ACC All Access: Virginia Tech CB Brandon Facyson will start against UNC; Antone Exum will play as reserve

Though he’s back to full contact practice drills this week, Virginia Tech cornerback Antone Exum isn’t ready to step back into a starting role.

Tech’s football office (@VT_Football) tweeted Thursday afternoon Brandon Facyson will hold onto his starting job at cornerback Saturday against North Carolina (1-3 overall, 0-1 ACC), while fellow true freshman Kendall Fuller will play the nickel back role. The tweet also stated Exum will play, but how much is to be determined.

On Wednesday night, Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster indicated he might look to go with the “hot hand” approach to determining playing time for Facyson and Exum. Facyson is tied for the national lead with four interceptions.

“We’ll see where (Exum) is,” said Foster, whose defense was gashed last season by UNC  for 339 rushing yards, the most by a non-option based opponent’s offense in coach Frank Beamer’s 27 seasons at Tech.

“I want to make sure we’re going to put the best people on the field that’s going to give us the opportunity to win, but he’s worked extremely hard to get back. It’s a good situation to have. You’re going to see both those guys play…Whoever the hot guy is, you want to keep going with them.”

Senior Kyle Fuller will start at Tech’s other cornerback spot. Tech (4-1, 1-0) opened each of its first four games in the nickel, with Kyle and Facyson starting at cornerback and Kendall at nickel back. Last Thursday against Georgia Tech’s option offense, Virginia Tech opened with Kendall and Facyson as the starting cornerbacks, and Kyle as the starting outside linebacker.

Exum said Tuesday he plans to play with a brace on the right knee he had surgery on in February to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament, torn lateral and medial meniscus and a bone fracture. He was cleared Monday in Florida by Dr. James Andrews to participate fully in practices and games.

Virginia Tech enters this weekend fourth in the nation out of 123 Football Bowl Subdivision programs in total defense (241.2 yards per game), fifth in passing defense (138.2 yards per game), 19th in rushing defense (103 yards per game) and 21st in scoring defense (15.8 points per game). The Hokies' defense is tied with Tennessee for the national lead in interceptions (11), and Virginia Tech is tied for fifth in turnovers gained (13).


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