Friday, December 28, 2007
Hokies will start game without Ore
Virginia Tech stories
- Hokies start fresh at offense
- Hokies' athletic director requested 'night off'
- Virginia Tech fans need new tailgate tradition
Blog: Andy Bitter
- Episode 15 of the Hokies Press Pass podcast
- Logan Thomas finishes third in Dudley Award voting; read a replay of today’s live chat
- Sun Bowl is the Hokies’ likeliest bowl destination, although nothing’s final
- Join the Hokie football conversation on Andy's blog
Twitter: Andy Bitter
Virginia Tech will be without the services of leading rusher Branden Ore for at least the first 15 minutes of next Thursday's meeting with Kansas in the 74th Orange Bowl.
Tech associate head coach and running backs coach Billy Hite confirmed Thursday night that Ore has been suspended for the first quarter of the bowl game as punishment for showing up some 45 minutes late for the Hokies' final bowl practice in Blacksburg last Friday morning.
"I talked with Coach [Frank] Beamer on Friday and I recommended that we suspend Branden for a quarter," Hite said. "I'm not putting up with that kind of stuff. In order for us to win ball games, we can't have guys showing up at practice whenever they want to. Everybody else made it to practice on time, so there's no excuse for Branden not making it, too."
Ore, who has rushed for 876 yards and a team-high eight touchdowns this season, will be replaced in the starting lineup by sophomore Kenny Lewis Jr., Hite said.
It's not the first time that Ore has drawn the wrath of Hite in the past year. The 5-foot-11, 205-pound redshirt junior from Chesapeake showed up at Tech's preseason camp last August out of shape after he had withdrawn from summer school classes to return home for "personal reasons."
Ore, a first-team All-ACC performer last season when he ran for 1,137 yards and 16 TDs, struggled to regain his old form most of this season before he busted loose for 147 yards in Tech's 33-21 victory at Virginia in the Nov. 24 regular-season finale.
Jayhawks on the scene
The Hokies will fly out of Roanoke Regional Airport this morning for Miami and begin on-site practices Saturday. Meanwhile, Kansas arrived in south Florida on Thursday and will conduct its first on-site workout today at Barry University in North Shores.
"We have the game plan completely installed ... and now our practices here are just to sharpen them up, get the timing down and smooth all of the rough edges," Kansas coach Mark Mangino told reporters at Miami International Airport.
"We were banged up pretty good, but we're doing all right now. And we think we're in pretty good shape. We will practice and we will practice pretty intensely, too. Our first few practices here we'll hit. There'll be contact."
Approximately one-third of the Kansas players traveled from Lawrence to Miami on the team's charter flight Thursday. The rest of the Jayhawks were scheduled to travel on their own and arrive in time for a team meeting Thursday evening. The players on the charter all were decked out in spiffy suits.
"I always come fresh," Jayhawks running back Brandon Anderson said. "I have to. I'm in Miami now. You can't dress like this in Kansas."
Hitting the beach
When asked if he planned on working on his tan in the Florida sun, quarterback Sean Glennon nodded his head affirmatively.
"I hope so," Glennon said. "I'll be out there. I'll be riding the waves."
The Hokies' bowl headquarters, the Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa in nearby Hollywood, is located directly on the beach.
The forecast for Miami and vicinity calls for high temperatures in the low 80s and high 70s today through Tuesday. However, in a bit of bad news for fans not arriving until the middle of next week, the extended forecast predicts cloudy skies and a high temperature of 68 for Wednesday, with scattered showers and a high of 66 for Thursday's game day.
Resident tour guide
Junior cornerback Brandon Flowers, who hails from nearby Delray Beach, said that one of his primary roles during the team's stay will be tour guide.
"Yeah, a lot of the guys have already asked me to show them around," said Flowers, who flew home Friday to spend Christmas with family and friends and will rejoin his teammates today.
"They all wanted to know where they can go to buy clothes, places they can hang out at, so I'm going to be their little tour guide."