Two days after receiving good news about injured wide receiver D.J. Coles, Coach Frank Beamer confirmed Monday that the Hokies will be without a defensive starter when they open the regular season with a nationally televised Monday night matchup against Georgia Tech.
Beamer said on his weekly teleconference with reporters that linebacker Tariq Edwards will not play against the Yellow Jackets. Edwards continues to recover from offseason surgery to alleviate pain caused by a stress fracture in his shin.
The announcement is not a surprise, because Edwards had been slow to heal throughout training camp. He underwent an additional procedure two weeks ago to remove a screw that had been causing discomfort in his knee. He just recently got off crutches.
Middle linebacker Bruce Taylor will replace Edwards. Redshirt junior Jack Tyler, a former All Met from Oakton, will man the middle linebacker position.
The prognosis is much better for Coles, who was cleared to practice fully last week. He also took part in Virginia Tech’s closed scrimmage Saturday, hauling in a 26-yard catch. The Hokies are hopeful he will be available next Labor Day against Coastal Division rival Georgia Tech.
Coles finished with a career-high 36 catches for 480 yards and three touchdowns last season.
Other news and notes
*There is no starter chosen yet for right guard. Beamer revealed Monday that redshirt senior Michael Via, who can play every position on the offensive line, will move over to right guard this week and challenge Georgia transfer Brent Benedict for the starting job.
Via, who started three games as a redshirt freshman in 2009, had offseason knee surgery.
*The punting competition remains open as well. Beamer said freshman A.J. Hughes is the favorite to win the job, but former All Met Hunter Windmuller (Flint Hill) still has an opportunity. On Saturday, Hughes averaged 32.8 yards on four punts, with two downed inside the 20-yard line. Windmuller averaged 44 yards on his two punts.