The Virginia Tech Hokies were without two starting defensive linemen last week, but that wasn’t a problem for Virginia Tech as they beat Miami 37-16 with the defense having 12 tackles for loss and eight sacks.
On Monday, Bud Foster talked about his hope and confidence that both Ken Ekanem and Nigel Williams would be able to return this week. While that still may likely be the case, both of them plus one another defensive line starter found themselves on this week’s injury report.
— Andy Bitter (@AndyBitterVT) October 25, 2016
Nigel Williams is once again questionable due to an ankle injury while Ken Ekanem’s return is likely as he is probable with an upper extremity injury. Meanwhile, Vinny Mihota joins the list as probable with a shoulder injury that clearly is from when his shoulder popped out against Miami. Of course, Mihota was able to pop his shoulder back in, return to the game, and finish with two sacks so Mihota seems likely to play but not a guarantee at this point.
Not having all three of these guys would be disappointing though it is much more important to have both starting defensive ends healthy given the depth concerns after Trevon Hill. While the Hokies do have plenty of quality depth at DT, the depth chart behind Ekanem and Mihota is somewhat bleak currently other than Hill who had 1.5 sacks in his first career collegiate start last Thursday night.
The Hokies will also want to have as many healthy bodies as possible against a physical, run-oriented Pittsburgh offense that has an old-school style led by the talented and tough James Conner. If the Hokies are without two or three of these guys, Pittsburgh may have a little extra advantage that could make a difference in this game.
Expect not to gain much clarity on the status of Ken Ekanem, Vinny Mihota, and Nigel Williams till we get close to kickoff on Thursday night.
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