich Gunnell caught a team-high 49 passes and four touchdowns with 551 yards last year. He also returned punts and brought one back 65 yards for a score against Virginia Tech. Justin Jarvis caught 25 passes for 274 yards and three touchdowns last season and will work for the other starting job. Ifeanyi Momah will look to prove that he can be more than just a situational receiver while Clarence Megwa is working to return in the fall after suffering a devastating leg injury against Clemson last season.

5. NC State -- Jarvis Williams and Owen Spencer are ready to elevate their games as redshirt juniors, and now have one season as starters to build upon. Their chemistry with Russell Wilson should be better and they were No. 3 in the ACC in passing offense a year ago. Williams caught 26 passes for 432 yards and four touchdowns in 2008. Spencer could be a big-play threat if he cuts down on the dropped balls.

6. Clemson -- Jacoby Ford and ... Jacoby Ford. He's one of the fastest athletes in the country and will likely be the best solo receiver in the ACC, but he'll draw all of the coverage until one of his teammates becomes a legitimate concern for opposing defenses. It will be up to Xavier Dye, Marquan Jones and Terrence Ashe to help Ford out.

7. Georgia Tech -- This should be one of the more improved units on the Jackets' roster. It was very thin last year (they started a freshman walk-on at Virginia Tech), but should have better depth this season. Demaryius Thomas should be one of the best wideouts in the conference, and he'll have more help this year with the return of sophomores Tyler Melton and Luke Fisher.

8. Florida State -- It's the Noles' lone question mark on offense, but the cupboard isn't completely bare, and Christian Ponder has plenty of confidence in the players who are there. Louis Givens, Jarmon Fortson and Bert Reed. If Taiwan Easterling heals from his Achilles injury and they get their suspended players back, this group could impress.

9. Wake Forest -- The Demon Deacons have to replace D.J. Boldin, but they've got enough players that the depth and speed should actually improve overall. Chris Givens and Terence Davis, both redshirts last year, impressed the staff this spring. They'll team with Devon Brown, Marshall Williams and Jordan Williams.

10. Duke -- Zero seniors. Not a good sign for a team trying to win more than one ACC game. It's not like the cupboard is bare, though. The Blue Devils will be led by sophomores Johnny Williams and Donovan Varner, who had six catches for 116 yards in the spring game. Williams finished second on the team last year with 30 catches for 327 yards. Freshmen Conner Vernon, Corey Gattis and Tyree Watkins could all push for playing time.

11. North Carolina -- The Tar Heels took a huge hit in this department and it's obviously their biggest concern heading into summer camp. It's not like they don't have players ready and willing to start, but there's nothing that can compensate for game experience, which only Greg Little has. The next most experienced receiver is Rashad Mason, who played in the Rutgers game.

12. Virginia -- The Cavaliers lost their top four receivers from last year, and coach Al Groh didn't notice that "go-to guy" yet this past spring. Sophomore Jared Green leads the returnees with 12 catches for 144 yards a year ago. Kris Burd caught seven passes as a redshirt freshman last year, and the expectations are obviously higher now.

ACC's lunchtime links

April, 7, 2009
4/07/09
12:40
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Things just aren't looking good for the Florida State receivers. In Monday's scrimmage, though, Bert Reed played like he's going to have to this fall, and Jimbo Fisher was pleased with the offense.

While FSU is losing receivers, Virginia Tech is getting them back. Here's a video clip of Brandon Dillard, who was sorely missed last year.

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson thinks Marcus Wright can help the Jackets at A-back this fall. The AJC gives you the scoop on six redshirt freshmen at Georgia Tech who could also have an impact this fall.

Clemson first-year defensive coordinator, Kevin Steele, is already thinking outside the box with the Tigers' linebackers.

Speaking of linebackers, Duke's Vincent Rey wasn't highly recruited, but he's made a name for himself nonetheless.

Patrick Stevens of the Washington Times did a Q&A with the Terps' new special teams coordinator and tight ends coach, Charles Bankins.

