When Virginia Tech linebacker Tariq Edwards first underwent surgery to alleviate pain associated with a stress fracture in his shin this offseason, he didn’t expect it would force him to miss any games this season.
But his recovery didn’t go as planned, and he needed an additional medical procedure to have a screw removed from his knee midway through training camp last month. So you can imagine his relief at seeing his first action of the year in the second half of Virginia Tech’s 37-0 win over Bowling Green this past weekend.
“It was like my first time jogging again,” Edwards told reporters after practice Monday. “You don’t take advantage of the time you can’t walk and stuff like that. So being able to get back out on the field, it blew my mind. I’m back out here in front of the fans.”
Edwards was in for 12 plays Saturday and finished with one tackle. Though defensive coordinator Bud Foster indicated Edwards is only about 85 percent healthy right now, the redshirt junior felt it was a necessary step for him to play in a game and see how his knee responded.
Edwards admitted to being hesitant at one point when a Bowling Green player tried to cut-block him, “but as far as redirecting and being on my pursuit, I felt like it held up pretty well,” he said.
“He could give us some solid depth right now. I still think he’s probably a couple weeks away from where we’d like him to be and where he’d like to be,” Foster said. “But the only way he’s going to get better is if he gets out and plays more and gets that leg stronger and gets into playing shape.”
Last year, Edwards was the only opening day starter at linebacker to play in every game. He finished with 71 tackles, 3.5 sacks and two interceptions.
Foster has indicated in recent weeks that once Edwards returns to form, he would likely institute a rotation along with senior Bruce Taylor and junior Jack Tyler. When healthy, Edwards is the better option in pass coverage.
“You can see it in his eyes how much he wants to be out there with us,” Tyler said of Edwards. “And he’s working at it hard every day in practice to get back. He’ll be the first one to tell you that he’s not there yet, but he’s getting there and he’s pushing it.”