Right before training camp ended, the Virginia Tech football team suffered a key injury when tight end Nick Gallo was sidelined. Leading into the season-opener against Old Dominion at Lane Stadium Saturday night, coach Brent Pry said that his senior was questionable for the game.
About an hour before kickoff, the tight ends emerged from the tunnel for warmups and Gallo was not one of them. It’s hardly a surprise that he didn’t play and Pry knew that one of the recently named captains was going to be out. He just didn’t want to tip his hand to the Monarchs.
Missing Gallo was big for two reasons. First, he is a safety option for quarterback Grant Wells, and second, he is key in the blocking schemes for the running game. Despite his absence, the Hokies were fine and even got contributions from their two TEs who played.
Gosnell and Wright pick up key snaps in Gallo’s absence
In Gallo’s absence, Benji Gosnell and Dae’Quan Wright both made an impact in the game and came up with some key catches. The three wide receiver transfers, Ali Jennings, Jaylin Lane, and Da’Quan Felton got a lot of the headlines, but Gosnell and Wright both had their moments.
Gosnell, a red-shirt freshman, caught a 23-yard pass from Wells, but Wright’s reception in the game set up a third-quarter touchdown. Facing a second-and-13 from the Old Dominion 19, Wells found Wright open in the middle of the field for a 14-yard reception. Three plays later, Wells scored on a QB keeper.
The trio of receivers will get, and rightfully so, the headlines from the game, but the tight end position is big for the Hokies this season and Gallo’s absence is something that can’t be a lengthy one. Missing the opener was almost a guarantee and should not have come as a surprise, but with the early struggles of Wells and the offense, until they found a rhythm, Gosnell and Wright supplied blocking and some key receptions.
Purdue is going to be another tough test for Virginia Tech this upcoming weekend and the tight ends are going to be a big part of the game. Whether or not Gallo returns, Gosnell and Wright are proving that they are capable of filling the void and getting valuable experience before ACC play begins.