Football Depth Chart Takes Shape

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Heading into the season opener against NC State on Sunday
night, there are very few questions remaining on the depth chart. There have
been a lot of position changes for the Hokies during the offseason, and the
coaching staff was able to use six extra days of preseason practice to develop
an effective two deep.

The biggest shuffle came on the offensive line, where
Duane Brown was moved from tight end to right tackle. He is currently the
starter there, which has allowed Reggie Butler to move back to his natural
position of left guard. Butler is currently in a dogfight with Brandon Gore for
the starting spot.

It has been a roller coaster of a preseason for Gore. Once
a highly touted player coming out of high school, he didn’t make much of a
move on the depth chart until this past spring, when he was named Most Improved
Offensive Player. In August he showed that he was capable of taking over the
starting left guard position, which allowed Will Montgomery to move back to
center. However he wasn’t able to rest on his laurels for very long. After
Brown won the job at right tackle, Reggie Butler was moved back to left guard to
compete with Gore. Butler started five games at left guard last season.

Gore and Butler are currently listed as co-starters at
left guard. Either could start at this point, and offensive line coach Bryan
Stinespring will probably judge their performance in practice this week before
deciding on the starter. Both should see a lot of playing time, and both bring
size to the position. Butler is 6-6, 350, while Gore checks in at 6-5, 359.

Jimmy Martin will start at left tackle, Montgomery will
play center, and Jason Murphy will play right guard.

Another position battle that hasn’t been as publicized,
but has been just as fierce, is between David Clowney and Josh Hyman at split
end. Clowney was moved from flanker to split end during the middle of August in
an effort to get him and Eddie Royal, Tech’s fastest receivers, on the field
at the same time.

Clowney quickly took the starting position from Hyman, but
Hyman fought back and pulled even with Clowney on the depth chart. Right now
they are listed as co-starters at split end, and like the Gore/Butler battle at
left guard, how they perform in practice this week will likely determine which
players gets to start.

Mike Imoh and Cedric Humes are listed as co-starters at
tailback. Their situation has not changed since the beginning of August. Imoh
has had a little trouble with fluid building up in his knee and has had it
drained. He has been held out of practice as a precautionary measure because of
this. Humes’ carries have also been limited in practice, because the coaches
know what he can do, and the staff wants to give redshirt freshmen George Bell
and Branden Ore more work.

Bell and Ore responded in the most recent scrimmage. Ore
had seven carries for 85 yards and three touchdowns, while Bell rushed for 70
yards on 11 carries. Their work on Sunday night will be limited to mostly
special teams, although Bell will be used in goal line formations.

At defensive end, Chris Ellis and Noland Burchette have
been locked in a battle for a starting position. They are both listed as
co-starters, but at this point it looks like Ellis will get the nod. Burchette
currently is wearing a cast on his hand to protect a minor injury, and Ellis has
come on strong since the beginning of practice. Ellis is expected to start, but
Burchette will see plenty of playing time.



At one of the defensive tackle spots, Carlton Powell and
Tim Sandidge are listed as co-starters. Sandidge, a redshirt senior, has had an
excellent camp and has pushed Powell. Towards the end of camp, Powell responded
and played very well. Powell will most likely get the start, but Sandidge will
get plenty of snaps.


Freshmen Qualification Status

Updating a July
20th News and Notes
on the
qualification status of VT’s freshman football players: The biggest news
development is that Sergio Render has not been cleared to play by the NCAA
Clearinghouse and has left school to return to his home in Georgia. By NCAA
standards, Render was fully qualified, having attained a high enough ACT score
and GPA. However, the state of Georgia requires each graduating student to take
an exit examination to qualify for their diploma. Render did not score high
enough on this exam, thus he is not eligible to play this fall. He will retake
the test in September with the hope of enrolling at Virginia Tech in January.

Render’s letter of intent is still binding, which means
that he can’t be recruited by other schools while he is at home.

Steven Friday, Stephan Virgil and Brandon Holland were all
cleared to play by the NCAA Clearinghouse and were accepted to Virginia Tech.
However, all three have postponed their enrollment until January. The will
participate in spring practice in 2006 and will still be eligible to redshirt
next fall.

William Wall and Cordarrow Thompson were forced to stop
practicing while the NCAA further reviewed their status, but they were
eventually cleared to play. Wall is expected to play this season but will not
make the trip to NC State because he missed a lot of valuable practice time.
Thompson will redshirt.

