Virginia Tech loses Bruce Taylor for year

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- The setbacks just keep on coming for Virginia Tech's defense.

The latest is perhaps the one the Hokies (No. 12 BCS, No. 15 AP) can least afford: leading tackler Bruce Taylor needs foot surgery and will miss the rest of the season after getting hurt against Boston College.

Trainer Mike Goforth said Monday that Taylor suffered a Lisfranc sprain of his right foot and will have surgery next week.

Taylor, a junior, will have to keep weight off the foot for six to eight weeks and will be limited in the spring, but should be recovered in time for fall practice, Goforth said.

Taylor is the fourth defensive player and third starter the Hokies (7-1, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) have lost for the season because of an injury.

Defensive lineman Antoine Hopkins (knee) and linebacker Jeron Gouveia-Winslow (foot) also were starters, and reserve defensive lineman Kwamaine Battle (knee) also is out for the year.

The loss of Taylor is especially costly for the Hokies. He's not only been their leading tackler for the past two seasons, but also calls the plays for the defense.

"It is a tough loss," coach Frank Beamer said on Monday. "He's played a lot of plays and made a lot of plays. He's a very smart guy and gets us into the right things."

Taylor will be replaced in the lineup by Barquell Rivers and Jack Tyler.

Rivers pressured Eagles quarterback Chase Rettig into a key interception that stopped a Boston College drive on Saturday.

A former starter, Rivers has played sparingly since suffering a torn quadriceps tendon during workouts before the 2010 season.

Count Goforth among those most rooting for the senior.

"As I've told people before, he's one of the best-liked players to ever come through here," the trainer said. "He was a pleasure to work with in his rehab and it was a long tedious rehab for him, so for him to be able to go out there and contribute and get back to playing, it was a special feeling."

The news was better for linebacker Alonzo Tweedy, who left the game with an ankle injury, and apparently for All-American cornerback Jayron Hosley, who did not play because of a left hamstring injury, and defensive end James Gayle, who aggravated a sprained left ankle.

Goforth expected Hosley back at practice Monday, and said Gayle could be ready by Saturday, when the Hokies play at Duke (3-4, 1-2).

Wide receiver Dyrell Roberts, who broke his arm on a kickoff return, also is out for the season.

Beamer, in his 25th season, said the rate of injuries has been unlike any previous year.

"I can't remember one" being worse, he said, "but I think it's just the way it goes. Some seasons you get to play with the same guy every week and that just isn't the case for us."