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   Welcome to TSLMail #255 - Friday, December 1, 2006    
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   Tech Sports News


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Hokie Defense Going Full Steam, Should be Good Again Next Year

by Chris Coleman, TechSideline.com

Bud Foster has established himself as the top defensive coordinator in the nation. The 2005 Virginia Tech defense finished first nationally in total defense following the 35-24 Gator Bowl victory over Louisville. The 2006 defense is first in total defense before the bowl games, and they are so far ahead of the competition that it doesnít appear anyone can catch up.

So which defense is better? Letís take a look at the stats.

2005 Defense vs. 2006 Defense
Category 2005 2006
Stat National Rank Stat National Rank

Rushing Defense

93.38 8 92.92 13

Passing Defense

154.23 3 128.17 1

Total Defense

247.62 1 221.08 1

Pass Eff. Defense

92.68 2 90.7 2

Scoring Defense

12.92 2 9.33 1

The 2006 defense has better statistical numbers. For example, both defenses are #1 in total defense, but the 2006 unit gave up fewer yards per game, partly because there are fewer plays in a game thanks to the new clock rules.

So ignore the overall stats for each defense. You want to look at the national ranks. The 2005 defense is regarded by some as the best Tech defense of all time, but they rank above the 2006 defense in only rushing defense.

Thatís understandable. The 2005 defense featured second round pick Darryl Tapp, sixth round pick Jonathan Lewis, and free agent practice squad player Tim Sandidge. Thatís three NFL players that departed from the defensive line in the offseason. As a result, the Hokies were somewhat shaky up front in 2006 until the middle of the season, but they played great down the stretch. The national ranking of 13th against the run is very good, and excellent for a team that lost three NFL players off the defensive line.

Virginia Techís pass defense also got better in 2006 by nearly 30 yards per game, and they currently lead the nation in pass defense, this despite losing second round pick Jimmy Williams and seventh round pick Justin Hamilton. Not to mention that Roland Minor, the other starter at cornerback in 2005, was injured in the 2006 preseason and barely played all season.

The Hokies broke in two new cornerbacks, both sophomores. Brandon Flowers proved to be arguably the ACCís top cornerback, while Macho Harris had an excellent second half of the season. Virginia Tech looks to have the top cornerback duo in the ACC for 2007.

No stat is more important than scoring defense, and the Hokies have been outstanding in this regard. The 2005 defense allowed 12.9 points per game, good for second nationally. But the 2006 defense outperformed them, allowing only 9.3 points per game, which is first in the nation. For those of you who are wondering, the Tech record in the modern era is 8.3 points per game during the 1983 season, Bruce Smith's junior year.

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The defense was amazing during the final six games of the season. They did not allow more than 10 points in a game, and they allowed just two touchdowns over the final six games. One of those touchdowns was the 50 yard fluke run by Tyrone Moss in the Orange Bowl. The other came against Clemson. Over the last three games, Virginia Tech did not allow a touchdown and pitched two shutouts. The defense had four total shutouts during the regular season.

So how good can the Hokies be on defense next season? Itís tough to see them getting better statistically, but they have the chance to be outstanding, as they return most of their top players.

On the defensive line, defensive end Noland Burchette departs, but the other three D-line starters return, as well as all of the backups. Orion Martin, Nekos Brown or Jason Adjepong should be able to replace Burchette. Defensive tackle will get even deeper when John Graves finishes his redshirt season. The Hokies should have quite a few options up front next year.

At linebacker, the Hokies will be fine as long as Vince Hall and Xavier Adibi return for their senior seasons. Tech will have depth at mike linebacker, with Brett Warren returning. Behind Xavier Adibi, Purnell Sturdivant will have another year of experience.

The main question at linebacker lies at the whip position. Brenden Hill departs after having a very good senior season. Behind him is Corey Gordon, who hasnít been able to pick the game up from a mental standpoint. Another option is moving Kam Chancellor from cornerback.

The other question mark is rover, where senior co-starters Aaron Rouse and Cary Wade depart. Dorian Porch is an option, as is Kam Chancellor. Cam Martin could potentially move from free safety as well.

The Hokies should be loaded at cornerback, with everyone returning with the exception of Chancellor, who is likely moving to another position. Starting free safety D.J. Parker also returns for his senior season.

The 2007 Virginia Tech defense will be very talented, and very deep. How they stack up statistically to the 2005 and 2006 squads remain to be seen, but they should give them a run for their money.



