'Shocked' Glennon Heads to the Bench

Virginia Tech freshman Tyrod Taylor, left, will start at quarterback Saturday against Ohio.
Virginia Tech freshman Tyrod Taylor, left, will start at quarterback Saturday against Ohio. "It's an extremely hard call," Coach Frank Beamer said. (By John Mcdonnell -- The Washington Post)
By Adam Kilgore
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 11, 2007

BLACKSBURG, Va., Sept. 10 -- Sean Glennon could not wait for this season to start. The Virginia Tech quarterback had put the horrors of his performance in December's loss to Georgia in the Chick-fil-A Bowl behind him and excelled in spring practice. He gained his teammates' confidence like he could not last year, even as he won 10 of his 13 starts. Coaches assured him he would not need to look over his shoulder. The Hokies were going to be his team.

All of that work, all of that goodwill, unraveled faster than Glennon, or anyone else, could have fathomed. On Monday, in the wake of Virginia Tech's 48-7 drubbing at Louisiana State, Coach Frank Beamer named freshman Tyrod Taylor the starter for Saturday's home game against Ohio and for the foreseeable future. Glennon did not last even six quarters.

"That's probably the thing I'm most unpleased about," said Glennon, who is from Centreville and attended Westfield High School. "I played five quarters, and that was it. After a year and nine months being the guy, to get it taken away like that, it's heartbreaking."

Beamer told Glennon the news in his office on Monday morning, before the team watched film of the LSU game. "I was shocked, disappointed," Glennon said.

Beamer's reason for changing to Taylor was the same rationale he used to explain replacing Glennon on Saturday night: The stagnant Hokies offense needs a more mobile quarterback because of how porous the offensive line has been.

"I'm not in a good spot right now," Glennon said. "I understand where the coaches were coming from. I still obviously don't agree with it."

Glennon faced reporters Monday evening after practice, while Taylor threw passes to Virginia Tech's wide receivers about 75 yards behind him. Once his heir apparent, Taylor is now blocking Glennon from playing. Glennon is on track to graduate in December, and he said he might consider transferring.

"I hope the coaches realize I need to be on the field this year," Glennon said. "If they don't, I think a lot of programs would be willing to take me. I don't want to think about transferring right now. That's not a good thought. I don't want to leave here. But I feel like I'm good enough to play on any team in this country. I feel like, not to say I'd make it, but that I have a shot at the next level. I'm not going to not do everything I can to get there."

As a starter, Glennon compiled an 11-4 record, but still never felt fully embraced by Virginia Tech's fans. Glennon said he received "countless" e-mails Monday from fans supporting him. Still, last season, he was skewered after several games on Internet message boards. During Virginia Tech's season-opening, 17-7 victory over East Carolina, fans booed him.

"I wasn't the prototypical Virginia Tech quarterback," Glennon said. "I don't run a 4.3. Fans are used to seeing that, so maybe they were a little biased toward me from the beginning."

His coaches, though, have always liked Glennon. His competitive streak, intelligence and diligent film study helped set him apart last summer, when he first won the starting job from Ike Whitaker and Cory Holt.

Throughout this season, Glennon has served as somewhat of a team spokesman in the wake of the campus's April 16 tragedy. He fielded interview requests and accepted each one. He did the same last December, when he faced a media horde after his disastrous second half in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

Coaches began contemplating a possible change after the ECU game, when the team rushed for just 33 yards. His contributions to the program made it difficult for coaches to break the news to him.

"It's the hardest thing about coaching," quarterbacks coach Mike O'Cain said, his voice faint. He paused for a moment, bowed his head and looked at the ground. "I am a fan of his. I love him to death."

Said Beamer: "It's an extremely hard call when you're taking a guy like Sean Glennon."

On Monday evening, Glennon jogged out to practice, admittedly without his typical enthusiasm. He still played as hard as he could, but the setting did not feel right to him. He took all of his snaps as the backup quarterback, a scenario he had never envisioned would happen this season.

"It's a blow to your pride," Glennon said. "It hurts. I've only taken [first-string] snaps for two years. You don't want to show it out here. But it hurts."

© 2007 The Washington Post Company