Bad News for VT [Updated 6:30pm]

Virginia Tech will have a new starting tailback in a season of great expectations after Darren Evans tore a ligament in his left knee during practice….

His loss means that redshirt freshman Ryan Williams, Josh Oglesby or highly regarded freshman David Wilson will be the starter. Only Oglesby has carried the ball in a game.

Evans was the #3 RB in the ACC with over 1200 yards rushing in 2008. Along with the returning O-Line, Evans was a major contributor to the high expectations in Blacksburg this season. Luckily for VT, running back is one of those positions that can be filled by a true freshman…as long as that freshman is talented enough.

So add this to the story lines to watch in VT’s opening game against Alabama:
– Tyrod Taylor’s improvement (if any) at QB
– Offensive Line (experienced:yes….talented:????)
– Effectiveness of the VT rushing attack

6:30pm Update
As always, Dr. Football jumps on the case with an astute reassessment of Virginia Tech after the injury.

True, but that sort of rationalization still overlooks the disproportionate effect of Evans’ emergence in November — beginning with his record-breaking, 253-yard romp through Maryland on a Thursday night, off two straight losses, with both starting quarterbacks banged up, it wasn’t really the same team down the stretch. Evans went from averaging 65 yards on 16 carries through the first eight games to averaging 124 on 24 carries in the final six, and the Hokies rebounded from fading 5-3 also-rans to BCS winners with a 5-1 finish. He ran the ball at least 24 times in all five of those wins and won Orange Bowl MVP.

In the broader sense, at least as important as Evans’ emergence as the centerpiece of the offense is that it meant Tyrod Taylor didn’t have to be. For all the hype, Taylor struggled for two years to distance himself from paperweight Sean Glennon and was genuinely dreadful last year when he was forced to throw:


Even if you include his efforts against the I-AA teams, that efficiency rating would not have ranked in the top 100 nationally, mostly because he couldn’t find the end zone: A single touchdown in 150 attempts is either rare conservatism, rare inaccuracy downfield or — as I suspect, and Tech partisans’ persistent criticism of offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring suggests — some combination of both. Either way, sophomores with Taylor’s obvious talent and projections are supposed to go sharply in the other direction.

The Hokies got away with an amazingly lackluster effort last year, but three conference losses probably won’t do again, and they realistically need to improve to at least 25-26 points per game to facilitate a three-peat. From that perspective, the thought that Taylor and an uninspiring group of receivers might have to take over the role of offensive engine for at least half of the season is pretty sobering, especially considering that the first two months of the schedule include dates with Alabama and Nebraska and all three of the top challengers in the division, Miami, Georgia Tech and North Carolina. That’s how long it took for Evans to really emerge as the go-to guy last year, and if it comes down to November again, the ownership of the Coastal may have already changed hands

About VaWolf82

Engineer living in Central Va. and senior curmudgeon amongst SFN authors One wife, two kids, one dog, four vehicles on insurance, and four phones on cell plan...looking forward to empty nest status. Graduated 1982


27 Responses to Bad News for VT [Updated 6:30pm]

  1. BJD95 08/12/2009 at 11:45 AM #

    I think the Hokie running game has less to do with the RB than with their OL and scheme. Thus, I referred to Evans in last year’s ROY discussions as “interchangeable above-average VT tailback.” I guess we’ll see if I was right or not in 2009.

  2. GAWolf 08/12/2009 at 12:01 PM #

    I’m trying to track down information about some important losses at South Carolina as well. And all this time I thought it only happened to us….. I’ve checked the Gamecock’s rivals site and its discussions are relatively devoid of intelligent conversation. An independent blog “The Garnet and Black Attack” has pretty good and objective coverage of USC football but I don’t see mention of recent injuries that would cause concern. Anyone know about this?

  3. CaptainCraptacular 08/12/2009 at 12:32 PM #

    According to HD, supposedly Williams was looking real real good in spring as well as the first fall scrimmages and even without this news would have seen significant playing time anyway behind Evans. If that’s true, the injury isn’t going to damage VTs hopes for the year too much.

