Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson has one of the toughest coaching jobs in the ACC, tasked with turning around a Deacs program that has depth concerns and major uncertainty on offense.
So the last thing he needed was one of his veteran defensive players to go down. Senior nose guard Johnny Garcia tore his ACL and is done for the season, a big blow for a group that has to find somebody to step in and replace All-ACC performer Nikita Whitlock. Garcia has had a rough go of it at Wake. He tore his ACL as a true freshman in 2010, then switched over from tight end to defensive line, and has waited two years on his chance to start.
The Wake Forest defensive line already was lacking in depth. Back in the spring, defensive coordinator Mike Elko said the situation wasn't ideal, especially since Wake Forest has switched alignment from three down linemen to four. Losing Garcia means there won't be much doubt that the Deacs will have to rely on freshmen to play.
Meanwhile, Virginia Tech released its preseason injury report Monday with a few notable players taking the headlines:
Running back Trey Edmunds, who broke his leg at the end of last season and missed spring practice, has been fully cleared to participate when practice opens on Monday. This news is not a surprise, but still comes as a relief considering how big a role he will have in this offense. But just as there was good news from Edmunds, there was not-so-good news for the rest of the running back group.
Freshman Marshawn Williams, who had a solid spring, underwent hernia surgery last month and is questionable for the opener against William & Mary on Aug. 30. In addition, backup Chris Mangus decided to transfer.
Also on offense, senior offensive lineman Brent Benedict will not play this season because of a medical condition; Starting receiver Demitri Knowles has a sprained right ankle and will not be available when camp opens, but he should be able to play in the opener.
Defensively, the Hokies also are considering redshirting backup defensive tackle Woody Baron, who is still recovering from offseason ankle surgery. Starting cornerback Brandon Facyson has a right hip flexor injury and will be limited when practice opens. This is a different injury than the stress reaction in his leg that caused him to miss spring practice.