Exum was hopeful to return against UNC last Saturday, but he decided that he wasn’t ready on Friday and did not dress for the game.
“Basically I needed more time to fine-tune some things,” Exum said. “I wasn’t at the level I wanted to be at to go out and perform. I could’ve been solid but I want to be able to perform at a very high level and I don’t want to go out there until I can perform at that best corner in the country level. So that’s my goal.”
With Exum out for the Pitt game as well, the duty of covering the tall and talented receivers rests with Fuller, and the pair of standout freshmen in the backfield, Kendall Fuller and Brandon Facyson.
Short of getting out-jumped by 6’4”, NFL-caliber tight end Eric Ebron and a few throws completed in front of them, Fuller and Facyson performed well against UNC. The challenge Pittsburgh presents is just another measuring stick for the young freshman.
As for the ongoing uncertainty with Exum’s health, the Hokies don’t believe that it creates any problems.
“I feel like he’s a great motivator for the team so it should be all positive,” Jarrett said.
Once again, coaches have to hope he'll be able to make it back for the next game the team plays.
“I think we’ll be looking for him at probably the Duke game, to be honest with you,” Foster said. “He said he was a little stiff today and loosened up. It’s different to get back and do rehab than it is to get back and play the game, with bending your knees, ankles and the change of direction and acceleration.”
The defense has been up to the task of stopping prolific offenses all season, and Saturday’s opponent will be no exception. Just ask the Duke Blue Devils, who saw the Panthers hang 58 points on the board behind a career-high 424 yards and six touchdown throws from Savage.
Though the Panthers like to run the ball, the Hokies secondary needs to slow down the passing attack to give the team a chance to win.