Ronny Vandyke’s shoulder injury not his ‘first rodeo’ (UPDATE: Coleman sprains both ankles in practice)
Virginia Tech calls it a “sprain.” Vandyke felt it pop out and back in, which, as far as he knows, is a dislocation. Semantics aside, he’s not sounding the alarms quite yet.
“It’s not my first rodeo,” he said, rather calmly. “So when it happened, I wasn’t like, ‘Aw, my gosh. My life is over.’ I kind of expected it. I’ve had problems with my shoulder when I came in. Before I was doing prehab stuff with it, and when it came out Saturday, I was like, ‘Dang.’”
That’s a level-headed response from the redshirt sophomore, who is expected to take the reins at whip linebacker this season. He’s rehabbing his shoulder right now, wearing a blue, limited jersey in practice and staying out of contact drills.
“Right now it’s getting a lot better,” Vandyke said. “I feel kind of sore, so I’m still trying to play it safe. It’s so tempting to get out there with my teammates, to do middle drill, to do the individual stuff. I just know I’ve got to be patient and know when I’m really ready to be on the field and do that.”
The injury happened quickly. Vandyke was engaged with a tight end on a block and overextended his arm. He felt his right shoulder pop out quickly and back in. Trainers quickly wrapped it in ice. He had a sling on it afterward, but it doesn’t sound as serious as it could have been.
Vandyke’s had surgery on a shoulder before. After suffering the same injury three times on his left side at South County High in Lorton, he had surgery before the start of his junior year and missed the entire season.
“It’s history repeating,” he said, noting that he’s about to enter his third year at Tech.
But, so far Vandyke won’t need surgery on the shoulder. Tech’s trainers said they will take an MRI later this week. Vandyke hopes to be back without restrictions soon.
“It is frustrating, because I know I worked really hard to be the player I know I can be, to be a guy that can play for my teammates, for my defense,” he said. “I really built a lot of confidence from last year, having a year under my belt and understanding what the position needs to be. Be a factor for this defense.”
Now for some more notes and quotes from Wednesday’s interviews with defensive players …
– UPDATE: This is from Virginia Tech’s Wednesday night practice report, but running back J.C. Coleman sprained both of his ankles in middle drill, getting rolled up on. The Hokies didn’t say the severity of the injuries, but Coleman sat out the rest of practice.
This isn’t anything definitive, but Coleman tweeted this late Wednesday night:
Forever and always good because God on my side.— ⚡J.C. Coleman⚡ (@jc_coleman4) August 15, 2013
– I hate to bury this in a standard practice report ,but it definitely warrants all the attention it can get. The Virginian-Pilot’s Old Dominion beat writer, Harry Minium, wrote a touching and very personal piece about acts of kindness by Frank Beamer at several trying moments in Harry’s life involving his daughters. I urge you to give it a read.
– From interviews, second-year linebacker Deon Clarke said his left hand is feeling better after he broke a bone in it diving for a pass in a 7-on-7 drill. He got hit by another player on his hand as he did so. It requires a cast that the training staff wraps up with padding before putting a glove over it.
“You’ve got to live with it,” Clarke said.
– Clarke feels much more confident entering his second year at backer, fully aware that defensive coordinator Bud Foster wants to get the backups plenty of reps this season with an eye on 2014, when the Hokies lose both inside starting linebackers Jack Tyler and Tariq Edwards.
“Last year I just didn’t know all the plays and all the checks and stuff like that, but now after sitting here and watching people and talking players and coaches, things get easier now,” Clarke said. “Like Bud says, after you know the defense, you can play offense. So yeah, after getting it down, it’s getting way easier. I just go out there and play instead of my head tying up my feet.”
– Clarke says he’s in the 215-220-pound range, not the 210 he’s listed at on the Hokies’ website (or the 203, I think, he was originally listed at to start August). That’s still quite a bit down from the 240 he got up to during his freshman year.
“I can move around better,” he said. “I don’t know how I could move around with 240. But if I can move at 240, I can move at anything. But I don’t want to get that big. Stay at like 220, 225 and I’ll be right.”
– Defensive tackle Kris Harley said he’s more focused this August, saying he had “a lot of other stuff” on his mind last year but not getting more specific. He said line coach Charley Wiles wants more consistency out of him.
“I understand that, because I haven’t been consistent,” said Harley, who has made plays at times in games. “One time I’ll make a play, and then I’ll get cut off the next play. He wants me to make plays every play.”
Harley, a redshirt sophomore who’s playing at 285 pounds this year, down five from last year, is part of a four-man competition for one of the backup tackles spots, along with Woody Baron, Alston Smith and Nigel Williams.
– Baron spent last year in his hometown Nashville as a grayshirt, delaying his enrollment at Tech until January. He took some classes at a community college and did a lot of weight lifting and technical work.
He had a good person to ask about the game. Baron lived with his uncle, Jim Baron, a former defensive tackle at Tech in 1994 and ’95. Woody got advice about what to expect in college, both on and off the field. He also heard Jim’s stories with the Hokies, including his scoop-and-score fumble recovery in the 1995 Sugar Bowl.
“It gets five or 10 yards [longer] every time he tells the story,” Woody said.
– Baron added five pounds in the spring and five more in the summer, and is at about 262 right now. He was an end in high school who’s making the transition to tackle in college. Wiles has given him plenty of reps early in camp to see if he’s ready to play.
“I was hesitant at first, because it does seem a little congested,” Baron said of the position switch. “But after working out there, I kind of built a relationship with the other tackles. It grew on me.”
– Punter A.J. Hughes had some interesting things to say, enough that I’m going to break it out into a separate blog post tomorrow when there’s no practice availability.
One thing he did say that I thought was worth mentioning today, though, was that in searching for a replacement for Alonzo Tweedy, the Hokies have tried defensive end Dadi Nicolas as a gunner.
“We’ve got Dadi out there at headhunter,” Hughes said. “He’s a freak athlete, running that 4.4. It’s kind of interesting to see [No.] 90 out there on the left. … We’re kind of figuring out who’s the best athlete to put out there.”