- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 28, 2006

BLACKSBURG, Va. — The receiving corps — the most experienced area of undefeated Virginia Tech’s young offense — took a significant hit this week with a game against ACC challenger Georgia Tech just days away.

Coach Frank Beamer announced Monday that split end Josh Morgan, the Hokies’ second-leading receiver, faced a one game suspension for violation of team policy. Monday was also leading receiver David Clowney’s first practice since an emergency appendectomy last Thursday.

“Well, honestly, when David went down we thought if there was one spot we can survive an injury it’s going to be a receiver,” offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring said. “I don’t know if we can say the same thing now that we’ve got two with Josh.”

Morgan — along with defensive end Chris Ellis — was suspended after being arrested by Blacksburg police early Sunday morning. Morgan, who had blocked his second punt of the season only hours earlier in Lane Stadium, reportedly attacked a passing vehicle. Officers reportedly had to use pepper spray on Morgan, and Ellis was arrested for obstructing justice.

While Beamer has declined comment on the incident, Virginia Tech coaches are quick to acknowledge that the suspension leaves an already erratic offense struggling to match up against Coastal Division rival Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets’ defense leads the league against the pass and is eighth nationally. Virginia Tech sophomore Sean Glennon continues to be the ACC’s most efficient passer but has yet to face any defense more intimidating than his own practice squad.

“His receiving corps, I think he’s gotten better with all those guys and how they run their routes. … I think his confidence back there at quarterback is very, very important to how he plays,” Stinespring said.

Glennon has had every reason to develop confidence in a solid group of receivers. In four games, Morgan’s 10 catches were good for 161 yards and two touchdowns. Through three games, Clowney had 182 yards on 13 catches. Although Clowney hopes to have recovered enough to play this weekend — and Stinespring said the senior showed marked improvement between Monday and Tuesday’s practices — he’s unlikely to be able to assume his full work load. And junior flanker and punt return specialist Eddie Royal already has been limited by a sprained toe.

Third-string quarterback Cory Holt, who started practicing with the wide receivers two weeks ago, now anticipates playing with them this weekend.

“Obviously we’ve tried to place more of a sense of urgency in him getting ready to play receiver,” Stinespring said. “I think last week, I think the last couple of weeks, he’s kind of been dabbling at receiver while being a quarterback. … [Now] he’s met with receivers in the individual meetings, those meetings and film study. He’s majoring in receiver right now.”

Although Stinespring has said Holt — who looks remarkably more relaxed since the preseason contest at quarterback has been resolved — is adjusting well to his new position, the Hokies are unlikely to work out of a four-receiver set as much as they have in the first part of the season. He expects the Hokies to run the same general attack they outlined in the first four games but in different proportion.

“I think we’ve got to adjust it a little bit,” he said. “It doesn’t mean we won’t be able to use a four wide set — that doesn’t mean we won’t be able to use a three wide set. It may mean that we’ll have to use other formations more than we’ve used in the past, but that’s OK too.”

Holt, who said learning new routes has come far more easily than picking up blocking, appeared genuinely optimistic about getting playing time no matter where he lines up.

“You’ve just got to be ready when you’re called on,” Holt said. “And I think this is a great opportunity for me. Georgia Tech is an ACC game. It’s on ABC. I’ve just got to be ready to come out here and try to make some plays.”

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