Virginia Tech's depth will be tested early in the season. The school announced injuries to of several key contributors on Thursday night, including a season-ending injury for starting outside linebacker Ronny Vandyke.
Vandyke needs surgery on his shoulder, according to Hokies head athletic trainer Mike Goforth. He will be out for the 2013 season but is probable for spring ball. While Virginia Tech's defense brings back plenty of experience, the loss of Vandyke is particularly disappointing. The sophomore was expected to take on more responsibility at the whip linebacker position, a key cog in Bud Foster's defense.
Offensive lineman Mark Shuman also suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee. He is expected to miss four to six weeks before making a full recovery, so he is definitely ruled out for the Hokies' season opener against Alabama. Offensive lineman Augie Conte suffered a sprained ankle, but he is expected to "be back full on Monday."
The running back position, which needs to be productive for the Hokies' offense to thrive under first-year coordinator Scott Loeffler, took a huge hit with the injury update. Sophomore J.C. Coleman, the co-starter and second-leading rusher in 2012, has both a right and left ankle sprain -- the left is a high ankle sprain. The Hokies are "optimistic" he can return for the Alabama game, but his status is uncertain. Senior running back Tony Gregory re-tore his left ACL, likely ending his Virginia Tech career.
If Coleman can't return by Aug. 31, the Hokies will have to count on redshirt freshman Trey Edmunds to carry the load against the Crimson Tide defense.