Spring Football Update: Noland Burchette, Josh Hyman Out

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Virginia Tech suffered a serious setback on the defensive line over the
weekend. Senior defensive end Noland Burchette fractured his left forearm in
Saturday’s scrimmage and will miss the remainder of spring practice. He will
have surgery to insert a plate and screws into his arm. Burchette’s injury is
very similar to the injury sustained by Cedric Humes last season. Humes missed
just one game as a result of the injury. Burchette will be ready for practice in
August.

Wide
receiver Josh Hyman will miss the remainder of spring practice as well. Hyman
will undergo shoulder surgery to clean up some unspecified damage. He was
competing with Josh Morgan for the starting split end position.

In other injuries news, Elan Lewis needed six stitches to close a gash on his
forehead that he received during Saturday’s scrimmage. Lewis’ helmet came
off as he was being tackled by a number of Tech defenders. Luckily he did not
suffer any other injuries during the play.

Another Tech tailback, Kenny Lewis, also suffered an injury in Saturday’s
scrimmage. Lewis sprained his left ankle in the latter moments of the scrimmage.
He is slowed by the injury, but at this point it is unknown how much time he
will miss.

Cam Martin, a r-freshman free safety who was expected to push D.J. Parker
this spring, has had surgery to repair a hernia. Two hernias were found and
repaired, and Martin will miss the rest of spring practice.

Quarterback Race Still Tight

The race between r-sophomores Sean Glennon and Cory Holt for the starting
quarterback position is still too close to call. Holt was briefly listed as
being ahead of Glennon early last week, but now it appears that both
quarterbacks are dead even. They are vying for the starting position that was
vacated by Marcus Vick.

It was an up-and-down day for both quarterbacks during Saturday’s
scrimmage. Sean Glennon completed 7-of-11 passes for 44 yards, while Cory Holt
went 6-of-12 for 46 yards and one interception. Neither quarterback could get
the offense into a rhythm. That was caused mostly by the 13 sacks registered by
the defense.

At this point, both quarterbacks are still wearing yellow jerseys in
scrimmages. This signifies that the quarterbacks can’t be hit during practice.
For a quarterback to be sacked, the defender just has to touch him, or just be
in the general vicinity. According to this
article from Sunday’s Roanoke Times, Beamer stated that the yellow jerseys
would not be used on next Saturday’s scrimmage, giving the quarterbacks live
work against Tech’s defense.

At this point, Holt and Glennon are the only scholarship quarterbacks
participating in practice. Greg Boone is nursing an injured knee and is being
held out of practice. Ike Whitaker is still suspended, but there remains a
chance that he could return before the end of spring practice.

Depth Developing at Defensive Tackle

One of Virginia Tech’s chief concerns heading into spring practice was the
defensive tackle position. The only proven returner was Carlton Powell, although
Barry Booker was expected to do a solid job as well. Everyone else behind Powell
and Booker were considered question marks. Thus far, some others are beginning
to stand out.

Kory Robertson has impressed the coaching staff with his work ethic and
athleticism. Always considered a great athlete with a lot of potential,
Robertson has never been a consistent player. So far this spring, he has drawn
high reviews from defensive line coach Charley Wiles, who has said Robertson is
“pitching a fit” on the inside. The depth chart is still shaking itself out,
but Robertson has worked his way into heavy playing time and possibly into the
starting lineup.

In Saturday’s scrimmage, another player threw his name into the hat.
R-freshman Cordarrow Thompson recorded two sacks on the afternoon and could be
pushing for early playing time as well.

Offensive Line Still a Work in Progress

One reason for the success of the defensive line could be the lack of
experience on the offensive line. The Hokies lost three full-time starters and
one part-time starter off the 2005 team. Duane Brown, Brandon Frye and Ryan
Shuman are reportedly playing very well, but there is little depth along the
line. Guards Nick Marshman and Sergio Render are currently listed as the other
starting linemen.

When center Danny McGrath returns to the lineup, Shuman will probably shift
to offensive guard, leaving Marshman and Render to fight it out for the other
guard position. So at this point in the spring, the Hokies have four linemen
they have confidence in—Duane Brown, Brandon Frye, Ryan Shuman and Danny
McGrath. Two other players, Nick Marshman and Sergio Render, are fighting it out
for the fifth starting spot. Everyone else is battling for a position on the
two-deep.

Tom Brands to Interview at Iowa

Rumors have been swirling recently that Virginia Tech wrestling coach Tom
Brands will accept the head coaching position at the University of Iowa, his
alma mater. While that isn’t the case as of yet, Brands has confirmed that he
has been in contact with Iowa officials and that he will interview for the job
some time this week. Ohio State is also interested in Brands, but they have not
made contact.

Brands is an Iowa alumnus, later serving as an assistant coach for the
Hawkeyes, and he also won an Olympic Gold Medal. Brands was a four-time
All-American at Iowa, a three-time Big-10 Champion, and a three-time NCAA
National Champion. He served as an assistant coach at Iowa from 1992-2004. At
that point he was hired by Jim Weaver to take over Virginia Tech’s wresting
program.

Brands didn’t waste any time in turning Tech into a winner. The Hokies were
ACC dual meet champions in his first season and won a school-record 16 dual
meets. Brands then brought in one of the top recruiting classes in the country
in the offseason (ranked #2 in the nation), and has the future of Virginia Tech’s
wrestling program looking extremely bright.

One concern for Tech fans is that if Brands leaves, he will take his stellar
recruiting class, all but a handful of whom redshirted this year, with him. The
fathers of Doug LeClere and Joey Slaton, two of Brands’ top recruits from last
year, are under the impression that if their sons transfer to follow Brands,
they’ll be able to wrestle immediately.

“Virginia Tech has a open-release policy for non-revenue sports,”
Slaton’s father, Matt Shaver, told the Iowa
City Press-Citizen
recently. This means that Slaton and others
would be able to wrestle next year without having to sit out a year, as
transfers normally do.

Three Virginia Tech wrestlers advanced to the NCAA Championships in 2006.
Justin Staylor, David Hoffman and Mike Faust won their weight classes in the ACC
Tournament, and got the chance to go for the National Championship. Hoffman and
Faust earned All-American honors, and Faust was named ACC Wrestler of the Year.

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