Quick Thoughts: Barry Odum/Ryan Walter and VT DC Opening

I will have a much more detailed analysis if Odum or Walter are hired, but since they are unknowns in the ACC, I will share a few preliminary thoughts.

1) They run a 3-4.

2) The 3-4 is mobile. While two of their DT starters are listed as 300 pounders, they look like a small, quick group that slants.

3) The linebackers activate downhill hard. Seven guys in the box getting up the field.

4) They play a ton of press coverage. I would wonder if they would bring David Gibbs as their DB coach. Gibbs uses a ton of similar techniques with man to man, although I have not seen as much robber. They also get flagged for PIs or should get flagged for PIs often.

5) Their safeties do not activate in the run game. I would envision VT would recruit natural corners to play safety, which means there needs to be 5 starter-ability corners on the roster every year.

I have no idea if they are even candidates for the position, but because their name has come up, I don't think the growing pains would be as bad as some other systems. I think safety play would be the biggest adjustment. Pollard and Crawford would be the 4/5 techs, and I assume Fuga would work behind Hewitt as the nose. They also shift into 40 fronts, so flexibility would be a key. DEs I would expect would all become OLBs, but their jobs would be similar to what we saw this year, although they would force plays to the middle much more often instead of spilling them wide.

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Going to be weird seeing a new scheme for the first time as long as I have been a Hokie fan, looking forward to your analysis so I can learn a few more X's and O's

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I mean, Bud's scheme has undergone some pretty big shifts over the decade, but I suppose they were usually more gradual changes.

How would you see Chamarri fitting into that scheme?

Probably the same role whatever they call their nickel. Unless... they use a more of a true corner nickelback, in which case he might need to slim down or lose reps to the more traditional slot corner/3rd CB.

This system would also likely have Dax and Ashby both playing as the ILB's (I assume). However, the 3-4 means that ILB recruiting becomes even more important. Right now it seems like a great fit with Ashby and Dax really both being Mikes, and Keshon Artis waiting in the wings, but true ILB's are not super common, and highly sought after on the trail. It is a position where you can run out of depth real fast.

This system would also likely have Dax and Ashby both playing as the ILB's.

Tisdale and Barno would be incredibly disruptive pass rush OLBs, no? The thought of a little slimmer DD being a purely rangy FS in coverage with no run responsibilities is also intriguing. Maybe he and Webb as safeties?

Barno probably yes. Tisdale would be more utilized in a system like the Heacock 3-3-5 Clemson has used this year in the Isaiah Simmons role (if Tisdale could handle it).

I'm not as familiar with Odom's 3-4 specifically, but the OLB's are generally closer to 4-3 DE's. The players recruited as 3-4 OLB's are usually the very tall, long OLB recruits and the WDE recruits.

If you watched any Bama games this year, 24 Terrell Lewis and 33 Anfernee Jennings are the traditional archetypes for 3-4 OLB's. That said, there have been a lot of variations made on the 3-4 and 3-3-5 that utilize different types of DL and OLB's than what we traditionally think of with a 3-4.

If what is in a previous thread is true, Artis is redshirting in preparation for a transfer.


That would be surprising. He would have three years of eligibility left with Ashby graduating after 2020. Regardless of we transition to a 3-4 or more traditional 4-3 scheme, we will still need two inside linebackers.

I remember that thread. He's been hella pro-VT on twitter since he redshirted though. We will see.

Why would you redshirt in preparation for a transfer? Best move is to run the redshirt year and the sit out year concurrently. Otherwise, you've wasted a year.

IIRC redshirting counts as sitting out a year now, meaning Artis could play right away next year. I "think" that is correct?

Artis, not Ashby. You may be correct but that was not my understanding.

Assuming you mean Artis, and that you think that redshirting this year would count as "sitting out" in terms of fulfilling post-transfer eligibility requirements, you would be mistaken.

