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Hokies' Grimm is 'a nuisance player'

ATLANTA – From Florida quarterback Tim Tebow to Alabama running back Mark Ingram, Tennessee has faced plenty of star players in a Southeastern Conference that is chock full of talented athletes.

But as the Volunteers (7-5) prepare to play No. 12 Virginia Tech (9-3) of the Atlantic Coast Conference, Tennessee offensive coordinator Jim Chaney called Hokies linebacker Cody Grimm “a real pain in my butt.”

“I feel like every week we see someone that comes around and you think, boy, he’s making a lot of plays,” Chaney said, adding that Grimm continued to show up on film. “Does he run right over a guy to make the play? No. He’ll run around him and make the tackle. He’s back there deflecting the ball, he’s making tackles. He’s a nuisance player.”

Grimm has been nothing short of spectacular this season. A former walk on, the 5-foot-11 Grimm is considered the Hokies’ best pound-for-pound player. He was named first-team all-ACC after leading Virginia Tech in tackles and finishing in a tie for first nationally with seven forced fumbles.

“He just finds a way to make plays,” Chaney said. “He is exceptional as a football player. He’s very good at what he does. I think they put him into a scheme that fits him perfectly.”

Third time’s a charm?

With Thursday’s game at the Georgia Dome, Virginia Tech is making its third trip to Atlanta this season. This is the first time since 1962 that the Hokies have played that many times in one city outside of Blacksburg.

In 1962, Virginia Tech played games against George Washington, Virginia and Virginia Military Institute in Roanoke. It played three games in Roanoke, about 45 minutes away, on six different occasions in the program’s history (1914, 1945, 1948, 1958, 1961, 1962).

Virginia Tech has lost both of its previous appearances in Atlanta this year. The Hokies lost to Alabama on Sept. 5 in the Georgia Dome and then fell at Georgia Tech on Oct. 17.

Hokies healthy, made curfew

Virginia Tech Coach Frank Beamer said his players were healthy and on time for their curfews this week.

Beamer noted that defensive tackle John Graves, who has battled a right ankle sprain this year, was fully rested and should be 100 percent when the Hokies take the field on Thursday. Asked if any players missed curfew, Beamer said everyone was on time and well behaved.

Random bowl facts

A win over Tennessee would give Virginia Tech its first back-to-back bowl victories for the first time in school history; the Hokies defeated Cincinnati in the Orange Bowl last season. . . . Virginia Tech is 8-14 all time in bowl games, while Tennessee is 25-22. . . . Virginia Tech making its fourth bowl appearance in Atlanta. . . . Teams from the Southeastern Conference have defeated their Atlantic Coast Conference opponents in each of the last four Chick-fil-A Bowl games. . . . The Chick-fil-A Bowl offers a $6.2 million total team payout. . . . The Chick-fil-A Bowl has sold out for 13 consecutive years. . . . Over the last 25 years, the Chick-fil-A Bowl has been decided by 8.7 points per game.

By Mark Viera  |  December 31, 2009; 9:30 AM ET
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