TB Kevin Jones

2002 Statistics

Coach: Frank Beamer
117-69-2, 16 years
2002 Record: 10-4
at Texas A&M WON 13-3
at Western Michigan WON 30-0
at Boston College WON 28-23
at Syracuse LOST 42-50 (3OT)
at Miami FL LOST 45-56
Air Force WON 20-13

2002 Final Rankings
AP-18, Coaches-14, BCS-UR

2003 Outlook

Whereas the 2002 season opened with muted expectations, 2003 will be quite the opposite. 2002's team was full of inexperienced players - uncertainty at quarterback, a new offensive coordinator, and the most difficult schedule Virginia Tech has played in recent memory. There just wasn't enough depth at key positions on defense when players went down after their 8-0 start. This won't be the case in 2003. Another schedule peppered with too many cupcakes means that anything less than a 10-win season will be a major disappointment. The Hokies schedule looks lightly battered. Certainly with teams like JMU, UConn, Rutgers and Temple slated, Tech can ill-afford any losses. If the Virginia Tech AD would try to buy out JMU and get a quality opponent in that position, things might look better competition-wise. But he refuses, which will deservedly make VT the subject of scorn and debate. Still, with Texas A&M, Miami, Pittsburgh, Boston College, and UVA on the schedule, Tech will be appropriately and accordingly measured. These all could be Top 25 teams at the end of the year.

Frank Beamer excels at winning games with great special teams and great defense. The 2003-version Hokies are similarly built to make a run with that same formula. They are a likely Top 10 team in every preseason poll, sneaking up on people won't be an option. It has been for quite a few years, a mark of respect to constantly be in everyone's cross-hairs. Senior leadership will get them over humps 2002's squad couldn't.

This is the year to beat the rebuilding Hurricanes - the Hokies will have to wait three more years to see the Big East's perennial top dog in such shape. VT has proven, even with less talent, that they can run with the Canes. With this game in Blacksburg, it might not even be considered an upset if they win. However, it's not clear whether the Hokies can beat Pittsburgh, who matches up well with their size - something VT has traditionally had trouble with at talent positions. They can go far with up to two losses, it's just that none of them can be to these two teams, or they go BCS-less again.

Beamer-ball makes for many restless nights in Blacksburg…high expectations have (as recently as 2002) led to major disappointments. But this year's version will win when expected, and possibly lose a few close, competitive, highlight-laden tilts. Pride and confidence will be restored in 2003.

Projected 2003 record: 11-1
WR Ernest Wilford
QB Bryan Randall
LB Mikal Baaqee
CB DeAngelo Hall
QB Marcus Vick
DE Noland Burchette
QB - 4 DL - 5
RB - 4.5 LB - 4.5
WR - 3 DB - 4
OL - 4 ..

Passing: Bryan Randall, 248-158-11, 2134 yds., 12 TD's

Rushing: Kevin Jones, 160 att., 871 yds., 9 TD's

Receiving: Ernest Wilford, 51 rec., 925 yds., 7 TD's

Scoring: Carter Warley, 9-15 FG, 36-37 PAT, 63 pts.

Punting: Vinnie Burns, 64 punts, 40.5 avg.

Kicking: Carter Warley, 9-15 FG, 36-37 PAT, 63 pts.

Tackles: Mikal Baaqee, 112 tot., 68 solo

Sacks: Nathaniel Adibi, 9 sacks; Cols Colas, 9 sacks

Interceptions: Garnell Wilds, 5 for 8 yds.

Kickoff returns: Richard Johnson, 23 ret., 21.1 avg.

Punt returns: DeAngelo Hall, 22 ret., 16.0 avg.


CB DeAngelo Hall
OFFENSE: Grant Noel-QB, Lee Suggs-TB, Shawn Witten-WR, Terrell Parham-WR, Anthony Davis-OT, Luke Owens-OG
DEFENSE: Ronyell Whitaker-CB, Billy Hardee-ROV, Willie Pile-FS

written by TJ Murphy

The big questions about Virginia Tech's offense next year are 'Is Marcus (Vick) as good as Michael?', 'Will Marcus get the start over Bryan Randall?' and 'How many yards will Kevin Jones get now that he's the feature back?'

