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.

A Schematic Reboot?

When Scot Loeffler was hired it was understood by all that he was going to bring smash mouth football back to Blacksburg. Loeffler was going to focus on running the ball in between the tackles, something Frank Beamer teams were supposed to do. After all, Loeffler and his offensive line coach Jeff Grimes had had an offense at Auburn that had success running the ball from pro-style formations. Surely they would be able to duplicate those results here at Virginia Tech!

We all know how that story ended. The offense never did have any success running the ball despite the coaching staff's best intentions. Even when the team did run the ball well it did so out of spread formations, reading unblocked defenders instead of running them over. Is this the new schematic normal in Blacksburg?

2015 DT Eric Whitehead Talks Virginia Tech Visit

I caught up with Lawrence Central (Indianapolis, Indiana) defensive tackle Eric Whitehead about his recruitment. The 6-1.5, 295 pound 2015 cycle prospect visited Virginia Tech for the first time on Saturday and went home with a scholarship offer. How did Eric feel about the offer? "I was speechless. I didn't know what to say."

Defensive Line Note: Vinny Mihota to get Reps at DT

According to the latest interview with Bud Foster on Hokiesports.com, Vince Mihota will get reps inside to back up Luther Maddy as the No. 2, three-technique defensive tackle.

"We're also going to probably look at Vinny Mihota some inside," Foster said in the interview while discussing depth along the defensive line.

Foster's initial stream of consciousness suggested that this is a short term move, necessitated by "class conflicts" with guys who may miss some practice time (I am guessing that would be Wade Hansen). He also said it gives the Hokie defensive staff an opportunity to get Mihota more reps and time on the field for evaluation.

Interestingly though, Foster finished the thought with, "He's going to grow into that [defensive tackle] position when it's all said and done."

Brandon Facyson to Miss the Remainder of Spring Practice

The glass half full take is Donovan Riley, Chuck Clark, and Der'Woun Greene will get more much needed reps.

The glass half empty take is NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

Seriously though, like with Kyshoen Jarrett, it's best to err on the side of caution. The secondary will be the strength of the defense, and Facyson's ball hawking game is an enormous asset fore that unit.

2014 Spring Football: Day One Notes and Quotes

After reading and digesting what the coaches and players had to say, this is what stood out to me.

Last year's troubles with the kicking game are well documented, so it's no surprise identifying a reliable field goal kicker is a priority. "We went through several there last year and didn't make enough of them, so we're going to really put a lot of emphasis on that particular area," Frank Beamer said on a teleconference.

It seems as if the special teams guru has introduced a new practice technique to develop consistency under pressure this spring.

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