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January 20, 2014
Johnson Still Mixing Lineups
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There have been plenty of musical chairs on the Virginia Tech bench. Aside from the mainstay at point guard, freshman Devin Wilson, coach James Johnson has done plenty of maneuvering with his players.
It hasn't all been his choice. A few injuries, as well as players having hot and cold streaks has forced his hand.
In a 70-63 loss Sunday at Notre Dame, Johnson changed up his lineup. Having not played in three games this season, senior forward Cadarian Raines came off the bench, but had 20 points in 22 minutes. And mired by a slump, senior forward Jarell Eddie came off the bench for the first time this season, hitting just one of his five shots. Johnson could make more moves for Wednesday's game against Wake Forest.
"Guys have gotta keep doing it," Johnson said. "It was never a question of whether Raines could do it or not. There's a lot of guys that can do it, but you've gotta produce. You've gotta do it in practice and you've gotta do it in the games. When you talk about relationship, he happened to be one of the last guys in the locker room last night. I told him, 'Stay with it.' It was never a question about his body, his athletic ability. He's 6'9" 240 and he can run like a deer."
Eddie is in a deep slump. He's made just seven of his last 34 shots, spanning the past four games. But due to injuries, like to Ben Emelogu and Adam Smith, Johnson can't afford to keep Eddie on the bench long.
"We're just trying to spark something, maybe sit him down and let him relax and see the game and see how it's being played, how we're playing, how the defenses are playing, being officiated," Johnson said. "Just have him try to relax a little bit, not have too much pressure at the beginning of the game and try to make something happen, try to do too much. I don't know if we'll be able to do that. We're so banged up, he's gonna have to play."
Raines will get his chances, as will Eddie. But Johnson already sees one way the Hokies will have to play moving forward.
"Moving forward, we've gotta continue to get the ball inside," Johnson said. "We're gonna go back to Joey. He's gonna come through, he didn't have a great game offensively last night, but he'll respond. Raines will get his opportunities and Thompson will get his opportunities. Barksdale is playing well, too, so right now, I'm pleased with the front line and we're gonna throw it inside."
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