Hokies Begin Practice Today in Blacksburg

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Virginia Tech opens practice for the 2011 football season today in
Blacksburg. The Hokies have several injuries, a couple of position changes, and
a player transfer to deal with.

Position Changes

Here’s a quick look at the notable players who have moved to a different
position since spring practice.

Position
Changes
Player Old Pos. New Pos.
James Hopper RB FS
Derek DiNardo FS ROV
Laurence Gibson OG OT
Wiley Brown ROV Whip
Kory Gough OT OG

As reported at the end of the spring, Laurence Gibson is moving back to
offensive tackle after experimenting at guard during the spring. Kory Gough is
moving inside from tackle to guard.

Wiley Brown competed for a spot on the depth chart at rover during the
spring, but the coaching staff feels that true freshman Adjeboye Aromire was
ahead of him at the conclusion of the Spring Game. As a result, Brown has moved
back to whip, where he played last season. Expect him to be a big contributor on
special teams.

In yesterday’s defensive back preview, we noted that all of Tech’s backup
scholarship players at free safety and rover were r-freshmen or true freshmen.
With Tony Gregory returning at tailback, the coaching staff decided to move
James Hopper to free safety. Hopper was at tailback during the spring, and
served as Tech’s #2 rover last season. His presence is desperately needed in a
very thin secondary.

With Hopper at free safety, walk-on Derek DiNardo has been moved to rover. He
will compete with Adjeboye Aromire for the #2 spot on the depth chart.

Lewis to Transfer, Holmes Waiting on NCAA Clearinghouse

Jerome Lewis, a r-freshman tight end from Rochester, NY, has decided to leave
the program. Lewis was expected to have a chance to move up the depth chart this
past spring thanks to Tech’s lack of depth at tight end. However, that never
materialized.

True freshman tailback Michael Holmes, already enrolled in summer classes, is
awaiting final word from the NCAA Clearinghouse about his qualification status.
He will not practice until the NCAA reaches their decision.

Injuries Keep Several Players Out

Several Tech players will be watching from the sideline when practice opens
today, and two of them are offensive linemen.

As reported earlier in the week, Blake DeChristopher is out with a strained
pectoral. Reports are mixed as to how long he’ll be out. Some say 2-4 weeks,
while others say 4-6. At any rate, r-juniors Michael Via and Vinston Painter
will get the majority of reps at right tackle with DeChristopher out.

Starting left guard Greg Nosal will also not be available when practice
opens. Nosal had shoulder surgery after the Orange Bowl and missed spring
practice. He isn’t quite ready to resume practice, but he isn’t expected to miss
much time. David Wang, a r-sophomore, will be Tech’s #1 left guard until Nosal
returns.

Tech’s #2 free safety for the beginning of the spring was r-freshman Theron
Norman. However, his spring was cut short because of shoulder surgery. He is not
expected to return until late September or early October. James Hopper will be
Tech’s #2 free safety when practice begins today.

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