The Fisher Law Firm Friday Q&A: Historically Speaking, How Young is Virginia Tech?

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1) Can playing too soon slow a player’s development? It seems riding the pine for a couple of years and observing upperclassmen could be better for you than in-game experience when you aren’t ready. Not that we have the luxury of having many upperclassmen to watch, but wondering if our players playing early is hurting their development. – jjhokie2

Chris Coleman: That’s a good question, and I think it depends on the player.  And I mean that from a mental standpoint as well as a physical standpoint.

Physically speaking, if you play a guy who is too small and not well-built as a true freshman, you run the risk of injury.  Tre Turner had a big year for the Hokies last year, and it’s a good thing he enrolled early so he could put on 25 pounds of muscle from the winter through the summer.  If he had enrolled in the summer, he would have been a 165-pound freshman who probably would have gotten himself hurt.

An injury, particular a shoulder injury, to a physically underdeveloped player can be extremely detrimental to his development.  Terius Wheatley is the perfect example.  He needed to add muscle mass to play effectively.  Instead, he had shoulder surgery and lost an entire offseason in the weight room, and he’s the same size he was last year.  I’m an advocate for taking it slow with players who enroll on the small side.  Limit their contact early in their career until they put on the proper weight and muscle. 

From a mental standpoint, I don’t think most freshmen enroll with a good idea of exactly how hard