By Adam Kilgore
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 6, 2006
BLACKSBURG, Va., Sept. 5 -- Cory Holt still wore a yellow jersey, the garb reserved for quarterbacks at Virginia Tech. But for most of Tuesday's practice, that was the only sign Holt plays the position, as Holt spent the day on the side of the pass he's mostly unaccustomed to: the receiving end.
Holt, Virginia Tech's third-string quarterback, practiced with the wide receivers and might play at receiver Saturday at North Carolina, he said. He'll practice with them again on Wednesday as well.
Holt also took reps as a quarterback, and he labeled the receiver work "an experiment," not necessarily a permanent position change. With starting receiver Eddie Royal (sprained big toe) likely out, according to head trainer Mike Goforth, coaches wanted an extra receiver for the UNC game.
"My heart's still at quarterback," Holt said. "But if I can help the team, I will."
Holt, a redshirt sophomore, last played wide receiver in middle school, but he possesses the physical skills for the position. He stands 6 feet 4, 221 pounds and has athletic ability to spare.
Despite his inexperience, Holt looked fluid streaking down the sidelines against Tech's defensive backs, and his 35-inch vertical leap, combined with his height, makes him a natural deep threat.
"It's something new," Holt said. "It will be an adjustment for me."
Holt fell behind Ike Whitaker in the competition to be Sean Glennon's backup when he bruised his throwing hand on a defender's helmet while following through on a throw during Tech's final scrimmage. With the way Whitaker made plays from the pocket, though, Holt likely would have lost without the setback.
The receiving work puts Holt's future as a Virginia Tech quarterback somewhat in question. Glennon is also a redshirt sophomore, and Whitaker is entrenched, too. To make matters more sticky, Tyrod Taylor, the No. 3 quarterback recruit in the nation, according to ESPN.com, has orally committed to Virginia Tech for next season. Playing time at quarterback for the duration of Holt's career promises to be sparse.
Holt has said previously the quarterback jumble hasn't affected him, but the position change -- at least for now -- seems to portend a future somewhere away from behind center.
"I think it's just an experiment," Holt said. "I'm just trying to do whatever I can."
Though Goforth said Royal is doubtful for the UNC game, he sounded far more optimistic on the health of starting right tackle Brandon Frye, who dislocated his right elbow Saturday against Northeastern.
"If I could guess right now, I'll probably be able to play on Saturday," Frye said. "From Sunday to Monday was a lot of progress. It surprised all the trainers."
Frye worked Tuesday with a soft cast and a brace covering almost all of his arm. He has a new cast put on daily and then cut off after practice, a process that takes about 10 minutes of extra preparation. The cast restricts movement that would cause further damage to the elbow but allows Frye enough movement to fend off pass rushers.
"It's fine," Frye said. "It lets me do what I need to do."
Goforth said initially Frye's injury could be more serious than Royal's, but Frye's progress after a scary injury has been rapid. Frye's elbow hyperextended, bending the wrong way in a gruesome manner.
"Really, really painful," Frye said. "I had no idea what happened. All I knew was I was on the ground and I couldn't get up because my arm hurt."
Frye's return would bolster a line in need of continuity. Frye had one career start before Saturday's game and both guards -- Sergio Render and Ryan Shuman -- had never started.
"It's important that your first line stays together the whole season," Frye said. "You kind of jell as a unit. If any one person goes down, it's going to be hard. You get used to playing with those guys."
If Frye cannot play, sophomore Nick Marshman will start at right tackle.