ACC: Prince Parker
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
Here is a thorough compliation of news, notes and quotes from Virginia Tech's sports information department from Day 1 of practices. There are some good position battles to watch, some position changes, and one key lingering injury. (Again, each school's sports information director is at practice, they're the ones writing these releases, I'm just sharing what is e-mailed to me when they contain interesting or valuable information for fans):
• Tailback Kenny Lewis Jr., was not at practice and will be out indefinitely while trying to recover from a torn Achilles tendon suffered in the Western Kentucky game last season. Lewis has undergone four surgeries for the injury -- two to repair the tendon (which he re-tore while slipping in the shower) and two to clean out an infected wound. According to Mike Goforth, Lewis still plans on trying to play this season.
"I think realistically you're not going to see him out there the first three or four games," Goforth said.
Lewis, a senior from Danville, Va., still could redshirt the season. He played as a true freshman in 2006.
• A lot of attention from the media was paid to David Wilson, one of Tech's highly touted recruits. Wilson, a tailback from Danville, Va., currently sits at No. 4 on the depth chart at tailback, and while he finds himself in a similar situation to Ryan Williams a year ago, he told the media that he desperately wants to play this year, even if it means as only a kick and punt returner (of course, he may have to beat Williams out for those roles).
"Even if things don't work out for me at running back, I still want to do that," Wilson said of the return roles. "I've been playing football ever since I was 8 years old. I can't imagine missing a season, so I'm doing everything I can to get on the field."
• Logan Thomas, arguably the top recruit in the 2009 class, will begin his career at quarterback and received a lot of reps as the third-team guy in Thursday's practice. Thomas threw for 1,500 yards and 20 touchdowns his senior season at Brookville High in Lynchburg, Va., but many projected him as a tight end. Tech's staff wants to see how he fares the next couple of weeks at quarterback first before determining a different position.
"I think he's got the ability to play quarterback," coach Frank Beamer said. "That's what we've got to figure out -- where he is on this team. Is he a second quarterback? He's got height, he's got a good throwing motion, and he's smart. He's got some things going for him. Right now, every period and every practice is important for evaluation. If he's going to be the second quarterback, then maybe we could use him in some H-back stuff and get him involved that way. You could think about him on a lot of special teams, too.
"If you're going to play him, we want to play him a lot."
• A lot of eyes will be on backup quarterback Ju-Ju Clayton in the early going to see if he can progress into a solid No. 2 guy behind starter Tyrod Taylor. As most know, Taylor has been injured each of his first two seasons at Tech, which makes it imperative that the Hokies find a quality backup now that Sean Glennon has departed. Clayton reshaped his body during the offseason, getting his weight down to 208 pounds, and threw the ball well in the first practice.
"I'm more comfortable with the playbook," Clayton said. "I have a better understanding of what we're trying to do. I understand the situation. It's always critical. You've always got to have someone be able to step in there if someone goes down just so the team doesn't lose a beat."
• There weren't many surprises on the opening-day depth chart, but there were a couple. Chris Drager and Nekos Brown were listed as co-No. 1's at defense end. Drager was moved from tight end to defensive end following spring practice.
Also, David Wang, a true freshman, and Richard Graham, a redshirt senior, were listed as co-No. 2's at right guard. Wang, the brother of current offensive tackle Ed Wang, impressed in recent strength testing, bench pressing 400 pounds.
And a few non-practice notes:
• Several players are garnering preseason attention from some major awards early on, with more surely to be recognized later. Sophomore Darren Evans was named to the "Watch List" for the Doak Walker Award, while tight end Greg Boone is a candidate for the John Mackey Award.
• The 105 players reporting for Thursday's opening practice checked in Wednesday and went through the gauntlet of paperwork, heights and weights, physicals, blood work, insurance, parking, etc. The team had an organizational meeting that night in preparation for the first day of practice. The day began bright and early with a wake-up at 7 a.m., breakfast, meetings at 8 a.m., followed by a lift for the varsity squad, lunch, academics for the freshmen, more meetings, practice, dinner, a team meeting and, you guessed it, more meetings. They'll do it all again Friday.
• Once again this year, Beamer will open the three preseason scrimmages to the public in Lane Stadium. The dates are: Saturday, Aug. 15 (3:15-5:30 pm); Saturday, Aug. 22 (2-4:15 pm); and Wednesday, Aug 26 (4:45-7 pm). As always, no video taping devices of any kind are allowed inside Lane Stadium during these scrimmages. All other Virginia Tech practices are closed to the public.
• Saturday's practice will be a little earlier than normal as Beamer will hustle off the field and catch a flight to Canton, Ohio for Saturday night's NFL Hall of Fame Ceremony, as former Hokie Bruce Smith will be inducted as part of the Class of 2009.
• The team will once again help with on-campus move-in this preseason as the players will work in groups to help haul luggage, fans, beds, TVs and whatever else the students bring up to their dorms on Friday, Aug. 21 in the morning. They'll have a team picnic for lunch and then practice that afternoon.