Sneak peek at the Hokies in '09

March, 30, 2009
3/30/09
4:00
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Virginia Tech opens practice at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, and coach Frank Beamer had a teleconference on Monday to answer a few questions about the 2009 season. I'll have more on the Hokies eventually, but here are a few quick highlights:

• The status of receiver Zach Luckett (a projected 2008 starter who was suspended indefinitely last August) has not changed.

Ju-Ju Clayton is listed as the No. 2 quarterback behind Tyrod Taylor, but Beamer said tight end Greg Boone needs some reps at quarterback this spring. Beamer isn't quite sure yet how the reps will be divided this spring. Freshman Marcus Davis is another candidate, and he'll start at quarterback full time instead of receiver.

• The following players will miss spring practices with injuries: Cam Martin, Sergio Render, Andre Smith, Jason Worilds, Randall Dunn, and Kenny Lewis. Davon Morgan will have limited work, and won't do any full-speed hitting this spring. The good news? Brandon Dillard is back and expected to be full speed.

• John Graves' move from defensive tackle to defensive end is a long-term move. "The fact is we need another defensive end or two to show up," Beamer said. "We're going to see how that works this spring."

• Stephan Virgil moved from field corner to boundary corner to replace Macho Harris. "I think Stephan is the guy that's played in a lot of ball games, really came along, played well last year," Beamer said. "He follows a couple of pretty good guys that's been in the boundary corner, and he's in the same group."

• Barquell Rivers has the inside track at inside linebacker, but Beamer said the position is "wide open."

Inexperience secondary to expectations at Virginia Tech

December, 2, 2008
12/02/08
3:37
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

The fact that Virginia Tech won the Coastal Division again is not surprising. They were picked by the media in July to win it and they did. It's HOW they won it that was shocking -- with the youngest, most inexperienced roster coach Frank Beamer can remember.

The Hokies had to replace 13 players from last year's ACC championship roster who were either drafted by the NFL or signed as free agents. Their top four receivers? Gone. Seven starters on defense? Gone. We're talking a total of 6,139 career receiving yards, 43 touchdowns, 59 sacks, 32 interceptions and 153.5 tackles for loss.

Gone.

They're numbers that have been overshadowed this season by one -- Virginia Tech's 103rd-ranked offense.

It's a miracle they're not 119th, considering the inexperience the Hokies have relied upon at the skill positions this season.

"We may not always play well, but I think we play hard," coach Frank Beamer said. "We're trying hard."

Of the projected 66-player dress squad for Saturday's ACC championship game against Boston College, 15 are redshirt freshmen, five are true freshmen, and one is a sophomore. Five of them -- flanker Danny Coale, split end Jarrett Boykin, tailback Darren Evans, right tackle Blake DeChristopher and quarterback Tyrod Taylor -- are starters.

"We've had to do some coaching here, but I've enjoyed the players and their attitude, how they work," Beamer said. "This is just a very gratifying, very thankful time, that we're able to get back to the championship game with all the things this football team has been through. Yeah, I think it does mean more to you, when it's hard like that."

Virginia Tech had nine season-ending injuries, including two that affected the offense significantly. Starting tailback Kenny Lewis Jr. and starting receiver Brandon Dillard both ruptured their Achilles, forcing underclassmen into key roles.

The inexperience at wide receiver caused inconsistency at quarterback. Without veteran hands to throw to, embattled quarterback Sean Glennon didn't look like as poised and productive as he did last season, when he won the MVP award in the ACC championship game.

"Very seldom do you have that much inexperience at one position," Beamer said of his receivers. "I wouldn't want a secondary full of freshmen. When you get all freshmen at that position, I just think it's hard. I like playing young guys, I like playing freshmen, but I like a couple of seniors around them, too. We haven't had that luxury there at wide receiver, but I think they're better now than they were when we started the season."

And without consistent play from the offensive line, shifty quarterback Taylor couldn't always get out of jams with his feet, and Evans was often stifled. The lack of playmakers was evident from the start, which is why Beamer decided to redshirt Taylor and bench Glennon.

Aside from cornerback Victor "Macho" Harris, there isn't really a nationally-recognized player on the roster, but it is stocked with future talent.

"We don't have a lot of name guys," Beamer said, "but I think we have a lot of hard-working guys."