But the more important question should be 'How good is the offensive line?' While there is no shortage of talent in the offensive 'skill' positions next year, the Hokies must have a dominating power-rushing attack to begin success. Never known for great pass blocking, Hokie offensive linemen have typically been able to put defensive players on their butts during rushing plays. In 2002, this was not the case for some of their most important games - smart defenses crowded the box and forced the Hokies to throw. The result was lowly rushing attacks against teams like Texas A&M, LSU, and Pittsburgh. Not only that, but they couldn't push the ball in the end zone with 2nd-and-goal in the close WVU loss. The line gave up 37 sacks in 2002, despite having a mobile quarterback. Could it be that Bryan Stinespring, who was promoted to OC in addition to his OL coaching duties, was too busy working out game plans to spend time with his men in the trenches? Promoting an OL coach to OC reflects Beamer's conservative offensive mindset, but Stinespring did seem to open up the playbook once defenses learned how to stop their initial simplistic schemes.

The good news about the offensive line is that the young guys now have some experience. The Hokies best lineman, Jake Grove, returns at center. The Hokies have size and experience flanking Grove. As a true freshman, Jimmy Martin replaced an ineffective Jon Dunn at RT midway through 2002 and never lost the spot. Martin is a little undersized at 6-5, 269. For the Hokies to be successful, they will need to step up, particularly in pass protection department. If one-dimensional, this offense is easily stopped.

The question remains, whom will they be protecting? In his first year as starter, Bryan Randall proved a more than able quarterback, with a strong arm and clever elusiveness. He made mistakes typical of a young quarterback - often running from the pocket too soon, and throwing costly interceptions (WVU game). However, he also was instrumental in wins against LSU and Texas A&M, and he exploded for over 500 yards passing and 5 TDs in a loss to Syracuse. If he were the only returning quarterback, the Hokies would be thrilled with him as a returning starter…but then there's Marcus Vick.

Perhaps there is too much pressure on Marcus to perform like his older brother. But Tech coaches have said, "The acorn doesn't fall too far from the tree". How does Frank Beamer not start Vick, who chose Virginia Tech specifically knowing Kevin Rogers was selected as QB coach? It's hard to imagine Marcus is going to wait around two years for his shot at starting. Beamer likes the job to go to the incumbent, but spring practice is going to generate a lot of attention (and it won't be to see who's going to be starting at tight end.) The smart money may be on Vick to win the job, but we will keep you updated as soon as this one plays out.

At tailback, there are no question marks. Kevin Jones is now the man. Phenomenally fast and strong, this will be Jones' breakout year. He still has some important things to learn, including holding on to the football, and perhaps more importantly, that sometimes three tough yards are more valuable than trying a 50-yard bolt around the corner. His best three linemen are in the middle and he needs to run behind them more often rather than to the outside. And if the OL learns how to pass block reasonably well, look for Jones to catch a lot of balls instead of staying home. Junior TE Keith Willis is part of this equation, too - he needs to develop into a quality blocker to expand his range as a receiver. Taking that extra LB away regularly, by route running or with helmet-to-helmet application, will get Jones free in more ways than one.

At wide receiver, Ernest Wilford had a fantastic year (by Hokie standards) with 8 TDs and a 18 yards-per-catch average (4 TDs, 279 yards vs. Syracuse). He's a possession receiver (6'4") with marginal speed. He won't go unnoticed by 2003 defenses, so it will be up to Richard Johnson, or redshirt freshman Fred Lee to provide another threat. Lee has the speed to stretch a defense, but he's going to have to step up to see playing time. If he does, the Hokies could actually pose a major threat through the air. This element of their game will be critical to teams that stuffed the run last year by stacking the box with extra men. SPRING UPDATE: Look for exceptional CB DeAngelo Hall to make some noise at WR this fall. His spring performance while running routes received extremely positive reviews. It would not be surprising to see this talented junior make waves as a legitimate Heisman contender while playing both ways.


