Virginia Tech head coach Brent Pry took to the podium yesterday for his weekly Tuesday press conference with plenty of questions on the injury front after several starters missed the Rutgers game with Jalen Stroman then joining them in suffering a late first half injury.
So where do the Hokies stand with the health of several different players?
Let's start on offense with QB Grant Wells who saw his backup Kyron Drones play pretty well against Rutgers and earn an "OR" designation with Wells this week on the depth chart. Pry had this to say about the status of Wells.
"Yeah, I think his his progress was slow last week. I was hoping he'd be an emergency guy for the game. I don't know that he really was. That was going to be a tough one. But, you know, we're going to continue to work and treat him and rehab him. I saw him this morning. He's definitely feeling better. But until we get out there and see what you can do moving around. You just don't know. I mean, I think sometimes you you carry guys all the way to pregame. We really weren't sure about Jaylin Lane until pregame. You know, and there was a couple of routes in pregame that just didn't look great. And you don't want a major setback and so right now Grant's questionable I'd say. Certainly better off than he was last week at this time," Pry said.
Whoever the QB may be this week, Tech will definitely be hoping to have standout slot WR Jaylin Lane back to help him out. While he barely wasn't healthy enough for the Hokies to play him at Rutgers, Pry is optimistic that Lane will be good to go this week at Marshall while also providing insights into how the Hokies go through their injury recovery evaluations.
"Yeah, I think he's got a much better shot this week. You know, when you're dealing with injuries, it's you want to practice them enough that they're ready, and to feel like they can go out and play winning football, but you don't want to set them back. So it's challenging, you know, and that's all of us, that's myself, the position coach, the trainers, that's Jaylin. With each one of these guys that are injured. You have to get enough work to feel like you can go play and play well. But you don't want to have a setback you want to continue the recovery and feeling better and better each day. So there's a lot of planning that goes into that. It's a lot of discussions in what that practice needs to look like how many reps, where are the reps, how much full speed work, all those things. You kind of go Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and, you know, Fridays, we're fast Fridays. So our guys are running around on Friday. It's another good day for us to evaluate," Pry said.
While Da'Quan Felton and others stepped up last week, there's no doubt that getting Lane back would be a big boost especially given that he had 9 receptions for 123 yards and 2 touchdowns in only 6 quarters and a couple minutes of the third quarter vs Purdue prior to his injury.
Lets jump to the defensive side of the ball starting with one of the Hokies' captains in veteran starting safety Nasir Peoples. After missing the past 2 games, Brent Pry revealed that Peoples will still be out through at least Marshall.
"He's so resilient, and he's a tough, tough guy. He's out this week. But, you know, I'm gonna keep my fingers crossed this Sunday. You know, I get the word and we're gonna give them a shot and get into a questionable place where we can work with him. And he's anxious. He's eager. I saw him this morning in the weight room. And he's in there, full sweat. I mean, he's doing everything he can to get back," Pry said.
He added this on what the Hokies are missing without Peoples on the field in his view.
"We're missing him right now. Nasir is a communicator. He's a student of the game, he had a good handle on things in the boundary, really good run fitter, and a good tackler," Pry said.
Unfortunately, the Hokies may also be without fellow starting Jalen Stroman this week while starting STAR linebacker Keonta Jenkins may be able to take on a normal load this week after being limited to 3 snaps last week.
"I'd say Keonta is probable. And I'd say Stroman is questionable. Again, it's hard, you know, till we go out there today. When I hear from the trainers, it's really, you know, we're gonna see what he can do today, he's limited. So today's the day you wanna push him a little bit and see where they're at. But also you don't want to set him back. You know, so it's an ongoing deal. I mean, you know, some of those guys will be a Saturday decision," Pry said.
On a positive, the Hokies will have starting mike LB Alan Tisdale after he missed last week's game due to an unknown injury. Pry had this to say mentioning Tisdale's status when talking about how run defense issues went beyond struggles with inexperience at safety with both starters hurt there.
"We get Alan back this week to complement Jaden Keller and you gotta be improved there. I think there's too many runs where there's two, three yards after contact, and we got to be able to turn guys back better. That's about getting in better position with better reach and fits. And then just getting lower and have a little more lead to us and get some knockbacks," Pry said.
Injuries continue to plague the Hokies with three starters out for more than just this week in Ali Jennings, Nasir Peoples, and Nick Gallo (out for the season) along with four more still unknown as to whether they'll play this week in Jaylin Lane, Jalen Stroman, Keonta Jenkins, and Grant Wells.