Though Virginia Tech did get some encouraging news Tuesday regarding its injury-depleted defensive line, cornerback Jayron Hosley said after the team’s practice that he may need to miss Saturday’s game against Boston College because of the left hamstring injury he re-aggravated at Wake Forest last weekend.
The junior, who missed Monday’s practice and only did limited work on Tuesday, originally tweaked his hamstring covering a deep route last week. He missed two days of practice a week ago, and then left Saturday’s game after coming up limping when Wake Forest wide receiver Chris Givens caught a 79-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter.
“I don’t want it to be a lingering thing for the rest of the season, so if I have to take this game off, that’s what I’ll do,” Hosley said.
This season, the Hokies have tried to take advantage of Hosley’s playmaking abilities by using him all over the field, rotating him from game-to-game depending on what side an opponent throws to most often. The Delray Beach, Fla., native leads the team with three interceptions after leading the nation with nine picks in 2010.
If Hosley doesn’t play Saturday, defensive backs coach Torrian Gray said redshirt freshman Detrick Bonner would get the start in his place. Though the Hokies could turn to senior Cris Hill, who has played well as part of the team’ nickel package, Gray said Bonner has been trailing Hosley from week-to-week throughout season and the plan has been to use him if Hosley wasn’t available.
Bonner came in for Hosley during the Marshall game last month and gave up the Thundering Herd’s lone touchdown on his very first play. Last week at Wake Forest, he gave up some plays but finished with eight tackles and one pass break-up near the goal line in which he showed some good recovery speed after getting beat off the line of the scrimmage by Givens.
“I can see from spring to fall camp how much better Bonner has gotten,” Gray said. “The only thing he doesn’t have is experience.”
Defensive end James Gayle was more optimistic than Hosley regarding the ankle injury he suffered against Miami that kept him out of Saturday’s game as well. The redshirt sophomore said Tuesday, “I think I’ll play,” after his ankle showed significant improvement during practice.
Gayle was in a blue jersey, but was able to participate in almost every non-contact drill, a welcome sign after he struggled jogging on Monday. As part of his treatment, Gayle said he’s been running four miles a day on an underwater treadmill.
“We need to get James Gayle back. That’s another playmaker for us,” defensive line coach Charley Wiles said Tuesday. “James moved around better today. Yesterday he was terrible. I wouldn’t think the kid could play. Really, really markedly better today. Hopeful tomorrow he’ll be even better. We need him to get to the game and not get nicked up. He’s one of those guys – everybody is a little different – James needs to be 100 percent mentally for him to turn it loose where other guys might be able to have a little nick.”