Burmeister redshirted last year and still had to sit this year.

you have to sit out after you transfer

two examples using incoming transfers:

Hoffman ('17 class) transferred to VT after playing his FR & SO seasons at Coastal. He came to VT with 3 years to play 2 remaining. His waiver was denied so he's using his redshirt at the same time he sits out, preserving his remaining 2 years of eligibility (rJR 2020, rSR 2021).

Burmeister ('17 class) transferred to VT after playing his FR and redshirting* his SO season at Oregon. He came to VT with 3 years to play 3. He didn't get a waiver either, so he is burning a year of eligibility while sitting out, and will have 2 years of eligibility remaining (rJR 2020, rSR 2021).

*(Burmeister actually played in 4 games that season, but NCAA allows redshirts to participate in 4 games).

Yeah no that's not accurate. Doesn't mean he's not going to transfer, but that's not how it went down

If you feel comfortable sharing, what did go down? No worries if you'd rather not!

Artis met with the staff and shared his wish to redshirt to get some space between he and Ashby. The staff obliged. The situation that OP described happened with Jordan Stout and being put on scholarship

So no dispute with parents about playing time then?

There might've been, not entirely sure how the conversation went down. I do know that fu willingly met with them. I don't know whether or not he's planning on transferring, but the narrative that Fu wasn't willing to listen is false.

I don't know what they run, but they were 6-6 and managed to be ranked 20th in scoring D; I would argue the most important stat in college football right now.

Clemson, UGA, Utah, and OSU are 1-4 in that stat. 6 of the top 10 are in the top 10 of the CFP rankings, and 8 of 10 are in the top 20 (LSU and OU are the outliers).

Painful transition or not, if we intend to be relevant nationally, we need to be very good in scoring D.

Scalley and Powell from Utah seem like they know what they're doing. I wouldn't mind having those guys on staff.

Hokie fan | W&M grad

In your opinion what is the best hire for the situation?

"Can't argue with that logic" - Rick Sanchez

French, didn't you say that the 3-4 needs to have specific body type to be plugged into the nose?

The way most teams run it, yes. From what little I have seen (two games so far, watching the commercials and huddles cut out), Odum/Walter run it more like Foster- DL slants and hits the gap. The biggest difference is the edge guys are trying to force everything back inside, not spill wide to the the safeties.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Thanks. From what I remember from your previous breakdown of Foster's defensive tactic, his slant was designed to spill the runner into an alley where there's a free hitter waiting to lay the wood.

The transition then will be for the line and linebackers to suck the runner into the middle and get smashed to pieces. Am I following you right?

Not sure what Odom does but typical 3-4 schemes will use the Mike LB to take on blockers to keep the Will LB clean to be that free hitter. (Mike is strong side, Will is weak side)

I don't know much about Odom or Walters either. Any idea how players that fit into the hybrid LB/DB nickelwhip role translate? Tisdale, Ladler etc

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

Tisdale, Conner, and Ladler would be difficult fits. Their OLBs are much more like Garbutt, Belmar, and Griffin than Tisdale or Conner.

Again, this may just be farting into silk. I have no clue who the serious candidates are. But, since their name was mentioned, I snuck a peak. I didn't hate what I saw.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

farting into silk

Can't say I've ever done that, but now I want to.

Again, this may just be farting into silk.

Never heard this one before, but I'm definitely gonna use it!

Glad we both focus on the important aspects.

I'm a 35 year old with the mind of a child haha


I'm 53 with a mind of a child. It doesn't go away brother!

Amen...I'm 47 and I still laugh when someone farts....now, if someone farted through silk...not sure I can handle something like that

Yeah, I'm an old fart. First time I heard the phrase was decades ago in a book, I think, where the con man tells his woman on the eve of a big score to "Stick with me, baby, and we'll be farting through silk." I associate it with Britain, for some reason, but since I'm old, it isn't certain. Old phrase, though, meaning rolling in the lap of luxury.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

My dad used to say this phrase to his carpenter apprentices (I'm one of them) at work. "Stick with me son, you be fΒ₯€king queens and farting through silk"

exit light

If the Hokies hire these dudes will the defense be scary NEXT YEAR?

