Hello Broncos, I'm sorry this is a long post. Sue me or don't read it.
Just thought I would bid you welcome to my home town of Washington DC. I really live in the suburbs in VA but it's easier just to say I'm from DC. We look forward to great game on Monday and if anyone is interested and going to be in town on Sunday afternoon, I've having a BBQ. If you are interested in coming out and meeting a bunch of super cool Hokies, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As for the game, I approach it with concern. VT never comes out of the box and plays very well in the first game. That's why I wish we had kept the original schedule. I'm not sure why this is but it's been kind of pain in the Beamer's program for a long time. However, it is what it is and the Hokie fans will be very loud and proud at Danny Snyder stadium (also called Fed Ex Field). The things I'm worried about are mostly on VT's defense. Bud Foster is a great coordinator but he hasn't had a chance to see these guys playing in a real game environment. There are 7 new starters on the D and a lot of youth plus some injuries is a problem.
The VT D is an interesting scheme. The defense is built around playing the short side of the field or boundary versus the long side of the field or "field" depending on which hashmarks the ball is placed. Usually, the best and fastest defenders because their will be fewer of them to cover the ground. The boundary cornerback is usually in man coverage or cover 0 unless the offense lines up two ends on the short side of the field. If that happens, they will probably go to a cover 2. So the short side gets 4 or 5 defenders while the rest (6 or 7) are on the field side. The defense looks on paper link a typical 4-3-4 set up but there are differences. The strong safety is called the rover and is essence a linebacker/safety hybrid. So it will look more like a 4-4-3 scheme when lined up. The rover plays drops back into zone coverage on pass plays and moves up to the line on running downs. The key is how they are reading the defense and what the free safety is doing. The free safety is calling the plays for the defense and their job is to position the coverage. They will either move up if they are reading a running play or stay back on passes. VT's defense likes to blitz in two man teams. These blitzs are usually an LB and a DB from opposite sides of the field. They do a lot of these permutations. However, sometimes, a lineman will drop into coverage if the Mike LB is blitzing. Could be either a DT or a DE.
The scheme can be burned and usually does get burned once or twice a game. However, it makes up for it by forcing turnovers. In someways, the defense would rather put pressure on the QB and force a bad throw than get the sack. Sounds wierd but it works. VT hasn't sacked the QB a lot in years but usually has a ton of hurries.
While the DT's are solid inside (John Graves and the Hopkins brothers), the DE's are first year starters although one is a 5th year senior (Stephen Friday). The other is a converted TE who played DE last year (Chris Drager). We lost the best DE on the team when Jason Worilds went pro a year early and is know with the Steelers. He was an absolute beast.
The LB's are usually solid but there have been injuries and at least one starter is out. The Whip linebacker is new (Jeron Gouveia-Winslow, son of former NFL LB Kurt Gouveia) and we need to see how he's going to handle his first start. The other two starters are Bruce Taylor at MLB and Lyndell Gibson at Backer. Both the MLB and Backer are consider inside linebackers in the scheme. The Whip LB is a linebacker who has a lot of coverage responsibilities.
The defensive backs are usually the strength of the defense. VT has put a ton of guys into the pros as DB's: Brandon Flowers (KC), Deangelo Hall (Wash), Vinny Fuller (Tenn), Macho Harris (Phil), Kam Chancellor etc. This year's leader is CB Rashad "Rock" Carmichael. Rock had six picks last year. He's on the Boundary. The Field corners are Cris Hill and Jayron Hosley. Both are fast but have never started (Hosley may have started the Bowl game last year). Free Safety is Eddie Whitley who is a new starter as well. He's got the most important job on the D and how he plays will go a long way to determining if VT wins or loses. He's a former high school star who blew out his knee his senior year and had major reconstructive surgery. He's back now and looks good. The coaches trust him.
If you like this post, I can talk about the VT offense if you like. Good luck and safe travels to the game Broncos.