BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) -Vince Hall bounds into the room like he's energized, far more excited than most to be meeting with the media this late in the season.
And why not. Described by Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster before this year as the best defensive player he's ever coached, Hall's broken left forearm and wrist have sufficiently healed, and he finally gets to play again on Saturday. That it will be Senior Day and the opponent is Miami make it that much more exciting.
So much for thoughts a meaningless game will yield a letdown.
``It's senior day,'' Hall said Tuesday, scoffing at the possibility the team will be looking ahead to next week's big game at Virginia. ``Our last time in Lane Stadium. If they ain't getting up, I'm getting 'em up. I ain't going to let that happen.''
The No. 10 Hokies (8-2, 5-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) could lose to Miami and they'd still play for a spot in the ACC championship the following week at Virginia.
Hall is just happy to be back in pads, even if there's much work to do.
``I went up to hit the running back and I missed him,'' he said of practice Monday. ``That's when coach Foster said 'Get the rust out of your cleats,' things like that.''
The rust doesn't figure to linger too long. Despite playing the last part of the Clemson game with the broken bones in his arm and wrist, and sitting out four games in a row since, Hall still ranks second on the team in tackles with 61 in six games.
Getting hurt in a year he'd carefully planned for a big finish just made him look for other places to wreak havoc, and the online video game community surely celebrates his return to the field after the destruction he's been causing there.
``I like to stay occupied. I don't like too much time on my hands,'' he said, noting that he is only taking one class. ``Football was keeping me occupied and I couldn't play that so it was like, I don't want to say depression mode because of how you think of the other stuff, but I wasn't always happy. Let's just say that.''
He eventually found an outlet in online games, one he was always eager to explore after running the stadium steps or watching the Hokies practice.
``Go play some `Halo,' go kill some people on a video game,'' he said. ``It was just frustration. You want to beat someone in a game so they can feel your pain.''
After a slow start, Hall said he got pretty good at the game.
``I'm a beast on there,'' he said.
Watching him not playing football, though, the Hokies already felt Hall's pain.
``I think the Boston College game hurt him more than any, but I talked to him and he's doing the best he can to stay sane about it,'' left tackle Duane Brown said of the game in which Tech blew a 10-point lead in the final 2:11, losing 14-10 at home.
``I know he's very excited to get back out there. I'm happy for him to be able to come out and play on Senior Day against Miami. That will be a big day for him.''
Linebacker Cam Martin said it will be like having a coach in the huddle again.
``Vince is like one of our vocal leaders,'' Martin said. ``When things are down, you can always look to Vince and he always has something to say for you.''
Hall may see only limited time against the Hurricanes. Backup Brett Warren played exceptionally well in his absence, and the big game isn't until next Saturday.
Still, Hall intends to take in as much as he can at Lane Stadium on Saturday.
``I feel like I got a little extra edge to my Senior Day because I've been missing,'' he said. ``I feel like I'm off the map right now. Got to let them know I'm still here.''

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