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Tech’s Journell talks about threats, kicking woes

BLACKSBURG – For the third straight week, Virginia Tech kicker Cody Journell found himself as one of the team’s main story lines. It’s a spotlight he’d love to step out of at some point.
“Yeah, that would be nice,” Journell said Tuesday night after practice. “I just need to go out there Saturday and have a good homecoming game.”
Journell received two threatening phone calls Friday morning, the day after he missed a 25-yard field goal in the Hokies’ 17-10 win over Georgia Tech. Virginia Tech officials reported the threats to the Blacksburg and campus police departments.
“I’m not really going to go into what the person actually said, other than it did kind of freak me out a little,” Journell said. “It was more the person finding my number that kind of freaked me out more than anything, but I’m not that worried about it.”
Journell, who missed two field goals and an extra point against East Carolina, then was suspended for the Marshall game for an undisclosed violation of team rules, said he’s now changed his cell phone number.
He said police added patrols near his home after he reported the incident, but that, since the number was blocked, he was told it was untraceable.
“So I just kind of tried to put it out of my head and go on living,” Journell said.
Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer addressed the threats against Journell earlier in the week.
“It’s something that you just don’t think about or should think about at the college level, pro level, high school level, whatever,” Beamer said. “Guys are out there doing their best, playing as hard as they can play. There’s no room for that as far as I’m concerned.”
Beamer stressed that the person who phoned Journell is not representative of Tech fans.
“That wasn’t a good Hokie fan,” Beamer said. “That was somebody else that wants to try to give your program a bad name. … the Hokies fans I know, that wasn’t them. That was somebody else.”
As for Journell’s kicking struggles – he’s now 3 for 6 on field goals this season – both Beamer and Journell insisted they’re not overly concerned.
“The guy is a good kicker,” Beamer said of Journell, who hit a 39-yarder against Georgia Tech before pushing his 25-yard attempt to the left. “We went back out Sunday and every one is right down the middle, good height. He just didn’t quite follow through on that second one. But the thing about Cody, he knows what went wrong. Some guys, they’re missing and they can’t figure it out. But he knows his rhythm, he knows his kick, and I feel good about it.”
Journell said he met with his kicking coach, Doug Blevins, on Monday and went over things. Journell said on the miss against Georgia Tech he hit the ball well and sent it straight, but needed to push the kick away from his body since he was kicking from the left hash mark.
“It was just kind of one of those things where you are really close to the goal post, you know, and then you get on a hash mark at the same time, and I just really didn’t let my body take over and kick it,” Journell said. “Because you’re kicking further across the field. And it feels like you’re pushing it way right. I kind of just didn’t let my body take it the way I wanted to. I just need to trust my foot.”