The Virginia Tech Hokies announced on Monday that starting quarterback Josh Jackson is out indefinitely with a broken fibula. Junior Ryan Willis will assume starting quarterback duties for the time being with Hendon Hooker firmly entrenched as the backup.
Jackson left Saturday’s upset loss at Old Dominion early in the fourth quarter with the score tied at 28. Willis, a redshirt junior who transferred from Kanas, entered the game and led one touchdown drive, finishing 9 of 18 for 131 yards and a touchdown. He wasn’t perfect, but appeared to give the offense a shot in the arm, which is typical for a backup.
Now, how will he perform as the Hokies travel to ACC foe Duke this weekend? The Blue Devils entered the top 25 this week, while the Hokies dropped.
Willis, at 6’4”, 223 pounds, has a big arm and at times in the spring looked like the best quarterback on the roster. Obviously, the coaches felt differently and went with Jackson. Willis lacks the mobility typical of Virginia Tech signal-callers but he does have some starting experience. Willis started eight games during his freshman season at Kansas, even breaking some school records for a freshman quarterback. Willis also played in seven games his sophomore season, starting two of them.
While there is no history to see how the offense will change under Willis, we could see more downfield action which would make fans happy.
It is amazing how quickly things can change in a week. Last week, the Hokies were ranked No. 13 in the nation, seemingly facing a much weaker opponent in Old Dominion. Now, the Hokies suffered an upset loss in a historically bad defensive performance, lost their starting quarterback and kicked their best pass rusher off the team.
Now, it’s time to go 1-0.