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Virgil Still Recovering

Virginia Tech’s defense faces renewed questions about its susceptibility to long gains, but it has had to carry on with one of its best players, cornerback Stephan Virgil, still battling with a knee injury.

While Virgil, a senior, played 71 snaps in a 34-26 win over Duke on Saturday. He has still been limited in practice and is not fully healthy.

“The knee’s getting better from that standpoint,” Torrian Gray, the Hokies’ defensive backs coach, said of Virgil playing a full game against the Blue Devils. “But it’s still not 100 percent to the point where he can practice very day and perform at that full-speed level.”

Virgil has declined all interviews for the past three weeks.

Virgil, who injured his left knee Sept. 5 against Alabama, missed two games before returning to play against Miami. Virgil, the Hokies’ best and most experienced cornerback, played only 41 snaps against the Hurricanes.

In the week of practice before the Duke game, Virgil rode a stationary bike while other players ran sprints. It seemed to be a part of what Gray mentioned when he said the coaches wanted to limit Virgil’s activity in practice.

On Tuesday, Virgil was also seen riding a stationary bike at the end of practice.

Although he saw more action against the Blue Devils, Virgil made a mistake that resulted in a 74-yard completion; it was one of the Hokies’ five glaring of mistakes that resulted in 237 of Duke’s 397 yards of offense.

On the play, Virgil was supposed to have inside leverage on his receiver, but allowed Duke’s Conner Vernon to cross his face and make a play on the ball. Virgil erred on the play and then whiffed on the tackle.

“That can be attributed to not practicing full speed during the week,” Gray said of the play.

The No. 5 Hokies (4-1, 2-1 ACC) play host to Boston College (4-1, 2-1) on Saturday.

By Mark Viera  |  October 7, 2009; 11:15 AM ET
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