Freshmen Files: The Boston College Game
Well, the Hokies are 1-1. Brent Pry picked up his first win as head coach of Virginia Tech in a 27-10 victory over Boston College. The fans packed Lane Stadium despite the weather and got what they deserved: a home opener ACC win. The offense still needs work, but it protected the ball, unlike vs. Old Dominion. The defense dominated. Guys were flying around and making plays – reminiscent of an old Lunch Pail Defense. With that being said, let's look at the freshman and redshirt freshmen who made an impact in this refreshing Hokie win…
#28 Chance Black, r-Fr. - RB/KR
As noted in my fall camp article, I expected Chance Black to get some reps at RB this season. With Malachi Thomas still out, Black received eight carries for 11 yards. Aside from Keshawn King's 65 yard TD and a couple other solid runs, not many holes opened up for the RB’s and Chance Black on Saturday night – especially in the A and B gaps. Tyler Bowen stayed committed to the inside run game (which, let me mention, was very slow developing), despite Boston College stacking the box. Take away King's big run, and the Hokie RB’s only averaged 1.8 yards per carry. Maybe it was because Keshawn King left early and we wanted to stay sort of “vanilla”, but I think a run to the edges here and there would prove to be successful – maybe even a jet sweep. Black recorded a 60.8 PFF run grade along with an impressive 70.2 pass-blocking grade. He additionally took over the kick returning duties when King got sidelined and returned two kicks for a total of 45 yards.
#20 DJ Harvey, r-Fr. - CB/PR
In Week One at Old Dominion, DJ Harvey played zero snaps on the defensive side of the ball. That was not the case vs. Boston College, as Harvey played six snaps at corner. Harvey finished with a tackle at the line of scrimmage. At punt returner, Harvey fielded multiple punts – thanks to the numerous stops by the defense – but did muff one. However, I saw great improvement in Harvey’s decision making when he was back there. He did not let the ball bounce like he did at Old Dominion, aside from one punt that ended up rolling 76 yards (he is not to blame for that; it was a beautifully executed rugby style punt by Danny Longman).
#24 Jaden Keller, r-Fr. - WLB
Jaden Keller received more playing time in Week Two than in Week One, recording 23 more snaps at the Will linebacker position. Keller made five tackles, tied with Chamarri Conner for second most on the team, only behind Dax. Keller had three QB pressures, boasting a 70.1 PFF pass rush grade. Keller and the other linebackers looked good when vicing down the ball carrier. Keller also looked particularly good when dropping back into coverage.
#38 Jayden McDonald, r-Fr. - WLB
In last week's Freshmen Files, I noted that Jayden McDonald missed a few tackles. Maybe it was just some first game nerves, because McDonald was much improved this week vs. Boston College. The 6’4” LB finished with four tackles, including one for a loss. McDonald registered a 78.5 PFF tackling grade, significantly better than his 48.3 grade at Old Dominion. McDonald will continue to rotate in at the Will position with Keller and potentially Tisdale, if he returns.
#40 Jalen Hoyle, r-Fr. - S
Jalen Hoyle recorded his first tackle as a Virginia Tech Hokie on kick off coverage.
Who Else and What’s Next?
The following redshirt freshmen saw the field, but did not record any stats: Keli Lawson, Nyke Johnson, Elijah Howard, Jack Hollifield, and Christian Moss.
Keyshawn Burgos, Bryce Duke, and Harrison Saint Germain were the only true freshmen to get playing time.
Virginia Tech will look to improve to 2-1 vs. FCS Wofford at 11:00am EST on Saturday morning. The Terriers are 0-2 on the year, losing to Elon and Chattanooga by a combined score of 0-57.