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Warren doubtful vs. ECU

Virginia Tech center Beau Warren, who injured his left knee against North Carolina last Thursday, was listed as doubtful to play Thursday, when the No. 22 Hokies play at East Carolina. Backup Michael Via will start at center if Warren cannot play.

Warren suffered a Grade II MCL sprain of his left knee in the third quarter, when his leg was pinned underneath a pile near the Tar Heels’ goal line. He did not return to the game and missed practice time during the week. He was seen on crutches.

If Warren, who has started every game this season, is unable to play, it could be a source of concern for the Hokies. This week, offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring said that the center position for a young player is the second hardest on the field to step into, aside from quarterback.

While Via, a redshirt freshman, finished the North Carolina game for Warren on Thursday, it was only his third game appearance. As the son of a coach, Via gained a good football sense. Yet it is hard to replicate in-game experience at the college level.

“He hasn’t been out there,” offensive line coach Curt Newsome said of Via. “He’s a freshman. You’d like for them to play as redshirt sophomores, but this is what he’s worked for. I think he’ll do a good job for us.”

Via has always played on the offensive line, but he moved to center once he came to Virginia Tech because there was a lack of depth behind Warren. Before coming to Blacksburg, Via said he had not played center since middle school.

“It was kind of exciting just doing something different,” Via said of playing center. “You have to look for different things. I feel like it helps just your knowledge of the offense.”

Also on Tuesday’s injury report, defensive tackle John Graves, nagged by a sprained right ankle, was listed as probable.

During a portion of practice open to reporters on Sunday, Graves did not participate, standing to the side with his helmet in his hands as he watched drills. The trainers said they wanted to rest Graves, who played 45 snaps against the Tar Heels.

Reserve wide receiver Brandon Dillard, who has battled an ankle injury, was listed as out for a third straight game. Dillard wore a green, non-activity jersey at Sunday’s practice.

The Hokies (5-3) play the Pirates (5-3,) on Thursday in Greenville, N.C.

By Mark Viera  |  November 3, 2009; 4:49 PM ET
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