Hokies and Oscar Smith's Bruising Tailback Seem Like a Perfect Fit

Deshawn McClease is a three-year starter at perennial powerhouse Oscar Smith High in Chesapeake.

He rushed for more than 1,600 yards and scored 30 touchdowns last season in the Tigers' multiple-formation, quick-paced offense.

Coach Richard Morgan kept him games during empty sets as a slot receiver.

McClease also blacked out during a 54-yard touchdown run in the 2011 state title game.

But last weekend, the 5-foot-9 back did something a little different. He served as unofficial tour guide to other recruits on a visit to Blacksburg. It only made sense — it was his fourth or fifth time at the school.

Spring Practice Film Study: Zone Stretch Beats Gap Defense

Today, I'm going to break down two basic principles of the Virginia Tech offense and defense matched against each other—the zone stretch versus the gap fit.

In Bud Foster's gap defense, each of the front-six defenders (all four down linemen and the two inside linebackers) have responsibility to attack a gap and either make a play in the gap or occupy it without being driven out. The outside "linebacker-safeties" (Whip and Rover) are edge players. Based on a defensive call they either "force" the play, playing outside contain to force the running back to the inside, or "spill" the play, attacking the inside shoulder of the running back, forcing him to bounce outside to an unblocked alley player which is often the free safety. Against teams that zone block running plays, the normal "key" for an interior player is go where the offensive lineman goes, cross his face, and fit the gap to his outside.

First Scrimmage Observations and Analysis

There were plenty of questions about the Hokies at the beginning of spring practice. With Trey Edmunds sidelined, would anyone step up to separate themselves from the rest of the running back pack? Would Bud Foster be able to find adequate replacements at linebacker after losing Jack Tyler and Tariq Edwards? Most importantly, who would best position himself in the competition for QB1? After the first scrimmage, some of those questions are beginning to be answered, while some are getting even more intriguing and complex.

From the Field to the Stands: Michael Cole's Journey as a Hokie

Editor's Note: This is a fantastic story. Moved to front. --Joe

This story was originally for a class/possible CT article, but I figured y'all would enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Happy Friday, y'all.

As he led the way to a secluded area for an interview in one of the tutoring rooms atop Lane Stadium, Michael Cole heard a familiar voice call out.

"EY, YO! IS THAT MIKE COLE I SEE?" shouted Kyshoen Jarrett, starting rover for Virginia Tech's football team, who was walking from the practice field with a backpack slung over his shoulder.

Versatile Ronny Vandyke can Rejuvenate the Whip Position

Spring football, much like the season itself, is a time of renewal. We're eager to learn more about the new group of Hokies and how they can contribute and star in the program moving forward. At the same time, perhaps we overlook players who have been in the program for an extended period of time. Case in point is the Whip position. The Whip has been utilized so little since the Boise State game that many consider the nickel defense the "base" set for Virginia Tech.

Hokie Football 101: Defensive Line Basics

In a recent post, VTGuitarMan asked "What defines a nose tackle? In my naive view, I always equated NT with the middle guy in a 3-man front, lined up over center. I'm guessing that's not true, or otherwise Foster's scheme modifies that terminology." As always, I am more than happy to oblige with an answer.

First, it is important to understand the difference between the name of the position and technique. The Hokies have four defensive line positions in their system.