Kicker Eric Kristensen
No one, particularly Kristensen himself, expected Eric Kristensen to start at kicker for the Hokies.
The freshman only joined the team in September, yet when redshirt senior Cody Journell was dismissed from the team for repeatedly violating team rules, Kristensen was quickly pressed into service.
He only hit one of his two attempts against the Maryland Terrapins, missing a 34-yard try and nailing a 31-yard attempt, but he rebounded in a big way against the Virginia Cavaliers.
Kristensen hit all three attempts in the game, including a career-long 38-yard kick pictured in the video above, to buoy a Hokies’ offense that couldn’t put the ball in the end zone.
Now, the key will be how Kristensen uses these next few weeks to impress coaches. It will be essential for the team to find some stability at the position after Journell’s exit, and he’ll have the advantage of settling into the role with some crucial practice time.
Given his competition that will join the team, however, Kristensen will have to make an impression, as the Roanoke Times’ Andy Bitter explained.
Kristensen got this gig ahead of schedule. He freely admits it. So you have to wonder if he’ll retain the job this offseason. Tech has a commitment from Michael Santamaria of Athens, Ga., a pretty highly-ranked kicker. And the competition will sure to be fierce heading into the start of next season with the guys currently on the roster. (Richmond transfer Remington Hinshaw will supposedly also be in the mix.)
The Hokies have lost some big games due to their kicking woes, but if Kristensen can establish himself in practice and leave an impression headed into the spring, they might have answer at the position.
Running Back Joel Caleb
Joel Caleb came to Tech with a lot of high hopes but has yet to deliver on his potential.
Coaches moved him to running back from wide receiver before the season started, hoping he could provide some depth at the position.
Instead, he’s been a nonfactor. He’s only been in on 69 plays all year, running for 41 yards and a touchdown on the season.
Now, with some injuries at running back, he’ll have a chance to show what he can do in practice or even take more reps back at receiver.
Caleb was very highly regarded as a recruit, and Tech’s coaches will be keen to see what kind of role, if any, he can play next year to help make the offense more explosive.