The very last thing Virginia Tech needs as it continues to prepare for its season opener against two-time defending BCS national champs Alabama is more attrition at just about any position.
Unfortunately, that’s exactly the news the Hokies released Thursday evening.
In an injury update from trainer Mike Goforth, it was announced that starting outside linebacker Ronny Vandyke (pictured, No. 37) will need to undergo surgery to repair a right shoulder that was injured in last Saturday’s scrimmage. The procedure and subsequent rehab will keep him out for a period of 6-8 months, ending his 2013 season before it ever started. Another starter, offensive lineman Mark Shuman, has a torn lateral meniscus in his right knee that will require surgery next week and keep him out for 4-6 weeks. That, of course, means he too will miss the Alabama game.
J.C. Coleman, listed as a co-starter at running back on Tech’s most recent depth chart, has a pair of ankle sprains — a left high-ankle sprain and a right ankle sprain. In a glimmer of sunshine amidst the dark clouds, however, Goforth is quoted as saying the training staff is “hoping to get him back in less than two weeks” and “[w]e think he’ll be ready and back in time for the Alabama game.” Last season, Coleman led all Hokie running backs with 492 yards rushing.
Fellow running back Tony Gregory, No. 3 on the depth chart, has seen his Tech career come to an early end as he re-tore his left ACL. Backup right tackle Augie Conte has a sprained left ankle, but should be able to return to practice by Monday at the latest.
With the injuries to Shuman and Conte, three of the top four offensive tackles (right and left) are freshmen.
It had previously been announced that starting cornerback Antoine Exum, recovering from a torn ACL, would miss at least the opener against the Tide, while one of the players projected to replace Exum, Donaldven Manning, transferred from the Hokies a couple of days ago.
Additionally, running back Michael Holmes was dismissed from the team after he was arrested on felony charges that were ultimately reduced to misdemeanors. After rushing for 280 yards as a freshman last season, Holmes was viewed as a player who would’ve been expected to carry a more significant role in Tech’s running game this season.
Gregory and Holmes were second and third among Tech backs, respectively, in rushing yards last season.