- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 28, 2006

ATLANTA — Virginia Tech made its first foray into Georgia Dome since 1986 on Monday and its last before Saturday’s Chick-fil-A Bowl.

As they began preparation for the game against Georgia in the longest-running assured bowl matchup between the ACC and SEC, the Hokies practiced inside Monday afternoon rather than at Georgia Tech because of rainy weather.

That trip will have to hold the Hokies over until Saturday. Rather than have his team alternate times with the Bulldogs, who will continue to practice in the roughly 75,000 seat dome through today, Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer elected to work out exclusively at the ACC rival’s campus.

“I think you’ve just got to get into a routine and have a normal week of practice,” he said in yesterday’s press conference. “And so those are the things that made the decision for us, is that we could practice at the same time. The facilities are very good at Georgia Tech, we appreciate those people letting us practice there, but we could get into a routine of practice. We practice the same time every day; the meetings are the same time. It’s important as far as getting your mind right.”

While the coach said that he expects his team to perform well on the artificial turf even with limited on-site preparation, the players were impressed with their first trip into the stadium.

“I’m going to be screaming my head off for people to hear me,” sophomore quarterback Sean Glennon said Tuesday.

Senior center Danny McGrath also expressed concern for the crowd noise. “Maybe we’ll have a few false starts, but hopefully we’ll keep it down,” he said. “Keep our composure.”

As both schools sold out their ticket allotments and bowl officials are discussing the possibility of breaking the Georgia Dome football attendance record set at the same event in 2004, Beamer anticipates a fair amount of the ambient noise to be on the Hokies side.

“You’ve just got to be good on sign language, make sure that part is down,” he said. “But I’m hoping we’ll have enough fans that it may affect Georgia.”

Coming back

Leading rusher Branden Ore, who has been recovering from a high ankle sprain that held him out of the Tech regular season finale against Virginia, should be close to full speed in time for Saturday’s 8:07 p.m. start.

“I think he’s doing great,” McGrath said. “He’s a special player with a lot of talent so I don’t think it takes much time for him to get back to full speed.”

McGrath also will be rejoined on the line by third-year sophomore Ryan Shuman, his first appearance since having knee surgery.



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