Fall camp is one of the most exciting times of the year for Hokie fans. For one, it signals the end of the long off-season and the promise of a new one right around the bend. It also means position battles, position changes, getting a first look at the new players, guys making a case for playing time and filling their potential. But often, it also means injuries, transfers and guys failing to live up to their potential as well. As is always the case, even after one week, the Hokies have experienced a little of both. We'll start from the beginning and move chronologically through the last week.
The Hokies kicked off camp on August 5th with several big news items as well as some minor updates, including the release of the first official depth chart since spring. First off, Tech announced the news that Antone Exum would not be ready for Alabama and would in fact be out for at least another two months. They also announced departure of two players that day, as both Riley Beiro (who probably had the short track to being the starting fullback) and Brooks Abbott, a sophomore kicker/punter. Beiro, a redshirt-junior, had played in 20 games over the last two years before having season-ending surgery after the North Carolina game. He left due to medical reasons. Abbott, an high school All-American coming in, was in on 39 kickoffs as a true freshman, collecting touchbacks on 9 of them. His transfer was probably an indication of the Hokies' kicking and punting depth with recent arrivals.
However, those two weren't the only ones to leave:
Also looks like Justin Taylor is no longer with the program per a comment on our site and confirmed by Hokiesports.— GobblerCountry.com (@gobblercountry) August 5, 2013
And in unfortunate but expected news:
Source confirms that both Cequan Jefferson and DJ Reid, Tech recruits, will be at Fork Union Military Academy this fall. #Hokies— Mike Barber (@RTD_MikeBarber) August 5, 2013
It was also announced by the beat writers, whom we asked for the answer, that several Tech players had officially received medical redshirts, while others were still waiting to hear back from the NCAA:
For those of you who follow our NCAA roster edit, or play the game on Playstation 3, we will make those re-edits in the next week.
Several Hokies also changed positions on the first day of camp. It was announced that redshirt-freshman Joel Caleb would be making the move to running back to give the playmaker some reps, gauge how he would do there, and to add another "big back" to the backfield. Kendall Fuller, who came in as a cornerback, also began getting some looks at the WHIP linebacker position and at nickelback in what the coaches called perhaps his quickest route to the field. He has since been moved back to corner with the departure of Donaldven Manning, though he will still occasionally occupy the nickel spot in formations that require nickelbacks.
Tech offensive line coach Jeff Grimes also declared his intent to rotate offensive linemen at different positions and at different levels of the depth chart, giving everyone an opportunity to earn their spot and put the best five guys out there. So far, he's held true with this statement, making the daily lineup a game of musical chairs. The only player that has been in every lineup is right guard Andrew Miller.
On the second day of practice, Joel Caleb, who had long been rumored to have been suspended for the Alabama game, admitted that he would miss the game due to breaking a team rule (though he didn't specify what that rule was or what he had done exactly).
On the third day, Mike Barber had an interesting tweet regarding Dadi Nicolas, who apparently is still not allowed to address the media after committing a crime last summer:
#Hokies DE Dadi Nicolas still isn't available to media. Hasn't spoke since June '12 arrest for bike theft. He's undergoing "media training"— Mike Barber (@RTD_MikeBarber) August 7, 2013
On Day 4, Tech running backs coach Shane Beamer announced that Joel Caleb would be sticking at running back for the foreseeable future. There was also the announcement that two other players would be changing positions (or at least clarified what position Carlis Parker would be playing at):
It was also announced via Frank Beamer's official site, BeamerBall.com, that six true freshmen were making a push for playing time:
6 true freshmen are making a push for playing time. Big day for many in tomorrows 36 play scrimmage which will begin appx. 8:30.— Beamer Ball (@Beamer_Ball) August 9, 2013
Day 5 was highlighted by Tech football's official media day by team, positional and senior pictures and a practice that included a 36-play scrimmage that was open to the public. It also included the announcement from Tech that three more players had decided to leave the team, two for good and one at least for now:
The news also leaked that Adam Taraschke, a redshirt-freshman offensive lineman would be stepping away from the program. Additionally, there was a rumor that Donaldven Manning was taking time away from the team to decide his future, his second such absence in his two years at Virginia Tech. For a complete play-by-play of the scrimmage and practice, consult our Twitter timeline. As for a recap, no further than here.
Yesterday, or Day 6, the Hokies officially announced the transfer of sophomore cornerback Donaldven Manning, who had been passed on the depth chart by both freshmen Brandon Facyson and Kyle Fuller.
For continued coverage of the Virginia Tech fall camp and everything Virginia Tech sports leading up to the fall sports seasons, Gobbler Country is your No. 1 resource. Be sure to check in with us.