Barry Word, who ran through the Georgia Tech defense for 131 yards during Virginia's first two possessions in Saturday's 24-13 victory in Atlanta, missed practice today because of a runny nose -- or sinusitis, to be precise.

But the word from trainer Joe Gieck was that Word was expected to practice Wednesday in preparation for Saturday's game with Navy at Scott Stadium (12:20 p.m.).

Word, a senior, has alternated with junior Howard Petty at tailback for most of the past two seasons. So far this year, Word has 324 yards on 34 carries and Petty has 113 yards on 33 carries. Saturday, Word had two big runs -- 79 yards for a touchdown on Virginia's second play from scrimmage and a 52-yard run on the next series. After that, Word carried 15 times for 57 yards, for a 188 total.

Petty, from Annapolis, had been the starter, with Word relieving, until the Georgia Tech game, when Word started because Petty had a sore leg. Petty ran 14 times for 48 yards against the Yellow Jackets.

Virginia Coach George Welsh wouldn't say who will start Saturday, but then he doesn't really think it matters.

"Our game doesn't change over who is in at tailback," Welsh said. "Word has a little more speed. He has made a couple great moves (on runs), but Petty could have done that; he just hasn't been in at the right time.

"I understand they consider it a privilege to start, but I think of it as having two starters . . . It's not such a big deal. I don't know why everybody makes such a big fuss."

Kevin Morgan probably will start again at fullback. Antonio Rice of Washington, who has been out since the team's first scrimmage with a dislocated shoulder, may be able to play. He dressed Saturday and was available "in case of an emergency," acording to Welsh. "He has to go through a couple of tough days of practice," Welsh said. "Until he gets in and hits, we're not going to know (if he's ready)."