Cody Journell Reinstated

The release from HokieSports.com is to the point.

Virginia Tech Director of Athletics Jim Weaver announced Friday that Cody Journell has been reinstated to the Hokie football program, effective immediately.

"Cody has fulfilled all of the obligations in conjunction with his suspension and is back as an active member of the team," Weaver said.

The redshirt junior from Ripplemead, Va., made 14-of-17 field goals last year and 43-of-44 extra points in his first year as the starting placekicker.

Journell was the lone bright spot of the kicking game last season. No placekicker stood out during spring ball and because of his consistency last season I have to believe he'll eventually regain the starters job. Hopefully he stays out of trouble off the field. I feel a lot better about our chances in close games now.

2014 TE/DE Xavier Burke Commits to Virginia Tech

As reported by Douglas Doughty, Xavier Burke (Brunswick) has committed to the Hokies. That's Tech's 4th commitment for the 2014 cycle. He attended Virginia Tech's one-day camp last Saturday, and had to have made an impression on the coaches. Rivals.com has him listed at 6-3, 247. I'm unable to find a highlight film, or very much useful information.

The Brunswick Times-Gazette wrote about him last August, "Burke was one of the top tight ends in the Southside District last season and has soft hands to go along with his 6-4 height." It also looks like he played a little quarterback last season, and was an All-Region I Honorable Mention.

2014 WR/DB Javon Harrison Commits to Virginia Tech

As reported by Katherine Smith, Javon (Lakeland, Florida) joins Vincent Mihota (DE) Marshawn Williams (RB) as Tech's third commitment for the class of 2014 . In case you forget, the year is 2012. According to Smith's report, Javon was in Blacksburg last Saturday and attended Tech's one-day camp.

"I [HS coach Irving Strickland] talked with him and he just said he fell in love with the town, the coaches and what they have to offer academically,'' Strickland said. "I asked him if he was sure and he said after talking with him mom and his brothers, he knew it was the right place for him."

Harrison had been a standout receiver for the Red Devils, and one of the tops in Polk County, but he wants to play cornerback in college. Strickland said Virginia Tech provides an opportunity for Harrison to play that position and possibly earn some early playing time.

"Wherever he plays, they are getting a good one,'' Strickland said.

Javon also held a Michigan offer.

French on the Bench: Bud Foster's Gap Defense Part II

The Gap Defense: When Gaps Go Wrong.

Thanks everyone for the great comments and questions on my first edition of "French on the Bench". Many of you asked what causes the defense to be ineffective against different teams, and it is very difficult to address all the reasons because of the different styles of offense. So, I will take a moment to look at the new Clemson offense and try to explain why the Hokies struggled against it last year.

Clemson runs the Urban Meyer spread, a version of the old Single Wing. The Single Wing is predicated on motion, misdirection, play-action, and forcing a defense to commit, and then going somewhere else with the football. It uses a very small number of plays, but each play serves as a direct counter to the others.

Clemson's base bread and butter play for their offense is the buck sweep. It looks similar to an old power sweep, but it is meant to be a kick out play that creates a seam off the tackle. The quarterback bootlegs off the hand-off, which serves as a counter action that must be accounted for (as Tech defended it with the stud end).

1:36:52–1:37:16

2012 Virginia Tech Football Trailer

Leading up to kickoff each season friend of the site BilldozerVT chops, compiles, and scores a trailer video. Like those before it, this year's is absolutely fantastic. Also, this season Bill's going to help out a bit around here and provide us video for to enhance our pre and postgame analysis. Thank you for all of your hard work Bill!

The Hokies kickoff in 48 days.

French on the Bench: Bud Foster's Gap Defense Part I

French on the Bench is a new series of posts that will take a closer look at the theory, fundamentals, and scheme of Tech's offense and defense. It kicks off by detailing the inner workings of the Bud Foster Gap Defense that has baffled most of the ACC over the last 8 years. My most recent columns can now be found on the right sidebar. -- French

The Hokie Gap defense rose from the ashes of the famed "Hokie Attack" 8 man front of the 1990's. When Foster developed the concept for the Gap Defense, he looked to solve two problems. First, how do they maintain the aggressive variability of the Wide Tackle Six, but second, he wanted to stop the growing use of one back multiple receiver offenses from the West Coast to the Spread. Foster used a simple solution. He retained the terminology and many of the blitz schemes of the Attack Defense, and then moved the rover position back to that of a traditional strong safety. To the uneducated eye, the defense features two ends, two tackles, three linebackers, two safeties, and two corners just like a traditional NFL style 4-3, but Foster turns the 4-3 concept on its ear.

Brandon Facyson Commits to Virginia Tech

According to Keith Niebuhr of 247Sports WR/DB Brandon Facyson (Newnan, Georgia) is the second player to commit to the Hokies at Tech's one-day camp.

Brandon held a bunch of I-A offers including: Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, North Carolina, Louisville, South Florida, and Mississippi State. Ultimately he picked the Hokies over the Bees.

Mr. Facyson feels that it will come down to a two team race between Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech. "It probably will be a two school race but we have the rest of the summer before he makes that decision. I know he likes both schools very much and I feel that it will come down to those two in the long run."

"I feel he will be a strong player this season. He's a great athlete and has really stayed in shape with track and is a life guard for the summer." The 6' 2 1/2"-190 Facyson is still growing. "He should be in great shape when he heads off to college."

Brandon boasts a 3.9 GPA and wants to be a heart surgeon.

Tight End (OL) Kyle Chung Commits to Virginia Tech

According to TSL, "At VT's football camp. Just got the word that Kyle Chung committed this morning," the Hokies landed a commitment from another legacy Saturday morning when Kyle Chung (Ponte Vedra, Florida) verballed at Tech's one-day camp. Kyle's father was Hokie great Eugene Chung (offensive tackle 1988-91). Tech offered Kyle at the end of May.

Arkansas, Georgia Tech, Virginia, Maryland, Arkansas State and Temple among others offered the rising 6-4 250 pound junior.

Rambling about the O-Line (Again)

Of all the positions on the team I'm the most critical of the o-line. I played offensive line in high school so I think I have an idea of what it would take to play it on college (I definitely don't), and when I'm watching a game in Lane it's easiest to spot a big guy lumbering after a defender that's slipped by, rather than a running back that missed the hole. During Curt Newsome's first few seasons at Tech (first season was 2006) his o-lines were a dreadful part of a dysfunctional offense. Newsome's lines have gotten progressively better as Tech recruited more athletic players for his "zone blocking" scheme. In 2009 and '10 they turned a corner, and 2011 was the best unit he put on the field (t-22nd nationally with 17 sacks allowed, and 23rd with 198.71 yards per game). Last year's starting five featured four seniors, and now with players being recruited to fit his system, I'm cautiously optimistic Newsome will be able to reload, not rebuild.

As I wrote back in March, Tech isn't depending on four fresh faces.

Hokie Tracks are on Standby

Here's Monday's edition of Hokie Tracks a little early because I'm delayed at the airport and decided that writing a post on my iPhone would be a good idea. Apologies in advance for any typos. Real quick, here are a few site updates. If you haven't noticed yet I tweaked the layout of the site for the better, I think. More layout changes are coming, most of which will focus on a better designed forum. By the way, you can now hover over topics to get a preview of the post inside. A primary goal of this site is to make it the best Hokies community online. If you haven't registered yet, please consider doing so and join the conversation. If you are registered, but have kept quiet, post a link, picture, or start a discussion in the forum. Thank you all for making this place great! As always, any feedback on how to improve is appreciated.

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