In his game week presser on Tuesday, Virginia Tech head coach Brent Pry listed starting quarterback Grant Wells as questionable for the Rutgers game. On Wednesday, Andy Bitter of Tech Sideline reported that Wells was limited during the portion of practice that was open.
QB Grant Wells threw a few passes in some drills.
Kyron Drones went first, though. He and Pop Watson took all the 1-on-1 red zone throws during the last period the media saw.
Drones hit Benji Gosnell for a TD over Jalen Stroman on one pass in the back of the EZ. #Hokies
— Andy Bitter (@AndyBitterVT) September 13, 2023
Backup Kyron Drones played the final series in the loss to Purdue last Saturday. He completed just 2 of 7 passes for 32 yards and rushed once for a 13 yard gain. While he led Virginia Tech into Boilermaker territory, ultimately the drive failed and resulted in a 24-17 loss.
Regarding Drones’ relief performance, Pry said “I was very pleased with the way Kyron operated. I thought he was level-headed. He wasn’t rattled. He had some rush. He stepped up, made a nice throw. There was some challenging coverage. Obviously, it was a tough situation in the game, but we end up with the ball on the 40, trying to go tie it up.”
While it’s possible that Wells received first team reps when the media was not present at practice, at a minimum it seems likely Drones is preparing to play against Rutgers.
Drones played five games last season for Baylor before transferring to the Hokies this offseason. He completed 14 of 23 passes (60.9%) for 219 passing yards along with one touchdown and one interception. Drones also ran for 49 yards on 6.1 yards per carry and two touchdowns.
The Rutgers defense has not faced a mobile quarterback yet this season other than Northwestern backup Brendan Sullivan on the last drive of the game. Overall, quarterbacks are completing just 50.0% of passes and throwing only 209.5 yards against the Scarlet Knights through two games. RU has allowed just two touchdowns, both through the air, but have grabbed four interceptions.
In the run game, Rutgers has allowed 40.0 yards rushing at 1.7 yards per carry in the first two games. The defense has also forced four fumbles, but didn’t recover any.
Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano said on Monday he thinks the defensive line “played good” but “I think we can play much better.” That challenge will likely be in the minds of the defensive front of RU on Saturday.
Whether Wells plays or Drones gets the majority of snaps, the defense will look to continue to be disruptive. Getting pressure on either QB early and often will set the tone and keep them off balance. Aaron Lewis is third in the Big Ten with nine pressures while Mo Toure has seven. It’s been a strong start for defensive coordinator Joe Harasymiak’s unit and Rutgers needs them to be a strength on Saturday once again.
As for other injury updates for the Hokies, starting safety Nasir Peoples, is “borderline doubtful” against Rutgers. He missed the Purdue game last week and did not practice on Wednesday. Starting wide receiver Jaylin Lane, who Pry listed as questionable, looked a “full go” in practice per Andy Bitter. Pry indicated that he could ultimately be a game time decision as he’s dealing with a hamstring issue. In addition, defensive end Keyshawn Burgos practiced and is expected to play on Saturday.
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