Thursday, October 07, 2004
Injuries strain VMI's depth
The Keydets are moving players here and there to fill holes in their lineup resulting from injuries.
Injuries and insults just keep piling up on the VMI football team.
In the midst of coughing up a 21-point lead in the last 10 minutes of a 25-24 loss at Charleston Southern last week, the Keydets lost tailback Colby Hollingsworth for the rest of the season with a torn ACL in his right knee.
"When it rains, it pours," said coach Cal McCombs, whose team started the season with hopes of posting its first above-.500 record in 23 years.
The Keydets are 0-5, down to their third quarterback and poaching players from the rest of the offense to fill key skill positions as they head to Georgetown on Saturday.
The Keydets lost starting quarterback Jonathan Wilson to a broken ankle in the first week of the season. Josh Lyles, who stepped into Wilson's shoes, was out last week with a sprained knee. Lyles is available this week as an emergency backup to senior David Poldiak, who went 12-for-18 for 67 yards and was intercepted once at Charleston Southern.
Wide receiver Kirk Monteleone has been taking some snaps in practice in case the Keydets need another quarterback option.
Hollingsworth was sharing tailback duties with Sean Mizzer for most of the season. Freshman Nathanial Jackson, listed as a defensive back on the preseason roster, ran for 87 yards and a touchdown last week.
Mizzer, who ran for 127 yards and a touchdown against Charleston Southern, hurt his foot, but McCombs expects him to be able to play. The Keydets moved fullback Abey Malave-Lopez to tailback to add to the Keydets' rushing mix.
"When people hurt, it gives some of the other kids a chance to contribute," McCombs said, finding at least a hint of silver in the storm clouds hovering over his team. "To see Abey Malave out there at practice today with a big smile on his face not because somebody got hurt, but because he's got a chance to make some contribution."
McCombs needed a contribution from somebody, almost anybody, in the last 10 minutes of last week's game.
"In the first 50 minutes, we rushed for 243 yards and in the last 10, we rushed for minus 11," McCombs said. "In the first 50 minutes, we held them to three points, then they completed 14 or 15 passes and scored 22 points in 10 minutes.
"We couldn't get one first down. If we could've gotten a first down, then time would've run out. Or we needed somebody to make a play on defense."
But they didn't and now the Keydets have to win the remaining six games on the schedule to meet that preseason goal.
"We just have to keep on keeping on," McCombs said. "We've got six more ballgames. It was a tough loss, but we have to put it behind us and find a way to play 60 minutes."