Versatile Mike Imoh returns to Virginia Tech for Saturday's pivotal game here against North Carolina State after serving a three-game suspension stemming from three misdemeanor charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Coach Frank Beamer said Imoh would see extensive playing time "in a lot of different places." As a sophomore last season, Imoh (Robinson High) averaged 3.9 yards on 32 carries at tailback, 12.6 yards on nine catches at wide receiver and 30.5 yards on 18 kickoff returns. He is listed as the third-team tailback, behind Cedric Humes and Justin Hamilton, and is paired with freshman Eddie Royal on kickoff returns.
"He brings a different dimension, like a curveball or change-up," said Hamilton, referring to him and Humes being tall power runners and calling Imoh (5 feet 7, 197 pounds) shifty and much faster.
"He kind of hides behind offensive linemen [as a tailback], really hard to find," Hamilton added. "And [as a receiver] he creates matchup problems for linebackers. Plus, he's so great at returns."
The day before a scheduled retrial, Imoh pleaded no contest last Wednesday to the charges and was sentenced to a $100 fine and 24 hours of community service. He had been sentenced in mid-May to 10 days in jail and fined $750 for his part in a late-January incident at an apartment shared by quarterback Marcus Vick and defensive back Brenden Hill.
Vick originally was sentenced to 30 days in jail and fined $2,250 and Hill to 20 days in jail and fined $1,500. Each had entered the same plea to avoid a retrial after winning an appeal on the original convictions and received the same $100 fine and 24 hours of community service before Imoh's plea.
Vick was suspended from school for the fall semester the day before the start of preseason practice after pleading guilty and no contest, respectively, to early-July charges of reckless driving and possession of marijuana. Like Imoh, Hill was suspended for three games by Athletic Director Jim Weaver and will be able to play Saturday. He is deep on the depth chart.
Imoh was made available to reporters Tuesday but would not address the issue other than in a brief written statement of apology that included: "I'm sorry that my actions put [his family, the football program and the university] in a negative light. I promise to work hard to do positive things for Virginia Tech."
Imoh and Hill had been permitted to take part in all practices and other football-related activities.
Adibi Expects Early Return
The Virginia Tech medical staff has revised its outlook for the return of redshirt freshman linebacker Xavier Adibi, who suffered a torn right biceps tendon during the Aug. 28 Southern Cal game. Instead of being out for the season, trainer Mike Goforth said it was "not unreasonable" that Adibi could be playing in three weeks.
That would make Adibi available for the late-season stretch of games against Maryland, Virginia and Miami. He gives the Hokies the sort of speed necessary in coverage against swift running backs.
Goforth said improved surgical techniques contributed to why Adibi's return may be quicker than anticipated. Adibi started taking part in non-contact drills Monday.
Place kicker Brandon Pace, who has made all four of his field goal attempts and each of 15 extra-point attempts this season, had some pictures that apparently showed him and backup fullback Jesse Allen drinking heavily appear on various obscure Internet sites. Pace turns 21 on Nov. 11, Allen on Oct. 22.
Beamer would only answer questions that included whether Pace would play Saturday by saying, "It's a privacy issue between his family and Brandon and the football team."
Pace would not elaborate, but said he would play against N.C. State, adding that he and Beamer have spoken and "nothing was said" about not playing. . . .
Each Virginia Tech player will wear a yellow-ribbon decal on the back of his helmet Saturday in honor of two alumni who were killed in Iraq, Army lst Lts. Jeffrey J. Kaylor and Timothy E. Price, who graduated in the class of 2001. Kaylor died April 7, 2003, and Price two weeks ago.