Virginia Tech could be without three key starters when they face Cincinnati in the Orange Bowl on January 1. Starting left guard Nick Marshman will definitely miss the game, while mike linebacker Brett Warren and defensive end Jason Worilds are listed as questionable.
Marshman is academically ineligible following the fall semester. He has already graduated, but he needed to pass six credit hours in the fall to be eligible for the bowl game, and he failed to get it done.
To replace Marshman, the Virginia Tech coaching staff is moving starting right guard Sergio Render to left guard. Jaymes Brooks, a r-freshman, will likely make his first career start at right guard. He has played just four offensive snaps this season.
While Brooks doesn’t have the experience right now, the staff feels he’s going to be a very good player down the road. Coming out of high school, he chose Virginia Tech over scholarship offers from Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina and a number of other major programs.
With Brooks starting at right guard, the Hokies will be starting two r-freshmen on the right side of the offensive line in the Orange Bowl. Blake DeChristopher is the starter at right tackle. A total of five freshmen will be starting for the Hokies on the offensive side of the ball. Besides the two offensive linemen, Danny Coale and Jarrett Boykin start at wide receiver, and Darren Evans starts at tailback.
Brett Warren is listed as questionable because of a torn ACL in his left knee. The injury apparently took place during the Miami game, but Warren continued to play. The knee started to swell up following conditioning drills in the week after the ACC Championship Game, and an MRI revealed the tear.
Warren may try to play through the injury one more time, but the decision will be up to him and his family. If he doesn’t start, r-freshman Barquell Rivers will get the nod. He has played just 28 snaps on defense this year, most of which came in the first two games against East Carolina and Furman. Rivers has a total of eight tackles on the season, including special teams tackles.
Jason Worilds is listed as questionable with an injured shoulder, but he’s likely to play. He has played with the injury all year, yet still has 18.5 tackles for loss and eight sacks, both team highs. He’ll have surgery on the shoulder in the offseason.
If Worilds can’t go, then junior Nekos Brown will get the start. Brown has three tackles for loss and two sacks on the year.