The injury bug bit Virginia Tech football again on Thursday, as head coach Justin Fuente announced that wide receiver Caleb Farley had suffered a knee injury and would likely miss the 2017 season.
“Our medical team will do a great job getting him back and ready to go,” Fuente said. “It was a non-contact injury that happened on the first day of practice. Caleb is an incredibly hard worker, a good young man, and I know he’s going to work hard to get back.”
Farley, a freshman, switched from defensive back to wide receiver in spring ball. He took the spring game by storm, catching two long passes and making another play on a reverse. Now, Farley is likely going to have to sit out the entire season. Understandably, Farley is devastated but is in good spirits.
“Caleb is doing pretty well,” Fuente said. “He is a strong-spirited young man with a great family. I hurt for our players whenever they’re injured. I know how hard they work and how important it is. Unfortunately, it is a part of the game, and you hate it when it happens when there’s no contact either.”
“My first thought is always the player, and making sure we handle communication with his family right,” Fuente said. “I have a mom too, and I know if she heard I was injured, I know what the reaction would be. I want to make sure we do a good job communicating, and Mike Goforth does a fantastic job communicating with the family, and giving him all the encouragement he needs to get better.”
Farley was by no means an established player who was expected to make in impact in 2017. However, he was an option for Fuente, who’s trying to find just a few guys he can rely on at wide receiver.
“We, going into this season, we had two proven people, and that still hasn’t changed. We have Cam (Phillips) and CJ (Carroll),” Fuente said. “We have a whole pool of other people that are competing for playing time, competing to be dependable players. Obviously, losing Caleb means there is one less person in that group. I haven’t seen enough of anybody to know who those guys are going to be.”
Virginia Tech is likely going to fall short of the number of wide receivers they’d like to feel comfortable at that position.
“We liked to play with eight guys at Memphis,” Fuente said. “We haven’t had that since we’ve been here. We’ll do whatever we need to do, play with however many we need to play with, in order to make it work. Last year, we primarily played with three and then CJ, as he came along he played more, and that was pretty much it. We’d like to continue to grow that number, but I want to grow that number at every position.”
Running back still wide open ahead of season
Another position Virginia Tech is looking for help at is running back, which was a revolving door last season. Even though Travon McMillian was by a large margin the leading ball carrier among tailbacks, his play was inconsistent at times. Tech tried several running backs at different points in the season, including Sam Rogers, Marshawn Williams, Steven Peoples and Deshawn McClease. Add freshman Jalen Holston into the mix, and the running back competition is wide open.
“The job’s open,” Fuente said. “So, I anticipate (Holston) gets in there and competes for it, and tries to become a guy we can trust to carry the football. I don’t know if he will or not, but I’m hoping he gets in there and competes for it.”
Fuente pleased with future scheduling model
On Thursday, Fuente commented on Virginia Tech’s recent scheduling news, which added several games with in-state opponents and BYU. The Hokies added several games with Liberty and Old Dominion, as well as BYU.
“I’m excited to continue to play in the region,” Fuente said. “I like our kind of model, if you will, of trying to find a, I don’t mean any disrespect to anyone on the schedule, but trying to find a marquee game. I like that. I think we should accept that challenge. Then, with some of our other games, trying to keep it localized, or regionalized the best we can.”