As if earning the praise of Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer throughout spring practice wasn't enough, defensive end Steven Friday provided another glimpse Saturday of the transformation he has made.
Friday, a 6-foot-4, 235-pound senior from Phoebus High, had two sacks in the spring game. His biggest sack came in the third quarter when he blew past left tackle Andrew Lanier and hit quarterback Logan Thomas in the end zone for a safety.
"I think it's his time," Beamer said. "He's playing hard. He's playing fast. Being at that position for a while, I think he understands his role a little bit better. I'd like to see him get just five, six or seven pounds heavier, but you notice the guy. ... His speed off the edge there has become a factor."
Friday had a special message to deliver to former Tech defensive end Jason Worilds, who bypassed his senior season at Tech to declare for the NFL draft. Worilds was selected in the second round by the Pittsburgh Steelers.
"I feel like it is my time," said Friday, who is No. 1 on the depth chart at Worilds' former spot. "I feel like I've been here long enough. ... Congrats to Jason Worilds for going to the league and giving me an opportunity to play. I've got to make the most of it."
Up to his old tricksRunning back Darren Evans, who missed last season due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, didn't make much of an impact on the final stat sheet, with just five carries for 8 yards. Yet he still managed to make his presence felt on his first carry.
After taking a handoff from Tyrod Taylor, Evans ran to the right before dipping a shoulder and plowing through free safety Antone Exum, who made the tackle flat on his back. Evans gained 4 yards, and a standing ovation from the crowd.
"I guess that was me just trying to get myself back into it," Evans said. "My style is just basically to try and challenge people. (Exum) was the first person I saw."
Evans drew a lot of attention in the backfield because Ryan Williams sat out the scrimmage with a minor knee bruise.
Spring awardsThe Peninsula District was well-represented when Tech's spring practice awards were announced at halftime of the game.
Redshirt freshman defensive end James Gayle, a Bethel High product, earned the defensive Paul Torgersen Award, which is given to the top newcomers during spring practice.
Taylor, a Hampton High alum, was given the offensive President's Award for players who demonstrate the most outstanding leadership during the off-season program and spring practice. He also won the offensive George Preas Award, which goes to the most valuable spring practice performers.
Friday picked up the defensive Dr. Richard Bullock Award, which is awarded to the players who show the most improvement during spring practice.
An NFL who's whoIn addition to Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, Tech introduced at halftime 12 other Hokie football alums who are currently playing in the NFL.
Among the defensive guests were Houston Texans linebacker and Phoebus product Xavier Adibi, Buffalo Bills defensive end and Bethel alum Chris Ellis, Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Brandon Flowers, Eagles defensive back Victor "Macho" Harris, Eagles defensive end Darryl Tapp, Tennessee Titans defensive back Vincent Fuller and New Orleans Saints defensive back Pierson Prioleau.
From the offensive side, Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Jake Grove, New York Jets wide receiver David Clowney, Washington Redskins offensive lineman Will Montgomery and Baltimore Ravens receiver Justin Harper were introduced. Free-agent kicker Shayne Graham also was honored.
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