  4. Alpha Wolf 08/12/2009 at 12:48 PM #

    Whoever it is that replaces Evans will be well-experienced by the time they see us in Lane Stadium. Question will be if their backs are dinged up and have hit the freshman wall by that point of the year.

  5. RegularExpression 08/12/2009 at 1:45 PM #

    Statistically speaking, T.A McLendon, Andre Brown and Toney Baker all put up freshman numbers that equaled or exceeded anything they did or have done since. Of course sometimes statistics are misleading – I would rather have had the senior version of Andre Brown and his 4.4 ypc then the freshman Andre Brown and his 5.2 ypc. And sometimes they are not – I would take freshman T.A. over his other 2 years.

  6. packalum44 08/12/2009 at 2:12 PM #

    V-Tech is so overrated. They have Tyrod Taylor. Tyrod Tyalor. I repreat, Tyrod Taylor. He had more picks than TD passes last year. He sucks. Why do people expect him to be any better? I didn’t see any progression during the season last year. If anything, he might have sucked less, though I didn’t keep up much with V-Tech football.

    Beamer Ball is God awful for entertainment value, I’d rather watch paint dry.

  7. Texpack 08/12/2009 at 2:30 PM #

    “Beamer Ball is God awful for entertainment value, I’d rather watch paint dry.”

    Winning is entertainment enough for Beamer’s boss and the fan base at VT.

  8. PackMan97 08/12/2009 at 3:46 PM #

    “Beamer Ball is God awful for entertainment value, I’d rather watch paint dry.”

    Who cares?

    If our old basketball coach won as much as Beamer he’d still be here. It doesn’t matter how exciting your style is….if you win you are in. If your don’t, see ya.

  9. foz 08/12/2009 at 4:40 PM #

    Here’s another:

    Donavan Tate leaves UNC football program
    ” UNC spokesman says the freshman quarterback was not at practice Wednesday and will likely sign a professional baseball contract with the San Diego Padres.”

    This isn’t unexpected, but a loss just the same.

  10. jaybird80 08/12/2009 at 5:06 PM #

    I can’t say that this is original, but “they really are our sister school.

  11. SMD 08/12/2009 at 5:21 PM #


    I’ve got a credible source who says the doc found more cartilage in Russell Wilson’s knee and that he could be out for the year.

    I would LOVE to be wrong. PLEASE let this info be wrong.

  12. cooldrip 08/12/2009 at 6:39 PM #

    Info like that, you should name a source or keep the info to yourself.

  13. VaWolf82 08/12/2009 at 6:58 PM #

    Tyrod Taylor. He had more picks than TD passes last year. He sucks. Why do people expect him to be any better?

    Maybe because three of the four top WRs were freshman.

    Beamer Ball is God awful for entertainment value,

    No argument there.

  14. Wufpacker 08/12/2009 at 8:47 PM #

    ^^^I agree with cooldrip. Name a source or keep your yap shut about it. In reading your post I noticed something that makes me doubt what you’re claiming, although I will allow for the possibility that you might just be mistaken in the details, but may be correct in general.

    My problem with your statement….

    SMD said:
    I’ve got a credible source who says the doc found more cartilage in Russell Wilson’s knee and that he could be out for the year.

    First and foremost, cartilage is SUPPOSED to be in the knee and a knee injury, including an ACL tear, will not produce more of it. Fibrous tissue (scarring) WILL be produced in the knee in response to an injury. Like I said above, perhaps you just mistakenly used the term cartilage but common sense tells me that if your source told you fibrous tissue/scarring then thats what you would have said and not changed it to cartilage. Makes me wonder if you made it up, but who knows?

    The other problem is that in less than severe cases, which I don’t think Russell’s could be or else he wouldn’t have been as mobile as he has needed to be to practice, they should be able to go in and clean out the fibrous tissue arthroscopically and have a short recovery/rehab period, allowing him to return fairly quickly.

    Again, I’m not saying you’re lying, but there are a couple problems with the information as you have posted it.

