Vick now in limbo at Va Tech

Originally Published: July 9, 2004
By Ivan Maisel | ESPN.com

After Virginia Tech quarterback Marcus Vick was caught speeding and in possession of a small amount of marijuana last weekend, Hokies coach Frank Beamer suspended Vick indefinitely and announced that the redshirt sophomore would not be allowed to participate in "team activities." What he didn't announce, but a spokesman confirmed Thursday, is that Vick has lost his scholarship.

That's largely symbolic -- Vick isn't enrolled in the current session of summer school -- but another indication of how Vick's second run-in with the law has cost him. Last spring, he was convicted of contributing to the delinquency of a minor after he and two teammates provided alcohol to underage girls.

Fans wondered how Marcus would make a name for himself in the shadow of his older brother Michael. Unfortunately, they have their answer, and it's one that will cost the Hokies. While Bryan Randall, who shared the job with Vick, is an accomplished senior, behind him there's nothing.

"Basically," quarterback coach Kevin Rogers said, "two freshmen with absolutely no experience whatsoever."

The football hierarchy at Virginia Tech is not so much mad at Vick as befuddled that the redshirt sophomore quarterback has become a two-time loser.

"He's not a bad guy," Rogers said. "He just does not make good decisions. Needless to say, it's disappointing."

Beamer hired Rogers, the mentor for Donovan McNabb and Marvin Graves at Syracuse, shortly before Vick signed with the Hokies. Rogers remains dazzled by Vick's potential. "He's 6-feet, 210 pounds, a 4.4 guy with running-back skills," Rogers said. "You enjoyed being around him. In the spring, he showed a confidence and a swagger."

Those skills propelled Vick into one of those awkward job-sharing deals with Randall in the second half of last season. When Randall struggled, the Hokies turned to Vick. In the 31-7 rout of Miami, Vick actually took more snaps than Randall (29-20).

By the end of the season, the offense found a two-headed stride. Randall, who gained 2,400 yards of total offense last season, had become the man again, but Vick, who threw for 475 yards and rushed for 102, had begun to prove what a dangerous player he could be. In the 52-49 loss to California in the Insight Bowl, Randall threw for 398 yards and four touchdowns, one of them a beautiful fade pass to Vick for a 36-yard touchdown.

The confidence and the swagger are the qualities that the great ones develop when they step inside the white lines. It's hard to believe that Vick will be able to hold on to his swagger, though. He is quarterback non grata in Blacksburg. Even if Beamer reinstates him -- in the past, the coach has given players with two strikes another swing -- Vick won't be available any time soon.

"He's not a factor in my thinking," Rogers said. "He's suspended indefinitely now, and he's suspended for the first three games for the first problem."

Vick doesn't have a redshirt year, which is too bad, because it's difficult to imagine how he will contribute in the first half of the season.

Ivan Maisel is a senior writer for ESPN.com.He can be reached at ivan.maisel@espn3.com.

Ivan Maisel | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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