Replacing the Injured

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Injuries stink. They stink even worse when they hit you in waves in the exact wrong year, and at the exact positions you can’t afford them. This morning, the football gods are kicking back and laughing at Virginia Tech’s expense.

Tailback, whip, offensive line … the news isn’t good anywhere. What will the injuries do to the team this year? Let’s talk about it position-by-position. Note: in this article, we’ll just talk about whip and running back. We’ll talk about the offensive line in this afternoon’s regularly scheduled OL preview.


Ronny Vandyke

Virginia Tech lost Ronny Vandyke (#37, 6-3, 218, r-So.) for the season because of shoulder surgery. That’s a brutal injury for this defense. Whip is a specialized position. If the Hokies lost a defensive end, they’d just plug in a guy like Tyrel Wilson. If they lost a safety, they’d plug in a backup safety. The problem is that there is no backup whip.

It takes awhile to develop a starting whip, much less a backup. Nick Dew was supposed to be Tech’s next whip, but he couldn’t handle it academically in Blacksburg. Now Ronny Vandyke’s shoulder will keep him out for the season. It stinks, but it is what it is.

You can bet there was a nice, long staff meeting on defense at some point yesterday. Tech has three options at whip, as I see it.

1: Go with walk-ons Josh Trimble (#32, 6-0, 216, r-So.) and Derek DiNardo (#41, 6-0, 216, r-Jr.). Trimble isn’t a typical walk-on, as he sported offers from schools like Buffalo and Kent State. He showed the ability to tackle in space as a gunner last season, and that’s very important for the whip spot. DiNardo has always been a good special teams contributor.

2: Go with a full-time nickel at the position. This would mean Kendall Fuller (5-11, 193, Fr.) at nickel, with Brandyon Facyson (#31, 6-2, 188, Fr.) at field corner. That’s two true freshmen lining up right next to each other on the wide side of the field.