Chamarri Conner

BLACKSBURG — Virginia Tech safety Chamarri Conner gave it a go on Saturday against Notre Dame.

Conner didn’t play any of the six overtimes against North Carolina after his hamstring tightened up. The defender was back on the field at whip linebacker against Fighting Irish coming out of the bye week, but was limited to a handful of snaps.

Fellow safety Khalil Ladler played much of the game and had five tackles (all solo).

“He just didn’t feel like he could turn it loose completely,” Foster said of Conner. “That’s unfortunate.”

Conner has been one of the key playmakers for Virginia Tech’s defense this season. He has 39 tackles (26 solo) with four sacks, seven pass breakups, five quarterback hurries and a forced fumble.

While Tech has relied on the safety throughout the season to bring pressure on various blitz packages — Conner's teammates describe him as one of the more physical players on the team — Foster said the Hokies really missed his coverage skills on Saturday.

“He can some things coverage wise from a speed standpoint that’s a plus for us,” Foster said. “Lad can do certain things, but there are certain situations or certain coverages you might want to play and have the freedom to play a little bit more with a guy like Chamarri in there.”

Virginia Tech will already be without starting defensive back Jermaine Waller for the first half against a Wake Forest team that has one of the best passing offenses in the country (averaging 38 points and 323 passing yards per game).

Conner's status remains up in the air for Saturday. 

"He’s working extremely hard to get back and be full speed, and we need him to be to play like we expect him to play…” Foster said. “He did some things today [in practice] and we are just kind of limiting what we want him to do and not put him at risk. Just continue to get better each day and be ready to go hopefully at full speed on Saturday.”

Mike Niziolek is the Virginia Tech football beat writer for The Roanoke Times. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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