Friday, January 18, 2008

Onus on Ore now

Randy King

Randy King's Tech Insider is exclusive to roanoke.com and is posted by 5 p.m. Thursdays in season.

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Frank Beamer has given another second chance to another one of his star players. The Virginia Tech football coach can only hope that Branden Ore makes better use of his mulligan better than Marcus Vick did.

Two years after Vick fell woefully short of scripting the "happy ending" to his Tech career that Beamer predicted would happen, Ore has become the next guy in the program’s "free pass" line.

That said, Mr. Ore had best keep on the straight and narrow in his final year in Blacksburg. If not, it’s going to be hit the road, Jack, for one of the most talented running backs ever to don a Tech jersey.

Ore had better don his hard hat the next 12 months. He’d better be ready dig deep. He’d better be true to his commitment of accountability. He’d better pound the books. He’d better show up to practice on time. He’d better hit the weight room like others do.

There are no more excuses, son. It’s last-chance time, last-dance time.

Obviously, Ore sold the football jury that weighed his fate in a meeting Thursday in Jamerson Athletic Center. When the deliberations ended, Beamer, associate head coach and running back coach Billy Hite, and director of football operations John Ballein, agreed to give the junior tailback from Chesapeake a reprieve.

It’s all up to Ore now.

Rest assured, the Boss Man is banking on it happening. Sure, Beamer knows Ore, a first-team All-ACC tailback in 2006, can help his team win games. Still, the only one who can make certain that this story winds up with a successful ending is Ore.

The ball is in Ore’s hands now. He can fumble it or he can score.

Just like Ike
A second Tech quarterback is making the move to wide receiver.

Following in the footsteps of former fellow backup QB Ike Whitaker, rising redshirt senior Cory Holt has agreed to begin working at wideout in spring drills. The move is designed to give Holt, who is mired by behind Tech’s dual QB rotation of Sean Glennon and Tyrod Taylor, at least a shot at possibly getting on the field and becoming a contributor in his final season.

Whitaker, a rising redshirt junior, made the move to the wide receiver last fall and is expected to be among the rotation in a group that has been stripped by the loss of four graduating seniors.

Help on the way
The Hokies’ depleted wideout corps will enter spring drills with only two players who ever have caught a pass in a game -- Whitaker, who had three receptions for 17 yards last fall, and rising redshirt sophomore Zach Luckett, who had two receptions for 18 yards last season.

While it won’t help matters this fall, there are strong indications that Tech could be the new forwarding address of Damon McDaniel, one of the nation’s most highly touted wideouts coming out of Virginia Beach’s Landstown High two years ago.

McDaniel announced last month that he’s leaving Florida State, where he caught only seven pass in his first two years in the Seminoles’ program. While he will have to sit out this fall after transferring, McDaniel would enroll at Tech next January and would have two seasons of eligibility left.

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