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Still Nagged by Injury, Virgil Gets First Pick

Cornerback Stephan Virgil's knee injury has been so bothersome that he has been practicing with the scout team, but it did not stop him from grabbing his first interception of the season in Saturday’s 48-14 win over Boston College.

Virgil has not been completely healthy since suffering injuring his left knee in a Sept. 5 loss to Alabama.

On Monday, Torrian Gray, the Hokies' defensive backs coach, said that it was the first time Virgil was able to practice with the varsity players, and not the scout team. Gray had said Virgil would be limited in practice. But word that he was working with the scout team was a revelation for reporters, who are only able to attend a brief portion of practice on Tuesdays. Virgil has been seen participating in drills but also riding a stationary bike while his teammates ran sprints at the end of practice.

"He’s not full speed, 100 percent," Gray said Monday after practice. "What Virgil's giving us has really been tremendous. Virgil's just now -- this is the first time he’s practiced with the varsity guys, and not just the scout team today. I’m encouraged that the injury is getting better. And he looked a lot better today."

Virgil has declined all interview requests for a fourth week.

With 54 seconds remaining in the first half on Saturday, Virgil stepped in front wide receiver Rich Gunnell and plucked the pass by quarterback David Shinskie at Boston College’s 46-yard line. The play set up a Hokies field goal, giving them a 34-0 halftime lead. It was the seventh interception of his career.

Entering the year, Virgil was the Hokies best and most experienced cornerback. His injury was a source of concern, but Rashad Carmichael has played admirably with a heightened role in the defense.

Carmichael has performed well at boundary cornerback, the man-on-man cover position where Virgil started the year. Virgil has moved to field cornerback, which plays the wide side of the field, often in zone coverage.

By Mark Viera  |  October 13, 2009; 10:00 AM ET
 
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