BATTERED, BRUISED: As cornerback Josh Wilson walked onto the practice field with the aid of crutches yesterday morning, he hobbled past a trainer who was helping tackle Scott Burley stretch his balky back on the sideline. At the same time, tight end Derek Miller was going through drills as a second-string tackle, a move necessitated by injuries to several other offensive linemen.

Wilson's crutches were the result of a run-in with a teammate's cleats Saturday, opening a gash that required about a dozen stitches.

The offensive line injuries are more troubling. Left tackle Stephon Heyer partially tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee on Saturday, Burley missed yesterday's morning session although he practiced in the evening, freshman tackle Zach Marshall was out with a head injury and guard Russell Bonham was sidelined by a stinger. That left a first-string unit featuring three sophomores and two freshmen.

Heyer's injury "is a setback," Coach Ralph Friedgen said, "but we have to push on. We can't let this one thing affect what our goals are."

Friedgen said Heyer probably will have surgery within the next week or two, and said it was too early to discuss the chances of the 319-pound senior redshirting and returning to Maryland for another season. Bonham and Marshall could resume practicing this week, while freshman wide receiver Isaiah Williams is out with a sprained left shoulder injury and is day-to-day. Freshman linebacker Erin Henderson sprained his left knee and will be evaluated today. . . .

Friedgen said quarterback Sam Hollenbach's performance Saturday evening was the most accurate by a Maryland quarterback since Scott McBrien's final game in 2003.

-- Dan Steinberg


PLANNING AHEAD: Coach Al Groh said he is not as concerned about finding a backup for quarterback Marques Hagans as he is with finding a starting quarterback for 2006.

Groh said neither junior Christian Olsen nor sophomore Kevin McCabe has separated himself from the competition for the backup job. Redshirt freshman Scott Deke and freshmen Vic Hall and Jameel Sewell also are in the mix. Olsen, a transfer from Notre Dame, was the backup quarterback last season, completing 10 of 12 passes in five games.

"It's at least important for us to figure out who the front-runner for '06 is," Groh said. Running back-outside linebacker Raynard Horne of Overlea High in Baltimore became the 13th high school player to orally commit to sign with Virginia in February.

Virginia Tech

RISING SOPHOMORES: Perhaps no Hokies players made as much of an impression during Saturday's first scrimmage as sophomore defensive linemen Chris Ellis and Kory Robertson.

A 6-foot-3, 331-pound tackle from Martinsville, Va., Robertson had three of the defense's 10 sacks. Ellis, a 6-5, 250-pound end from Hampton, Va., had two more sacks. Ellis is trying to unseat starting end Noland Burchette, a junior who started 12 of 13 games last season. Robertson came into preseason camp as the number three tackle, but has probably moved ahead of sophomore Barry Booker, who has been out with a strained groin.

Junior David Clowney of Delray Beach, Fla., has moved from flanker to split end and is ahead of sophomore Josh Hyman, who started 12 games last season. Senior Will Montgomery played at center during yesterday's practice, and junior Brandon Gore was working at left guard. Montgomery, who started 13 games at center in 2004, moved to left guard in the spring after playing there as a sophomore. Junior Danny McGrath (Herndon) was the top center until yesterday.

"We just have to get our best players on the field," Tech Coach Frank Beamer said.

-- Mark Schlabach