I live in the moment. I don't care about 5 years from now scary.

Leonard. Duh.

We need to win now!

Hokie Club member since 2017

You would know better than myself, but I think Chamarri would be a good fit at SS in this type of defense. He was very good in coverage until he hurt his hammy early on in the UNC game. Agreed that Tisdale would be an awkward fit though

Honestly, I wouldn't mind Conner moving over to rover anyway. But, he adds a unique dynamic in the run game at whip.

If Conner was the rover and Kyle Fuller was the whip this year, they win 2 more games (ND and UVA), even with the crap UVA game plan.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Samesies. Think he'd made a good rover, but he's a total difference maker at whip when 100%. Based on the little tiny bit that I've heard on this search though, it sounds like we won't have a whip next year

Interesting. I'm kind of ok with moving away from the whip just because it takes a truly special and unique player to make that position work. If you don't have an every down whip that can cover and be stout against the run, you're either going to get mismatched constantly or have to sub a nickel in on more obvious passing downs. Conner is truly special there, but it's tough finding those guys. I guess this means we are looking at a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme moving forward with the new hire and away from the Bud 4-2-5.

I also see this defense as a pathway for Webb to get on the field. He's not quite the athlete he was before the injuries (obviously), but he's still capable and pretty physical. Would be a good fit at safety.

I like our 4-2-5/4-3 scheme that we run, with the whip. I think it works well when adjusting between different types of offenses as we've come up against in the ACC. With more and more teams going spread, and we don't have to deal with GA Tech's triple option, I'm digging the idea of running a 3-4.

TKPhi Damn Proud
BSME 2009

Yes, I agree here. I think the 3-4 does a lot better against spread teams. The downside to the 3-4 IMO is against teams that run the ball downhill instead of laterally (Bama types). Having 3 guys on the line I feel is a recipe to get eaten alive and gashed up the middle by runs all day long. I don't really know though, I just know I torch defenses in NCAA 14 that run 3-4 by running straight up the gut all game long.

Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe Alabama runs a 3-4 defense and historically not many teams are successful running up the middle on them. It may be that many teams aren't successful running up the middle on Alabama because they recruit big NFL type DL.

Bama has used both 3-4 and 4-3 under Saban, even in the same season and same game. But they can get the personnel they want.

Aggressive, small 3-4 alignments generally run guys at weight around: NT-- 310, FE--275-280, BE--260, OLB--230, ILB--250.

Compared to the 4-3 we typically ran: DT-- 290, DE--275, SLB-- 230, MLB--230, OLB--220

Totals 3-4: 1805. 4-3: 1810.

They don't get worn out by running teams. They don't give up anything to the offense.

The difference is the ability to flex the pressure and coverage across 4 LBs who are built like safeties, vs 2 like safeties and 1 like a big corner. The unpredictability across the personnel makes it ever higher risk/ higher reward. We would almost certainly suk for a year if we changed but, the number of ~300 lb guys versus 275 lb guys would be much easier to recruit, the only challenge is getting the faster guys at those weights.

β€œI remember Lee Corso's car didn't get out of the parking lot.” -cFB
TKPC #666 ...man that was long wait...

One of the bigger knocks against Bud for the longest time has been that his scheme didn't really lend itself to the front 7 being NFL ready after college. Do you see this kind of system as improving upon that, and possibly making it a bit easier to recruit top end talent on the defensive front?

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VT has had an undersized DL for 30 years. the 3-4 seems to be a nightmare for that dynamic?

Well, there are two ways to answer that. The way they appear to play on what little tape I have watched, I think VT has a good fit. They move laterally and then get up the field. UVA does similar stuff- Hanback, Alonso, and Faumui are not giants. Mizzou's guys also don't look huge.

