Let's Talk about the Defense

Bud Foster is candid. He doesn't mince words with coachspeak, or vagueness. When he talks, I'm all ears. Andy Bitter posted an interview with Bud (links are here for parts 1 and 2) and it goes a long way to figuring out what next year's defense will look like. It's very informative, so read both parts.

The most intriguing part of the conversation is about the secondary. The front-seven is experienced and everyone kind of knows what that group is going to look like. Although, Foster does divulge Chase Williams might move back to Mike to backup Jack Tyler while BRUUUUUUUUCE is out. Plus, Dadi Nicolas, Justin Taylor and Kris Harley look to be factors along the d-line. But, those guys will most likely be second or third string players. The defensive backfield needs to replace starters Jayron Hosley and Eddie Whitley while figuring out what the hell to do with Kyle Fuller. (It goes without saying, the latter is a good problem to have.)

Foster doesn't know where Kyle Fuller —"the MVP of our defense last year"— will play in 2012. However, we do know the other corners and safeties will make the decision for him. If Jarrett, Manning or Tookes don't seize the opportunity to play opposite of Detrick Bonner, then expect Fuller to remain at corner. If any one of the safeties (Vandyke, Aromire, Hopper, Cole) don't step up, then it's possible Fuller moves there. As of right now, I'd pencil him at safety for two reasons: 1) I think the corners are more ready-to-play 2) for our scheme, safety is a thinking man's position. That's not to say the other guys are dumb, it's just that because of his experience Foster trusts Fuller making all the right calls on the backend.

Bud also mentioned the possibility of Kyshoen Jarrett moving over to safety. That's an interesting idea. Jarrett is talented enough, but like I said above, for it to be possible he'd have to demonstrate an understanding of the mental game. What would be really fun to see happen is if Jarrett (or anyone not named Kyle Fuller for that matter) can win the safety job, and one of the freshman, Manning or Tookes, win the other corner job. Then the defense has the luxury of moving Fuller all over the field (hint: Whip).

It seems like figuring out a way to stop Clemson and be better agains the spread is on Bud's mind. As it should be.

Missouri runs a spread offense. Is that something specifically you want to look at in terms of defending?

"Obviously we're going to be playing Clemson again. I think at times we played the spread pretty well. We did in the bowl game, with the exception of a couple plays, but it's getting different people's thoughts. It looks like the ACC is kind of going that way with Larry Fedora coming in and instead of North Carolina being a two-back offense, it looks like they'll be an up-tempo offense. That's what Missouri is. So I'm curious to talk to them, how they defend their people too. Because their offense is all no-huddle, empty a guy out, motion a guy back in and different things that make you change your calls, even in mid-stream, or the kids have a lot of check-with-me calls. So I'm just curious to see how they game manage and things of that nature.

For what it's worth , this is the first time I've heard about the relationship our staff has with Pinkel's at Mizzou. In recent offseasons Beamer Co worked with Georgia and Ohio State.

My favorite quote of the interview, which might be your's too, was: "I want whoever we play, it's going to be a struggle for them to play well against us. And that's what I want." We all do coach.

What does everyone else think?

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Comments

the man alone is worth the price of admission at bb.com

"It's worth it right? It's worth it to lay it all on the line for your brothers!"
"That kid you're talking to right there, I think he played his nuts off! And you can quote me on that shit!" -Bud Foster (both quotes)

Only downside to Fuller moving to safety would be how much of the role would focus on coverage. Fuller is a natural open field tackler and did work at or around the line of scrimmage this year. It seems to me that the rover is more often cheating up front to help the run defense while the safety is playing more coverage. Fuller's coverage skills are solid for sure, but he's at his best when he's free to read the play and make the quick tackle.

Exum

Was one of the leading tacklers and he was coming from a safety/rover position. I think Fuller's tackling ability will continue to be useful form there

Logan 3:16

Thought the Jarrett news was very interesting. Sounds like there will be a few interesting Defensive storylines to keep up with this spring.

I'd like to see Tweedy at Whip, Fuller, Bonner, Jarrett top 3 CBs and Van Dyke at FS - i doubt it happens though

I still think Fuller is a Linebacker in a Cornerback's body

Was Bruce's injury going to cost him another season? I can't remember what it was.

I have no idea why my username is VT_Warthog.

@VT_Warthog

Lisfranc Sprain

Its the same injury that ended Kevin Jones' career. Hopefully that isnt the case with Bruce, but with a potentially career ending injury, it was going to cost him most of spring ball without a doubt. Rather have him skip out on that with a chance to play in the fall though for sure..

Logan 3:16

that would be truly tragic if it ended Bruce's

"It's worth it right? It's worth it to lay it all on the line for your brothers!"
"That kid you're talking to right there, I think he played his nuts off! And you can quote me on that shit!" -Bud Foster (both quotes)

The Hokies only had 4 INT's over the past two years from the safety position. Playmaking at that position, especially in a system where the safeties have man coverage and teams that move the ball against VT (other than Clemson) do so by matching up their best receivers against safety coverage (see both of Michigan's touchdowns), is absolutely paramount to the Hokies success. When you add that the Hokies don't have a true playmaker at boundary corner, the need for a playmaker/ballhawk at safety to compliment Antone Exum's nose for the football will be a key development in the spring. I can not fathom why Nick Dew isn't moved back to rover. He has the ability, and isn't big enough to be a linebacker.

Bruce Taylor's injury is a huge concern. Boundary corner is a concern. I think the defensive line has gone from a weakness last year mid-season to a strong point, especially when I continue to hear rumblings that Dadi Nicholas is a stud speed rusher in the making and is a top candidate for a breakout spring.

Linebacker is the big question. Ton's of depth, but who is proven besides Tyler and Edwards? JWG played better, but he is coming back from the same injury as Taylor, and I certainly didn't think he was a standout in limited snaps last year. Tweedy has great wheels, but I just don't see him as an every down starter, especially when teams run at him. Clark hasn't made an impact, at least not enough to force Foster to move Edwards to whip in order to get snaps. Can they turn ability into production?

Viva El Guapo

Crazy thought...bear with me.

Tweedy to FS
Fuller continues his tackling rampage at his Nickel/Whip spot
Bonner at Boundary Corner
Jarrett/Manning/someone to rotate at Field

I'm going to do put Tweedy at FS in NCAA 12 and see what happens.

Of course this may also be the derp-iest idea ever.

if all else fails

NCAA will know what to do with them... I put Fuller at FS after his first season at CB and he was like an 86 overall, not too shabby seeing as Eddie Whitley was like an 86 as a Senior

Logan 3:16

tweedy's

strength is open field tackling ... pass coverage is his biggest liability.

Kyshone Jarrett will be moved to free safety. Again, I think you guys are nuts with our linebacker depth to waste Kyle Fuller by taking on 300 pound tackles all game long. Keep him at field corner where he can be used creatively to blitz, and then play him at nickle on 3rd and long.

I hope Jarrett can be the playmaker we are looking for in the secondary. As a former WR, he should have the ball skills, and we know he can tackle.

Viva El Guapo