Breakdown and analysis of the Buckeye's Power Play against a 4-3 Over look.
French on the Bench
Adonis Alexander is an intimidating physical presence in the secondary, but will need to continue to improve on his mobility and coverage.
Tech's newest 2015 verbal commitment uses technique, leverage, separation, and "bend" to play through blockers and make tackles.
Kyle Fuller being selected by the Chicago Bears in the first round of the NFL Draft helped Virginia Tech build upon its reputation as DBU. The Hokies return two sophomore cornerbacks with elite potential in Kendall Fuller and Brandon Facyson, while highly recruited safety prospects Holland Fisher and C.J. Reavis join the program this fall. With this strong foundation in place, Coach Torrian Gray has been hot on the recruiting trail looking for the next generation of terrific Hokie defensive backs.
This is a first in a series of film breakdowns of Ohio State's core offensive plays leading into the Hokies' matchup with the Buckeyes on September 6th.
Much has been made over the last decade about how Urban Meyer's offense has elevated football programs at Utah, Florida, and now Ohio State. Meyer uses elements of a variety of classic offenses in a hybrid spread system that forces defenses to account for multiple options in space on every snap. However, any good offensive system is built upon classic principles that have a solid history of success. In Meyer's system, the quarterback position harkens back to the era of the single wing "tailback." In the old single wing, the tailback received the direct snap much like a quarterback receives the snap in the shotgun today. From the alignment, the tailback was required to be a triple threat; run inside with power, outside with speed, or throw downfield.
Before the start of spring practice, my primary positions of worry for the defense were tackle and linebacker. As I had an opportunity to read accounts of the defensive productivity, watch the final scrimmage, and the spring game, a new concern emerged: defensive end. Dadi Nicolas is the only proven commodity at end (assuming, based on his outstanding spring at nose tackle, Corey Marshall stays inside). Ken Ekanem is a very talented player who had an outstanding spring, but has next to no game experience. Both should be productive players, but in Bud Foster's system there's a critical need for solid depth along the defensive line.
Last week I discussed how the spring game format made it very difficult to get a good measure of the offensive position battles. Different personnel groupings focused on different offensive series. The maroon group featuring J.C. Coleman and Marshawn Williams, ran mostly power plays where the offensive line blocked down play side with the back sid guard leading around. As Joe highlighted, the white team featured much more zone read and bootleg action. Because the running backs were being utilized in very different ways, the tape doesn't provide a real "apples to apples" comparison.
A top priority for the Virginia Tech coaching staff this offseason was to reinvigorate the power rushing attack that the Hokies had been known for, for most of Frank Beamer's tenure. Spring football gave us a glimpse into Scot Loeffler's, Shane Beamer's, and Stacy Searels' scheme for running the football more effectively. However, thanks to injuries on the offensive line,Trey Edmunds being sidelined, an over-abundance of other running backs who did little to separate themselves enough to get the carries needed to establish a rhythm, and a quick, aggressive defensive front that matched up well with some of the new blocking concepts, it is still difficult to ascertain if the Hokies have the personnel and the scheme to meet Coach Beamer's mandate for an improved running game. There is, however, a ton of potential that will only get better with experience.
A major storyline this spring was the transition of Bucky Hodges from quarterback to tight end. Coach Foster raved about Hodges performance last season as the Hokie scout team's version of UNC's Eric Ebron, and the coaching staff awarded Hodges with the Coaches Award (exceptional spring) on Saturday. On this website we've had discussions about the possibilities of everything from three tight end sets, to having a Virginia Tech version of Jimmy Graham creating matchup nightmares on the edge of the defense.
A significant amount of my columns have been devoted to explaining Bud Foster's defensive scheme. I've discussed the basics of the base 4-2-5, detailed the 46 front that was so prevalent at the end of 2012, and highlighted the unique ways that the Hokie secondary defends the pass without dropping 7 defenders into coverage. There is a single constant across each piece I write; Coach Foster keeps me on my toes. During Saturday's scrimmage, Foster rolled out a rarely seen defensive set, a nickel package that featured a three-man defensive front and keeps the Whip on the field.