Out of the 25 players that the Hokies signed in February,
six are currently not enrolled at Virginia Tech. Besides the players listed
above, Todd Nolen is in prep school and Deveon Simmons is attending Junior
College.


TechSideline.com Turned Down
for Media Access for 7th Straight Season

by Will Stewart, TechSideline.com

As we have done every season since 1999, TechSideline.com
requested media access for this football season, and we were refused for the 7th
year in a row. TSL submitted the request in early August for one press box pass
at all home games, one field photography pass for all home games, and general
football season media privileges (practice access and interview access for
players, coaches, and administrators).

In the credential rejection letter, Virginia Tech Sports
Information Director Dave Smith stated, “Under our current policy for
credentials and access, I am unable to grant your request.”

The current Virginia Tech policy that Smith refers to is
extremely restrictive with regards to online media, guaranteeing that Internet
media outlets such as TechSideline.com, Rivals.com, and Scout.com cannot gain
media access to Virginia Tech football.

The Virginia Tech policy regarding online media, printed
on page 202 of
Virginia
Tech’s football media guide
,
under “Additional Accreditation Guidelines” states (numbers added for
clarity):

An on-line entity, not associated with a traditional
media agency, may qualify for one credential, subject to the following
conditions:

[1] An on-line entity may receive a credential only if
its own full-time staff writes a majority percentage of that site’s own
material.

[2] On-line entities that focus primarily on Virginia
Tech Athletics and also sponsor message boards or chat rooms, may receive
credentials provided they adhere to a policy that requires that a posted
message or opinion is identified with the actual name and city of the
individual.

[3] Any on-line service that is recognized as an outlet
intended primarily for the purpose of delivering news related to the
recruitment of student-athletes will not qualify for credentials.

[4] On-line entities will not receive photography
credentials.

[5] On-line entities (other than those identified above)
registering 20,000 legitimate unique users per month in each of the past 12
months will be given first consideration.

TechSideline.com meets item [1] – full time staff –
but the majority of Rivals.com and Scout.com sites do not, because their web
masters and lead writers run the sites in their spare time, not as their
full-time jobs.

Neither TechSideline.com, Rivals.com, nor Scout.com meet
item [2], requiring the real name and city of message board posters. Only a tiny
percentage of message boards and chat rooms in existence would meet this
criteria.

Item [3] can be applied arbitrarily, and Rivals.com and
Scout.com certainly don’t meet it, since they are perceived primarily as outlets
for recruiting news.

TechSideline.com, Rivals.com, and Scout.com all meet item
[5], requiring a minimum number of unique users per month.

Note that because of the qualification “An on-line
entity, not associated with a traditional media agency, [emphasis added]
may qualify … ” means that on-line entities that are associated
with a “traditional media agency” (assumed to be TV, radio, or print),
such as FoxSports.com, ESPN.com, and CBSSportsline.com, may receive media
access, even if they don’t adhere to any of the restrictive criteria imposed by
Virginia Tech.

It should be noted that Dave Smith, an outstanding individual and
a class act, didn’t create the policy. As SID, he is merely responsible for
enforcing it.

Related item: TSL
media access rejection letter from VT


Cavaliers and Hokies to Compete
in Commonwealth Challenge


Press release

CHARLOTTESVILLE–Athletics Directors Craig Littlepage of
the University of Virginia and Jim Weaver of Virginia Tech announced Wednesday
that the two schools will partner with TechSideline.com sponsor Adelphia
Communications to begin the Commonwealth Challenge during the 2005-06 academic
year. 

The Commonwealth Challenge is designed as a friendly
rivalry series between the schools’ athletics programs on an annual basis that
continues the growing relationship between the two in-state members of the
Atlantic Coast Conference.

The Commonwealth Challenge is a comprehensive competition
involving teams in the two schools’ athletics programs.  With Adelphia’s
support, it is designed to increase the exposure and interest level in the
various sports, while promoting good sportsmanship among student-athletes,
coaches and fans of the schools. A point system determines the annual winner of
the competition. 

“The Commonwealth Challenge will be a unique way for
fans to follow all of the sport competitions between Virginia Tech and UVa,”
Weaver said.  “It will add to the excitement of the competition
between our schools.  We are excited about this annual athletic
challenge.”

Littlepage shares Weaver’s enthusiasm for the competition.

