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Playing catchup before the final preseason scrimmage

It's starting to feel like football season here in Blacksburg, with the Sept. 6 showdown against Boise State at Fedex Field looming. The pep rallies have begun on campus and I haven't walked down Main Street without seeing some form of maroon and burnt orange on nearly every passerby.

For the players, this also means their month-long training camp is near completion. Later today they'll participate in their final preseason scrimmage, which is closed to media and fans. A select few players and coaches will be available to the media once the game is complete, but while we wait, let's play a little catch-up with some Hokie-related news from the past week.

*On the injury front, left tackle Nick Becton returned to practice after missing two weeks with turf toe. The redshirt sophomore is taking about 25-30 snaps a day as he tries to ease his way back into things. Becton says he'll play in next Monday's season opener, but the problem with turf toes is that the only cure is rest, and lots of it. But something tells me taking it easy isn't going to help him prepare for Boise State DE Ryan Winterswyk. Becton's health will be a focus following today's scrimmage.

*Earlier this week, the team also announced some injury news out of last weekend's open scrimmage. Back-up linebacker Lorenzo Williams was diagnosed with a Lisfranc sprain in his right foot and is tentatively scheduled to have season-ending surgery Thursday. Williams had six tackles last year.

Meanwhile, an MRI revealed wide receiver Xavier Boyce has a grade 2 MCL sprain in his left knee. He's expected to miss 4-6 weeks. Boyce, a redshirt sophomore, has just nine career catches but was slated to be Jarrett Boykin's top backup at split end.

*If you haven't done so already, check out Steve Yanda's story on the Hokies inexperienced secondary (aside from fifth-year senior Rashad Carmichael) that appeared in Friday's paper. With just three returning starters on the defensive side of the ball, it has to be encouraging to hear Carmichael say: "We like the pressure, man. It's fun. I tell my guys, 'This is what you asked for growing up.' "

*On the basketball side of things, Coach Seth Greenberg seems to have gotten the message sent by the NCAA Tournament selection committee last March. On top of non-conference matchups on the road against Kansas State and at home with Purdue (as part of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge), the Hokies announced this week they will travel to the Bahamas to take on Mississippi State in the "Battle at Atlantis" on Dec. 18. The team is also taking part in the 76 Classic in Anaheim, Calif., over Thanksgiving.

*Finally, some good news if you're a Dick Vitale fan. Virginia Tech basketball and Cassell Coliseum will host their first-ever ESPN College Gameday this winter when the Hokies take on defending national champion Duke on Feb. 26.

Be sure to check back later when I'll have some news and notes out of today's preseason scrimmage. And thank you to everyone who suggested places to live here in Blacksburg. I'm not living in luxury, but I found a place pretty close to campus.

By Mark Giannotto  |  August 28, 2010; 1:25 PM ET
 
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Next: Tyrod Taylor nearly perfect in scrimmage, draws Michael Vick comparison from Beamer

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