QB Marcus Vick


Returning Starters in bold
QB Bryan Randall-Jr (6-0, 222) Marcus Vick-Fr (6-0, 203)
FB Doug Easlick-Sr (5-11, 238) ..
TB Kevin Jones-Jr (6-0, 209) Cedric Humes-So (6-1, 223)
WR Ernest Wilford-Sr (6-4, 221) Chris Shreve-Sr (6-0, 188)
WR Richard Johnson-Jr (5-10, 189) Justin Hamilton-So (6-3, 209)
TE Keith Willis-Sr (6-5, 264) Jeff King-So (6-5, 256)
OT Jimmy Martin-So (6-5, 283) Reggie Butler-So (6-6, 333)
OG Jacob Gibson-Sr (6-4, 306) Will Montgomery-So (6-4, 298)
C Jake Grove-Sr (6-3, 300) Robert Ramsey-Jr (6-3, 307)
OG James Miller-Jr (6-6, 304) Jason Murphy-So (6-2, 296)
OT Jon Dunn-Jr (6-7, 343) Brandon Gore-Fr (6-5, 328)
K Carter Warley-Sr (5-11, 198) Nic Schmitt-So (6-1, 242)



written by TJ Murphy

The 2002 defense had a Jeckyll-and-Hyde personality. After giving up only 325 yards rushing in the first eight games, they gave up over 1370 yards in the next six games. The center of the defense was torched. Much of this can be attributed to key injuries, however Tech's DTs were undersized and the LBs inexperienced. For 2003, these problems should be corrected, though allowing 3.4 yards-per-carry and ranking 29th in run defense isn't shabby. The front-seven returns fully powered with reason to bit-chomp.

Look to senior inside linebacker Vegas Robinson to (re)-assume the leadership role. He was leading the team in tackles before injury made him miss three games (not coincidentally, the beginning of the losing streak.) Junior Mikal Baaquee, Tech's leading tackler, will join Robinson in shoring up inside backer position, but he is small and not a hard hitter, so he will need the interior DL to do their job for him to be effective.

Junior Brandon Manning, who was third in tackles, will bring experience to whip-LB. JUCO transfer Jimmy E. Williams, a 6-3, 338 DT will provide the bulk in the middle. At DE, the Hokies are loaded on the two-deep depth chart with three-year starters. Nathaniel Adibi and Cols Colas had terrific years with nine sacks each, and, with Williams garnering double-teams, should continue to harass QBs. Jim Davis and likely Jason Lallis, who was too small at DT, will get plenty of snaps in passing situations.

The only key losses (3) are in the secondary. Pile's hard-hitting leadership will be sorely missed, while Whitaker's mental lapses and occasionally costly penalties less so. Still, the Hokies look to be in great shape. Junior DeAngelo Hall leads this group at corner. A candidate for the Jim Thorpe award last year, he had four interceptions and returned them for a total of 124 yards. Eric Green, who started as a true freshman in 2001, took a medical redshirt last fall. He will challenge to return to his starting position. Garnell Wilds and Vincent Fuller saw plenty of action - Wilds led the Hokies with five INTs while Fuller stole four. At the Rover position, look for fiery JUCO transfer James Griffin to battle for playing time with Michael Crawford, who is recovering from treatment of lymphoma. Griffin is a playmaker/ headhunter and could add the Corey Moore type leadership that will personalize this defense. These ball-hawkers, along with an acutely sharp run-stopping crew, should improve on 2002's ranking of 32nd in total defense.


