Hokies coach James Johnson said today (Tuesday) that injured forward Marshall Wood will definitely miss the Dec. 29 game against BYU, not just this weekend’s games in the Las Vegas Classic.
Wood broke his left foot Saturday in the loss to Ga. Southern. Johnson had said Sunday that Wood would likely miss the BYU game, but today he ruled that possibility out entirely.
Johnson will be reevaluated by doctors after the BYU trip, around Jan. 1. He doesn’t know if Wood will be available for the ACC opener on Jan. 5 at Maryland.
Tech, down to seven scholarship players, will have to play on back-to-back days this weekend. Is Johnson worried about the players running out of gas this weekend?
“I’m worried about it,” he said. “Guys are prepared to play a lot of minutes, but I am concerned about the minutes being played this weekend, definitely.”
Tech might adjust to the back-to-back games by adjusting its man-to-man defense, lineups and substitution pattersn. But Tech will still play its up-tempo offensive style this weekend, said Johnson.
“We’re not going to play a different style of offense,” he said. “We’re going to still try to play fast, try to get up and down the floor. … We’re playing to our strengths with the athletic guys that we have and the guys that are able to put the ball in the hole in space. We want to try to get up. … It plays to our hand to try to get some easy baskets with the bench being thin, as opposed to have to grind it out and take a lot of bumps and bruises and holds and real physical on the cuts in the halfcourt offense. And that’s what we’re going to get as the year goes on. That takes a grind on you, the halfcourt offense … especially with the teams that we’re playing out there in Vegas, they’re big, they’re physical. And then you get BYU and then you get into the league, you’re talking about big, physical guys. We want to try to get it up the floor and score easily and not to have to take that pounding and that grinding in the halfcourt.”
Tech might adjust its defensive approach, though.
“We had gotten to the point where we were going to pressure a little bit. We pressed a little in the last couple games. I don’t know if we’ll be able to do that,” he said.
How about playing more zone to keep CJ out of foul trouble? That could be an option.
Tech will certainly miss Wood, given its depth woes.
“It’s going to hurt us, it’s going to impact the team a lot,” he said.
Johnson is still considering 3 options for when starting power forward C.J. Barksdale needs a breather or gets in foul trouble: playing his two centers at the same time, playing walk-on forward Christian Beyer or moving Jarell Eddie to power forward. We had talked about all 3 options on Sunday.
Walk-on guard Will Johnston is the latest Hokie to be suffering from the flu, by the way.
Next up for VT is Bradley, a team that squashed Georgia Southern 62-43 last night. The Hokies lost to Ga. Southern on Saturday.
Tech will need C Cadarian Raines and G Robert Brown to get back to playing well.
“The margin of error is very thin,” Johnson said. “We need everybody playing at a high level. … It’s important that both of those young men play at a high level and consistently for us all year. … Guys are starting to play (Raines) different now and he’s got to try to figure this thing out, that now you’re a starting center that is getting the ball down low and guys are game-planning against you now. … This is new territory for him now. Jarell Eddie, Erick Green is used to guys game planning him, and Robert Brown. …. Raines came on at at the end of last year … but people know about him now. He’s got to learn how to play through that.”
Of course, this should not be new territory for Raines. He started the last 8 games last season when Davila was injured.