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The impending return of CB Antone Exum has Virginia Tech's coaches considering ways to keep their precocious freshman on the field.
The Roanoke Times | File August
Freshman cornerback Brandon Facyson’s four interceptions are tied for the nation’s lead.
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
BLACKSBURG — With Antone Exum’s return, Virginia Tech has such a wealth of cornerbacks right now that it’s considering trying the nation’s leader in interceptions at wide receiver.
Freshman cornerback Brandon Facyson, who is tied for the national lead with four picks in five games, could get some looks in certain packages as a receiver this week.
“I think there’s very few guys that have the ability to play both offense and defense, and I think Brandon’s one of those guys,” head coach Frank Beamer said.
“He’s been exceptional on defense. Shown great hands. A couple interceptions he’s made have been fantastic catches. He’s long. He’s fast. He’s smart. I think he can really help us on offense.”
The possible experiment coincides with Exum getting medically cleared Monday after eight months of rehab from an ACL injury. He was an All-ACC performer prior to the injury.
In his absence, senior Kyle Fuller has teamed with freshmen Kendall Fuller and Facyson to be a formidable trio at cornerback. But Exum, when fully healthy, is expected to regain his starting spot, which could be as early as this week, so the Hokies are trying to find different ways to get Facyson on the field.
Defensive backs coach Torrian Gray anticipates Exum and Facyson splitting snaps about evenly at field corner against North Carolina. Kyle Fuller will start at boundary corner, with Kendall Fuller as the nickelback.
That diminishes the role for Facyson, a 6-foot-2, 188-pounder who has shown great hands. He was a two-way player at Northgate High School in Newnan, Ga., catching 31 passes for 439 yards and four touchdowns as a senior.
The Hokies have dabbled with defensive players on offense before, and even talked last offseason about possibly having Kendall Fuller, a standout two-way player in high school, try his hand on offense in some situations.
Ike Charlton, DeAngelo Hall and Victor “Macho” Harris are three past Tech cornerbacks who played a little offense, although none of the three had major roles.
Charlton had two catches for 15 yards in 1997, Hall seven catches for 86 yards and a touchdown in 2003 and Harris eight catches for 63 yards in 2008.
At the very least, the Hokies will take a look at Facyson in that capacity.
“Hopefully we’ll start this week and increase it every week and keep advancing,” Beamer said.
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