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First Fall Practice Recap: Nuggets On Exum, Fuller, Caleb, Marshall, Ludwig And OL

Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Last night, the Hokies opened up their fall camp with a practice that was so intense it got Frank Beamer and the other coaches excited:

Sure, Beamer spouting off platitudes might not be the best indicator of how it actually went, but football is back! We've already given you all the official depth chart as of last night, the position changes and the heights and weights of all of the players, as well as a look at the team's scholarship situation. Now we'll shoot you some of the developments from last night. First off, and the biggest set of news coming out of last night's camp, it has been determined that Antone Exum will not be ready to take on Alabama to start the season and may in fact miss an additional month or so before he is even re-evaluated:

That is obviously devastating (but expected) news for the Hokies, not just for their game against Alabama, but also because it leaves the possibility open that Exum could perhaps even be gone longer than the two months before he receives another check up, essentially making it a lost season at that point. But the coaches are preparing to go into battle without him, and make it clear that their goal is to have him back for ACC play.

Exum aside, there were other developments before last night's camp, mostly centered around the discussion about Kendall Fuller being slotted as the co-No. 1 with Ronny Vandyke at the WHIP position, although on several occasions it was mentioned that it would be in a nickel look like it was for his brother Kyle. It was never really made clear which of these two responsibilities Kendall would be taking on, because as a former defensive back, I know that the responsibilities of a nickelback are pretty different than what the WHIP has traditionally done at Tech. Bud Foster and the Tech beat writers that were quoting him didn't do us any favors in figuring this one out with these comments:

Ultimately, I'm glad Kendall will be getting on the field early, but I am absolutely stunned to hear it might be as an every-down WHIP. Quite honestly, that frightens me because of his lack of size and tackling acumen. If that is the case, it will most likely look more like a 4-2-5, which teams like Alabama will try to exploit and just run at until the Hokies can stop it, something that they struggled to do with three linebackers and stacking the box against Alabama in 2009. That is what concerns me the most about this development.

As for Joel Caleb, his status is apparently up in the air. After there were rumors last week that Caleb was to miss the first game of the season for a violation of team rules (I believe), the coaches would not comment on the matter last night, saying that they'd announce that kind of thing in a press conference at a later date. But the fact that they have not announced it and would not last night might indicate that they're giving Caleb the opportunity to atone for whatever he did. Regardless of the potential suspension, they seemed to be very complimentary about what he did last night:

Beamer and the rest of the coaching staff made it a point to talk about Corey Marshall and what his move back inside to defensive tackle might mean:

They mentioned that they had spoken with Corey the night before about the move and that Bud Foster had PROMISED him that he would allow him to stay at defensive end his senior year. The coaches also raved about freshman kicker/punter Mitchell Ludwig:

Lastly, as of this morning, the offensive line depth charts have changed with several position changes, doing something that Jeff Grimes said will apparently happen a lot before the start of the season as he wants to make it clear, no spots have been earned yet. He said that the players will move around the line some this year. Here's the updated list of starters as of today:

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