Virginia Tech quarterback Hendon Hooker

Virginia Tech quarterback Hendon Hooker warms up for the team's 2019 spring game on Saturday, April 13, 2019. 

BLACKSBURG — Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente left himself some wiggle room this week in naming a starting quarterback for Saturday’s game against Wake Forest.

Fuente told reporters on Monday it’s too soon to tell whether Hendon Hooker will be back in the huddle or Quincy Patterson will make his second straight straight.

“We’ll see,” Fuente said. “I stepped out there twice so far this year on the injury deal and been wrong on both of them. With Damon Hazelton and Hendon, so I don’t know. We’ll see. If he practices all week and does well, then Hendon will be the starter. I don’t know if that’s going to happen or not.”

Hooker suffered a left leg injury in the first half of a win over North Carolina before the Hokies' second bye week of the season. He improved physically each day and made it through the week of practice without any issues.

Fuente was optimistic about Hooker’s chances starting against Notre Dame until he had a change of heart at midweek and ended up giving the nod to Patterson.

While the offense struggled — Tech ended up with 235 yards of offense (3.7 yards per play) and had six three-and-outs in the first half — Fuente was pleased with the way Patterson “didn’t get rattled” in a contest that came down to the final seconds. Patterson was 9 of 28 for 139 yards with a touchdown and interception. He also had 19 carries for 77 yards.

After the game, Fuente said he wasn’t trying to “mislead” anyone about his quarterback situation leading up to the game, but acknowledged it might have looked the way based on his comments and those made by Hooker when he told reporters that he was “ready to go” for the showdown in South Bend.

“Bottom line was I couldn’t pull the trigger on playing him, I just couldn’t,” Fuente said of Hooker starting.

Tech fans are eager to see Hooker back in the lineup considering the way the third-year sophomore got the offense into gear after replacing Ryan Willis. Hooker is 3-0 as a starter with the offense averaging 39.6 points and 430-plus yards. He has thrown for 580 yards this season (57.4% passing) with seven touchdowns and no interceptions. He’s also run the ball 48 times for 156 yards with a touchdown.

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

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