Virginia Tech’s J.C. Coleman says he’ll be healthy enough to play in season opener


J.C. Coleman led Virginia Tech’s running backs in rushing yards last season, but is trying to overcome two sprained ankles. (Richard Lipski/AP)
August 21, 2013

Virginia Tech hasn’t encountered much luck when it comes to injuries this month, but at least one potential starter who’s currently sidelined believes he’ll return to the field in time for the team’s season opener against two-time defending national champion Alabama on Aug. 31.

Sophomore running back J.C. Coleman said Tuesday that he expects to be healthy enough to play when the Hokies take on the Crimson Tide on Aug. 31 after spraining both of his ankles in practice last week.

“I really think I’m gonna be available for the Alabama game,” Coleman said. “I’m almost 100 percent sure in my mind that I’m gonna be ready.”

Coleman declared himself 60 percent healthy Tuesday and has begun light jogging and making cuts on the field. He noted that his right ankle feels better already, but the left ankle is still “nagging.” Head trainer Mike Goforth said last week Coleman suffered a high-ankle sprain in his left ankle and a “regular” sprain in the right one.

Coleman said the injuries occurred last week after he “got horse-collared from the back and a lineman rolled on top of them.” He immediately felt pain in both ankles and thought initially that he had broken a bone.

Without Coleman – who gained 492 rushing yards last season, the most by a Virginia Tech tailback — in the lineup to start the season, the Hokies would have to lean on redshirt freshmen Trey Edmunds and Chris Mangus. Edmunds and Coleman were expected to split the rushing duties this season. Mangus, who was moved to wide receiver before training camp, was switched back to running back last week as a result of Coleman’s injury

But even though Goforth called it “optimistic” to expect Coleman back in time for Alabama, the 5-foot-7 running back has other ideas.

“I feel like once I get some tape [on], any type of pain-killing medicine . . . [and] adrenaline, I’ll be ready to go,” Coleman said. “Anything to get back right. Anything.”

Hokies note: Virginia Tech announced before practice Tuesday that freshman walk-on Sam Rogers will be the team’s starting fullback when the regular season begins. The Mechanicsville, Va., native has impressed running back coach Shane Beamer with how quickly he has picked up the team’s new offense, and his mixture of athleticism and strength could give quarterback Logan Thomas another weapon in the passing game.

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