-- Georgia Tech Coach Chan Gailey said that "other than being big and fast and very athletic and aggressive," Virginia Tech's Jimmy Williams is just like any other cornerback the Yellow Jackets will play this season.
Gailey, whose No. 15 Yellow Jackets play No. 4 Virginia Tech at Lane Stadium on Saturday, might be surprised the Hokies' other starting cornerback, Roland Minor, is a lot like Williams. Minor, a former Washington Post All-Met selection from H.D. Woodson, has a knack for finding the football and, like Williams, also likes to talk a lot.
"He was never a quiet kid," H.D Woodson Coach Greg Fuller said. "He was very outspoken and always said what was on his mind. In fact, we always had to tell Roland to shut up because he always had the answer."
Sometimes, though, Minor was right. When H.D. Woodson played Dunbar for the DCIAA championship during Minor's senior season in 2002, he implored Fuller to try a fake punt late in the game. Fuller recalled Minor running to the sideline and telling his coach the play would work.
"I told him, 'All right, but it better work,' " Fuller said. "If it didn't work, I was going to chew his butt out."
Sure enough, Minor ran 29 yards for a first down on the fake punt, helping the Warriors upset the four-time defending champions, 19-3, in the annual Turkey Bowl.
Fuller said Minor's confidence is a result of his superior athletic skills -- he was a standout sprinter and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds last spring -- and his vast football knowledge.
In two seasons at Virginia Tech, Minor hasn't been as outspoken as Williams, who last season was banned from talking to the media by Coach Frank Beamer because of comments the all-ACC cornerback made about Southern California wide receiver Mike Williams before the season opener.
As the Hokies prepare to play Georgia Tech and receiver Calvin Johnson, last season's ACC rookie of the year, Minor is letting Williams do the talking again. Earlier this week, Williams said he didn't think Johnson was the best receiver in the league.
Williams will probably cover Johnson during most of Saturday's game, but Minor will defend him, too. Because of Williams's experience, the Yellow Jackets will probably try to attack Minor's side of the field, as other opponents have done this season.
"They've got some great receivers with great hands and great speed," Minor said. "We're going to work hard to cover them and shut them down, just like we did last year. We're going to try to [contain] the big plays and keep them to a minimum."
Minor, 6 feet and 198 pounds, has intercepted two passes in three games, returning one of them 23 yards for a touchdown in a 45-0 victory at Duke on Sept. 10. He also has 10 tackles and has broken up two passes.
"Roland has been very good," Beamer said. "He's an explosive guy and he's a smart player. We've really been pleased with him. He's on the other side from Jimmy Williams so he's going to see a lot of action. I think he likes it that way."
The Yellow Jackets tried to pick on Minor when he was the Hokies' nickel back as a redshirt freshman last season. In a nationally televised Thursday night game at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta, Minor's two interceptions helped the Hokies erase a 20-12 deficit in the final 5 minutes 28 seconds.
Minor returned the second interception 64 yards for a touchdown with 56 seconds to play, giving the Hokies a 34-20 victory.
"As long as you've got confidence, you're going to be a good cornerback," Minor said. "When you don't have confidence in yourself, that's when you're not prepared to do your job."
Fuller said he isn't surprised his former player is relishing his role as a popular target.
"I'm not surprised at all," Fuller said. "Ever since I had Roland, he was a big-game player. No matter where we put him, he was ready to play."