The Hokies expect to play for the ACC championship. It's a trait that has become inherent in the players they recruit.

"We want to recruit kids that come here with the idea of winning championships, and most of our kids do," Beamer said. "I think we also know how fortunate we are to be in this ball game. With the scheduling we had, which I think is the toughest in some time, and young kids all at the same position, and then a couple key injuries we got, I think it's really a credit to our coaches and players that we're in this ball game this particular year."

After losing to Miami, the Hokies had no choice but to beat Duke and rival Virginia. They barely escaped both opponents.

"I knew if we just kept playing hard, kept practicing and keep our faith, I knew things would work out in our favor and it did," said defensive end Orion Martin. "We're happy to be here and we're going to take advantage of it.

"This one is more exciting. This year was a little different. We had a young team, and so many injuries and so many setbacks during the year that to finally fight through all of it and have the chance to play for the championship makes the ride even more enjoyable."

Martin, a fifth-year senior, said he's excited about the future of the program he'll leave behind.

"We have a great combination of youth and experience," he said. "Next year I think they'll keep going and getting better. We have some good athletic players who are going to help take this program to probably new heights."

After all, it's what's expected of them.

ACC midseason report

October, 15, 2008
10/15/08
11:06
AM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Three things stand out about the ACC at the midpoint of the season: First, the league isn't as bad as it appeared in Week 1. Second, the defenses are dominating and third, it's time for some separation.

The ACC is 32-10 against its nonconference opponents, and Clemson's woes aside, the loss to Alabama seems less damaging when the Crimson Tide is ranked No. 2 in the nation. No, the ACC is not the best BCS conference, but good luck finding one that's more competitive from one through 12. The league has been impossible to predict, from Maryland's losses to Middle Tennessee and Virginia, to Clemson's utter meltdown.

Youth and quarterback changes have overtaken the league, and Florida State seems to be ahead of Miami in the race to resurrect their once-mighty programs. Still, the Seminoles are one of a handful of teams with a chance to win the Atlantic Division.

None of the teams have emerged as clear frontrunners to win the ACC championship. If the title game were played today, Wake Forest and Virginia Tech would be the Tampa-bound teams, and only the Hokies were predicted as preseason favorites. Even Virginia Tech, though, which holds a comfy 2-0 edge over its Coastal Division opponents, has shown its vulnerabilities. Considering how wide-open the league is, it would have been the perfect opportunity for Clemson to take advantage of it.

Instead, teams like North Carolina and Georgia Tech have. Here's a look at how the league has fared so far:

BIGGEST SURPRISE: Georgia Tech. Paul Johnson is two wins shy of bowl eligibility in his first season (two wins are over FCS opponents, and only one counts towards bowl eligibility). Johnson is winning with a new offense, a new defense and one of the youngest rosters in the ACC. The Jackets were picked by the ACC media to finish fourth, and instead are off to their first 5-1 start since 1990.

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: Clemson is easily the biggest bust of the year. Once ranked No. 9 in the nation, the Tigers have since lost three games, their head coach and their offensive coordinator. Injuries to the offensive line made an already tough job even more difficult for assistant coach Brad Scott, and it has had an impact on the entire offense.

MIDSEASON OFFENSIVE MVP: UNC wide receiver Brandon Tate. No, this is not a sympathy vote. He earned it with his ACC-leading 163.7 all-purpose yards per game. Tate finished his injury-shortened career as the NCAA's all-time leader in combined kick return yards with 3,523. Through the first six games, Tate had 376 receiving yards, 305 kickoff return yards, 158 punt return yards and 143 rushing yards.

MIDSEASON DEFENSIVE MVP: Georgia Tech defensive tackle Vance Walker. The spotlight is on Michael Johnson, but Walker has been the top performer on one of the nation's best defensive lines, and is a first-round draft pick. He consistently gets the job done, has six tackles for loss and epitomizes the Yellow Jackets' defense -- underrated.

