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April 16, 2006

Spring Game Recap

BLACKSBURG - Virginia Tech's quarterbacks didn't make the decision on the starting quarterback spot for next fall any easier as each of the contenders had their moments during the annual Maroon-White game played Saturday afternoon at Lane Stadium. The Maroon team won the game 14-10 in an event that concludes Virginia Tech's spring practice.

"I think what we are is a defense that has to play very well and we have to develop depth at a couple of more positions," Tech head coach Frank Beamer said. "I think we have to kick the ball great and I think we have the potential to do that. And even though we've been close, our punt block and return teams have to play a more active role in this program than they have the past couple of years.

"And then offensively, we've got to keep developing. We're too young at some positions and we're not mature enough at some positions. I think we've identified exactly what we've got to do as a football team and then we've got to go and get it done. We've got to get six or seven offensive linemen ready to play like heck. I think we've got some playmakers - the receivers made the plays today and we'll get Branden Ore [an injured tailback] back in the fall. And we've got to get consistent play at quarterback. I know that's the deal and we've won a lot of games doing exactly what I just said."

With that said, most eyes were on the most important position on the field - the quarterback spot - and the quartet of Sean Glennon, Cory Holt, Ike Whitaker and Greg Boone played well for the most part. They combined to complete 17-of-26 for 217 yards in the game, with two touchdowns and an interception.

Glennon and Holt, two redshirt sophomores, and Whitaker received the majority of the reps as each of the quarterbacks played for both teams. Glennon completed 5-of-6 for 36 yards, while Holt hit 4-of-12 for 83 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. Whitaker, a redshirt freshman from Germantown, Md., completed all six of his pass attempts for 85 yards and a touchdown.

Now the quarterback decision is in the hands of Beamer and his staff. They plan on examining the film of the game on Monday and discussing the issue thoroughly before making a final decision. That decision, though, may not get made until next August.

"I'd like to get it settled," Beamer said. "I think we'll be much better once we have a direction. This is the guy who is first and this is the guy who is second, and so on. The quicker we can do that, the better it's going to be.

"Now, whether we do it right now, that's the discussion. We'll watch the video of this game carefully and then think back to what's happened over spring practice. I think whoever our quarterback is, we're going to have a good one. I don't think there's a bad one in the bunch. It's just a matter of which one is going to give us the best opportunity to win next year."

In the game, Vince Hall spearheaded a Maroon defensive effort that actually got the Maroon team started on the right note. His interception of a Holt pass on the first possession of the game, and his subsequent return, gave the Maroon the ball inside the White 5. Eddie Royal cleaned up the drive, scoring on a 5-yard run on an end-around, and Dustin Keys' extra point gave the Maroon a 7-0 lead.

The Maroon grabbed a 14-0 lead on their next possession. Facing a fourth-and-4, the Maroon elected to go for it and Whitaker made a terrific play, avoiding the rush and heaving a 49-yard bomb to Justin Harper, who beat both Jahre Cheeseman and Robert Parker. The score, and John Hedge's extra point, gave the Maroon a 14-point lead.

The White got on the board near the end of the first half. Holt directed a nice two-minute drive and ended it with a 50-yard touchdown pass to Josh Morgan, who had slipped in between Kent Hicks and D.J. Parker, with just 11 seconds left in the half. Brandon Pace drilled the extra point to cut the lead to 14-7.

Pace added the only score of the second half for either team. His 49-yard field goal in the third quarter accounted for the game's final margin.

Defensively, both the Maroon and the White defenses stymied the rushing attacks. The White team rushed for minus-4 yards, while the Maroon team finished with 42. Holt was the leading rusher on the day, rushing for 36 yards on nine carries.

Walk-on Jonas Houseright led all players with four tackles, while Xavier Adibi finished with 3.5 tackles, including two for a loss, and had half a sack (along with Macho Harris). Chris Ellis had two tackles and a fumble recovery, and William Wall - who played arguably his best game of the spring - recorded two tackles, including 1.5 for a loss, and a sack to go with several hurries. Steven Friday, Kent Hicks and Carlton Powell also recorded sacks.

The Hokies soon will begin summer workouts in preparation for the 2006 season. Tech opens the campaign on Sept. 2nd against Northeastern. Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m.


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