The First Bank & Trust Friday Q&A: Minutes Breakdown For Basketball, Excitement For 2024, And More

Virginia Tech, First Bank & Trust
Gunner Givens has gotten some garbage time snaps in recent weeks. (Jon Fleming)

1) Usually by the second half of a season you start to see some younger players starting to get some meaningful minutes because they have progressed as the season has gone on. Before the season started, a lot fans thought with how weak the O-line was, we would start to see Layth Ghannam and Lance Williams get more time. Have they not progressed or were we being overly optimistic about a freshman O-lineman being ready? The interior D-line looks like it could be in even worse shape next year with no one new playing meaningful minutes, or am I missing something? — Jwunderdog

Chris Coleman: I think people underestimate how difficult it is to play offensive line as a true freshman. Doug Nester and Bryan Hudson did it, but at times it wasn’t pretty. Christian Darrisaw also did it, but remember that he had a year at Fork Union between high school and college.

I also think Brent Pry and Tyler Bowen have shown a commitment to redshirting as many offensive linemen as possible (I.E. all of them). Last season, they had no offensive line depth and Xavier Chaplin was listed in the two-deep all year. Yet he only played in one game and redshirted. Likewise, Braelin Moore was in the two-deep all year but played in just four games and redshirted. I think Pry and Bowen take long-term views in offensive line development and I love that. Ghannam has gotten the Xavier Chaplin treatment this year. It doesn’t mean that he isn’t any good; It just means that Pry & Co. have the right type of philosophy when it comes to developing linemen (in my opinion).

Yes, the defensive tackle position could be in rough shape next year, but we knew that. As far as the young tackles go, both Gunner Givens and Malachi Madison were banged up to start the season. We’ve seen Givens get some garbage time snaps recently. But the Hokies run a 5-man DT rotation, which is one more player than most teams use at that position. So, who do you bench in order to play one of the freshmen who has not earned that playing time as of yet?

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