  15. Daily Update 08/12/2009 at 9:21 PM #

    People are checking out the information posted here, but people that hear things are always encouraged to share rumors. Not everything checks out to be fact, but very often stories are broken by random (no offense to SMD) posters on message boards so there is no need to criticize the poster or encourage him not to share the information.

  16. Noah 08/12/2009 at 10:46 PM #

    Yeah, it doesn’t make any sense to me. All reports are that Wilson has been moving around fine. The initial injury wasn’t even that serious. It was something that lots of people have at the end of the year and play right on through.

    I think someone is yanking SMD’s chain.

  17. GAWolf 08/12/2009 at 10:54 PM #

    Oh boy. If this truly is an issue and yet RW has been moving around fine and wants to play, the backlash between the staff and the doctors could get unbearable. I’ve sent at least 50 texts tonight including to former State coaches, the brother of a former coach, and to a mutual friend of a former coach, and to three different former players. This is the first anyone has heard of this. But that’s not to say it isn’t true….

  18. gcpack 08/13/2009 at 12:49 AM #

    Anybody got a clue why I cannot view the poll on the right side on my laptop? I get on my PC at home and I see it but my laptop.
    Any suggestions for a solution would be appreciated.

  19. SMD 08/13/2009 at 2:13 AM #

    I initially mistyped the email I got. The rumor was not that there was cartilage, but that the docs had found further ligament damage.

    It is apparently not true. I don’t think my chain was being yanked. I did get it from the neighbor of a team doctor.

    But hey – i am GLAD to be so wrong! Now I’ve just got to figure out why a person who isn’t known for outlandish tales would say such a thing.

  20. wolfp83 08/13/2009 at 2:25 AM #

    I hate that for the young man but,I agree they have tremendous depth
    at tailback. I was just talking the other day to one of the coaches
    I coached with 10 years ago in Garner Pop Warner and, I told him I think
    Josh Oglesby should see more playing time this year. Well now I think
    that percentage just went up. He still will have to fight against the
    other talented two backs. I use to tell Josh and all the kids back then when there was a wide gap in their talent compared to others at that level,As you continue to play and move forward the talent level will close in on you and, you will have to work that much harder to keep that distance or comfort level your experiencing now. Hopefully for
    him he will. Im sure between the coaching staff and his dad, that
    should not be an issue.
    Im a Wolfpack fan as his dad and I would kid around about State and UNC. I told him the very first game I saw the Pack play the Heels was when he was the tailback for UNC and we beat them something like 10-7 back in 1970-71 and now Im coaching your son. It’s a small world at at that when you think of it. As for Josh, I will always pull for him except on November 21,2009. But, that goes for any of those young men.
    Hopefully as Pop Warner coaches we starting them off in the right direction. It’s amazing to keep up with some of the kids and see that
    some are playing football,baseball and some are even driving racecars.

  21. wolfonthehill 08/13/2009 at 7:06 AM #

    Thanks for not claiming originality on that one, jaybird. 😉

  22. GAWolf 08/13/2009 at 8:00 AM #

    SMD: Don’t jinx yourself into being right just yet, please. I’ve got some feelers out as do most others on this sight. I’m not convinced you’re wrong. It sounds like your source has reasonable reliability. Let’s just all keep our fingers crossed and hope there’s some confusion there and nothing else. I know I appreciate you sharing what you’ve heard, though you did ruin my day yesterday. But bad news is news nonetheless and hopefully the rest of the people here won’t shoot the messenger….right or wrong.

  23. ryebread 08/13/2009 at 9:06 AM #

    Not to kill the messenger, but a team doctor really shouldn’t be commenting on a player’s health with a next door neighbor. There’s this thing called client/patient confidentiality. If this is true and the news is broken in this fashion, shame on the team doctor.

  24. GAWolf 08/13/2009 at 10:55 AM #

    I’ve received word that RW’s knee is fine. This is from two different sources close to the athletic departent. Until further notice I personally will not fret about this anymore. I suggest you all do the same. Thanks for sharing the info nonetheless, and it’s still possible there’s something to it…hopefully it’s just not that severe if so.

  25. GAWolf 08/13/2009 at 11:09 AM #

    99.9 percent confirmed: the golden child’s knees are fine.

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