“We are looking forward to the Commonwealth Challenge
and appreciate the support of Adelphia in this endeavor,” Littlepage
said.  “This is another example of the positive relationship that
exists between our universities.  Our hope is the Commonwealth Challenge
increases interest and excitement in the overall competition between our
athletics programs.  It also provides the opportunity to feature spirited
competition, while emphasizing good sportsmanship by everyone involved.”

The “Challenge” joins several competitions
around the nation involving the athletics departments of two in-state
rivals.  Duke-North Carolina and California-Stanford are two of the
competitions that currently exist.

A trophy featuring a combination of the red brick
prevalent at the University of Virginia and the limestone at Virginia Tech goes
to the school winning the overall competition each year.  The trophy will
be presented at the Commonwealth Day football game between the two schools the
following fall.  There are also traveling plaques for the winning team in
each sport.

“Adelphia Communications is proud to be the inaugural
corporate sponsor of the Commonwealth Challenge between two great universities
that are located in communities served by Adelphia,” said Paula Trustdorf,
senior vice president of Adelphia’s central region.  “Adelphia
believes strongly in fostering a local connection to the communities we
serve.  Our role as primary sponsor of the Commonwealth Challenge is a
logical extension of this community involvement.”

Based in Greenwood Village, Colo., Adelphia Communications
Corporation is the fifth-largest cable television company in the country. 
It serves customers in 31 states and Puerto Rico, and offers analog and digital
video services, high-speed Internet access and other advanced services over
Adelphia’s broadband networks. 

Adelphia serves approximately 600,000 subscribers and
employs about 1,200 people in more than 70 communities in Virginia, West
Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Maryland and Pennsylvania.  More than
50 communities in Virginia are served, including both Blacksburg and
Charlottesville.

“Being a strong media partner enables the University
of Virginia and Virginia Tech to strengthen their visibility throughout the
Commonwealth of Virginia to their students, alumni and fans,” said Curt
Bourg, Adelphia’s area vice president for southern Virginia.

The first competition in the Commonwealth Challenge is
scheduled for October 4 in Charlottesville when the schools’ volleyball teams
meet at Memorial Gymnasium. 


Commonwealth Challenge
Sports and Scoring

Fall Sports

Sport

Points

Date

Time

Location

Volleyball

.5

10/4/05

7:00pm

Charlottesville

Women’s Soccer

1

10/13/05

7:00pm

Blacksburg

Men’s Soccer

1

10/29/05

7:00pm

Charlottesville

Men’s Cross Country

1

10/31/05

TBA

ACC Championships

Women’s Cross Country

1

10/31/05

TBA

ACC Championships

Volleyball

.5

11/1/05

7:00pm

Blacksburg

Men’s Swimming & Diving

1

11/2/05

6:00pm

Blacksburg

Women’s Swimming & Diving

1

11/2/05

6:00pm

Blacksburg

Football

2

11/19/05

TBA

Charlottesville

Winter Sports

Sport

Points

Date

Time

Location

Men’s Basketball

1

1/15/06

4:00pm

Blacksburg

Women’s Basketball

1

1/16/06

7:00pm

Blacksburg

Wrestling

1

1/28/06

7:00pm

Charlottesville

Women’s Basketball

1

2/2/06

7:00pm

Charlottesville

Men’s Basketball

1

2/11/06

8:00pm

Charlottesville

Men’s Indoor Track & Field

.5

2/23-2/25/06

TBA

ACC Championships

Women’s Indoor Track & Field

.5

2/23-2/25/06

TBA

ACC Championships

Spring Sports

Sport

Points

Date

Time

Location

Women’s Tennis

1

3/21/06

TBA

Blacksburg

Men’s Tennis

1

3/22/06

2:00pm

Blacksburg

Men’s Outdoor Track & Field

.5

4/20-4/22/06

TBA

ACC Championships

Women’s Outdoor Track & Field

.5

4/20-4/22/06

TBA

ACC Championships

Men’s Golf

1

4/21-23/06

TBA

ACC Championships

Women’s Lacrosse

1

TBA

TBA

Blacksburg

Baseball

1

5/18-5/20/06

TBA

Charlottesville

Softball

1

TBA

TBA

Blacksburg

Total Available Points


22

Notes:
* This schedule should be considered tentative and subject to change.
* Baseball and Softball series winner will receive 1 point.
* Placing in ACC Championships will determine scoring for Cross Country, Indoor
Track, and Outdoor Track.
* No post-season contests, excluding the ACC Championships identified above,
will be included in the scoring system.

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