-- Tailback Cedric Humes missed his second straight scrimmage Tuesday but insisted he would take part in Saturday's third and final one for Virginia Tech before the season opener Aug. 28 against top-ranked Southern Cal.

"It's kind of a big day for him," Coach Frank Beamer said. "He needs the work before he goes tangling with those [Southern Cal] guys."

Humes suffered a broken left leg and ligament damage in his ankle during the first scrimmage of spring practice and had not taken part in many of the live tackling drills early in summer camp and the first scrimmage last Saturday.

During the morning practice Monday, Humes said he felt a "pop" in the ankle and could barely walk. He was taken to a hospital for X-rays, which did not reveal any additional damage.

"They said it was a good pop, that I was getting rid of some scar tissue," he said. "I could have gone today, but they held me back as a precaution. Saturday, I'll be there full scrimmaging."

If Humes cannot go against the Trojans, redshirt junior Justin Hamilton will start because backup Mike Imoh will miss the first three games serving a suspension resulting from his three misdemeanor convictions of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Hamilton was recruited as a tailback but spent last season at wide receiver.

"Justin knows what he's doing," Beamer said. "He's been in those wars. He's a tough guy, with some running instincts."

Hamilton had 33 yards in eight carries Tuesday and dived in from the 1-yard line for a touchdown.

He said running backs coach Billy Hite "challenged us [Monday] and I spent all last night and all today preparing my mind to have a good [scrimmage]. I'm happy with my progress. But I missed a cut block and stumbled in the hole once or I would have had 15 or 20 [extra] yards. . . . I'm preparing myself to be the man."

For the offense, the second scrimmage was much better than the first. Quarterback Bryan Randall was 6 for 9 for 68 yards, and true freshmen receivers Eddie Royal (Westfield) and Josh Morgan (H.D. Woodson) played well. Place kicker Brandon Pace made four of five field goal attempts. Defensively, redshirt freshman linebacker Vince Hall had seven tackles and two sacks.

In the battle for backup quarterback between true freshmen Sean Glennon (Westfield) and Cory Holt, Glennon took nearly all the repetitions with the second unit during the two most recent practices because Holt has soreness in his throwing arm.

Glennon completed his only pass, for three yards and a first down. He also worked with the first team for one play, a handoff during a goal-line drill that true freshman tailback George Bell converted into a five-yard touchdown. Beamer said not to read much into that, adding they were "just getting him some work."

Quarterbacks coach Kevin Rogers said Glennon and Holt are progressing well "considering who they are [but] the next corner blitz [Glennon] sees will be the first corner blitz he sees."