MIDSEASON COACH OF THE YEAR: Frank Beamer. Few realized just how little the Hokies had to work with this season, and in addition to the depleted roster he started with, Beamer also lost running back Kenny Lewis Jr., safety Davon Morgan, receivers Zach Luckett, Ike Whitaker and Brandon Dillard to suspensions and injuries. He made the right call at quarterback in the face of criticism and has Virginia Tech at the top of the Coastal Division once again.

BOWL BOUND: Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Wake Forest, Florida State, Boston College, Maryland, Clemson, Miami

Virginia Tech injury report

September, 29, 2008
9/29/08
2:30
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Pending Surgeries:
Xavier Boyce (knee)
Davon Morgan (knee)
Bruce Taylor (shoulder)

Out for the Season:
Ron Cooper (ACL)
Marcus Davis (shoulder)
Brandon Dillard (Achilles)
Joe Jones (shoulder)
Kenny Younger (knee)

Whitaker embraces leadership role for Hokies

August, 19, 2008
8/19/08
3:00
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

 
 James Lang/US Presswire
 Although Ike Whitaker has only three career catches, he's the veteran in Virginia Tech's receiving corps.

Virginia Tech wide receiver Ike Whitaker headed for the film room early Tuesday. It's where he and his young teammates have been spending extra time this summer -- long before Brandon Dillard's season ended with a ruptured Achilles, and long before Zach Luckett was suspended indefinitely for a second DUI charge.

"It has nothing to do with Zach," Whitaker said Tuesday. "With or without Zach, we're going to need some of those freshmen to step up regardless, so watching extra film has been key ever since the four seniors left this past season. We try to stay in that film room as much as possible because that's where you get better, and also on the practice field."

Whitaker, who switched from quarterback to split end in the 2007 preseason, caught three passes for 17 yards last season. That makes him the most experienced returning receiver on the Hokies' roster.

And it just hit him.

Still, Whitaker, 21, has embraced his new role -- not just as a wide receiver, but as the leader of the unit.

"I didn't think that was the situation I'd be in, but I've taken it in my hands, trying to get these young guys ready," he said. "We're actually watching extra film now. I am the oldest receiver, I do have the most experience, which is odd, but I've taken it into my hands to try and get these guys ready to stay focused and work hard every day."

Whitaker has certainly done his part -- he dropped 20 pounds this offseason, has gotten faster and has had two good scrimmages. He's still working on knowing his plays and getting out of his breaks. His experience as a quarterback has helped him make the transition to receiver, but it was a move that took some getting used to.

"Playing quarterback you touch the ball every play," he said. "As a receiver, you might not touch the ball the whole drive. It's different from that aspect, but I'm over it now. I'm loving wide receiver. I'm getting better at it. I think I have a future at wide receiver so I'm working hard to help this team and this offense as much as possible."

The Hokies certainly need him to, as this group will now have to depend on a few true freshmen. Whitaker said he's been impressed with Dyrell Roberts, who is starting at flanker now, and flanker Xavier Boyce, another "speedster guy" who can help, along with Jarrett Boykin.

"Those three I feel are going to be in the rotation this year for us and can help us win some games," Whitaker said.

They're going to have to. The departure of the top four receivers from last year's roster, coupled with the absences of Dillard and Luckett, make this one of the most unproven groups of receivers in the ACC.

"We're handling it as a team," Whitaker said. "We've got to stay close regardless of the situation. What's between Zach and coach Beamer is between Zach and coach Beamer. I really have nothing to say about that, but as an offense, we know people are underestimating us and we take that into consideration every time we go out on the field to practice."

Trouble for Hokies

August, 18, 2008
8/18/08
10:58
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

The last thing Virginia Tech needed to lose this summer was another receiver.

Projected starter Zach Luckett has been suspended indefinitely, after being charged with a DUI offense, the Roanoke Times reported this morning.

Here is the school's official non-statement on it:

Virginia Tech football coach Frank Beamer announced Monday that redshirt sophomore receiver Zach Luckett has been suspended indefinitely from the football team due to a violation of team policy.

In making the announcement, Beamer said there would be no further comment on the situation.

Luckett, who is from Mays Landing, N.J., played in all 14 games last season, catching two passes for 15 yards and registering 15 tackles on special teams.

