Just in case Virginia Tech's task against No. 1 Alabama was not hard enough, they've been hit with significant injuries heading into Saturday's season-opener.
Starting Hokie tight end Ryan Malleck suffered a labral tear in his left shoulder last week and will be forced to miss the season after catching 17 passes for 174 yards last season. He joins running back Tony Gregory (knee) and outside linebacker Ronny Vandyke (shoulder) as Virginia Tech starters to suffer season-ending injuries in August.
Starting cornerback Antone Exum is out while recovering from an ACL injury. Co-starting running back J.C. Coleman is questionable (ankle) with offensive lineman Mark Shuman (knee). Coleman is the Hokies' second leading returning rusher, behind Logan Thomas.
On the Alabama side of things, star wideout Amari Cooper will play after a foot injury caused him to miss some practice time. He considers himself "95 percent recovered." Cooper led the Tide last season with 58 receptions for 999 yards and 11 scores as a true freshman.
The Tide are currently 20.5-point favorites, and are expected to cruise in the Georgia Dome Saturday.