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March 28, 2012

Spring practice kicks off today

Football returns this month as Virginia Tech opens spring practice this afternoon. The Hokies will work out over the next three weeks leading up to the Maroon vs. White Spring Game on April 21st.

A number of positions are up for grabs, most notably the starting running back spot with Michael Holmes as the leading contender. A variety of other positions are going to get monitored including the starting tight end, wide receivers, guards and tackles.

On defense, Tech has battles developing at whip linebacker, cornerback and both safety positions, not to mention backup spots on the defensive line. In addition, the starting jobs at kicker, punter and long snapper are wide open too.

The first official depth chart was released earlier this week and featured plenty of movement. The full depth chart is located here.

To start camp, a few players are in new starting positions including four of the five offensive line spots, notably Brent Benedict, Nick Becton, David Wang and Vinston Painter, tight end with Eric Martin, wide receivers see Marcus Davis elevated and Dyrell Roberts back in the lineup while running back has Michael Holmes carrying the load. Defensively, Chase Williams and Jack Tyler take over two of the linebacker spots and Antone Exum has moved to the other starting cornerback spot, while Kyshoen Jarrett and Detrick Bonner start at safety.

The kicker positions see Michael Branthover as the top prospect with Conor Goulding starting at punter. Lukas Stump is the starter at long snapper.

Spring departures

Spring saw the departure of numerous players in the program, including Isaiah Hamlette, Courtney Prince, Dominique Patterson, Ju-Ju Clayton and Dwight Tucker.

Last week, Telvion Clark was dismissed from the team and James Hopper announced his intentions to hang it up and is now working to become a student assistant.

With the departures and a handful of new additions for spring ball, the Hokiehaven.com 2012 Distribution Board was updated here to give you a full grasp of the scholarships actually on the roster at this time for the Hokies.

Injury Report

A few players are returning from injury this spring, notably Dyrell Roberts and Jeron Gouveia-Winslow, though it's unclear what kind of health both are in at this stage.

Meanwhile, injuries have hit the Hokies, particularly at linebacker where a pair of starters, Tariq Edwards and Bruce Taylor are out. In addition, Antoine Hopkins is out with injury still.

Position Changes

The biggest position change in the offseason was Antone Exum's move up from safety to the starting cornerback job.

He is just one of the players switching spots this spring. Duan Perez-Means made the transition to tight end, while Kyshoen Jarrett and Detrick Bonner flipped to safety. Ronny Vandyke moved up to whip linebacker from safety as well.

Of note, the full roster is here for spring practice including positions along with updated heights and weights.

6 a.m. workouts

Virginia Tech closed up 6 a.m. conditioning work last Wednesday and just one player finished with a perfect 6-for-6 honors in effort.

The player was walk-on wide receiver Willie Byrn out of Virginia Beach (Va.) First Colonial.

Public practices

Virginia Tech will once again feature three practices that are free and open to the public, the last of course being the Maroon vs. White Spring Game on April 21st.

The first practice will be on Saturday, April 7th and kickoff at 10:45 a.m. That will be followed by an open practice on the following Saturday, April 14th, also at 10:45 a.m.

The Virginia Tech Maroon vs. White Spring Game will be held on Saturday, April 21st at 4 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3 this year. All practices will be held inside Lane Stadium.


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