This news increases the odds that Beamer will start a true freshman at flanker this year. Dyrell Roberts was listed at No. 2 on the depth chart. Freshman Xavier Boyce should also compete for the job.

Who's left?

Ike Whitaker, a converted quarterback who has been playing well lately, and Danny Coale, who is listed as the starting split end.

This was a particularly big hit for the Hokies, considering they had already lost Brandon Dillard, who was expected to start at flanker before he ruptured his Achilles. Now, Whitaker is the only receiver left who has caught the ball in a college game.

This was reportedly Luckett's second offense.

We know from Branden Ore's situation that there is only so much Beamer will tolerate -- regardless of how desperate he is for a receiver.

Virginia Tech practice observations

August, 4, 2008
8/04/08
5:51
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

It's a beautiful day here in Blacksburg, Va., and despite losing the winningest class in senior history, Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer took time out of practice to say "Welcome back to Blacksburg" with a smile, a handshake, and a whistle around his neck.

Reporters were allowed to watch practice for the first six periods and I paid particular attention to the quarterbacks, running backs and receivers, although most of this stuff is fundamentals and the depth chart will change on a daily basis.

Keep your eye on No. 19, receiver Danny Coale. The receivers ran routes for two periods and he looked strong, making a diving catch and playing with a no-nonsense attitude. Zach Luckett also looked like he has good height and hands. The receivers started off by working on their blocking skills -- and their pushups.

Receivers coach Kevin Sherman did a basic catching drill where he hit the players in the numbers and there were numerous drops, which resulted in pushups.

"Get your hands up!" barked Sherman.

Marcus Davis dropped the ball and then dropped and did eight.

Ervin Garner got away with four.

Jarrett Boykin did five.

Next to them the DBs worked on recognizing play action with Torrian Gray, who also went over stance and starts with them.

"Don't backpedal outta there!" he yelled.

The quarterbacks practiced their drop-backs and handoffs. Sean Glennon was handing the ball off to Kenny Lewis Jr. and Tyrod Taylor was working with Jahre Cheeseman. A good sign for the running game.

"High and tight, get it tucked!" yelled Billy Hite, associate head coach and running backs coach.

The running backs and fullbacks then practiced catching the ball out of the backfield in zone coverage, with the tailbacks running a swing route and the fullbacks flat routes. Glennon would look for the tight end, see he's not there and then hit Cheeseman.

Poor Brandon Dillard, who will miss the season with a ruptured Achilles. He had to watch it all from the side on his crutches, with a protective boot on his right foot.

"It's kind of hard watching," he said. "I still want to be around and help the young guys."

And there were plenty of young, talented guys out there today looking for a little help.

Players and coaches will be available after practice. Check back later for more.

Three questions for Virginia Tech

August, 4, 2008
8/04/08
12:00
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Since I'm on my way to Blacksburg, Va., for the Hokies first practice of the season, why not start with them:


1. Who is going to emerge as the go-to wide receiver?

Virginia Tech's speed took a hit when Brandon Dillard went down for the season with a ruptured Achilles' heel. Split end Zach Luckett is the most experienced player returning, but he dropped a few passes this spring and needs to earn the trust of the staff. Ike Whitaker, a former quarterback, moved to the top of the depth chart at split end late in the spring, and Danny Coale had his moments, but none of the receivers showed the consistency they need. There are also six freshmen who could factor into the competition.

2. How will Virginia Tech compensate for the loss of seven starters on defense?

This defense reloads under Bud Foster. Orion Martin is the only returning player on the defensive line who started last season, but he had 6.5 sacks and will be the leader of that group. At linebacker, where Vince Hall and Xavier Adibi have to be replaced, there's Brett Warren, who played a big role last year when Hall was hurt. And the secondary is in the capable hands of Victor "Macho" Harris and Kam Chancellor. It's not the starters the coaches are worried about, it's the depth. The Hokies will have to stay healthy.

3. How will the decision to redshirt Tyrod Taylor (or not) affect the chemistry of the team behind closed doors?

Sean Glennon wants to start, and Tyrod Taylor wants to play. You can't fault either of them for wanting the job. Summer camp will determine how the situation unfolds, but if Taylor's skills weren't considered valuable, he wouldn't have played such an important role in helping the Hokies to the ACC title last year. He adds a running dimension to the game and should have a better grasp of the entire playbook because of the significant snaps he got last year.

