For a defense that's ranked fourth in the country in yards allowed per game, this could be a bad thing or a good thing.
Virginia Tech is hoping that moving freshman cornerback Brandon Facyson to wide receiver some to make room for Antone Exum will be the latter. Exum received the go-ahead this week from the medical staff to play against North Carolina. In Exum's absence through five games, Facyson only is tied for the nation's lead for interceptions, with four.
The plan, according to defensive backs coach Torrian Gray, is to split time at cornerback between Exum and Facyson. But will that play to the Hokies' advantage, with Exum being out since January after tearing his ACL and meniscus?
"It's obviously gonna be a change with the chemistry and all that," Gray said. "You have guys, we've been five weeks into it. Working Antone back, when Antone's healthy, he's out there, he's communicating on a day when he's fully healthy and all those things. It's just an adjustment period we've gotta go through, but we'll be fine."
Exum isn't lacking for confidence. Soon after he was cleared Monday night, he tweeted:
Of course, there's still some rustiness to shake off.
"One thing I do wanna do is make a tackle," Exum said. "I haven't tackled anybody to the ground in a long time, so that's one thing I wanna get under my belt early. I'll be trying to be physical and get involved in something, just so I can kinda get that out of my system."
What Virginia Tech hopes is that the addition of Exum and curtailing back of Facyson helps its system. The jury's out, but Exum thinks he'll only enhance an already stellar defense.
"They've been playing at a very high level, so it's my job to maintain that and try to get it even higher," he said. "I'm just gonna come in, try to set the tempo and try to set the camaraderie with those guys. I haven't really been with 'em for a while. I know we'll mesh well together and it'll be good just getting out there and playing at a high level."