Promising linebacker Xavier Adibi (torn biceps tendon) has been cleared to play in Virginia Tech's next game, an ACC test Oct. 28 on the road against Georgia Tech, Coach Frank Beamer said yesterday. How Adibi, a redshirt freshman, fits into the linebacker rotation remains uncertain.
"We'll see how rusty he is," Beamer said during a conference call, "and we'll take it from there."
Adibi suffered the injury during the season-opening loss to Southern Cal. That caused the Virginia Tech staff to shuffle two linebacker positions, starting with senior middle linebacker Mikal Baaqee moving to the strong-side position where Adibi had played behind redshirt junior Blake Warren. Warren has been backing up Baaqee, with redshirt freshman Vince Hall starting at middle linebacker.
Without Adibi, 6 feet 3 and 229 pounds, the Hokies are without anyone on the strong side with enough size to stuff runs and enough speed to effectively chase superior running backs in pass coverage. Adibi's recovery has been far quicker than the Virginia Tech medical staff had anticipated.
Other than Adibi, the Hokies have been relatively injury-free. Defensive end Noland Burchette (shoulder) missed Tech's 62-0 victory over Florida A&M on Saturday, but is expected to return for the Georgia Tech game. Warren (toe) and Hall ("beat up a bit," Beamer said) were the only relatively serious injuries Saturday but should be available for the Yellow Jackets.
Also, Beamer was elated at the Hokies (5-2) returning to the top 25 (at No. 23) after sliding out near the end of last season. "It's a pretty special day," Beamer said. "We'd been ranked 84 straight weeks. . . . Hopefully, we can start another streak."
Meantime, Virginia Tech and Syracuse announced yesterday that they have agreed to a two-game football series in 2010 and 2011.
-- Ken Denlinger