However, the roster has them as 300 plus pounds at DT and 250/260 guys on the edge. They don't look it though. I am not sure what to believe. But, they are not traditional 3-4 where the nose is eating up two gaps like most teams play it.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

No Beamer, no Bud and now a possible 3-4 defense? What's next? Lane Stadium becomes a dome?!!

Man these are strange times for us old school Hokie fans.

There are wolves and there are sheep, I am the sheep dog

Then we can really call it the Terrordome

TKPhi Damn Proud
BSME 2009

It is going to be very interesting. They would need players who are versatile, because spreads don't allow defenses to keep 7 in the box, so OLBs either have to cover slot guys or they shift into a 40 front at times. But, there are a couple of players who will be weird fits.

Tisdale is a weird fit everywhere-but he has the talent and the pursuit that he will find his way on the field in most places. I just don't know if a 3-4 OLB, even the way Odum runs the defense, is a place that makes sense.

Another worry is recruiting against UVA for players- suddenly VT will have to recruit players with similar skill sets to what UVA targets, especially getting more dynamic 3-4 guys who can rush and cover. As best as I can tell, Noah Taylor and Charles Snowden were not highly rated guys, and see how they turned out. Well, running Odum/Walters scheme, VT will have to find guys that mirror those two guys skill sets.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

That is what I was wondering as well in addition to the body type that fits the prototypical nose spot.

You don't think Tisdale would fit as an ILB? He's long which will help with shedding blocks of uncovered guards coming to get him. I'm with you in that his athleticism and length will find a way onto the field no matter what defensive scheme is employed.

Having played in 4-3/4-2-5 defenses then coaching in 3-4 scheme, I've come to see benefits to each but certainly personnel can be an issue when you make the switch. A lot of personnel issues are due to the style of 3-4. Does Odom 2-gap the down 3 or slant 1-gap.

Our smaller/quicker DTs would certainly fit better in a slanting 1-gap on the interior DL but I like our current DEs becoming stand up OLBs. Garbutt will thrive IMO, he was an athletic kid, had offers to play TE so feel like he'd be great dropping into coverage from time to time. Griffin, who was a backer when he arrived, should also have a good skill set to drop into coverage as an OLB. It's all very interesting to think about, a lot of talent returning defensively, hopeful that a new scheme doesn't hinder their potential.

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They would need players who are versatile, because spreads don't allow defenses to keep 7 in the box...

Also because hurry-ups don't allow defenses to substitute easily, so we would need versatile players in order to play different roles based on what the offense is showing, not personnel-wise, but formation-wise.

If you're not sure if my comment warrants a "/s", it probably does.

I thought I read that Odum has used 3-4 and 4-3, so maybe he adjusts based on the players that he has?

I would absolutely love to see VT run a 3-4

Hokie Club member since 2017

So what would be your prediction for next years defense given Odom is the guy? Would any gains in experience be canceled out by getting familiar with a new scheme/not having the right personnel? Or do you see the scheme shift not being an issue and thus a more improved unit?


Way way way too little data to make that call.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

For whatever reason I read French's post and the prospect of D coaching changes hit me hard and made me sad all over again. I'll REALLY miss Bud and wish he was able to go a few more years to build on the foundation that looks young and strong.


Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

I read the other day that Bud said his replacement is running his scheme and there would be no scheme transition. He also said he thought the person who would take over is on the staff already.


That is the reason I am not taking this too seriously yet. All the talk is that there was a candidate in mind when Bud announced. There was no way to know that Odum or Walter would be available.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

I read those comments as "if it was up to me, the next guy would run the same stuff and already be on staff"

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

It sounded like that is Justin Hamilton.

