GREENSBORO, N.C. – Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer said this week he wonders if the Sugar Bowl would have had a different outcome if his Hokies had starting place kicker Cody Journell in the game. And Beamer and quarterback Logan Thomas both said they’re glad to have Journell back.
Journell had been suspended after being charged with breaking and entering, a felony, in December. In May, Journell pled guilty to a lesser charge, a misdemeanor charge or trespassing, and earlier this month, Tech athletic director Jim Weaver reinstated him.
“Cody made a terrible mistake, a terrible judgment,” Beamer said this week during ACC media days. “I wanted him to come back. He’s a good person and has a good family. … I want him to learn from it, which I’m certain he has.”
“Cody made just one mistake,” Thomas said. “Cody’s been a friend of mine since we came in. It’s definitely nice to have him back. He’s a good person and a good kicker. It’s nice to have him back. We know what he brings to the table.”
And what was missing from the Sugar Bowl.
In that game, third-string kicker Justin Myer (Tech also suspended its backup for violating curfew during the bowl week) played in the Hokies’ 23-20 overtime loss, hitting four of his five field goal attempts, including a 43-yarder and a 25-yarder to tie the game at the end of regulation.
But Myer also missed a 37-yarder in overtime.
“Had he been there, I think it might have changed the game,” Beamer said of Journell, noting he made some of his coaching decisions based on knowing he had Myer, not his starter, kicking.
Journell went 14 for 17 on field-goal tries as the Hokies’ starter last season, earning honorable mention all-ACC honors.
Beamer indicated Journell would be the likely starter going into preseason camp, though he said Journell will have to fend off competition.
“I think he’s going to have some challenges,” Beamer said. “I think we have some kids coming in that could challenge the situation. But right now? He was very good last year.”
Thomas said he’s said Journell on campus and kicking field goals. He said the kicker has added some upper body strength.
“Hopefully he’s stronger in the lower body too,” Thomas said.