Hokie hotline: injury report

July, 31, 2008
7/31/08
4:17
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

There are some coaches (Ralph Friedgen) who think giving out injury information is a competitive advantage. In some cases, maybe it is.

Frank Beamer apparently isn't too hung up on that notion.

Remember the new injury release policy the coaches agreed to this season?

Well, Virginia Tech is taking it one step further.

I'm calling the Hokie hotline this season.

Head athletic trainer Mike Goforth couldn't be more accommodating. They've got a number to call (no, I'm not giving it to you) and Goforth will have an injury report -- if there needs to be one -- and a quote about it.

Goforth and his staff will also still be available to talk to during the open portions of practice and immediately following practice to discuss other issues, including rehabilitation methods or other general inquiries, and answer questions as long as they do not pertain to playing status.

Ask almost any reporter and they'll tell you that's just plain nice.

Goforth had the first hotline up at 4 p.m. Thursday in anticipation of Monday's first practice.

Of course I called it:

  • Aaron Brown currently has a shoulder injury and will not be able to participate in the first part of summer camp. He will be evaluated by Dr. Marc Siegel and we will release further information at a later date.
  • Sam Wheeler will be returning from a knee injury from last football season. He will start out in blue [jersey indicating limited contact] until he gets a re-evaluation by Dr. Marc Siegel. This should happen in the first day or two of practice and we anticipate him being cleared for the season.
  • Jahre Cheeseman is cleared following last year's fibula fracture that occurred during the spring.
  • Kenny Lewis is cleared following last year's offseason shoulder surgery.
  • Brandon Dillard is out for the year with an Achilles rupture and a repair by Dr. Siegel.
  • Kwamaine Battle is cleared following offseason shoulder surgery.
  • Clark Crum will be out the first couple days of practice and more will be released on that at a later date.

Now, see, when a program goes so far out of its way to help me get the news to you, there is absolutely no problem following this rule:

As always, injuries at practice can not be reported on in live chats, blogs or reported in any form until the end of practice when Goforth releases the information, either in person to the media, or on the hotline.

Deal.

ACC position battles -- Virginia Tech

July, 24, 2008
7/24/08
2:20
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

We're almost through the entire league as I break down position battles to watch during summer camp. Here's a look at the spots still open in Blacksburg, Va.:

QUARTERBACK -- It's not a matter of who, it's a matter of how many. Will Sean Glennon have sole responsibility, or will he share the spotlight with Tyrod Taylor again? Frank Beamer says we'll find out this fall whether or not it's a redshirt year for Taylor.

CORNER -- Junior Stephan Virgil ended the spring atop the depth chart at the field corner spot opposite Macho Harris. Virgil was behind Brandon Flowers last season at boundary corner and saw most of his time on special teams. Redshirt freshman Cris Hill also has a chance to earn playing time.

PLACEKICKER -- Redshirt senior Dustin Keys is at the top of the chart, and made a 53-yard field goal during a spring scrimmage, but he isn't a lock yet. Tim Pisano, an invited walk-on, and redshirt sophomore Matt Waldron will be pushing him in August, along with several other invited walk-ons.

RUNNING BACK -- Kenny Lewis Jr. and Jahre Cheeseman both suffered serious injuries this spring, but are expected back in time for summer camp. Lewis is the Hokies' most experienced runner (111 career carries, 420 yards and six touchdowns), but Josh Oglesby and Darren Evans both got a lot of reps this spring. There are also high expectations for true freshman Ryan Williams.

WIDE RECEIVER -- Few, if any, receivers possess the speed of walk-on Brandon Dillard, the frontrunner at flanker coming out of the spring, but Dillard will miss the season with a ruptured Achilles. Beamer said the top candidates here are currently Zach Luckett and Danny Coale, but he's got a lengthy list to choose from which is good -- because he's got to replace his top four receivers. Ike Whitaker, Cory Holt, Patrick Terry and several freshmen are all in the mix.

Check back tomorrow for Wake Forest.

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