Starting right tackle Blake DeChristopher has suffered a strained left
pectoral muscle, and will be out 4-6 weeks according to a tweet from the football
program’s official Twitter page. DeChristopher is considered to be Virginia
Tech’s best offensive lineman, and he is a preseason First Team All-ACC Player.
DeChristopher has appeared in 38 career games, starting 37 of them. If not
for a knee injury early in the 2008 East Carolina game, he would have started
every single game of his career.
There are two early candidates to take over at right tackle with the #1
offense. Vinston Painter (6-6, 296, r-Jr.) moved to right tackle from right
guard during the spring, and made a substantial amount of progress at his more
natural position. Painter has the physical ability to excel at the position, and
if DeChristopher has to miss any starts in the month of September, Painter will
be one of the top options to replace him.
Another option is utility lineman Michael Via (6-7, 285, r-Jr.). Via started
three games at center as a r-freshman in 2009 when Beau Warren was injured. He
has spent time at center and tackle since then, could have had a great
opportunity to start at left tackle had he not torn his ACL in the spring of
Painter is technically the top backup at right tackle, which puts him in line
to move up to the #1 offense with DeChristopher out. However, Via is certainly
capable of playing the position, and is probably further along as a football
player than Painter is right now. The coaches could elect to give both players
an opportunity during August scrimmages. Fortunately, the staff has nearly a
month to make a decision.