- The Washington Times - Friday, October 20, 2006

BLACKSBURG, Va. — In today’s homecoming game against Southern Mississippi, Virginia Tech linebacker Brenden Hill and the rest of the Hokies will be looking to recover the dignity they lost in Boston last week.

In a 22-3 romp, Boston College disrupted the Hokies’ already disunited young offense, turned the vaunted defense inside out and robbed the entire program of some hard-won respect. The arrests and ensuing suspensions, the penalties, the losses — all were overshadowed by the perception of the Hokies’ attitudes.

Hill is no stranger to controversy. A contemporary and former high school classmate of Marcus Vick, he was one of three Tech players — including Vick — who were charged in a two-year old scandal involving underage girls. Just when the fifth-year senior had almost lived down that, Hill caught the attention of ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit late in the fourth quarter of the BC game.

As the Eagles’ band played “Sweet Caroline” during a timeout, the TV camera caught Hill dancing with the music.

“What’s he doing? Boy, he’s upset. Look at him — he’s down 20-3. There he is. That’s what I’m talking about with Virginia Tech,” Herbstreit told his audience.

And just that quickly, Hill was the face of the Hokies’ problems all over again.

“It kind of hurt me,” Hill said Tuesday. “I apologized to my team and my coaching staff and, you know, it’s something that I’m ready to move on from and put behind me. But the way it came out was not how I intended it. It was kind of disappointing that it came off like that.”

Also last week, leading tackler Vince Hall and linebacker Aaron Rouse engaged in an argument on the sideline over a missed assignment that resulted in a touchdown.

For a second straight game, a Virginia Tech receiver was serving a single-game suspension for a Blacksburg arrest. The Hokies’ offense scored its fewest points in nine years, the team lost its first conference road game since joining the ACC and Tech continued to be one of the most penalized teams in the league.

But the worst may have been the supposition, put forth by Herbstreit, that talented individuals like Hill just don’t care.

“This is my senior year, my last time going out there on the field,” Hill said. “I don’t want to lose any more than anyone else does. My main intention was to not let them see how bad it hurt — and to not show [BC] any dejection in my body movement or my reactions and then get my team into it, maybe loosen up a little bit. It was a point where we were all kind of tense.”

Those technical errors, blown assignments on both sides of the ball, will have to be corrected today against Southern Miss (4-2). With two ACC losses in as many games and a subsequent tumble out of the national rankings, Tech (4-2) is no longer a threat for a BCS bid or even a run at the ACC championship game in Jacksonville.

With dates approaching against Clemson, Maryland and Wake Forest, the Hokies are in real danger of being further embarrassed if the coaches are unable to resurrect the blue-collar spirit of recent Tech teams that first brought the program to national prominence.

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