Michael Via will challenge Brent Benedict for right guard spot, plus a few more teleconference notes
** The most notable note was that senior Michael Via will compete with Brent Benedict for the right guard spot this week.
“We’ll practice with both of them and see who starts and who’s the backup,” Beamer said.
Via had worked at backup right tackle for most of August behind Vinston Painter. But the fifth-year senior, who missed the spring after having knee surgery, is a utility man up front, able to play every spot on the line. Via has started three games in his career, all in 2009 as a center and guard.
Offensive line coach Curt Newsome has said the Hokies could plug him in to whatever spot needed the most help. Benedict, a Georgia transfer who had to sit out last year, had his struggles adjusting to the position in the spring but earned praise from Newsome earlier this August for having turned a corner.
** As expected, linebacker Tariq Edwards (knee) will not play in the opener. He had surgery two weeks ago to remove a screw from his knee that was causing discomfort. It was follow-up surgery to a procedure done last March to insert a rod in his leg to relieve pain from a stress fracture.
Edwards said Saturday that he hopes to be back by the second or third game. Bruce Taylor will start at the backer spot in his place, with Jack Tyler working with the first team at the mike.
** Beamer has not selected a punter yet. He said A.J. Hughes remains the No. 1 guy, but the competition will continue this week with Hunter Windmuller.
“Over the preseason, their times are just about equal,” Beamer said. “Their operation time, their hangtime, their distance. Both of them have certainly had their moments.”
** Defensive ends James Gayle (ankle) and Tyrel Wilson (foot) are both expected back at practice today.