Virginia Tech senior offensive tackle Blake DeChristopher has a strained left pectoral muscle and will be out four to six weeks, the school announced Tuesday afternoon.
We won't know how Virginia Tech handles this as far as the lineup goes until the depth chart is released on Thursday for practice, but Vinston Painter and Michael Via are the leading candidates to replace DeChristopher, according to a school spokesman. Via started three games at center as a redshirt freshman in 2009 and played well, but he has played mostly tackle since. He was expected to concentrate on the center spot this fall.
Of course it's reason for concern, especially with a first-year starting quarterback taking over. Virginia Tech wants the best protection it can have for Logan Thomas, but there are two reasons for optimism here:
1. Virginia Tech's schedule. The Hokies aren't exactly lining up against Boise State without DeChristopher. They open against Appalachian State and a road trip to East Carolina.
2. Depth. The fact that Virginia Tech even has options as to what to do without DeChristopher is a sign that the depth up front is better than it has been in recent years.