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Virginia Tech junior defensive tackle Corey Marshall (96) returned to practice Tuesday after a three-week absence from the team.
[Associated Press | File 2012
Virginia Tech’s Jack Tyler tackles Florida State RB James Wilder Jr. Tyler’s dad, Tim, was a defensive tackle for East Carolina.Virginia Tech linebacker Jack Tyler (58) tackles Florida State running back James Wilder Jr.. Tyler says the new coaches have spiced up practice.]
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
BLACKSBURG -- After a three-week leave for personal reasons, Virginia Tech defensive tackle Corey Marshall has returned to the team.
The junior practiced for the first time Tuesday evening, a little over three weeks after he met with head coach Frank Beamer to discuss his future with the program. No determination has been made for his status this weekend against East Carolina.
"The kid was pretty good," defensive line coach Charley Wiles said. "He was on a different level than anybody else today. Know what I mean? Been gone for three weeks, whatever it's been. So he was very, very active and fresh. Excited. Glad to be back."
The 6-foot-1, 257-pound junior from North Dinwiddie has played 27 games in his Hokies career at both tackle and end, starting five times and making 39 tackles, six tackles for a loss and 4.5 sacks.
In his absence, freshmen Woody Baron and Nigel Williams have served as the top backups to starters Derrick Hopkins and Luther Maddy at tackle, earning praise from both Wiles and coordinator Bud Foster. Williams has four tackles, 2.5 TFLs and a sack in two games. Baron has one tackle.
Marshall's role will still be on the inside. He moved to tackle after spending most of last year at end, trying to give the Hokies more experience on the interior.
Even with defensive end Tyrel Wilson nursing a knee injury, Wiles is prepared to go forward with James Gayle, J.R. Collins and Dadi Nicolas as his primary ends against the Pirates.
"I want to play Dadi as much as possible," Wiles said. "I'm going to play Dadi on both sides. He's super active, explosive. Need to find more reps for him. ... So you've really got three starters right there with those guys. They can all three rush the passer. They make plays in space. They suck up things out in the open."
The Hokies also announced that redshirt freshman defensive tackle Alston Smith made the switch Tuesday to offensive line as a guard. The son of Hall of Famer and former Hokies great Bruce Smith had one tackle and a half tackle for loss this year on defense but was buried on the depth chart.
A Tyler ECU reunion
Saturday's game serves as a family reunion of sorts for linebacker Jack Tyler, whose dad, Tim, was a defensive tackle for East Carolina.
"He actually hasn't even been back to ECU in 40 years," said Jack, who was offered a walk-on opportunity with the Pirates. "I think this is the first time he's going back. I know he's excited to see it again, but I know he'll definitely be in maroon and orange completely."
Tyler was unsure exactly how much Tim played back then, although he's heard some stories.
"I think his one claim to fame was playing against Terry Bradshaw and trying to chase him around," Jack said. "I think he said one of his games was on ESPN Classic one time and Terry Bradshaw tore 'em up.
"He was just a D-tackle. I guess he was pretty good. He got drafted by the Chargers but back then they had like 30 rounds, so I don't even know if he truly got drafted by a team. I think he just quit after he fell into the 30th round."
Although the Hokies have played 10 true freshmen this year, two first-year offensive linemen - Wyatt Teller and Parker Osterloh - did not get into the Western Carolina game. If all goes according to plan, both will redshirt this year.
"We'll see how it goes," Beamer said. "We're just really thin. But if we can, we'd like to right now. That's the plan right now."
Backup tackle Mark Shuman is still on the mend from knee surgery. He's one of the few reserves who isn't a freshman.
Teller and Osterloh will still get reps, but the Hokies hope they can stay clear of any injuries to starting tackles Jonathan McLaughlin and Laurence Gibson to keep them out of action.
Junior Brent Benedict, who has worked mostly at guard, filled in at right tackle for Gibson some last Saturday.
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