While Boston College may have star QB Phil Jurkovec returning tonight, the injury bug has bitten Virginia Tech with the Hokies lacking multiple important players headlined by the absence of star WR Tre Turner due to injury.
Officially out for the #Hokies tonight: WR Tre Turner, DT Mario Kendricks, WR Jaden Payoute.— Andy Bitter (@AndyBitterVT) November 5, 2021
Sounds like Da'Wain Lofton will get increased snaps with Turner out.
In addition to being without Turner, Tech is also down DT Mario Kendricks and backup WR Jaden Payoute for this game.
Turner is undoubtedly the biggest loss as he's Tech's best receiver and is coming off a career game at Georgia Tech last week with 7 catches for 187 yards (fifth most since 1987 for any Hokie) and 1 touchdown. Losing Turner undoubtedly takes a lot out of the Tech passing attack and will allow even more attention to be put on Tayvion Robinson with James Mitchell having been gone for the season.
Payoute would have been considered a guy to watch with Turner out but with Payoute also out, the attention turns even more to a pair of true freshmen: Da'Wain Lofton and Jaylen Jones.
Lofton seems likely to slide into the largest role because of Turner's absence with Lofton being in the slot and Robinson likely featuring more outside or both in the slot with a TE like Drake DeIuliis working out wide as a jumbo receiver. Jones hasn't played a lot, but definitely could get some more opportunities though Tech may lean a lot on the aforementioned Robinson and Kaleb Smith who had one of his best games two years ago at Boston College.
Losing Kendricks is significant at a defensive tackle spot that has plenty of talent at the top but has a depth issue once you get past those main four. Andy Bitter of The Athletic mentioned that converted TE to DL Wilfried Pene could see some playing time with Kendricks out though it likely also means that Tech will need more reps from Josh Fuga, Jordan Williams, and Norell Pollard tonight.
That only increases the importance for Tech to have some long drives to give their interior defensive linemen some rest.
On the positive, starting left tackle Luke Tenuta appears to be back tonight to boost the offensive line while nickelback Chamarri Conner appears good to go after suffering a minor injury against Georgia Tech.