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August 18, 2014

DL Depth Showing Itself

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Injuries and movement have caused some shuffling on Virginia Tech's defensive line. Assistant coach Charley Wiles likes where the group is, though a few key pieces have had some issues.

Among the issues, junior Wade Hansen has moved to the offensive line, sophomore Dewayne Alford has missed most of fall camp with an abdominal strain, senior defensive tackle Luther Maddy has had a sprained MCL of late and junior Dadi Nicolas is fighting a hip flexor.

In their place, Wiles has given a longer look to some freshmen. Vinny Mihota enrolled in the spring and has looked strong, while Ricky Walker has been given the green light to play this fall and Melvin Keihn has looked sharp since moving from linebacker to defensive end. Keihn, however, still has work to do.

"He can run, he's got some tools, but in terms of technique and fundamentals, he's not close," Wiles said. "In terms of knowing his assignments, he's unsure. But Melvin's got a good skill set. Now, it's just get bigger, get stronger, eat and we'll try to bring him along. But if anybody gets hurt, he's one play away from being in the two-deep, so he would be getting a lot of work, like he did when Dewayne (got hurt)."

Walker is on pace to at least be available to make an impact right away. Wiles, though, still is waiting before making the official decision.

"Ricky's the fifth guy right now, I think based on what we've seen in video. I think we're probably a week away from making any decisions on what we're doing, but very rarely do you go through a year with four defensive tackles. You've gotta have a guy ready, to put a guy in the two-deep. We'll just see how we wanna roll with that, if we wanna try to play him or try to travel and not play him.

Below is Wiles' full interview with the media this weekend:





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