Plans Set for Saturday

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The Hokies held their first regular Tuesday press conference to talk about
Saturday’s game against ECU. A number of topics were covered, including the
schedule of pre-game ceremonies for the April 16th tragedy, which true freshmen
will dress for the game, and whether or not Tyrod Taylor will play. We’ve got
all that information for you, plus other news that has come out so far this
week.

One of the biggest pieces of the preseason puzzle fell into place when
“utility lineman” Richard Graham, who was expected to be Tech’s top
backup on the OL, was instead given the starting nod at left guard for the
Hokies. The Tech coaches had been working out Brandon Holland and Matt Welsh for
the position but felt that neither player won it, so Graham gets the nod. From
left to right, the starting offensive line is Duane Brown – Richard Graham –
Ryan Shuman – Sergio Render – Nick Marshman.

Six true freshmen will dress for Saturday’s game: OT Blake DeChristopher, S
Davon Morgan, CB Cris Hill, QB Tyrod Taylor, TE Chris Drager, and snapper Collin
Carroll. DeChristopher, Morgan, and Drager are slated to play, while the
coaching staff hasn’t decided if Hill, Taylor, and Carroll will play.

Whether Tyrod Taylor will redshirt or not is the biggest question in many
fans’ minds, but Coach Beamer was noncommittal at this point, saying that Taylor
needed more work with the second team throughout the week before that would be
decided. (And even then, it’s this writer’s opinion that the issue may not be
decided.)

Morgan is the backup safety behind D.J. Parker and has been a special teams
demon throughout fall practice and scrimmages, blocking one punt and returning
another blocked punt for a touchdown.

The coaches have not decided if Jud Dunlevy or Jared Develli will kick off on
Saturday.

CB Roland Minor has still not joined the team due to academic issues. The
coaches have not been specific about Minor’s issues, other than to say that he
hasn’t completed his academic work from the summer. They expect to find out
Minor’s status soon, but they’ve been saying that for at least a week now.

ECU starting quarterback Rob Kass was charged with DWI last weekend (he blew
a 0.19, well over twice the legal limited of 0.08) and has been suspended for at
least this week’s game. Kass’ replacement will be either sophomore Brett Clay or
junior Patrick Pinkney. Both are 6-0 and about 200 pounds.

Scheduled Pre-game Ceremonies

The pre-game ceremonies planned for Saturday’s game start at 11:44 a.m., and
the Virginia Tech Athletic Department is encouraging ticket holders to be in
their seats no later than 11:40 a.m. The planned ceremonies are:

  • 11:44: Marching bands
  • 11:50: Moment of silence
  • 11:50: National anthem
  • 11:51: F-15s flyover (four jets)
  • 11:52: Check presentation ($100,000) by ECU
  • 11:54: “First responder” (April 16th) recognition
  • 11:55: Tribute video honoring April 16th victims
  • 11:57: Balloon release
  • 11:57: Playing of Tech Triumph

In addition, during the first timeout, ACC Commissioner John Swofford will
present a $300,000 check to Virginia Tech for the Hokie Spirit Memorial fund.
(All ACC athletic teams will wear a black bar on their uniforms this year to
honor the April 16th victims.)

Other Notes

The number 32 will not be retired by the athletic department, nor will any
effort be made to designate that number was a “special” number to only
be given out to special athletes.

Two logos commemorating April 16 will be painted on the football field. The
logos will be a maroon VT over an orange ribbon.

ESPN Gameday will broadcast the first hour of their show (10 a.m. to 11 a.m.) from the artificial surface across Spring Road from Lane Stadium; hour #2 will be broadcast from inside Lane Stadium, in the northeast corner of the field.

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