Virginia Tech Offensive Line: Searching For Depth At Tackle

Virginia Tech, Silas Dzansi
Silas Dzansi is Virginia Tech’s most experienced offensive lineman. (Jon Fleming)

Former Pitt and Wisconsin offensive line coach Joe Rudolph enters his first season at Virginia Tech. Because of his past success, particularly his reputation at Wisconsin, expectations are high. However, Rudolph inherits an offensive line that lacks depth at offensive tackle, and everyone will have to adjust to his coaching style and the technique he asks his players to use.

Depth was extremely lacking in the spring, as we saw firsthand in the spring game. It should be better now, though lots of the depth is very young. What can we expect from the Virginia Tech offensive line in 2022? Let’s start with the offensive tackles.

Virginia Tech Offensive Tackle Depth

We know who will start at offensive tackle for Virginia Tech this season, barring injury. Silas Dzansi (6-5, 335, r-Sr.*) will start on the left side, with Parker Clements (6-8, 305, r-So.*) starting on the right. Dzansi has been a good player for the Hokies, and I went in-depth about him in last week’s Friday Q&A. I also talked about Joe Rudolph’s offensive line rotation. Here’s the link, if you haven’t read it already.

Dzansi has played all over the offensive line for the Hokies, and played well in two games at left tackle in 2021. Clements also performed well at right tackle as a true freshman. Here are their overall PFF grades from last season…

Dzansi: 72.1
Clements: 76.8

Dzansi may or may not be a natural offensive tackle, but Virginia Tech does have a solid duo on the edge.

However, the depth behind them is practically non-existent. In the spring, the Hokies were working walk-ons with the No. 2 offensive, as well as Bob Schick (6-5, 305, r-So.). Schick is a JUCO transfer who took several years off from football to go on a mission, so he’s rusty, and he’s a natural offensive guard.

Because of that lack of depth at tackle, offensive performances in the spring were ragged and inconsistent. We saw that in the spring game when Tech’s backup offensive tackles struggled to protect quarterback Jason Brown. Some of the other tackles getting reps with the No. 2 offense were…

Dimitri Georgiadis (6-7, 295, r-Sr.): walk-on who transferred to Tech to play football after a few years of playing basketball at The Citadel, State Fair Community College and IUPUI.

William Jones (6-5, 282, r-Fr.): Jones is an advanced walk-on, as he played at IMG Academy and held scholarships from some smaller FBS programs. However, he’s still a walk-on, and a young walk-on at that.

Chris Boyd (6-7, 300, r-Fr.): Boyd is another walk-on who played for a year at Fork Union after high school.

So that’s three walk-ons, plus one natural guard who spent a few years away from football, who were manning the backup offensive tackle positions back in the spring. The coaching staff looked for a true offensive tackle in the transfer portal who had some experience, but the fact remains that most players enter the transfer portal because they aren’t good enough.

Reinforcements at offensive tackle arrived over the summer, albeit in the form of a pair of true freshmen. I like both players long-term quite a bit, though