Evans injury changes everything for Virginia Tech, Alabama

 

There have always been bad preseason injuries in college football. It is a physical sport and to get ready to play it at a high level, teams have to get physical in practice. It’s part of the game that teams and fans have to (reluctantly) accept.

But sometimes there are terrible, devastating, injuries that change the entire complexion of a season. The injury to Virginia Tech running back Darren Evans is one of those. Evans, who set the Hokie freshman rushing record with 1,265 yards last season, was the MVP of the Orange Bowl win over Cincinnati after rushing for 153 yards. He is clearly Virginia Tech’s best offensive weapon and his expected return was a big reason the Hokies were picked in just about everybody’s preseason Top 10.

But the sophomore from Indianapolis is now out for the season after tearing his ACL during practice this week.

Now Virginia Tech, as it should, is trying to put the best spin possible on this situation. The Hokies always have a lot of good running backs and there are some talented ones waiting in the wings like redshirt sophomore Josh Oglesby, highly-recruited redshirt freshman Ryan Williams, and freshman David Wilson.

But there is a reason Evans was in the starting lineup as redshirt freshman last season. He is something special. You just don’t replace players like Darren Evans so easily.

This one injury to Evans is going to have a ripple effect in a lot of different areas of college football:

**–If you had told the voters in the coaches poll that Evans would not make it to the opening game, I would venture to say that they would not have voted the Hokies at No. 7. Georgia was a preseason No. 1 last summer but after OT Trinton Sturdivant and DT Jeff Owens were lost quickly to injuries, Georgia simply wasn’t a No. 1 team any more. The Bulldog Nation didn’t want to hear that, but it was a fact.

 

**–You can’t discount the psychological component to this injury for Virginia Tech. I firmly believe that the loss of Sturdivant and Owens changed Georgia’s mental makeup and approach to the games last season. Virginia Tech’s Frank Beamer is a very good head coach but getting the mindset of a team back on track after such a major injury is difficult.

 

**–Think about what this does to the ACC. At the most recent conference preseason meetings, Commissioner John Swofford conceded that his league, while very balanced with 10 bowls teams last season, really needed to have one of its teams make a run at the national championship. The ACC, he said, needs to be in the BCS conversation in November and early December. Virginia Tech opens against No. 5 Alabama in Atlanta on Sept. 5. The ACC really needed a signature win against an SEC power to get the season started. Can Virginia Tech still beat Alabama? Of course it can. But an injury like this makes it less likely.

 

**–Why do I say that? It doesn’t take a football genius to know that Alabama head coach Nick Saban and Kirby Smart, his defensive coordinator, are game planning to shut down the run and force Virginia Tech QB Tyrod Taylor to throw, something he’s not particularly good at doing (2 touchdown passes, 7 interceptions last season.) The injury to Evans makes that a little easier for Alabama.

 

**–All the tickets to the Chick-fil-A College Kickoff have been sold and ESPN’s College Game Day will be here. The hype will be the same. But now the story line, instead of two top 10 teams wanting to get off to a good start towards the national championship, will be whether or not Virginia Tech can overcome the injury to Evans. It is still a good story line but it’s just not as compelling. And fair of not, and it’s not fair, Alabama will not get as much of a pop out of the game if it wins because the poll voters will take into account that Virginia Tech’s best offensive player was not there.

**–Now you have to look at the ACC Coastal race differently. Most people were putting Virginia Tech into the ACC championship game again because so many starters return. Now the gap has been closed with Georgia Tech and North Carolina. And don’t forget that Virginia Tech has to come to Georgia Tech on Oct. 17.

 

But that is one of the wonderful things about college football. Out of adversity, great things sometimes happen.

 

 Nobody thought Arkansas could beat No. 2 Oklahoma in the 1978 Orange Bowl after Lou Holtz kicked a bunch of players off his team. But the Hogs pulled off one of the biggest upsets in school history, 31-6.

Nobody thought LSU had a chance against Tennessee in the 2001 SEC championship game when Tiger quarterback Rohan Davey and running back LaBrandon Toefield both left the game with injuries in the first half. But Matt Mauck, a former minor league baseball player, came off the bench at quarterback and led LSU to a 31-20 win.

 

Will something dramatic like that happen at the Georgia Dome on Sept. 5? That’s why we have to watch.

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129 comments Add your comment

Otto

August 13th, 2009
3:53 pm

USC and UCLA played for the first time in year in their colored unis this year. The away team is penalized a timeout for not wearing white unless the home team agrees to wear white. IMO a rather dumb rule if both teams agree and do not wear the same colors.

Tide4u2c

August 13th, 2009
4:07 pm

I really hated to hear about Virginia Tech’s running back Darren Evans tearing his ACL and that he will be out now and we wish him well and a speedy recovery.I wanted Virginia Tech to play Alabama at full strength so that nobody would have an excuse when Alabama beats them.Two top 10 teams going at it,a great first test for both teams and a great game to start the season.Although Alabama still would’ve won the game Bama will be favored even more now and when Alabama wins they will say it partly had to do with the running back’s injury. I hope their other running backs step up and bring it cause Bama will.

