The Virginia Tech Hokies struggled to protect quarterback Braxton Burmeister in last week’s 27-21 loss to the West Virginia Mountaineers. A big reason for Virginia Tech’s struggles was the loss of right tackle Silas Dzansi.
Dzansi injured his ankle in the first half and did not return. In his place, Tyrell Smith entered the game and committed multiple false start penalties. Smith was replaced when center Brock Hoffman was moved outside to right tackle and, he too struggled to contain WVU’s speed rushers.
WVU sacked Burmeister six times. The Hokies struggled on the right side of the offensive line, but usually reliable left tackle Luke Tenuta also had his issues at times. It would surprise no one if offensive line coach Vance Vice mixed things up this week against Richmond. This is a good time to figure things out with a bye week next week before the Hokies play Notre Dame in just over two weeks.
To make matters worse, Dzansi’s backup, freshman Parker Clements, was also injured.
Earlier this week, Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente discussed the right tackle position.
“I don’t know who is going to play right tackle,” Fuente said, per Mike Niziolek of the Roanoke Times. “Both those guys, Parker and Silas, were out there yesterday (at practice). I hope they continue to get healthy. We had a staff meeting tonight where I will get an update on their status and try to develop a plan. But I don’t have an answer for you. That’s the way it is; we have got to find a way to go.”
One possible solution is All-ACC guard Lecitus Smith. As Niziolek noted, Smith took reps at left tackle in fall camp. I would be interested to see how Smith fares at left tackle. He’s already an NFL prospect, and playing left tackle would only enhance his professional prospects.
Ideally, Dzansi or Clements will be ready.
The Hokies need a strong showing this week against the Spiders with the Fighting Irish on deck next.