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Hill to start at cornerback for Virgil

ATLANTA -- Virginia Tech's Cris Hill will start in place of Stephan Virgil, who was ruled academically ineligible, when the Hokies' take on Tennessee in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, but will play boundary corernback not field cornerback.

Hill, a third-year sophomore, beat out freshman Jayron Hosley for the starting job. The Hokies coaches said the players would likely split time during the game.

But in a twist, Hill will start in the boundary spot instead of Rashad Carmichael. In the boundary, cornerbacks play man-on-man coverage and typically against the opponent's best wide receiver. By moving Hill to that position, the Hokies are leaving him susceptible to be beat when he is isolated in coverage.

Hill will be making his second career start; he also started in a win over Marshall on Sept. 12.

Carmichael, who started at boundary cornerback in 11 games this season, will move to Virgil's field cornerback position. That spot requires cornerbacks to rove large areas of the field in zone coverage.

Carmichael, a fourth-year-junior, has been a dependable player for the Hokies this season. His strength is man-on-man coverage, and he has learned to play with the physicality required in the boundary position.

Meanwhile, Virgil was in attendance at the bowl game with family members who live near by. Before kickoff, he stood in the front row, spoke with Hokies' coaches and players and took pictures and signed autographs for fans. He declined to comment.

By Mark Viera  |  December 31, 2009; 7:02 PM ET
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