Heading into this season, the biggest concern for Virginia Tech’s defensive coaches revolved around the lack of depth in the secondary. It seemed that issue would be put to the test for the first time Saturday at Pittsburgh after secondary coach Torrian Gray told Frank Beamer’s official Web site on Wednesday that safety Detrick Bonner had not practiced all week.
But the injury does not appear to be as severe as expected. Bonner was listed as probable on the Hokies’ injury report Thursday with a leg ailment. If he’s unable to play, it would likely thrust redshirt freshman Michael Cole into the starting lineup.
Gray said if Bonner doesn’t play, he plans to move sophomore Kyshoen Jarrett from rover to Bonner’s free safety position. Cole would then take over Jarrett’s role as rover.
Cole saw his first action on defense last week in the second half of Virginia Tech’s win over Austin Peay. He finished with three tackles.
Linebacker Bruce Taylor, meanwhile, had a death in the family, according to a team spokesman, and will join the Hokies in Pittsburgh. Taylor did not play last week because of an ankle injury and is also listed as probable along with center Andrew Miller (ankle) and fullback Riley Beiro (hamstring).
Linebacker Tariq Edwards will also miss his third straight game as he continues to recover from offseason surgery.
And while we’re discussing injuries, Virginia Tech announced Wednesday that an MRI exam revealed wide receiver D.J. Coles suffered no structural damage to the surgically repaired posterior cruciate ligament in his knee. It did, however, show a significant contusion on the lateral side of the knee.
“Even though he has showed improvement over the past month, the question of the readiness of the knee was still in question,” head trainer Mike Goforth said in a statement. “With our blessing, D.J. was allowed to participate in the Georgia Tech game. It was obvious in that game that the knee was not ready and he subsequently injured the same knee in the game.”
Goforth added that Coles’s recovery time would likely be two to four months. Virginia Tech announced last week that Coles would miss the rest of the season and seek a medical redshirt in order to play for the Hokies next year as a redshirt senior.
Coles said this week there was a chance he could have returned mid-season, but after discussing it with Goforth and Virginia Tech’s medical staff, decided it was in his best interests to wait until next season.
“I tried to get back, but the timetable, everything didn’t work out right,” Coles said. “I thought I was a little ahead, but it proved itself [against Georgia Tech] that I wasn’t. It’s tough to have to come back another year, but it’s gonna work out for the better.”