Just when you thought Virginia Tech's defense couldn't get any more depleted, linebacker Barquell Rivers tore his quadriceps tendon on Wednesday during weightlifting testing, according to a report by Darryl Slater in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Rivers is expected to return in time for summer practices in August, but it's a definite hit to a team that already has to replace six starters on defense (seven if you count rover Dorian Porch, who was replaced by junior Davon Morgan for the final four games). Rivers should be the leader of the linebackers this year. As a first-year starter last season, he was second on the team with 96 tackles. Sophomore Bruce Taylor is the next man up.
The good news is that this is a unit Bud Foster had a significant amount of confidence in, though part of that stemmed from the return of Rivers. He's also got starter Lyndell Gibson returning, but the outside linebacker spot is a concern. The competition is wide open to replace Cam Martin and Cody Grimm.