- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 13, 2010

BLACKSBURG, VA. (AP) - Midway through the season, Atlantic Coast Conference coaches are being forced to rethink decisions about whether to use true freshmen or redshirt them.

The choice often comes down to is the player ready and what the team needs.

At Boston College, after Virginia Tech made quarterback Dave Shinskie look lost in a 19-0 victory, coach Frank Spaziani named highly touted true freshman Chase Rettig his starting quarterback for the fourth game at Notre Dame. Rettig was injured, but Spaziani said it was the necessary move.

“The needs of the team usually are the over-riding factor,” he said this week. He added that while it would be ideal to be able to have every true freshman sit out the season, it would not be fair to fourth- and fifth-year seniors to not use the best options available.

Frank Beamer at Virginia Tech is hoping to take a different route with Chase Williams.

The 6-foot-1, 231-pound linebacker is the son of New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and has not played. He’s halfway toward using the year to get bigger, stronger and faster _ and possibly more prepared to excel the next four seasons.

But Williams might be the next best option for Beamer if the Hokies lose another frontline linebacker to injury. Barquell Rivers, a starter in 2009, hasn’t played and may wind up applying for a medical redshirt, and Lorenzo Williams is already out for the season.

Beamer is content to sit Williams now, but with the Hokies contending for the ACC title and a spot in a multi-million dollar BCS game, another injury might cause him to reconsider.

“Right now, I think it would take an injury for us to even consider where he is,” Beamer said of Williams. “I think he’s got a good future. You want to make sure you do what’s right for him and what’s right for the football team.

“That’s a hard question.”

It’s also one most coaches like to try to make as soon as possible, even though they don’t have to submit a list of players that redshirted until the season ends.

They also have different standards for how much playing time a freshman will get to consider it a worthwhile investment.

At Miami, coach Randy Shannon looks to see if they can help on special teams.

“If they’re helping us, or can help us, on special teams and giving us some way to help win games, then we’ll burn the redshirt,” the Hurricanes’ coach said. “But if we’re not sure that they can’t help us, if they might not be totally ready, then we’ll redshirt them.”

Paul Johnson at Georgia Tech said there’s no exact science in making the decision.

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