Also, if I recall, Jack Tyler, while a GA last season, was relaying the play to the defense when Bud was relegated to the booth due to recovering from being sick. I have long thought Jack Tyler would make heck of a linebacker coach. He had a knack for being in the right place at the right time. I always think about how French, when breaking down the Rutgers-VT Bowl Game, said, "Either Jack is a Jedi or Bud called a well-timed blitz," as he described a particular play where Jack blew up Rutgers' offense before it could get started.

How much would this type of defensive adjustment hinder, or possibly derail, what is likely to be a 9-10 win season next year? Or at least, is SUPPOSED to be a 9-10 win season if Fuente wants to keep his job with this level of defensive talent returning?

I need more data. We still don't know who will be back.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

If VT does go to this scheme they better bring Darryl Tapp on to be the edge coach!

Sounds like he knows how to build a scheme around the talent he has, rather than forcing his players to run the scheme he wants. Sign of a good coach/leader IMO.

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Agreed. I watched an interview where he put a lot of emphasis on being able to give multiple looks as a defense and recruiting players who can do multiple things. I watched highlights from a few games of Mizzou this past season and he showed traditional 4-3, 4-3 with one of the DEs standing, and some 40 fronts all in the same game. This should be a good sign for Tisdale, Barno, Artis, ect who are itching to get on the field.

Why is everyone spelling his name wrong? IT'S BARRY ODOM. Odum is Odumb. There... now you will remember now.

Hokie Club member since 2017


Makes me think it's from the Bud Foster tree. I haven't made up my mind if I like that or not yet.

Stop sharing everything from this dude. He is likely a 247 subscriber at best. When he has provided details on previous VT coaching searches they have been flat out wrong. He always appears right near the end and still can't get it right(even though he is probably right about this one). His bio is also stupid.

Here are some examples from his track record:

Joffrey, Cersei, Ilyn Payne, the Hound, Jeff Jagodzinski, Paul Johnson, Pat Narduzzi.

My man's dunk game is next level

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

wow. this guy is a real ass hat apparently. my bad, only posted here cause I saw it re-tweeted by normally reliable sources. i like his baylor prediction, that seemed likely.

I've been hoping for a shift to a small 3-4 alignment for years. Much easier to recruit the body types needed to execute it given the numbers we'd need for depth, and much more the natural body types VT has historically used. Also, aggressive, and fast, which are definitely needed qualities of any defense against spreads.

β€œI remember Lee Corso's car didn't get out of the parking lot.” -cFB
TKPC #666 ...man that was long wait...

Watching another game. Lots of "4-3", but the field OLB is up on the line of scrimmage, so the alignment is like a 3-4 with the edge player on the boundary with his hand down.

Looks like they get hurt by fades/back shoulder throws. Good in the box, although speed options are tricky when teams option the boundary DE.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

You mention forcing them to the middle... I thought the entire philosophy behind a 3-4 was to take away the middle and force them to beat you outside

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Why would you think that?

Hokie Club member since 2017

Probably because most 3-4 defenses are anchored by a monstrous Vince Wilfork-like player who is responsible for two gaps in the middle????????????????????????????????

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

And having two tackles on the shaded B gaps makes it easier? Also you are referencing one of the best nose guards of all time rather than just the scheme.

Hokie Club member since 2017

No, I referenced a player who has a frame stereotypical for 3-4 NT. BJ Raji, Casey Hampton, Snacks Harrison, Gilbert Brown are all classic examples as well -- they're all massive men and they all plugged up the middle pretty well. traditional 3-4 defensive lines don't run as many stunts or twists as in 4-3. Occupy gaps so linebackers can run free.

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

They are different independent variables. The sizes of the players and the X/O placement. You can change either to tailor your pros and cons of speed and strength. How often you stunt is another independent variable... I agree with your gap filling but disagree a team has to stunt more or less. You can get as exotic as you want. In my playing experience a 3-4 was much harder to reach the edge.

Hokie Club member since 2017

Alabama uses a 3-4 and Alabama's defensive philosophy is to never be beaten inside

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Alabama's defensive philosophy is to never be beaten inside FIFY

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