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Redshirt freshman Joel Caleb is enthusiastic about his moved from wide receiver to running back, but he's been suspended for the Alabama game because of an unspecified violation of team rules.
DANIEL LIN | Special to The Roanoke Time
Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer watches the Hokies during the team’s first practice Monday.
Wednesday, August 7, 2013
BLACKSBURG — Virginia Tech’s Joel Caleb is excited about his recent move from wide receiver to running back, eager to have the ball in his hands a lot more.
That won’t be until after the season opener, however.
As expected, Caleb has been suspended for the Alabama game because of an unspecified violation of team rules. The redshirt freshman read a prepared statement before interviews Tuesday.
“I broke a team rule and will miss our first game of the season against Alabama,” he said. “I’ve learned from this, and that’s the only comment I’ll make. I will be glad to answer any football-related questions.”
The nature of Caleb’s suspension, which has been rumored for weeks, was not disclosed, although it will be for one game. Neither head coach Frank Beamer nor his assistants would address Caleb’s status after the Hokies’ first practice Monday night, but Caleb said he was told a couple of weeks ago.
The 6-foot-2, 203-pound redshirt freshman is a former top-100 recruit trying to find a position.
He was a quarterback at Clover Hill High in Midlothian, one who got plenty of carries in a wildcatlike scheme, but moved to receiver last fall.
Now he’s trying his hand at running back. The move was prompted in part because of Michael Holmes’ dismissal over the summer, since it left Trey Edmunds as the only bigger tailback on the roster. But it was also aimed at getting the ball to a potential playmaker .
“I think it’s a lot easier,” Caleb said. “The reason being is because I touched the ball pretty much every play in high school. Just having the ball in my hands, I’m used to that.”
Caleb said it took some work to get used to the tempo of handoffs and where to be on pass protections in the Hokies’ first practice, but he wouldn’t mind if the move was permanent.
“I feel like I’m a little more involved with the offense,” he said.
“I would have no problem staying there.”
Offensive line shuffle
Offensive line coach Jeff Grimes said Monday night he wouldn’t have a problem shuffling his group this August like he did in the spring. He wasn’t lying.
The Hokies’ front had a different look Tuesday night from Monday. Mark Shuman worked at left tackle, Caleb Farris at left guard and David Wang at center. The first night, Jonathan McLaughlin was the left tackle, Brent Benedict the left guard and Farris the center.
“I told them at our meeting: Nobody’s earned a spot yet,” Grimes said.
“That’s what training camp is for.”
The Hokies are looking to replace three departed seniors on the offensive line. The first-team group in the spring game was, from left to right, McLaughlin, Shuman, Farris, Andrew Miller and Laurence Gibson, although that appears to have little meaning right now.
Coaches and teammates raved about redshirt freshman walk-on receiver Charley Meyer this offseason, and it appears the Hokies will soon back that talk up with a scholarship.
Meyer, who turned down a scholarship offer from the Naval Academy to walk on at Tech, said head coach Frank Beamer told him in the spring that he’d done enough to earn a full ride. The Hokies are still checking the numbers to see if one is available. If Meyer doesn’t get one this August, he’ll get one in January.
The 6-foot-1, 215-pounder from Benedictine High in Richmond is in the top four on the depth chart at receiver, listed as Demitri Knowles’ backup at flanker.
“Is he going to take that next step and be the guy you think he should be? Or is he going to just kind of continue to stay steady Eddie?” receivers coach Aaron Moorehead said.
“I want a guy who is ascending. … He’s a guy that I’m counting on. But at the end of the day, he needs to prove that day in and day out.”
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