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Gouveia-Winslow's tough week, and some more Hokies notes

Throughout the early parts of this football season, redshirt sophomore linebacker Jeron Gouveia-Winslow has been praised by Virginia Tech coaches for his ability to shake off a mistake and move on to the next play. Well this week, that characteristic has come in handy for the Ashburn native.

Gouveia-Winslow said he graded out to a -11 when coaches went back and looked at the film of last Saturday's loss to James Madison (they award positive points for good plays, negative points for bad plays). Most notably, he whiffed on the initial tackle of Jamal Sullivan, who then scampered down the sideline for a 77-yard touchdown that turned the momentum in the Dukes favor.

"I wasn't surprised that [the grade] was that bad," said Gouveia Winslow, who to his credit has spoken with reporters both in the postgame aftermath of Saturday's loss and during the week. "The pressure is on even more now after this past game."

During the Hokies weekly press conference, cornerback Rashad Carmichael mentioned that he pulled Gouveia-Winslow aside to try and calm him down after the poor performance. The whole thing reminded him of when he began seeing significant playing time a few years ago.

“I just told him to relax," Carmichael said. "All I could really think about was my first time out there and having guys like Kam Chancellor and Cody Grimm, and [Jason] Worlids there for me when I would mess up or not execute, not finish a play. Those guys would always come to me and be like, ‘Just relax Rock, we’ve seen you do it before. You can do it, relax.' That’s how I approach it, we’re still gonna be here for you, we gonna fight for you."

On Monday, the defense watched the game film of that loss together, rather than with their respective position coaches, as is normally the case. Defensive coordinator Bud Foster said he made it a point to address Gouveia-Winslow with the whole team listening.

"I told him in front of the group, 'He's a heckuva football player,' " said Foster. "But the bottom line was he didn’t play very well. We’re gonna need him down the road, and when we play Saturday, we’re gonna need him. So he just needs to know that he’s a good football player, we trust him, believe in him. But that was just uncharacteristic of how he plays.”

*From the moment he stepped to the podium following that loss to James Madison, Coach Frank Beamer has been careful to not appear as if he's making excuses for his team's poor performance. Instead, he spent the past week praising James Madison's players and coaching staff.

During Wednesday's ACC teleconference, the coach was asked again, in hindsight, does he regret playing James Madison just five days after the Hokies season-opening contest against Boise State? His answer finally shed some light.

"Well, I wouldn't want to do that again," said Beamer. "I'll be honest with you. I think from a mental standpoint, I mean you've got a short week, and you're out of schedule with your practices, and then physically ... your recovery time is affected there.

"But it was what it was. We got beat by two good football teams and I give them the credit and don't want to make any excuses. But those short weeks are tough to do."

*A quick injury update now that we're 24 hours away from kickoff. Virginia Tech's already thin defensive line received some heartening and discouraging news with the release of the team's injury report Thursday. Junior defensive end Chris Drager, who missed the James Madison game with a knee injury, is listed as probable against East Carolina. However, sophomore Isaiah Hamlette (Brooke Point HS), who was expected to provide depth along the line, is doubtful after suffering an ankle injury this week during practice.

Sophomore Alonzo Tweedy, who's been troubled by a groin injury, could also see some more action after an encouraging week of practice. Beamer said this week that the linebacker "looked better ... than he has in some time." Tweedy also plays a key role on the Hokies special teams. And as I wrote in my notebook this week, expect redshirt sophomore Nick Becton to return from his turf toe injury and get some snaps at left tackle in relief of junior Andrew Lanier.

By Mark Giannotto  | September 17, 2010; 12:03 PM ET
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Next: RB Ryan Williams hurt in Virginia Tech's win over ECU

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