By Marty Gordon
Coach Justin Fuente said last week it’s nice to be back to normal at Virginia Tech’s football practices in Blacksburg. Of course, there is always the threat that he worries about; it could come to a screeching halt.
“It feels great. But there is a little apprehension on how long this feeling of normal is going to last, to be perfectly honest,” the head Hokie told reporters after the team’s second day of practice. “I haven’t really talked about it with too much of the team because we’ve only practiced twice so far. And I don’t know where this all is going to go. It seems like we’re learning more each day on what may or not happen this season. But, yeah, so far, it’s been refreshing. We didn’t have the same feeling on certainty at least in the short time we’ve been in fall camp.”
Defensive back Keonta Jenkins spoke to the media about how much optimism there is with not having to worry too much about COVID-19 anymore and having a regular fall camp and season.
“It’s a lot better knowing that you’re practicing and working towards a full Lane Stadium where a ton of people will be cheering for you,” Jenkins said. “Having regularly scheduled meetings and practices and not being so distanced with each other. So, with that, I have more of an urge to go out there and practice even more with not having to wear face shields and stuff like that.”
In news from Chapel Hill, North Carolina football is preparing for literally everything for their Sept. 3 season opener at Virginia Tech. Last week, the Tar Heels ended training camp practice by blaring Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.”
UNC head coach Mack Brown says his team has great respect for Virginia Tech. “In fact, they have had our number for a while now, and we played that six-overtime game the last time we played in Blacksburg,” he said.
Brown said “Enter Sandman” is one of the best entries in college football, but his team must not worry about who they are playing, but instead worry about being the best they can be.
The early coastal division favorite has also taken an added step in removing distractions and dealing with COVID issues by staying in a hotel during preseason workouts.
“COVID is still real. It’s not gone, so we have to deal with it,” Brown told reporters last week.
The Heels are staying in a nearby hotel during preseason workouts. “There are fewer distractions by doing that,” the veteran head coach said.
Tennessee transfer running back Ty Chandler is turning heads at the Heels’ practices. Chandler, who racked up 3,291 all-purpose yards in 46 career games for Tennessee, came to Chapel Hill as a prime prospect to replace the NFL-bound duo of Michael Carter and Javonte Williams.
Brown is excited to have Chandler’s experience in the fold, and that will help when he comes to Blacksburg in the big environment.
At UT, the 6-0, 210 Chandler tallied 2,046 rushing yards on 4.9 yards per carry and 465 receiving yards on 10.1 yards per catch, and added 780 yards in kickoff returns.
And what a college football opening weekend it will be as many wives and girlfriends will lose their spouses for those three days. The schedule not only includes the UNC-VT game but a number of marquee matchups like Clemson-Georgia, Wisconsin-Penn State, Alabama-Miami, Notre Dame-Florida State, LSU-UCLA, and Ole Miss-Louisville.
In other Hokie notes from this past week, former Hokie Adonis Alexander has signed with the New Orleans Saints.
For those West Virginia-to-the-ACC doubters, only three ACC schools averaged a higher football attendance than did WVU in the 2019-20 season: Virginia Tech, Clemson, and NC State.