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  TSLMail #356- November 14, 2008    
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 Tech Sports News

Bud Foster Putting Another Great Defense on the Field
by Chris Coleman, TechSideline.com

In case you haven't noticed, Bud Foster's defense is playing at a very high level right now. After a down game against East Carolina to open the season, the Virginia Tech defense has gotten better and better as the season has progressed.

Following the 2007 season, the Hokies lost three starting defensive linemen, two starting linebackers, a starting cornerback and the starting free safety to the NFL. To top it off, Kam Chancellor moved from rover to free safety, while Macho Harris switched from field corner to boundary corner. That's a lot of turnover in one offseason. To make matters even worse, starting rover Davon Morgan was lost for the season in the Nebraska game.

Despite those key losses, Bud Foster has his unit playing at a very high level right now. Here's what this defense has done over the last five games of the season.

Virginia Tech Defense
Last Five Games

Opponent

Yards Allowed

Western Kentucky

243

Boston College

300

Florida State

248

Maryland

228

Miami

247

Average

253.2


Take that 253.2 yards per game average out to the entire season, and the Hokies would have the #3 defense in the nation, behind only Southern Cal and TCU. As it stands now, if Virginia Tech can finish the season allowing 280 yards per game, they have a great shot to finish in the top 10 in total defense. That would be an amazing season for a defense that had so much player turnover.

We know that the ACC is not a great offensive conference. However, two of those performances came against Florida State and Maryland. Florida State is the #1 offense in the ACC, averaging 396.1 yards per game. Maryland is #3, averaging 351.2 yards per game. The Terps were actually #2 in the ACC in total offense, until they ran into the Hokies. Both Maryland and Florida State average 5.9 yards per play, the best number in the conference.

Tech isn't padding their stats on the ACC's worst offensive teams, such as NC State and Wake Forest. They've gotten it done against the best ACC offenses.

This defense isn't as dominant as last year's defense, but the statistical comparison between the two is very similar. In fact, this 2008 defense has the advantage in a couple of categories, and is right there with the 2007 unit in several others.

Virginia Tech Defensive Stats Comparison

Category

2007 Stat

2008 Stat

Best Year

Rush Defense

86.64 ypg

105.8 ypg

2007

Pass Defense

210.29 ypg

185.1 ypg

2008

Total Defense

296.93 ypg

290.9 ypg

2008

Scoring Defense

16.07 ppg

19.8 ppg

2007

Tackles for Loss

7.07 per game

6.7 per game

2007

Sacks Per Game

3.36 per game

2.6 per game

2007

The 2008 Tech defense is allowing about six fewer yards per game than the 2007 defense. That's hard to believe, but it's true. Granted, the 2007 LSU game skewed last year's stats a bit, but it's still a terrific achievement for a young defense that has so many new players.

The Hokies have two regular season games remaining against Duke and Virginia. The Hokies match up well with both of these teams, and it would not be a shock to see their defensive rankings continue to rise.

Virginia has the #9 offense in the ACC, averaging just 315.8 yards per game. Duke comes in at #5, averaging 332.4 yards per game. Tech will have the advantage in the trenches in both games, and another Top 10 ranking for Bud Foster's defense is within reach.

The Hokies would have to hold Virginia and Duke to a combined 451 yards (225.5 ypg) to reach the 280 ypg number talked about above, to put them in Top 10 range. That's not out of the question.

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   TechSideline.com Updates From the Past Week

ACC Weekend Football Preview: Week 12

November 14, 2008
The ACC race is starting to get narrowed down a bit. Miami helped their chances by knocking off Virginia Tech last night. This weekend North Carolina travels to Maryland, and one of those teams will leave the field with their third conference loss.
more

Basketball Game Preview: Virginia Tech vs. Gardner-Webb
November 14, 2008
The much anticipated 2008-09 season tips off for the men's basketball team on Friday night. The Hokies host Gardner-Webb, a team that is much more dangerous than their name suggests. It will be the first of two games Tech will play in Cassell Coliseum before departing for Puerto Rico.
more

Bud Foster to Interview for Clemson Job
November 14, 2008
Multiple media outlets, including the Columbia (SC) newspaper The State, are reporting that Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster will meet with Clemson about their vacant head coaching job. Details are unavailable as to when and where the meeting will occur.
more

Playoff Time for Norman, Other VT Commits
November 14, 2008
Losing two of its first three games, Hermitage (Richmond, VA), a program expected to contend for a Division 6 state championship this year, was able to turn its season around. The Panthers finished the regular season at 8-2, captured a district championship and has earned a berth in the Central Region semifinals. Theron Norman's senior season may not have gone as smoothly as he had hoped on an individual level, but the 6-3, 192-pound prospect has shown leadership and toughness.
more

Offense Lets Tech Down in 16-14 Loss to Miami
November 14, 2008
Miami, FL - Virginia Tech's offense played poorly in the second half, Miami got a couple of nice bounces, and the result was a 16-14 Hurricane win over the Hokies on Thursday night. As a result, Tech dropped to 6-4 overall and 3-3 in ACC play, and their chances of winning the ACC Coastal Division are now very small.
more

Hokie Basketball Signs Four; J.T. Thompson Out 4-6 Weeks
November 13, 2008
The early signing period for men's basketball began yesterday, and the Hokies received signatures from all four of their committed prospects for the class of 2009. There is a chance that Virginia Tech might not be done with recruiting in the 2009 class as well.
Also: J.T. Thompson to Miss 4-6 Weeks
more

