Already banged up on defense, Virginia Tech is down one more linebacker. Starting mike Bruce Taylor suffered a Lisfranc sprain in his right foot in Tech’s 30-14 win over Boston College, and he will have surgery this week. He will miss the remainder of the season.
The Hokies are already missing starting defensive tackle Antoine Hopkins for the season, as well as starting whip Jeron Gouveia-Winslow. James Gayle and Jayron Hosley didn’t play on Saturday either. To make matters worse, Alonzo Tweedy missed much of Saturday’s game with an ankle injury, and r-freshman Nick Dew had to fill in at whip.
Bruce Taylor is Tech’s leader in tackles with 53, and he’s second in tackles for loss (7) and sacks (5). Virginia Tech will be missing a major playmaker with Taylor on the sidelines.
Fortunately for the Hokies, they have experienced backups at mike. Barquell Rivers will take over as the starter, and he played well as the starter back during the 2009 season. He had 96 tackles and 6.5 tackles for loss that year. Jack Tyler, a r-sophomore, will split reps with Rivers. Tyler was impressive down the stretch last season, notching seven tackles and three tackles for loss during the ACC Championship Game.
The Hokies will play their first game without Taylor this Saturday at Duke. Rivers and Tyler will be good against the run, but there are questions about how they will perform in coverage.