September 25, 2012

By mikebarber

BLACKSBURG, Va. – David Wang limped through Monday’s practice, but the Virginia Tech starting left guard said he had a much easier time working out Tuesday. And Wang, who sprained his left ankle in the loss to Pittsburgh and sat out the Bowling Green game, expects to play this weekend against Cincinnati at FedEx Field.

“I plan on playing this week,” Wang said after practice Tuesday. “I think the coaches respect me enough to trust my judgment, at least a little bit. As long as I can perform in practice, I feel like they’ll let me play.”

Offensive line coach Curt Newsome said no decision has been made yet on Wang’s status.

“We’ll see where he is,” Newsome said.

Wang said he spent plenty of time around the football facility last week getting treatment on his injured ankle. But Friday, he and the rest of the players not dressing for the game, enjoyed a day off.

Wang spent it hanging out at his apartment. And despite his well-publicized love of video games, Wang said he used his day off to study for an exam in his market research class on Tuesday. Wang took the exam before Tuesday’s practice.

“I hope it went well,” Wang said.

Wang tried to study his replacement at left guard during Saturday’s win over Bowling Green. Wang tried to keep a watchful eye on sophomore Matt Arkema from his seat in the stands at Lane Stadium, near the 35-yard line by the Hokies’ offensive bench.

“I tried to pay attention as much as I could,” Wang said. “It’s hard because you want to follow the football when you’re in the stands.”

Wang knows. He sat in the stands last year for a game after breaking his foot.

 “It’s fun to be able to watch a game and not worry, but you still worry because you want to be on the field,” Wang said. “It’s hard to sit there. I was right behind the bench.  I could hear what the coaches were telling them. I kind of felt like I wanted to get up and go to the sideline.”

Arkema played most of the game at left guard, with starting right guard Michael Via sliding over to the left spot every three series. When Via, a senior, moved to left guard, sophomore Brent Benedict played right guard.

Newsome said he started Arkema because he believed Arkema had put in the work and was prepared to play.

“I trust Matt,” Newsome said. “I think Matt has put a lot of time and effort in it. He’s a guy that cares and he’s a guy that competes. He’s been the left guard backup and we lost the left guard. That called his number and he handled it.”

The blues: Junior tailback Tony Gregory (knee) joined Wang in the limited contact blue jerseys Tuesday. About 15 minutes into practice, Gregory – who has suffered three ACL tears in the past five years – jogged off the field and headed to the trainers room. But Gregory said after practice he was just getting a protective sleeve for his knee because rain had made the grass slick.

“He’s got a history of some knee injuries,” Tech running backs coach Shane Beamer said. “So it’s a long season. We’re just trying to rest him a little bit, just rest that knee. No major issues. Plus with the wet grass, today wasn’t a great day to be running around for him.”

Seeing red: Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer said the program is looking into getting redshirt years for true freshmen Deon Clarke (a linebacker from L.C. Bird High School) and Joshua Stanford (wide receiver). Both have seen limited action in the first four ballgames.

Stanford has dealt with a minor knee injury in the past week. Clarke doesn’t have any injuries that I’m aware of. Not sure what grounds there would be to redshirt guys who have played, if they’re healthy.