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   TechSideline.com Updates From the Past Week

Evans Concludes Masterful Career

December 1, 2006
Warren Centralís (Indianapolis, IN) 35-14 win over Carmel in last weekís Class 5A State Championship game gave the senior class its fourth consecutive state championship. For Darren Evans, the 6-1, 212-pound All-American running back, this championship run was sweeter for a few reasons.
more

Bourbonstreet's Championship Series (b-streetC.S.): Championship Week
December 1, 2006
With the regular season almost completely in the books, Bstreet shifts his focus this week to the championship games (SEC, Big 12, ACC, Conference USA) and other high profile games (Army-Navy, UConn-Louisville, Rutgers-WVU).
more

Battle Set to Make Official Visit to VT
December 1, 2006
His high school football career finished, Southern Nash High School (N.C.) standout defensive line prospect Kwamaine Battle is now focused on the next step Ė getting to Virginia Tech. The 6-1 1/2, 260-pound prospect plans to enroll at Virginia Tech next summer, but he is looking forward to his return trip this weekend for an official visit.
more

Virginia Tech's Best Class Ever?
November 30, 2006
Virginia Tech Menís Basketball Head Coach Seth Greenberg signed what many have said is one of Virginia Techís best recruiting classes in school history. TechSideline.com called upon the evaluation talents of Prepstars.com Talent Evaluator Brick Oettinger, Scout.com National Recruiting Director Dave Telep and TSLís own basketball recruiting guru Rev. Zeke Vodka for a further look at Virginia Techís 2007 recruiting class.
more

Iowa Game Showcases Tech's Plusses and Minuses
November 30, 2006
VT's victory over Iowa was a solid win over an Iowa squad that went 25-9 last year and won the Big Ten Conference tournament. This year's Iowa team doesn't boast a lot of talent and won't likely repeat that feat, but nonetheless, a victory over a team from a BCS conference is much more enjoyable than pummeling a directional school (no Western Michigan comments here!) or a small school with "state" in its name.
more

Hokies Hold Off Late Rally, Beat Iowa 69-65
November 29, 2006
The Virginia Tech men's basketball team returned to the friendly confines of Cassell Coliseum on Wednesday night, and knocked off Iowa 69-65 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. It was the Hokies' first ever win in the event, and the victory takes their record to 4-2. Iowa drops to 2-4.
more

Basketball Game Preview: Virginia Tech vs. Iowa
November 29, 2006
Virginia Tech will host a game in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge for the first time in school history when the Iowa Hawkeyes come calling on Wednesday night at 7 pm. The Hokies have a bad taste in their mouth from last weeks' Old Spice Classic and should be looking to come back with a big win at home against a struggling Iowa squad.
more

Virginia Game Analysis: Defense Dominates, Offense Takes Advantage of UVa Mistakes
November 29, 2006
Even though it didn't draw much attention on the national level, the Virginia/Virginia Tech game returned to its rightful place on the schedule -- at the end of rivalry week on Thanksgiving weekend. For Tech followers, it was a great way to wrap up the regular season -- a beautiful, spring-like day in Blacksburg that ended with a shutout against the rivals from Charlottesville. And it was classic Virginia Tech football. Using the formula preached by Frank Beamer all season, the Hokies used strong defense, a strong kicking game, and a ball-control offense that made just enough plays to secure a 17-0 victory against Virginia.
more

Oglesby Enjoys Official Visit to VT
November 29, 2006
This past weekend, Garner (N.C.) star Josh Oglesby experienced a brief preview of what life will be like at Virginia Tech (at least as much as you can on an official visit). The 5-11, 205-pound running back recruit plans to enroll at Virginia Tech in January, so it wonít be long before he will officially be a Hokie.
more

Change in Plans for Mosley
November 29, 2006
There has been a change in Corey Mosleyís official visit schedule. Originally, the 5-9, 190-pound Henrico (VA) standout planned on making an official to Virginia Tech this weekend. He has since decided to reschedule that trip, but still plans to make an official to UVa next weekend.
more

Hokie Hotline Notes for 11/27/06
November 28, 2006
Monday's guests on the Hokie Hotline were men's basketball coach Seth Greenberg, athletics director Jim Weaver and football coach Frank Beamer. Greenberg discussed the upcoming game against Iowa, Weaver gave his comments on the bowl situation, and Beamer reflected on the 2006 season.
more

VT Staff Stops by Varina
November 28, 2006
Virginia Techís entire defensive staff traveled to Varina High School (VA) yesterday. The staff met with four Varina seniors Ė all of whom project on the defensive side of the ball on the next level Ė in an effort to get closer and closer to closing out the 2007 recruiting class.
more

