With two weeks off, the team is finishing off the semester with exams, and they are trying to get healthy. They are also trying to sharpen up on a few things on the court.
Johnson decided to make up this schedule so that his team could put maximum effort toward exams. They’ll get ready for VCU when exams are over.
It’s a good time to have two weeks off, with all the injuries. C.J. Barksdale (knee) is recovering slower than expected. Right now he’s questionable for VCU, as is Adam Smith (calf). They are both getting treatment, but they aren’t seeing a lot of progress.
Barksdale has had an MRI, and there is no structural damage to the knee. It’s a hyperextention.
It’s been tough for Malik Mueller to sit out. He thought he had a chance to start, but instead he’s ineligible this year. The news was pretty devastating. However, he’s doing a good job helping the team in practice, and he’s a team player during games at the end of the bench.
Johnson can’t put his finger on UNC. They’ve lost to Belmont and UAB, but they’ve beaten Louisville, Michigan State and Kentucky. Sometimes it’s tough to get kids to play everyday. Sometimes they play to their level of their competition.
Cadarian Raines isn’t in the “doghouse”. Johnson has some interior guys who are playing well right now, so they are taking the minutes. In the end, everybody will be needed. Right now, Johnson likes how Joey van Zegeren is playing. Raines will get going again, Johnson is confident of that. Playing hard is what the program is built around, and the guys who play the hardest and the best will play.
Johnson doesn’t expect Marquis Rankin to redshirt this year, but he also doesn’t expect to see him play this year either.
VCU is a talented team that tries to wear you down. They keep after you, and then they go on a big run when you start making tired mistakes. This should be a very good event this weekend in Richmond, though JJ would rather play a home-and-home with the Rams.
Brown thinks the matchup with UCLA is great. They are a name program from the West Coast. It’s exciting to play a team like that. It’s something new.
Brett Hundley, the QB for UCLA, is a smaller Logan Thomas. He’s a very good athlete, he can throw it and he can run it. He makes their offense go.
UCLA has a lot of young guys on the offensive line, including a couple of true freshmen who start.
UCLA is a wide open offense. You’ll see a lot of backs and a lot of receivers. They’ll do some things the Hokies have never seen.
Myles Jack was Pac-12 Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year. He plays linebacker and tailback. That’s not something you see very often.
The NCAA has Virginia Tech #1 in the bowl streak at 21. FSU’s streak is technically at six because they had to vacate a bowl game. However, if the Hokies want to hold a streak like that, they want to hold it for real.
Tech will miss a lot of seniors on defense. Jack Tyler had a great career. Tariq Edwards fought back from a tough injury to have a good senior season. Derrick Hopkins is a quiet leader and a very good player.
For Tech, Jack Tyler and Derrick Hopkins will be the toughest to replace. They both play very hard and they are consistent.
Tech had a great year on defense, and when that happens it’s a team effort. Everybody on defense shared the honors. They did a great job this year. They were consistent, and they always kept working.
Brown’s favorite bowl memory was going to the Independence Bowl. He remembers getting on the flight, and the first meal, and that’s always stood out to him.
The bowl trip is a reward for the players, but it’s also business. You can’t truly have fun until after you win the game. With so much time off from football, exams, and Christmas, it can make it tough to focus. It’s tough on all teams. You have to keep your timing.
Monday was Day 3,307 of Virginia Tech’s continuous possession of The Commonwealth Cup.