Roll Tide!

PTC DAWG

August 13th, 2009
4:28 pm

Va Tech fans, welcome to our world, circa 2008.

Tide Rising

August 13th, 2009
4:42 pm

Otto and General,

Otto, thanks for the info. That jogs my memory a bit. I knew USC-UCLA did it a few years back and were going to do it again and 1 or 2 other big rivalries did the same thing. I think they did the gentleman’s rule where the home team also went ahead and burned a timeout to level the playing field. Leave it to the NCAA to have yet another really dumb rule.

To me it just looks awesome to see 2 teams in their full home uniforms and UT-Bama the color contrast of crimson vs orange in the same game is pretty striking. Besides, the UT-Bama game on the 3rd October has lost some its luster over the last several years because every year lately one or the other has been having a down year. I’m sure they’ll do it again sooner or later.

Tide Rising

August 13th, 2009
4:44 pm

On a side note it would be similarly cool to see Geogia in their fire engine red against Florida in all blue. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that but it would jazz up the crowds even more.

FactuAll

August 13th, 2009
5:45 pm

I hate to see anyone injured, especially a top prospect. But….I’ve watched Beamer teams for many years. They’ll show up in Atlanta. The VaTech DL, and special teams can keep them close.

Here’s hoping Bama brings their “A” game – they’ll need it.

Otto

August 13th, 2009
5:53 pm

Tide Rising both game would be fun to see with both in their home uniforms but as a fan that has been to the game recently UGA/UF does not need any help turning it up.

FactuAll

August 13th, 2009
5:54 pm

on jersey colors

people don’t realize that there are color blind people (like me) around.

If the jerseys are of similar shade (even if they are different color) they can sometimes be very confusing.

TrueCrimson

August 13th, 2009
5:59 pm

Hate to see the kid get hurt. A Bama RB also had an ACL injury today. I still don’t take this game lightly. I will feel more comfortable when I see if the Tide has the O-line ready to play. Hard to replace Andre.

I don’t worry much about our QB, RB’s or receivers. Defense should be deadly. I can’t wait to kick it off!

RTR!!!

Paddy

August 13th, 2009
6:48 pm

Clark… you don’t follow football much, do you? Being a dawg fan it is hard to admit. Paul Johnson can flat out coach. Do some research before you continue to drink the kool-aid. Give him the respect he deserves and then beat the pants off him come Nov.

Frank Wren

August 13th, 2009
7:18 pm

SEC homers never seem to remember games where the SEC gets smoked. Weird how that works…

Thats because it happens so rarely.

Bamafan

August 13th, 2009
8:02 pm

Hate to see the Virginia Tech player get hurt. Bama had a running back hurt his knee yesterday and is
out for the year all so. Injuries are part of the game and the team with the better depth usually wins.
ROLL TIDE FOLKS!!

Saint Nick

August 13th, 2009
8:34 pm

Bama is back so don’t hate it appreciate it!!!!!! Bama goes 11-1 and wins the SECCG!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saint Nick

August 13th, 2009
8:34 pm

Oh and I forgot…..ROLLS TIDES!!!!

x

August 13th, 2009
10:40 pm

David Wilson will win the Heisman in his 3-4 years with Va Tech. He is the “Real deal”

Not Disappointed

August 14th, 2009
7:42 am

I thought this game would’ve been more evenly matched until the running back was hurt. Now, I have to give the edge to Alabama, but don’t under estimate Beamer Ball!

chad taylor

August 14th, 2009
8:52 am

I am a huge GT fan…and always have been…but even I am tired of Saint Simons….let’s act like we have won before……

Trade School Junkie

August 14th, 2009
9:05 am

GTPHISH:

Nice shout-out for Tony Hollings. Never got the cred he deserved.

It was because of Hollings that I began to REALLY despise Chan Gailey.

Through the first 3 games of 2002 season, Hollings had become the #1 rusher in NCAA. 100+ yds per game in all 3 first games.

During the Sept 21st home game vs. BYU, Hollings “tweaked” his knee in an earleir play. It was obvious to me (sitting in the stands behind the GT bench) that it was cause for concern. Any HC with a brain would not have allowed Hollings(the star rusher) back into the game.

But nooooooooooooo.

So with less than 4:00 minutes to go in the game, and GT leading 28-19, Gailey elects to put Hollings back into the game. Unbelievable ?!?!?!

First GT play from scrimmage, Hollings goes up the middle, cuts to avoid the LB, and down he goes. He was lost for the season.

There was NO F***ING reason for Gailey to have Hollings back in the game:

1. after his #1 rusher had hurt the knee earlier in the game
2. GT was winning by 9 points
3. WITH THE BALL
4. with less than 4:00 minutes to go in the game.

Gailey was either:
1. A seriously stupid SOB, or
2. One serioulsy arrogant SOB, or
3. Both

At that moment, I decided Gailey was both.

