Mansoor Delane To Start For Virginia Tech At NC State On Thursday

Mansoor Delane will start for Virginia Tech on Thursday. (Jon Fleming)

The biggest change to Virginia Tech football’s updated depth chart on Monday came at cornerback. True freshman Mansoor Delane is listed as a starter, and he’ll see the majority of reps on Thursday night at No. 24 NC State.

The 6-1, 177-pound Silver Spring, Md. product has played in four games for the Hokies in 2022 and slowly gained more playing time.

“He missed most of preseason camp with an injury, so he was not an early enrollee,” head coach Brent Pry said of Delane on Monday. “So this guy has really learned things quickly and impressed us in short time. He’s played corner, he’s played safety, and when the opportunity came, it just … the game’s not too big for him.

“He didn’t seem nervous, he didn’t get bright-eyed. He made a few mistakes but bounced back nicely from it. … A very natural football player, and I think probably more than anything, he can anticipate things really well.”

Veteran cornerback Dorian Strong injured his hand against West Virginia on Sept. 22 and hasn’t played since. In turn, Delane’s playing time increased.

Against North Carolina on Oct. 1, he saw his first action on defense and recorded tackles on back-to-back plays. He has 10 tackles this season and 1.5 tackles for loss, too.

Redshirt senior Armani Chatman is the other starting cornerback opposite of Delane, and the redshirt senior is “probable” for NC State, per Pry. DJ Harvey and Cam Johnson are with the second team, while Strong and Brion Murray are listed as third string. Considering Johnson is also a true freshman and Harvey is a redshirt freshman, Tech’s defense will be heavily reliant on the young bucks in the remaining five games. 

“You can’t not have it be a part of your thought process, but I’m excited for those guys,” Pry said. “I’m excited about Devin and Cam. Mansoor’s just a little bit ahead of them, but those guys have us all excited. I think Coach Jones has done a good job with them, and their playing time will increase week by week.”

TyJuan Garbutt, who played well for Virginia Tech against Miami, should see the field in Raleigh this week. (Ivan Morozov)

Injury Updates

Numerous Virginia Tech players dealt with injuries through the first seven games, headlined by Strong. According to Pry, he’s doubtful for Thursday’s game in Carter-Finley Stadium. He’s missed the last three games, though, and he was not at practice on Monday.

Defensive end TyJuan Garbutt, who posted a season-high five tackles vs. Miami, is expected to play. The redshirt senior dealt with an injury that forced him to miss the Pitt game on Oct. 8, but he returned last week. He had three tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks against the Canes. In Tech’s open practice that the media observed on Monday, he was a full go.

Running back Keshawn King is questionable, according to Pry. He’s been banged up throughout the year but only missed the Wofford game in September. He had just three touches offensively against Miami, his lowest number of the season. Meanwhile, fellow running back Malachi Thomas had 13 rushes and six receptions. Like Garbutt, King also looked good in Monday’s practice.

Wide receiver Stephen Gosnell suffered a head injury at North Carolina but is back practicing like his normal self. Pry said he’s “had a good week of practice” and is probable for the Hokies against the Wolfpack on Thursday night.

“He’s a guy that – if he can stay healthy, he’s a guy that I think can continue to grow and give us another threat there,” Pry said of Gosnell.

Being More Creative Offensively

After the loss to Miami, putting Tech at 2-5 overall (1-3 ACC), Pry said the Hokies needed to be “less vanilla” on offense.

The staff spent part of the open week self-scouting and reviewing the first seven games. Coincidentally, the head coach said the offensive unit looked better in preparation for NC State.

“They had a good week,” Pry said. “The offensive skeleton session the other day was real good and one of the better ones we’ve had recently. And Grant [Wells] was throwing well. Good routes, nice snags.”

Pry’s previously said that the identity of that group is to utilize two tight ends, but that hasn’t been successful in 2022. However, the team is trying to find other ways to get the best personnel groupings on the field.

Will Virginia Tech play Malachi Thomas and Keshawn King at the same time? It could be a good move. (Ivan Morozov)

“We’ve tried to be that two-tight end team that we wanted to be at the onset, and run the ball and play-action and be multiple with our tight ends, and it just hasn’t gone like we’ve hoped,” Pry said. “So certainly there’s some things I know when we are playing well against that sort of package, what are some adjustments over the years that offenses have done against us to help move the football. Establish the run, create some explosives.”

Though King’s impact decreased with Thomas’s expanded role in the previous game, rolling out some sets with the running back duo could be a card up offensive coordinator Tyler Bowen’s sleeve in the coming weeks. Tech analyzed what players are on the field at what times during the open week, and both players and coaches have raved about both King and Thomas.

Might the two most explosive players on offense see the field at the same time?

“We’ve talked about everything,” Pry said. “I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag if that is what we’re doing, but they are a nice one-two punch and two of our better players. If one’s not on the field, the other one is, but they can certainly be productive with the ball, and the idea of them being on the field at the same time has certainly been talked about.”

