Quarterback Marcus Vick arrived at Virginia Tech in the enormous shadow of his older brother, former Hokies all-American and Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick. But in his first four college starts, Marcus Vick has outdone his famous brother.
Marcus Vick, who played in 11 games as a backup in 2003, then missed last season while serving a university-imposed suspension, ranks ninth in Division I-A in pass efficiency, completing 63.5 percent of his passes for 703 yards and seven touchdowns with one interception for the No. 3 Hokies.
During his freshman season in 1999, Michael Vick didn't throw his first touchdown pass until the fourth game and had only 198 passing yards combined in his first two starts.
"Marcus has consistently gotten better," Coach Frank Beamer said. "He's a talented quarterback who is working to be a great quarterback. I've always believed in Marcus. To me, he and Michael are a lot alike, and I like them both a lot. They're humble kids and they're very competitive."
Marcus Vick, 21, also seems to have learned from his older brother's mistakes. He is running less than his brother did -- he has run 37 times for 57 yards and a touchdown -- and has so far avoided the injuries that plagued Michael Vick during the beginning of both his college and NFL careers.
Michael Vick ran for three touchdowns in his debut against James Madison in 1999 but sprained his left ankle and missed the second game, against Alabama-Birmingham.
"Right now, I'm just trying to conserve my body and not have an injury that could hurt my team," Marcus Vick said last night. "When my instincts tell me to run, I'm going to run. When I drop back, I just look to see what the defense is giving me, and I'm going to take it."
West Virginia, which will host the Hokies in Morgantown on Saturday, hasn't given quarterbacks much in victories over Syracuse, Division I-AA Wofford, Maryland and East Carolina. The Mountaineers rank fourth in the country in total defense, allowing 221 yards per game, and ninth against the pass.
Butler's Status Unclear
Guard Reggie Butler should be back for the West Virginia game, but Beamer hasn't said whether the senior will return to the starting lineup. In last week's 51-7 blowout of Georgia Tech, senior Will Montgomery moved to left guard and junior Danny McGrath started at center. The combination seemed to work pretty well.
"We do plan on Reggie being back this week and we'll see how practice goes this week," Beamer said.
Cavs' Brooks May Play
There are indications Virginia middle linebacker Ahmad Brooks could play for the first time this season during Saturday's game at Maryland. Cavaliers Coach Al Groh didn't speculate about Brooks's availability during his weekly news conference in Charlottesville yesterday, and the 2004 all-American wasn't listed on the two-deep depth chart released by Virginia officials.
But Brooks, who underwent surgery in January to regenerate bone growth in his right knee, is believed to have showed improvement in recent days. Virginia's practices are closed to the media, and Groh hasn't said whether the former Hylton High School star is practicing.
Also, tailback Wali Lundy (sprained foot), tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson (sprained knee) and center Bart Barthelmes (sprained ankle) didn't participate in Monday's practice but are expected to play against the Terrapins in Byrd Stadium.
Groh said senior right tackle Brad Butler played in last Saturday's 38-7 victory over Duke despite not practicing the entire week. . . .
Virginia freshman guard Branden Albert was named ACC rookie of the week, and junior linebacker Kai Parham was named ACC defensive lineman of the week for the second week in a row. Virginia Tech senior Jeff King was named ACC offensive lineman of the week after catching a touchdown pass and blocking a field goal attempt against the Yellow Jackets.