Seven Hokies Make All-ACC
November 28, 2006
Three Virginia Tech players earned First Team All-ACC honors on Monday, and four more were named to the Second Team. The Hokies, Georgia Tech and Clemson each had seven players named All-ACC, while Atlantic Division Champion Wake Forest had six players.
more

Bourbonstreet's ACC Capsule: Week 14
November 28, 2006
Been a helluva a year in the ACC folks! The team playing the best football at this moment (our very own Hokies) will not be playing in Jacksonville. But the former ACC doormats know as the Wake Forest Deacs will travel to JAX, as they carved out an amazing 10 win season for themselves. Wake will be playing a team whose QB has tossed 54 completions to the other side, and only completed 48% of his passes to his own team. That would be Reggie Ball and the Georgia Tech Yellow-Jackets. How many of you called that ACC title match-up??? Not me.
more

TSL Recruiting Report from "SportsBeat With Mike Harris", for 11/27/06
November 28, 2006
On this week's show, Chris Horne and Mike Harris talked about the effect of VTís win over UVa in the world of football recruiting, Tech hoops recruit Gus Gilchrist and UVa hoops recruit Mustapha Farrakhan, and what football recruiting decisions could come soon (MP3 format, compatible with Windows Media Player and MP3 players, 3.0 MB, 21:05)
more

Tucker Very Impressed with Virginia Tech
November 28, 2006
Tony Tuckerís first official visit was a big success. Good thing for Virginia Tech, which is where the 6-2, 225-pound four-star defensive end was visiting. The trip was also Tuckerís first ever visit to Blacksburg, which made the experience all the more important.
more

Monday Thoughts: The Virginia Game
November 27, 2006
I always like to look for something a little different when breaking down games, but as I watched this game, I found myself thinking the same thing I thought about the Wake Forest game. Namely, this was a competitive game, but the Hokies made about three plays that separated them from Virginia. The Cavaliers didn't respond, and that was that, just like against Wake Forest.
more

10 Things I Learned Against Virginia Tech
November 27, 2006
It is sad to see the Virginia/Virginia Tech game relegated to a noon kickoff with regional coverage. But that's where the rivalry is right now due in large part to UVa's inability to keep the score competitive in recent years. This year was the same story, different year. If that's the case, are there "10 Things I Learned Against Virginia Tech?" Let's take a look.
This article was borrowed from TheSabre.com, and it provides an interesting view from "the other side". Find out what a UVA writer thinks of Virginia Tech's team speed, and if the Cavaliers are close to matching it.
more

Hokies Likely Atlanta Bound
November 27, 2006
Virginia Tech capped the 2006 football season in style with a 17-0 win over UVA on Saturday. With that win and a Georgia Tech loss, the Hokies jumped to #14 in the polls- and are now the highest ranked team in the ACC. They have also set themselves up for an invitation to a high-profile bowl, likely the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta.
Also: Defense Back to #1 in the Nation.
more

Odom Reflects on Terrific Official Visit
November 27, 2006
Osbourn Park (Manassas, VA) linebacker Quillie Odom called his official visit experience at Virginia Tech ďinexpressible.Ē The 6-2, 210-pound standout arrived in Blacksburg on Friday and left yesterday, having witnessed Virginia Techís 17-0 win over rival Virginia and having enjoyed his time with Techís coaches and players.
more

Hokies Drop Another Close Game 69-64
November 26, 2006
Another major conference team fell to a mid-major on Sunday, and for the second time since Thursday, it was Virginia Tech. The Hokies got themselves into a hole early, but couldn't quite climb out of it, falling 69-64 to the Salukis in their final game of the Old Spice Classic. Virginia Tech drops to 3-2 on the season, while Southern Illinois improves to 4-1.
more

Beamer, Hokies Clearly in Control of State Rivalry
November 25, 2006
In February of 2002 and for a few years afterwards, I was sweating it. Al Groh had arrived to much fanfare in Charlottesville in 2001, had inked one of the nation's top recruiting classes in 2002 (much of it at VT's expense), and for a while, was making a run at a VT program that had started to take control of the rivalry. Things looked shaky there in the early part of the new millennium, but the Hokies have now won seven out of eight in this rivalry and are clearly in the driver's seat.
more

Hokies Blank UVA 17-0
November 25, 2006
Blacksburg, VA -- #17 Virginia Tech ended the season in style with a 17-0 victory over instate rival UVA on Saturday afternoon in Lane Stadium. The Hokies improve to 10-2 with the win, their third consecutive season with at least 10 wins. They are 6-2 in the ACC. UVA drops to 5-7 on the season, and will not be going to a bowl this year. The Hokies have now won seven of the last eight games in the rivalry.
more
 
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