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How the Loss of Andrew Miller Affects Virginia Tech’s O-line

Jason O. Watson-US PRESSWIRE

Virginia Tech received some bad news regarding center Andrew Miller. The redshirt junior suffered a season ending injury to his left ankle during the third quarter of the Hokies game against Duke on Saturday. The injury comes as a blow to an inexperienced offensive line that has been dealing with injuries for most of the season.

Miller was the only returning starter on Tech’s offensive line this year, and his contributions as the elder statesmen of the unit cannot be overstated. He was the rock on the offensive line, the one in charge when quarterback Logan Thomas changed the play at the line of scrimmage. The loss of Miller means that the coaching staff is now looking for his permanent replacement.

The obvious answer is backup Caleb Farris, but he was out of Saturday’s game due to injury and is currently questionable for Virginia Tech’s trip to Clemson this weekend. If Farris can’t play again this weekend, then the responsibility will fall in the capable hands of Michael Via. He is a senior that has played virtually every position on the offensive line during his time in Blacksburg. He is a utility lineman, but his specialty is on the interior of the line.

Via had his difficulties in the Duke game after he became the center, he had a high shotgun snap and a fumbled snap, but he has experience as a center and is a solid second option if Farris is unable to play.

The loss of Miller hurts and it couldn’t have come at a worse time. Virginia Tech is playing Clemson in Death Valley this weekend (one of the largest stadiums in the ACC). The last thing the Hokies need right now is an inexperienced center in a hostile environment. The Tigers dismantled Tech twice last season and if the Hokies hope to pull the upset then the offense has to score. That will almost completely depend on Logan Thomas and the replacement center (and thus the entire offensive line) to be on the same page.