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Notebook: Worilds Returns to Form

Last year, defensive end Jason Worilds finished with eight sacks and 18 1/2 tackles for a loss. But he played through shoulder injuries that required offseason surgery.

Although he missed spring practice and offseason workouts, Worilds has shaken off some initial rustiness and has showed why he was named second-team all-ACC last season. Coaches said he looked good playing on the right and left sides in practices as the No. 7 Hokies prepare to take on No. 5 Alabama in Atlanta on Saturday.

He “just got back to where he was getting back to speed," defensive coordinator Bud Foster said. "That’s just part of it, getting back confidence and getting back in good football shape.”

Worilds and Virginia Tech’s defensive line could have a big impact on Saturday. Alabama’s offensive line is a question mark with three new starters, and its quarterback, Greg McElroy, is also making his first start.

At a news conference in Alabama, Coach Nick Saban spoke highly of Worilds.

“He’s very quick, tough, explosive," Saban told reporters. "Good first-step quickness kind of a guy. That can make a difference in pass rush for sure for them.”

Beamer Wants Exhibition Games

Virginia Tech Coach Frank Beamer said Tuesday that he wanted to college football programs to play an exhibition game before the regular season.

Beamer said he did not understand why college football teams do not play against another opponent before the opening week. In the NFL, teams play four preseason games. High school football teams regularly scrimmage other teams before the regular season.

“In college, you play an opponent and that’s the first time you play someone else other than your own team, your own teammates,” Beamer said at his weekly news conference.

Beamer said he heard talk about a preseason in college football recently, but was not sure how much support their would be for it among his peers. He said he was “ready to lobby hard” for exhibition games, although he did not have a specific proposal in mind.

“I’m going to see if there is any movement in that direction, that we could get something going like that,” Beamer said. “It makes sense to me.”

Wang’s Audition for the NFL

Although left tackle Ed Wang, a senior, has started 24 games in his career, his remaining games at Virginia Tech might be his most important.

Wang acknowledged that this season would be a proving ground for whether he can play at in the NFL. While saying he put Virginia Tech first, he said he viewed the year as a tryout of sorts.

“I need to play well,” Wang said. “I need to play better. I need to come out every day and work.”

At 6 feet 5 and 309 pounds, Wang is athletic for his size. He was originally used as a tight end for the Hokies, and he recorded a 31-inch vertical jump in the team’s summer testing. He started every game last season on Virginia Tech offensive line, which contributed to the team’s 42 sacks allowed.

By Mark Viera  |  September 2, 2009; 4:27 PM ET
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