Virginia Tech's defense this season has taken hit, after hit, after hit, but to this point they've taken the punches and rolled with them (minus the second half vs. Miami, but there's no way I'm faulting them for that). Counting projected starter Kwamaine Battle (based on the fact he started the first two games last year), the Hokies are now down five defensive starters from the group they intended to field this year.
Needless to say, a clean bill of health would really be the best medicine for the Hokie D and the team overall coming into the home stretch. Even as soon as today's game ended the Hokie coaching staff was being absolutely hounded with questions about the status of the injured players. Probably as a result of that, we have some early answers and prognoses. Wanna find out what they said? Read ahead! (promise I didn't steal that from a childrens' literacy campaign)
First before today, let's go over the injuries so that nobody gets lost here.
Starting DT Antoine Hopkins: Torn ACL, Out for the year
Starting Whip LB Jeron Gouveia-Winslow: Lisfranc fracture (foot), Out for the year
Possible Starting DT Pre-Season Kwamaine Battle: Torn ACL, Out for the year
Starting DE James Gayle: Sprained ankle, played today
NOW Starting DT Luther Maddy: Nagging ankle injury (unspecified), played today
Starting CB Jayron Hosley: Pulled hamstring, out today
There are also several players who have been fighting injuries their whole careers that haven't been listed on the injury report because there was just no expectation of them ever playing, The problem is all three were DT's: Dwight Tucker, Isaiah Hamlette and Joe Jones. Of course it's looking like Jones has suffered a career ending injury and he really never was a factor, but both Tucker and Hamlette had seen limited time before the season and after they fought back from their respective injuries, have seen little time this year as well.
But okay, now to the big news. Today's injured players included starting mike linebacker Bruce Taylor, now starting whip linebacker Alonzo Tweedy and again, starting defensive end James Gayle. So here's the latest on their condition. This information was reported on BeamerBall.com and then tweeted by Norm Wood and Darryl Slater, so it's now available to the general public.
BRUCE TAYLOR: According to BeamerBall.com, Bruce has some strained ligaments in his right foot. He will have X-Rays and potentially an MRI tomorrow. Taylor left the game and did not return. He was seen on the sideline in a boot.
ALONZO TWEEDY: Tweedy apparently has the most severe prognosis of the three. He has a high ankle sprainaccording to this post. He is also in a boot. Regarding his injury, Beamer said, "Dew’s got to step up and learn quick." Looks like Nick Dew is our starter at whip until further notice. Let's hope his athletic ability shortens his learning curve.
JAMES GAYLE: Looks like Gayle will be probable to practice next week and go against Duke according to that same article. He re-injured it a little and they didn't want to take any chances.
JAYRON HOSLEY: According to the same article, Head Athletic Trainer Mike Goforth believes Hosley will be in uniform against the Blue Devils, as he is cleared to practice Monday.
So a mixed bag of news from that group. At face value, we should be getting two starters back for sure, but one (Taylor) is up in the air and another, Tweedy, is already our contingency plan. So a third-stringer starting is a possibility, although starting Bonner again with Fuller at nickelback is a possibility because of Duke's pass-happy offense.