Shai McKenzie to Play; Marshawn Williams Could Redshirt

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Shai McKenzie
Shai McKenzie

Virginia Tech got good play from true freshmen tailbacks Marshawn Williams and Shai McKenzie last year.  Unfortunately, they both tore an ACL.  McKenzie was lost in October against Western Michigan, while Williams was injured against Duke and did not have surgery until December.

Because he was injured earlier, McKenzie is more ready to play in 2015 than Williams.  He had a few carries in Tech’s second open scrimmage, and he looked quick and difficult to tackle.  The plan is to play him this year, after he serves his one-game suspension against Ohio State.

“Shai, we don’t expect to redshirt him,” Shane Beamer said.  “We plan to be full speed ahead with him once we get to Furman.  Depending on how he feels.  He’s got a little bit of a hamstring that’s been nagging him the last few days, so he hasn’t done much.  So we’ll see how his hamstring is.”

If he’s healthy, we can expect McKenzie to get his first carries of the season in that Furman game.  We might have to wait longer before we see Marshawn Williams, as in a whole year from now.

“What I’ve talked to Marshawn about is let’s prepare and rehab like you’re playing,” Beamer said.  “When you’re 100% and you’re officially cleared, and when you feel 100% conditioning wise…we’ll see where we are.”

Though Beamer didn’t offer up a timetable, he didn’t rule out the possibility of Williams redshirting.  In fact, he said it could go either way.

“With him, it’s sort of 50-50 right now, and that will be something we discuss when that time comes.  Right now it’s not worth discussing because he’s not 100%.”

From the outside looking in, it sounds as if a redshirt for Williams is not only possible, but perhaps even more likely than the 50-50 split that Beamer hypothesized.  The Hokies have two veteran backs in JC Coleman and Trey Edmunds, and r-freshman Travon McMillian has impressed in scrimmages.  If Shai McKenzie gets back to form, there will be no need to play Williams.  The staff will have the luxury of redshirting him to get him healthy, and to create some separation between him and McKenzie.

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8 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Biggest college game of his life and he is suspended. Hopefully he learned from the experience, regarding using better judgment, but he let himself, and he let his team down.

  2. I don’t understand the indecisiveness here. It is in Williams best interest to redshirt him now and tell him so that he can fully heal without chance of re injury to that knee.

    1. He doesn’t want to redshirt — so I think the coaches are simply trying to be diplomatic and not squash his hopes. Plus, you never know. He’s not 100% healthy right now and there are a lot of things that could happen in the next, say, 4 weeks. What if he gets healthy and 1 or 2 of our backs get injured?

      I think Shane’s approach is exactly the right one to take — rehab like you’re going to play and then we’ll evaluate where everything is when he’s healthy and ready to go.

      1. You hit the nail on the head. If VT has a rash of injuries at RB and Williams is healthy half way through the season then he’ll play. No sense in telling him now he’s going to redshirt and take the foot of the gas regarding his rehab. If last year taught us anything, it’s that you can never have too many healthy running backs.

  3. We need to have 30 running backs and give them 1 carry each, with each having thier own play and formation.

    1. Thanks, Shane.

      Hey, isn’t there a rule you have to use your real name when posting on the boards? Sorry, that’s farcebook.

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