Ward Leaving for Raiders; Torrian Gray expected to Join Hokies

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Multiple
news agencies are reporting that Virginia Tech defensive backs coach Lorenzo “Whammy” Ward has reached an agreement with the Oakland Raiders to become their new defensive backs coach. Ward was apparently offered the job on Sunday at the NFL Combine, and the sides reached a contract agreement on Tuesday.

Lorenzo Ward has served as Virginia Tech’s defensive backs coach since the
1999 season. He replaced Lou West, who moved on to Notre Dame. Since Ward’s
arrival in Blacksburg, the Hokies have put a number of defensive backs in the
NFL. They include DeAngelo Hall, Eric Green, Vincent Fuller, Garnell Wilds,
Ronyell Whitaker, Willie Pile, Ike Charlton, Anthony Midget and Larry Austin.
Jimmy Williams is expected to be a first round pick in April’s NFL Draft.

Ward is the third coach to voluntarily leave Virginia Tech since the end of
the 2005 season. Kevin Rogers departed for the Minnesota Vikings in early
January, and wide receivers coach Tony Ball left to become the running backs
coach at the University of Georgia earlier this month. Tight ends coach Danny
Pearman was reassigned to another position in the athletic department last week.

The
only name being mentioned in conjunction with the new staff vacancy is Torrian
Gray. Gray, a three-time All-Big East defensive back, played rover, free safety
and even a little cornerback for the Hokies from 1993-1996. Gray was a second
round draft pick of the Minnesota Vikings in the 1997 NFL Draft. He played for
the Vikings for three seasons before a knee injury ended his career.

Gray spent the past two seasons as assistant defensive backs coach with the
Chicago Bears. Gray began his coaching career at Maine, serving as defensive
backs coach for two seasons (2000-01). He then moved on to the University of
Connecticut for the 2002 and 2003 seasons, where he served as defensive backs
coach. He had recently been hired by former Virginia assistant Al Golden to be
the defensive backs coach at Temple, where Gray’s hiring was announced on
February 24th. Gray is expected to leave that position after less than a week on
the job to join the Hokies.

If Gray is hired, he would join quarterbacks coach Mike O’Cain, wide
receivers coach Kevin Sherman and offensive line coach Curt Newsome as new
arrivals in Blacksburg. No more staff changes are expected this year.

Ward’s departure means that the Hokies will return just five of their nine
assistant coaches from the 2005 season. This is the biggest overhaul of the
Virginia Tech coaching staff since 1992.

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