His situation going forward remains unclear. Team trainers and doctors will meet with Cole and his family this afternoon to go over his test results, a team spokesman said.
Cole, a Cave Spring grad, stayed down at the end of a play in the third quarter against the Seminoles, lying motionless on the field. As the Lane Stadium crowd came to a hush, he was immobilized on a spine board and taken to the hospital as a precaution after experiencing numbness in his upper extremities. He maintained consciousness throughout.
A CT scan did not show a fracture but he was diagnosed with a cervical neck sprain. The hospital discharged him that night. He had full feeling in all of his extremities, although he was advised to wear a cervical collar for support.
Head coach Frank Beamer said Cole stopped by the office Friday and was “in good spirits.” The situation Thursday was difficult to go through as a coach, though.
“Very concerning,” Beamer said. “No matter what team it is, whether it’s your team or somebody else’s, you really don’t want to see that. And for it to be one of your own, and a kid that football means this much to, really cares about Virginia Tech and really cares about performing, your heart goes out for him.”
It’s unclear how the Hokies will adjust their nickel coverage with Cole out. Freshman Desmond Frye, who has had extremely limited playing time this year, took his place against FSU. Beamer said he “is a kid with a lot of ability.” He also said cornerback Donovan Riley, another freshman who notched his first career interception against the Seminoles, could be in the mix as well.
Here are a few more notes and quotes from Beamer’s Monday teleconference …
- Beamer said the staff will sit and talk about what they’ll do with the whip linebacker position. Senior Alonzo Tweedy started there last week in place of redshirt freshman Ronny Vandyke and had an active night, with six tackles and one and a half tackles for a loss. ”He flies around there and is very athletic, very good when he’s stunting,” Beamer said.
- Michael Holmes had an undisclosed injury that he was dealing with last week, Beamer said. That’s why he didn’t get in the game. Beamer thinks the redshirt freshman will be good to play against Boston College but added that he thought J.C. Coleman (16 carries, 41 yards) and Tony Gregory (8 carries, 19 yards) ran hard when they were in the game, despite meager stats against FSU’s stout rushing defense.
- Regarding Tech’s two-minute defense before the half and at the end of the game, when the Seminoles scored two crucial touchdowns, Beamer again said it comes down to execution. “We’ve just got to play the coverage and play it well, play it better,” he said. “That’s pretty much it. We got there and are trying to play coverage, trying to pressure them a little bit, and just end up not executing what we needed to do.”
- Redshirt freshman receiver Demitri Knowles is going to get in the game “more and more,” Beamer said. “I think he’s a threat,” Beamer added. “I think he’s getting better each and every week. I think even though he hasn’t played a lot of football, he does things very naturally, catching the ball. So we’re going to work on getting him in there quite a bit these next couple weeks.” Knowles had two catches for 43 yards against FSU.
- Beamer said Tech will revisit its kickoff situation too. Since freshman Brooks Abbott took over for Michael Branthover, the Hokies have struggled with their coverage. UNC’s Sean Tapley returned a kick for a touchdown. Miami’s Duke Johnson had an 81-yard return. FSU’s Lamarcus Joyner had a 42-yarder. “We need hang time and we need distance,” Beamer said. “And one or the other for sure. We’re getting in between right now.”
- With Branthover doing kickoffs, Tech got seven touchbacks in 14 attempts and opponents started on their own 17-yard line on average. With Abbott, the Hokies have nine touchbacks in 39 attempts, with opponents starting at their own 33-yard line on average.
ESPN exercised its option for a 6-day hold again on the Nov. 24 games, meaning the kickoff time and channel for the Virginia Tech-Virginia game at Lane Stadium won’t be announced until after this week’s slate of games, on Sunday morning at the latest.
Here are the times it did announce today:
Saturday, November 24
- Georgia Tech at Georgia, ESPN, Noon
- Florida at Florida State, ABC,ESPN or ESPN2*, 3:30 pm
- South Carolina at Clemson, ESPN or ESPN2*, 7 p.m.
- Boston College at NC State, TBA*
- Miami at Duke, TBA*
- Maryland at North Carolina, TBA*
- Virginia at Virginia Tech, TBA *
- Vanderbilt at Wake Forest, TBA*
*Game times and networks to be announced no later than by noon on Sunday, Nov. 18.