RB Wilson Turns in Record Setting Year
November 13, 2008
Headlined by two 300-yard-plus rushing performances, George Washington (Danville, VA) running back David Wilson gained 2,100 yards and scored 30 touchdowns on 170 carries this regular season, breaking his school's single season individual rushing record and helping set a new school mark for team rushing yards in a season. The 5-11, 190-pound senior, a Virginia Tech recruit, has shown why he is such a coveted prospect.
more

Keys to the Game, Matchups to Watch and Game Prediction: Miami
November 12, 2008
After an impressive performance against the Maryland Terrapins last Thursday, the Hokies ended their two-game skid and vaulted back into the Coastal Division race. Virginia Tech will face an improving Miami squad this Thursday in a critical ACC contest that will go a long way in determining the division champion. The long-time rivals enter this game with identical records and a lot at stake, so what should we expect Thursday night?
more

TSL Audio: The Jerry Miller Show, 11/11/08
November 12, 2008
This week, Chris and Jerry talked about Bud Foster possibly going to Clemson (or somewhere else), and they reviewed the Maryland game and talked about Tech's chances to close out the rest of the schedule and go to Tampa. Chris's segment starts about 5 minutes into the clip (WMA format, approx. 3.0 MB, approx. 13 minutes long).
The Jerry Miller Show appears on The Sports Addict Radio Network every afternoon from 1:00-3:00 pm in Blacksburg (1430 AM), Charlottesville (840 AM), and Bluefield (1050 AM), and from 2:00-4:00 in Martinsville (1160 AM).
more

Women's Soccer Headed to NCAA Tournament
November 12, 2008
The Virginia Tech women's soccer team got on a major roll towards the end of the season. As a result, they earned an at-large berth to the 2008 NCAA Tournament, where they will play BYU on Thursday night at 9pm EST.
more

VT Showing More Interest in Bolling
November 12, 2008
Brookville (Lynchburg, VA) senior offensive lineman Devin Bolling will now focus solely on helping his team capture a state championship, but there has been some activity on the recruiting front. The 6-5, 270-pound prospect made an official visit to Boston College last weekend. He discusses that experience and the possibility of an offer from Virginia Tech.
more

Football Game Preview: Virginia Tech at Miami
November 11, 2008
Last week at this time, Virginia Tech was facing a four game season. As a result of their win over Maryland, they now face a three game season. Next up is long-time rival Miami, who despite a tough start in ACC play, has climbed back into a tie for first place in the ACC Coastal Division standings. Both teams have a lot riding on this game, and neither can afford a loss.
more

Hokie Hotline Notes for 11/10/08
November 11, 2008
Monday night featured a packed house, with five guests: assistant AD for athletic performance Mike Gentry, men's basketball coach Seth Greenberg, athletic director Jim Weaver, women's soccer coach Kelly Cagle, and head football coach Frank Beamer.
more

Maryland Game Analysis: Tough Hokies Pound Terps
November 11, 2008
All year long we have heard the Tech coaches talk about the importance of the running game and how it has been one block here or one assignment there from busting out. With both starting QB's gimpy and the pressure continuing to mount on the Tech offense, it was more critical than ever for the running game to get over the hump and become a reliable and consistent weapon. It was Thursday night in Lane Stadium. The season was on the line. It was time to get it done.
more

McKie May Narrow List Soon
November 11, 2008
Community High School/John Marshall (Richmond, VA) junior forward Travis McKie has taken unofficial visits to North Carolina (no offer), Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest, but he hopes to visit at least two more schools before he comes up with a list of finalists. Where does the 6-6, 185-pound prospect plan to visit next?
more

Monday Thoughts: Maryland
November 10, 2008
All week long, as this game got closer and closer, I found myself thinking that a Thursday night home game might be just the tonic this team needed. The Thursday night atmosphere was indeed sweet, but it also helped that the matchup was one the Hokies could exploit. The rushing game had been missing all year from Virginia Tech football, and against the overmatched Maryland Terrapins, it returned, in spades. Now it's up to the Hokies to use this romp as a springboard to an ACC Championship Game appearance.
more

Tech-Duke Kickoff Time Announced
November 10, 2008
The ACC announced kickoff times for games on November 22 earlier today. The Virginia Tech-Duke game has a different start time than you are used to. The Hokies and Blue Devils will kickoff at 5:30pm, and the game will be televised by ESPNU.
more

Around the ACC: Week 11
November 10, 2008
The ACC picture started to get a little clearer after another weekend of games. Virginia and Georgia Tech lost, and they'll need a lot of luck to win the Coastal. In the Atlantic, it looks like things will come down to Florida State and Wake Forest. At this point, expect one of the following five teams to represent the ACC in the Orange Bowl: Florida State, Wake Forest, North Carolina, Miami or Virginia Tech.
more

Thomas Reflects on Commitment to Tech
November 10, 2008
Virginia Tech gained a big-time commitment last Thursday night, when 6-6, 225-pound Brookville (Lynchburg, VA) star Logan Thomas pledged to the Hokies. It was the end of what was a long recruitment for Thomas, one of the most coveted recruits in the country.
more

ACC Weekend Football Preview: Week 11
November 7, 2008
After last night's Virginia Tech-Maryland game, eight of the 12 teams in the ACC have two losses in conference play. Five of those eight teams are in the Coastal Division. The biggest game of the weekend is the battle between Georgia Tech and UNC, which could all but eliminate one of those teams from contention.
more
 
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