• The team will be in helmets and shorts again tomorrow (Friday), will go to helmets and shoulder pads on Saturday and will go live in full pads on Monday.
Now that's a practice report.
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Checking in from the heart of ACC country. I'll be talking to Tar Heels tomorrow, but first a look around what happened throughout the rest of the league Tuesday, according to team practice reports:
- The Blue Devils had a 55-snap situational scrimmage this afternoon.
- Quarterback Thaddeus Lewis completed nine-of-13 passes for 92 yards and scored on a one-yard run.
- Backup QB Zack Asack completed six-of-14 throws for 67 yards and one touchdown, and he rushed four times for 55 yards.
- Freshman running back Jay Hollingsworth had 54 yards on 10 carries, including a 26-yard touchdown.
- Four Blue Devils -- Raphael Chestnut, Brett Huffman, Tielor Robinson and Johnny Williams -- caught two passes each and Jeremy Ringfield caught an 18-yard touchdown pass from Asack.
- Adrian Aye-Darko had an interception and Eddie Morgan recovered one fumble.
"Out of this situational scrimmage we got a couple of two minute drills that were pretty dynamic," coach David Cutcliffe said. "We got some short yardage and goal line work. We got a lot of third down work which I thought was good. The offense made some big plays to move the ball down the field and then turned it over on a forced error by the defense. All in all there was a little bit more give and take in this scrimmage than on Saturday. The one glaring thing is we have to find somebody who can run the football. The loss of Re'quan Boyette for the time being has put a damper on our run game."
- Senior Kevin Akins, who was recently moved from linebacker to corner, had two interceptions.
- Junior Rich Gunnell scampered for a long touchdown catch down the right sideline, and sophomore Ifeanyi Momah made a leap over the corner for an impressive catch.
- Freshman Colin Larmond Jr. also grabbed a long reception on the left side with a defender on his hip.
- There was a torrential rainstorm that made it tough for the offense to handle the ball through 12 periods.
- New football equipment manager Darin Kerns, a veteran of the Tampa Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs, believes FSU has the best helmet in college football (as do many of the nation's fans, according the ESPN.com's 'Helmet Clash' contest). When he came to Tallahassee and saw the team's practice helmet without a spear on the side he decided to immediately rectify that matter and the spear is now on FSU's practice helmets.
- The blocking drill was highlighted by Corey Surrency's crushing block on Ochuko Jenije that ended up with the junior receiver being swarmed by teammates and his position coach Lawrence Dawsey.
- Team inside -- which is usually a running drill and only features everyone but the receivers and DBs -- featured the receivers for one period as Drew Weatherford connected with Taiwan Easterling, something you usually don't see during inside drills. Weatherford ran for a TD and Antone Smith had a nice run as well.
- Kevin McNeil, who had some academic issues, returned to practice and could contribute on the defensive line.
"Kevin McNeil was back out there today," coach Bobby Bowden said. "Of course they have to go back to the very beginning of the acclimation process -- two days in shorts, two days in shells and then into full (pads). We are going to bring him along slow. I don't think any other new guys got back out there. I'm sure they are all waiting for clearance before they go out there."
- The offense worked mainly on short-yardage passing and goal-line offense during its team drills today. The defense worked on passing situations, mainly on short-yard coverage. The Yellow Jackets ended practice by working on situations they might face in overtime.
- Freshman quarterback Jaybo Shaw threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to true freshman Jonathan Lockhart.
- Sophomore quarterback Josh Nesbitt returned the favor on his squad's first play with a 25-yard touchdown pass to redshirt freshman A-back Roddy Jones. After the first-team offense failed an attempted field goal on the ensuing drive, the second team won the game soon after as redshirt junior Mohamed Yahiaoui made a 30-yard field goal.
- The Hokies had their first of three scrimmages today, and they went 78 plays without any serious injuries.
- Quarterback Sean Glennon completed 6-of-10 passes for 49 yards and Tyrod Taylor completed 6-of-10 for 20 yards.
- Running back Josh Oglesby had five carries for 65 yards and one touchdown; Darren Evans: 7-26, and Ryan Williams 7-20.
- Prince Parker led all receivers with three catches for 19 yards.
- Defensively, corner Eddie Whitley had six tackles, one sack and one forced fumble. Orion Martin had five tackles, including two tackles for loss.
- Matt Waldron made three field goals (35 yards, 25, 38).
- Macho Harris: Two blocked field goals.
- Oglesby: blocked punt, 34-yard touchdown run.
12:00 PM ET Georgia Tech Virginia Tech 12:00 PM ET Iowa Pittsburgh 12:30 PM ET Maryland Syracuse 12:30 PM ET Tulane Duke 1:00 PM ET Maine Boston College 3:30 PM ET Louisville Florida International 3:30 PM ET Virginia 21 BYU 3:30 PM ET Army Wake Forest 3:30 PM ET North Carolina East Carolina 6:00 PM ET Presbyterian North Carolina State 8:00 PM ET Miami (FL) 24 Nebraska 8:00 PM ET 22 Clemson 1 Florida State