BLACKSBURG – Virginia Tech had practiced just three times before getting some bad news.
Nick Becton, a 6-foot-6, 311-pound redshirt sophomore from Wilmington, North Carolina, suffered a serious turf toe injury in Sunday’s practice and will miss at least a minimum of a week of practice, possibly more. The good news is that Becton should be available for the Boise State game, but he will miss some much-needed reps in the meantime.
“This hurts the team. There’s no question about it,” offensive line coach Curt Newsome said. “We have three starters coming back and a fourth who had played a lot last year [Greg Nosal]. Nick is the guy who gets hurt and he’s the one who needed the reps the most. It’s just unfortunate.”
Becton injured his toe while blocking Steven Friday in a one-on-one drill on Sunday. He’s slated to be in a protective boot for the next several days.
“It’s disappointing,” Becton said. “I put in all that work in the spring and summer, and to get hurt is disappointing. But I’ve got to stay mentally ready.”
Becton actually tried to go back into practice, but the pain was too much to bear. Still, Newsome sees that as a good sign.
“That shows me that the toughness is there and the ‘want-to’ is there,” Newsome said. “With our good training staff, I think we’ll get him back pretty quickly."
Andrew Lanier, a 6-5, 275-pound redshirt junior, moves into the top spot at left tackle, with true freshman Mark Shuman backing him up. Lanier played more than 100 snaps a year ago, starting the Duke game in place of an injured Blake DeChristopher. Newsome had counted on Lanier to be able to back up both tackle spots this spring, moving him to left tackle for spring practice.
That shrewd move could pay dividends.
“I’ve got work to do,” Lanier said. “I’ve got to gain some weight and work on a lot of the fundamentals. I do all right run blocking, but anchoring against pass rushers gives me some trouble.”
In other news:
• Newsome expects to get Michael Via back in the very near future. Via suffered a knee injury in the spring and underwent surgery for his partially torn ACL. Via, who started three games at center last season, actually got in some work in Monday’s practice.
• Tech’s staff had planned on holding Via out until school started. But the departures of Kenny Lewis, Jr., and walk-on Blaine Mason left open a couple of slots. Via’s addition puts the Hokies’ roster at 104, one short of the NCAA-mandated limit.
• Chris Hazley, the Hokies’ projected starting kicker, is a machine. Hazley easily won Monday’s kicking competition in practice – again.
• Tech will practice in full pads for the first time on Tuesday.
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