Virginia Tech head trainer Mike Goforth doesn’t expect any Hokies to miss the team’s Labor Day season opener against Georgia Tech at this point, but it’s becoming more and more likely two projected starters could be out for parts of training camp next month.
Both wide receiver D.J. Coles (knee) and linebacker Tariq Edwards (shin) have yet to participate in Virginia Tech’s conditioning drills over the past month as they recover from offseason surgeries and their status for the start of preseason practices remains uncertain.
“I think they’ll be ready when the time comes, it’s just gonna be a little dicey 20 days here,” Goforth said this weekend at Virginia Tech’s recruiting camp. “If we can just get them in the limited stuff, they’re both veterans and I think they’ll be fine.”
Coles is expected to be a starting wideout alongside classmate Marcus Davis following the graduation of Jarrett Boykin and Danny Coale. After being stuck down on the depth chart his first two years on campus, Coles had a strong junior season despite playing through a torn PCL toward the end of the year.
He finished with a career-high 36 catches for 480 yards and three touchdowns, and showed he could be a menacing blocker on the outside using his 6-3, 216-pound frame. Goforth said PCL injuries usually take longer to heal than the more common ACL joint injuries, but he remains confident Coles will be on the field on Sep. 3.
“D.J.’s the type, when it comes time to play, D.J.’s there,” Goforth said.
Edwards remains sidelined following offseason surgery to alleviate pain associated with a stress fracture in his shin, although that’s not the issue anymore. Goforth said the linebacker is experiencing pain in his knee where doctors inserted a rod for stabilization, but swelling in the area has gone down of late.
In his first year as a starter last season, Edwards was the lone opening day linebacker to play in every game. He finished with a career-high 71 tackles, 3.5 sacks and two interceptions.
Edwards also missed parts of last year’s training camp with a hamstring injury.
“The bump on his shin has gone down. We know it’s healed,” Goforth said. “It’s just a matter of getting him running.”
Other than those two, however, Virginia Tech’s previously injured players should be ready when the Hokies begin preseason practice on Aug. 7. Linebacker Jeron Gouveia-Winslow (foot), offensive lineman Michael Via (knee), defensive tackle Antoine Hopkins (knee) and running back Tony Gregory (knee) have all been given full clearance for training camp.
Linebacker Bruce Taylor continues to experience pain in his foot, but the Lisfranc injury he suffered last season has healed structurally. Goforth said when the team did its conditioning tests recently – 16 110-yard timed sprints – “Bruce looked fabulous.”
But throughout the season, the Hokies will take precautions with Taylor.
“We’ll have an orthotic in him, and there’ll be certain things we’ll do to help him with pain,” Goforth said. “The more pounding we can limit, the better.”