I beat the sun up this morning and re-watched film of the defense against Bowling Green. After cds7c mentioned yesterday that Ronny Vandyke was listed on HokieSports (9/24 update) as co-starter at Whip, I wanted to watch him more closely. Now, BeamerBall (via Bitter) has Vandyke listed as the starter, G-W as the backup.
Frank Beamer's personal website has Ronny Vandyke as the first-team whip linebacker and Jeron Gouveia-Winslow on the second team. It said it was updated Tuesday. "The only way he's going to get better is we've got to get him on the field more in game situations," Foster said about Vandyke on Monday. According to Beamer's website, Vandyke had 24 plays against Bowling Green, with two tackles, one assist, two quarterback hurries and one pass breakup. Gouveia-Winslow had nine plays and one quarterback hurry.
Given RVD's upside, I think we've all waited a long time to hear that from the coaches.
I watched Vandiesel on 20 defensive plays (perhaps Beamer's site was including special teams). He was a bit shaky at the beginning. He whiffed on a tackle which resulted in 19-yard Jamel Martin carry, and got caught up in a couple of blocks. Given his lack of experience, a slow start was expected, but he got progressively better, quickly.
On this play, Vandyke showcased his speed, and quite possibly saved a touchdown.
RVD respects the play-action, sheds the H-back with his inside shoulder, then explodes to, and through the quarterback which forces a wobbly throw to the receiver who had gotten inside of Exum.
Look where RVD is lined up here.
He's to the top of the video, wide with the two receivers. It looks like he's responsible for the short zone. However, his eyes never leave the backfield, and as he sees the handoff, he turns and runs. You'll never guess who beats everyone down the field and makes the tackle. Hustle.
On the next play he blows up a screen.
His first steps are back into coverage. When he sees the screen develop (the tackle and guard bailing), he bolts forward and is about a hand away from housing a pick.
Here RVD is frozen, then bites inside on hard play-action.
However, he's quick to see the quarterback keep the ball, and he's in pursuit as the QB rolls back out. He doesn't take a perfect angle, nevertheless he catches up to the QB, makes the tackle, and prevents a potential first down.
I think we've all heard the coaches say the Whip needs to be a playmaker. Those were a few examples Vandyke doing just that.
The defense played heavy Nickel (it might have been their base package) with Cole replacing the Whip. A couple of times on third-and-long I noticed Tech in a 3-3-5 alignment with both G-W and Cole on the field at the same time.
Bruce is the fourth, and in my diagram unidentified, man on the line of scrimmage. He's spying the QB. Cole (to the top), G-W (bottom) are highlighted. Blue indicates zone, red indicates man. G-W looks to start off in the short zone to the sideline, but turns and runs once the receiver enters, then leaves. The coverage is tight across the board and it forces the sack. In passing situations, this defense might come in handy against teams that have an athletic quarterback and want to air it out (cough, Clemson).
Finally, I want to highlight Jack Tyler going ham.
Tyler and Taylor are coming on blitz. Foster frequently sent them through the A-gaps Saturday. Watch Taylor (#58 towards the bottom). He darts into a double-team, works to rip through it, gets held as he starts split it, twice, but finally makes it through and gets his hands up in the passing lane. He either tips the ball or forces an errant pass for a change of possession. That's nothing but effort folks.
As a group, I thought the defense brought it all afternoon, something that was missing at Pitt.