Virginia Tech is down another starter -- the Hokies will be without tight end Ryan Malleck against Alabama this weekend, and he could potentially miss the entire season. Malleck will be replaced by some combination of Duan Perez-Means and Zack McCray, both of whom are former defensive ends.
Unfortunately for the Hokies, they have grown accustomed to this sort of news during the offseason. A pair of offensive linemen are injured, and one will miss the opener. A starting linebacker is done for the year. Their second- and third-leading rushers got hurt; one will miss the entire season, while the other may not be ready for the Crimson Tide. Standout defensive back Antone Exum also has been ruled out of the opener after tearing an ACL in January.
Virginia Tech was going to face long odds against Alabama even if it were 100 percent healthy. These setbacks make the task at hand significantly more difficult, and the injuries could ultimately quash any realistic possibility of a return to ACC championship form in 2013.