DE Nathaniel Adibi


Returning Starters in bold
DE Cols Colas-Sr (6-0, 226) Noland Burchette-Fr (6-2, 240)
DT Jason Lallis-Jr (6-0, 250) Jonathan Lewis-So (6-1, 292)
DT Kevin Lewis-Jr (6-1, 292) Tim Sandidge-So (6-1, 283)
DE Nathaniel Adibi-Sr (6-3, 255) Jim Davis-Sr (6-3, 255)
ILB Vegas Robinson-Sr (6-0, 244) Blake Warren-So (6-3, 232)
ILB Mikal Baaqee-Jr (5-10, 227) Chad Cooper-Jr (6-2, 211)
OLB Brandon Manning-Jr (6-0, 216) James Anderson-So (6-2, 217)
CB DeAngelo Hall-Jr (5-11, 198) Garnell Wilds-Sr (5-11, 196)
CB Vincent Fuller-Jr (6-1, 181) Eric Green-Jr (5-11, 190)
ROV Michael Crawford-Sr (5-11, 209) James Griffin-Jr (6-1, 193)
FS Jimmy F. Williams-So (6-3, 213) Mike Daniels-Jr (6-0, 205)
P Vinnie Burns-Jr (5-11, 202) Nic Schmitt-So (6-1, 242)




Virginia Tech's kick-blocking legacy is renowned nationally. If anyone was ever to find a way to block kickoffs, it would be Beamer. They will continue to strike fear in punters and place kickers, guaranteed. On punt returns, DeAngelo Hall had a stellar year, averaging 16 yards per kick and returning two for touchdowns. Only a junior, he's quick enough to get many more scores before the next level. Richard Johnson will be back returning kickoffs, but might get pushed in spring training by Fred Lee. Vinnie Burns was solid all year punting and was a semifinalist for the Ray Guy award. But coverage and net punting was a very un-Beamer-like 62nd in all I-A.

The special teams area that is of most concern, though, is place-kicking. Carter Warley was doing well until he had back problems. He came back against Syracuse, but missed two field goals. He will get competition from sophomore Nic Schmitt (0-for-3 from 40+), but Warley (3-for-6, 40+) will likely get the start. There will be at least one or two games where the Hokies are going to need the PK to win. This could be a problem, an ironic one especially for the best kick-blockers to have, huh.


Frank Beamer says there is competition at every spot on this team, which has been making everyone work harder. The player benefiting most from competition is QB Bryan Randall. Randall had a nearly flawless spring, with Marcus Vick right on his heels. Expect to see Vick in there at times to please both him and the fans, but the real money is on Randall… The Hokies will have some good depth at RB behind Jones, as Cedric Humes and Mike Iwoh have proved worthy… To supplement the receiver position, the Hokies will utilize CB DeAngelo Hall for about 20 plays on offense this year. WRs Chris Clifton and Chris Shreve have been showing improvement, as have Robert Parker and Fred Lee. Shreve is one of the fastest players on the team and gives the Hokies a possession guy, who can jet when he gets in the open. Clifton gives them a big (6'4"), physical receiver that will give defenses a fit, especially in the red zone.

Defensive depth is abundant, especially on the DL and in the secondary… The DL took a bit of a hit this spring when Jimmy Williams was suspended indefinitely. Helping to fill the void will be DT Isaac Montgomery, a transfer from North Carolina. He is one of the strongest players of the group and will add to VTs already plentiful depth…The secondary will be aided by the return of CB Eric Green, who started 23 of his first 24 games at VA Tech, but sat out last year with a knee injury… Freshman Cory Gordon will push Williams and Daniels at the FS position. The same can be said about D.J. Walton as he duels James Griffin for the backup ROV spot… Bud Foster has been broadcasting the talents of WHIP Aaron Rouse, who has shown great movement all over the field… If nobody puts a stronghold on the ILB spot, we may see stud FROSH Xavier Adibi get an early start on his sure-to-be stellar Hokie career.

There are three players competing at PK- Carter Warley, Nic Schmitt, and Brandon Pace. None of the three were dazzling in the spring, struggling with accuracy and consistency. The return of Eric Green helps the kick blocking units. He has blocked three in two years.