Hokies, Jackets’ seeing shifts on depth chart, injuries
Three Coastal teams are in action in ACC play the opening weekend in just about two weeks now, headlined Georgia Tech’s Labor Day trip to Blacksburg.
The host Hokies have had their share of injury issues in camp thus far, with a torn ACL ruling out reserve lineman Nick Acree out for the season, left guard David Wang suffering an ankle sprain and returning starting LB Tariq Edwards still likely out for the opener recovering from a shin stress fracture.
All injury reports haven’t been bad out of Blacksburg though with senior wide receiver D.J. Coles on track to return from a knee injury. He had 36 catches for 480 yards and three touchdowns last season.
For Georgia Tech, no news has been good news when it comes to injuries.
The big question mark coming in was preseason All-ACC guard Omoregie Uzzi, who sat out the spring with undisclosed injury, but he’s practicing and still atop the GT depth chart.
Speaking of depth charts, the Virginia Tech d-line has seen some shifts there at both defensive end and tackle, with junior J.R. Collins going back-and-forth at DE opposite James Gayle with sophomore Corey Marshall and sophomore Luther Maddy pushing Antoine Hopkins at DT:
“Bottom line: I want [Antoine] to make plays,” said Wiles, not mincing words. “Right now, I don’t see any ill effects from the knee. And he’s being physical. We’ll see on Saturday [in the scrimmage]. Like I said, Antoine … I don’t know how to describe it. Physical kid, good player. Got to make more plays. That’s what it boils down to.”
They’re seeing good signs from a crucial cog in the 3-4 scheme, senior behemoth nose tackle T.J. Barnes (6’7 345).
“He’s trained very hard and his stamina, there’s been no indication in training camp of any real stamina issues, and there did not seem to be,” GT DC Al Groh told the AJC.
Quick Hits/In Case You Missed It
- Miami – Stephen Morris was officially named QB-1, after Memphis transfer Ryan Williams’ bid for the job ended a little less than halfway through ‘Canes camp. Golden credits a great offseason of preparation and rehab for the junior, where Morris sat out the spring after surgery on his back, to gaining the job so quick. Big offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson has had a tough offseason, coming back from a scary car wreck and attending a funeral for a friend in Minnesota. Because of the missed time, true freshman Ereck Flowers (6′6 312) could see the field instead against BC on Sept. 1, among a couple freshman standing out early on in Coral Gables. At linebacker, Golden said he was “crushed” by a knee injury to freshman Raphael Kirby that will keep him out for “awhile,” but unheralded sophomore Thurston Armbrister is standing out early on.
- Duke – The Blue Devils unveiled a couple new helmets, which I like, and they’ll honor injured wide receiver Blair Holliday on them this season. Senior Desmond Scott moved from RB to WR this summer, which hasn’t been easy. “It’s been hard, been a hard process, but I love it,” said Scott. “(I’m) out here trying to make plays and do what’s best for the team. I feel myself and the quarterbacks, we’re doing real well. We’ve been working since the beginning of the summer.” In Duke’s first scrimmage, senior QB Sean Renfree was sharp, hitting 13-of-19 passes for 197 yards and two touchdowns, and almost more importantly for him, no picks.
- Virginia – Mike London isn’t playing up the QB competition yet, praising incumbent starter Michael Rocco. A high school and now Virginia teammate of Alabama transfer Phillip Sims, wide receiver Tim Smith, wasn’t real impressed with his early work. “He was in there just giving bad body language and he was very tired and just not showing what I expect from him,” Smith said. “I had to call him out about it. It’s different from Alabama. He said that himself. I just said, ‘Yeah, you’re here [at U.Va.] now. This is not Alabama, so you’ve just got to keep working harder than how you’ve been working.’” Sims told his side of the story to Cavs Corner the other day. Summing up week one, he said, “It was pretty good. It’s some minor adjustments that I just got to make personally to my game to just get used to the offense and to get used to the coaches and the way they want things done. I mean, it wasn’t a bad week. It’s the first week of practice so you’ve got a few things that you didn’t do the way you wanted to do them. But we’ll get it done.”
- UNC – One of the ACC’s top return threats, UNC wide receiver T.J. Thorpe, broke a bone in his foot, but new coach Larry Fedora won’t discuss how long he will be out. True freshman wide receiver Quinshad Davis was just cleared by the NCAA to join the team.