It was only because AD Braine was a complete IDIOT that GT had to tolerate Gailey for so much longer.

So, all you faithful GT fans, Respect the m !!

He knows EXACTLY what he’s talking about when he says Thank God & Greyhound.

Gailey was incompetent as a HC, and a real arrogant azz**** in person.
Aske ANY GT fan that ever met Gailey. Forever grateful that SOB is gone from GT.

Trade School Junkie

August 14th, 2009
9:41 am

Barnhart is such a tool.

Dont like seeing Evans lost for the season.
That might change a lot for VT, but it wont change anything for GT.

As I said REPEATEDLY last pre-season, there was NO WAY IN HELL Clemson was gonna win the ACC. Not with an ALL FRESHMEN O-Line, and especailly not with Bowden as the HC. Bowden was Clemson’s very own Chan Gailey. A competely DYSFUNCTIONAL HC. Just look at his record at Clemson with all that really good talent they get. A comlpete joke.

GT is still gonna pound the crap out of VT, with or without Evans.

Let me remind you GT faithful:

In 2008, the weekend before GT…DESTROYED…Miami, for 41 pts and 500 yds of Offense, Miami BEAT VT 16-14. And, UNC was completely in control of VT before UNC QB went down in second half.

Since its been overlooked, lets review a few KEY games from 2008:

VT:23 BC:28
VT:20 FSU:30
VT:14 Duke:3
VT:14 Miami:16

GT:19 BC:16
GT:27 Duke:0
GT:31 FSU:28
GT:41 Miami:23

Granted, VT lost both QBs in FSU game, but GT lost Nesbitt in FSU game as well. The KEY “tells” here are the Duke & Miami games. VT “escaped” Duke and lost to Miami…both games, LATE IN THE SEASON. GT CRUSHED BOTH Duke & Miami…EASILY.

The point here is this:

As the season went on GT got MUCH MUCH BETTER, as the offense started getting dialed in. VT actually GOT WORSE.

If GT had played VT later in the season, rather than the 3rd game, GT would have BLOWN THEM OUT. Folks, UNC would have beaten VT last year if the UNC QB had not been lost to injury in that game.

So losing Evans means…ABSOLUTELY NOTHING…to GT this year.

We are going to ROUT VT…ANYWAY !!

GT is gonna win the ACC this yeat. No doubt about it.

The question to be answered is whther GT can go 12-0.

I am on the record stating that they will.

Reality Check

August 14th, 2009
8:08 pm

Trade School Junkie…. You forgot to mention the Ga. Tech/ VT score and the Virginia/ Ga Tech score and the NC/ Ga Tech score and the sterling bowl performance. How do you call that getting better? Tech will lose 5 games and not even win the Costal division much less the ACC. You are on something much stronger than the record. Tech is Tech… brilliantly medicore.

NCHokie

August 15th, 2009
10:45 am

Trade School: I am glad you are so confident that GT will beat VT. Your DLine is rebuilt and VT’s offense will be much better than last year. GT’s offense is what Bud Foster lives for. If you play assignment football, it will be defeated. Dwyer will be shut down like he was last year and Nesbitt will turn the ball over when he is forced to make plays against the Hokies’ defense.

Monte Colvin

August 15th, 2009
1:10 pm

We spent that time in the park
We laughed until it was dark and ending the day
I used to walk with you home
We used to talk on the phone with nothing to say

And where are you now, long time no see
I wonder where you are now, remember me

Once I wrote you a song
But now it seems like a long, long time since then
I bet that you’re married now
I always thought that somehow I’d see you again

Sessions of baring our souls
Confessions soon took their toll and closed off the door
I wish we hadn’t lost touch
Perhaps I told you too much for you to ignore

John

August 17th, 2009
8:17 pm

Va Tech will find a thug some where to replace the running back. Remember Vick 1 and Vick 2.

trade school junkey is gay

August 25th, 2009
2:04 am

Enter your comments here

big d!

August 25th, 2009
12:12 pm

remember Tech’s Defense…new leader for Alabama on Offense… I think we will have a great game!!!

big d!

August 25th, 2009
12:20 pm

Rashad Johnson, Jeremy Elder, Courtney Upshaw, Julio Jones, Mark Ingram etc… I think Alabama has their own problems. What say you John?

Vick=Dog killing thug

August 26th, 2009
10:23 am

I’m also tired of hearing about this triple-option crap from the stinkin bugs. Well over 100 years of football and suddenly some PJ joker is unstoppable ? Don’t even show up for the game because you have no chance?

LOL

CAPT Spike

September 1st, 2009
12:19 pm

VT-BAMA will be low scoring as two great defenses square off—the game will come down to a catastrophic mistake on special teams or offense. Do not expect any sustained drives—big mistakes lose the game, neither team wins it.

Steven Miller

September 11th, 2010
7:45 pm

Uhhh…hello morons… who cares? It’s like a football game. let’s focus back on what matters, like the education that is supposed to be behind universities. Shall we?