Ronny Vandyke

Injury woes continue to mount for Hokies

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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.

Starting Navy S Kwazel Bertrand undergoes surgery, likely out for season

Kwazel Bertrand, Jacobi Owens
Associated Press
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Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.

Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.

And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.

“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”

Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.

Unitas Award whittles watch list in half down to 15

FORT WORTH, TX - OCTOBER 03:  Trevone Boykin #2 of the TCU Horned Frogs looks for an open receiver against the Texas Longhorns in the second quarter at Amon G. Carter Stadium on October 3, 2015 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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You know how I know we’re gradually creeping up on the end of another regular season?  Watch lists are being whittled.

The first major honor to do so is the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which is given out annually to the best quarterback who is a college senior or fourth-year junior.  The preseason watch list was 30 quarterbacks strong; the newest list has been cut in half to 15.

The most recent list includes one of the top Heisman contenders (TCU’s Trevone Boykin) and the top two nationally in passing yards (Bowling Green’s Matt Johnson, Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty), as well as a quarterback who’s closing in on the all-time FBS record for rushing touchdowns (Navy’s Keenan Reynolds).

The Pac-12 leads all conferences with three watch listers, followed by two each from the AAC, ACC and Big Ten.  The SEC has as many players (one, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott) as the FCS (North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz).

Last year’s winner was Marcus Mariota of Oregon.

Trevone Boykin, TCU
Jacoby Brissett, NC State
Connor Cook, Michigan State
Brandon Doughty, WKU
Everett Golson, Florida State
Kevin Hogan, Stanford
Matt Johnson, Bowling Green
Cody Kessler, USC
Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
Keenan Reynolds, Navy
Nate Sudfeld, Indiana
Carson Wentz, N. Dakota State
Marquise Williams, North Carolina
Travis Wilson, Utah