28 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. My problem is the off. Not opening play book especially using Wright More he is best athlete at te, Gallo to slow, again off . Coordinator is issue there,ty bo was a te coach at Jacksonville how is he qualified to be off coordinator any way.yes needs time , but sometime that does not work as well,got 4 games left have a chance in 2,maybe.

  2. Of the 23 responses, about 20 of them are GARBAGE. Why not give the man a chance instead of tearing him down. I guess everything you do in life works right the first time and that you have no problems. If I were Pry, I would say the he.. with all of you naysayers and find a place where I am wanted. He wants to be here and he is doing everything possible to get over hump. I wish the rest of you could see it. Maybe take off the blinders, support the team (coaches and players) and give them the support that you gave Frank and Bud. Just remember back in the day after year 6, everyone was wanting to get rid of Frank. I wonder where we would be if that had happened. I know everything goes as planned with a lot of you and life is good but for some of us,we appreciate what we have.

    1. Well said. He loves it in BB and I’m sure he wants to win more than anyone. He wasn’t left with a total dumpster fire but not far from it. The players are for the first time feeling the love from a head coach. Ias much as possible, redshirting is desirable but if you have a true freshman that can contribute now, that’s invaluable for next season and down the road and I think coach is looking ahead.

  3. I get the feeling, that for some commenters here, nothing will ever be enough or right. They will always be better coaches than the coaches. I find it a shame they haven’t utilized this talent they have. They could be running out the tunnel to Enter Sandman. VT could be winning a national championship every other year.

  4. Watching our offense in person, I got the sense they were just going through the motions. Especially those first 3 quarters of the Miami Game. Little excitement, very little drive or effort. They lined up, ran 3 plays and well- that’s all we can do this time. Hope we don’t have to go back out there anytime soon. Just punt the ball. 3 plays, punt, 3 plays, punt. Sheesh- how many more times do we have to do this ? We did everything we could in the stands ! Nuttin’

  5. Need to be a “ little less vanilla” offense ???? YOU THINK ?? Maybe going deeper than 6-8 plays in playbook might help .

  6. Is it just me, but does it seem like Pry & Co. are just flying by the seat of their pants?

    Good lord, please let it be more than what it appears. But man, it just seems like throwing spaghetti against the wall and hoping something sticks.

    1. First year head coach with a somewhat depleted roster, yeah, they are flying by the seat of their paints. More interested in how the team improves. Are they playing better at the end of the season? Do they improve next year? Does recruiting get better? Do players improve year to year? My biggest problem with Fuentes was we got a little worse each year, if Pry reverses this trend then he will be successful.

      1. Well said! Fuente’s first year he did a great job getting Jerod Evans in to play QB. His toughness and running made us a difficult offense to get off the field. We still had Bud and some future NFL defensive guys. Everything went down hill from there. Pry will get it right. He has plenty of experience and good football people around him

      2. Mike Elko and staff at Duke are a thousand times more impressive than Pry and staff.

        Pry is gonna have to finish stronger than he’s started to convince me he’ll get things respectable in a couple years.

    2. A big problem this season is the state of the roster. We simply need more talent to give the coaching staff a fair shake.

      1. Lack of talent is an excuse, not the issue. VT’s not an overly talented team, but it has enough talent to compete with every team on its schedule – including Miami & UNC. However it’s not nearly enough talent to overcome HS schemes, poor game prep, poor in-game mgmt, poor execution, penalties, etc.

    3. Question – his guys are very bad and have hit their limits as players That is all he has.. do u expect him to say sorry guys these guys are bad.. nothing more to do?? What does that do to the team???

    4. In just about every team sport, the team is different from year to year. In every team sport my children played, and just as with CMY and Hokie Basketball, it takes time to figure out the optimum rotation and lineup. That process takes a bit longer with new coaches, because they are learning ALL the players, not just the new additions from year to year. I’m actually glad to see them trying different things to see what works. My hope is that Pry not only evaluates players, but is also evaluating his staff. If nothing changes, then nothing changes.

  7. Great, so a true freshman starting in one corner spot, and the other is “probable” with two freshman behind him on the depth chart. How in the world is Brion Murray getting worse with time? Starting to wonder if this staff can evaluate or develop talent and players at all…they’ve shown the exact opposite of improvement across the board at almost every position.

    1. Have you not seen Brion Murray play? (sorry to call out by name), not a P5 DB by any stretch.

      Ever heard the expression “Can’t get blood from a turnip”?

    2. Murray was never more than a #2 backup CB – if that. The only reason he’s seen so much PT is the better CBs have been plagued by injuries the last few years.

    1. Pry talks about the offense like it’s some type of experiment. The best guys should always be on the field

  8. NO one has asked Pry about playing time of people , ahem… you would expect to be on the field more, Barring injuries

Comments are closed.