- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 24, 2002

BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) Stopping Virginia Tech's tailback tandem of Lee Suggs and Kevin Jones is the most difficult challenge facing Arkansas State when the Indians face the No.16 Hokies today in the opener for both teams.
"They've got some major weapons," Arkansas State coach Steve Roberts said. "One of our defensive coaches was talking about that, trying to get a look that simulated their two backs."
Arkansas State could not simulate either tailback in practice. Suggs gained 1,207 yards and scored 31 touchdowns in 2000 but injured his knee in the 2001 season opener and missed the rest of the year. Jones ran for 957 yards last season despite starting the final four games.
"The thing I like about Lee is that he's such a good short-yardage runner," Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer said. "Kevin's the guy that can get to the open field. We're fortunate to have two great backs."
Suggs said he is completely healthy, adding, "I'm pretty sure on Sunday I won't feel any pain. I'm just ready to get out there and do it."
Virginia Tech quarterback Grant Noel is attempting to play with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, which he injured during spring practice. Noel elected not to have surgery, and said his knee has held up during fall practice. He does not want to talk about the injury. Instead, he wants to discuss his improvement as a quarterback.
"I hope people think we can win with me as quarterback," Noel said. "The coaches believe we can, and I know we can, and my teammates know we can."
Waiting their turn behind Noel are sophomore Bryan Randall and freshman Marcus Vick, younger brother of former Hokies standout Michael Vick.
The Hokies have four starters back in the offensive line, but there are holes elsewhere. Five of seven starters on the front seven are new, and there are no obvious big-play receiving threats.
Also, cornerback Ronyell Whitaker is suspended for two games and wideout Terrell Parham and defensive end Lamar Cobb for one game each for violating team rules.

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