Mountaineers Lose Taijh Alston, Lineman’s Status To Be Determined
While it seemed WVU fans were cringing through the duration of this Saturday’s game at Missouri, one play out of all was a true shot to the gut. In the midst of giving chase to Tigers quarterback Kelly Bryant, Mountaineer defensive end Taijh Alston was drilled by a blindside block from an offensive lineman, one of several that went uncalled throughout the day, and crumpled to the turf in obvious pain.
Medical staff attended to Alston on the field and spectators everywhere groaned as an air cast was fitted to the pass rusher’s leg and he was eventually lifted onto the back of a golf cart. He would be driven away to the Mountaineer locker room and not return to the sideline the rest of the day. Defensive coordinator Vic Koenning was able to elaborate on the nature of Alston’s injury, as well as the circumstances surrounding it.
“He got blindsided from behind. I don’t know why they’ve got a bunch of officials out there that it didn’t get called and it didn’t,” Koenning said about the unfortunate situation, “but what happened is he got all of his weight put on that one knee and tore the tendon. It wouldn’t have mattered if they’d thrown a flag. It’s just a bad deal and hopefully he can recover from it.”
Alston had been a key part of the new-look WVU defense as a chaos-causing pass rusher. Picking up a sack in Week 1 and putting pressure on Bryant several times in the first half of Saturday’s matchup, his role will need to be filled quickly by fellow defensive ends Jeffery Pooler, Jr. and Reuben Jones. As well as the other ends having to pick up the slack, Alston’s pass-rushing ability will have to be replicated across the line. One of the players who will be called upon to do that is defensive tackle Reese Donahue who was asked about his teammate’s injury after Saturday’s game.
“We love Taijh. Taijh is a really good person on and off the field and I wish the best for him.” Donahue said in reference to his fallen teammate, “I’ll be praying for him but ultimately as a team when adversity strikes, this gives us an opportunity to step up and fill those shoes and those are some big shoes to fill.”
Replacing talented players such as Taijh Alston is extremely difficult to do on any team. For a team like the Mountaineers who need all the help they can get, his loss creates a void that cannot be replaced by just one player. As more details come out about the week goes on, expect more exact details on. Alston’s injury to come out, as well as how Neal Brown, Koenning, and defensive line coach Jordan Lesley plan to replace his production.
Surgery for Alston is scheduled for Tuesday, we will provide an update in the near future.
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