Virginia Tech’s defense is focused on playing another great game against Ohio State.
Last season, Bud Foster employed an unexpected Double Eagle look, matching up his corners in man coverage with Ohio State’s receivers while taking away the running game and relentlessly blitzing JT Barrett. The result was astounding. Tech held the Buckeyes to 21 points and limited them to 327 yards while intercepting Barrett three times and sacking him on seven occasions.
How impressive was Tech’s defensive effort? Ohio State was not held under 31 points for the rest of the season, and they amassed at least 416 yards of total offense in 13 of their 15 games.
Nevertheless, last year was last year. This is a completely different game.
“Obviously we played a great team last year,” cornerback Brandon Facyson said. “I’m not really focused on what happened last year. We have a big game on Monday, and we’ve got to get to it.”
Facyson normally smiles a lot during his interviews, but on Tuesday he was much more stoic and appeared to have an edge about him. When asked about Tech’s gameplan, he was unusually coy.
“Our gameplan is our gameplan I guess. You’ll just have to see on Monday.”
The Hokies are certainly aware of Ohio State’s talent level.
“They have talented guys and a good coaching staff,” senior whip Ronny Vandyke said. “I’m sure they’ll do some different things.”
Nevertheless, they remain confident in their own abilities.
“We have talented guys too, and a great coaching staff,” Vandyke noted. “It’s a good matchup for us on September 7.”
Which Quarterback will the Hokies Face?
Cardale Jones or JT Barrett? That’s the big question that’s on everybody’s mind. To Bud Foster, it doesn’t matter.
“Both quarterbacks will run their offense,” Foster said. “They both throw it extremely well. You can talk about Cardale Jones being a better thrower, but JT Barrett, he threw it every bit as well.”
Jones, who is the biggest quarterback at 6-5, 250, reminds Foster of a Tech player of the past.
“He kind of reminds me a little bit of Logan Thomas,” Tech’s long time defensive coordinator noted. “Those quarterback powers and things, this guy can do the same thing.”
Jones started against Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon, while playing mop up duty in seven other games. He finished the season 56-of-92 for 860 yards, with seven touchdowns and two interceptions. He also ran for 296 yards and a touchdown.
JT Barrett, a r-sophomore this year, rebounded from his rough outing against Virginia Tech. He completed 64.6% of his passes for 2,834 yards, with 34 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He added 938 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground.
Both quarterbacks are potent, and Foster expects to see both on Monday night.
“Just dynamic quarterbacks, and I think we’ll see both of them,” Foster said.
Nevertheless, Foster expects a normal Ohio State offensive attack.
“They run their offense, that’s what they do…Urban’s going to run his offense.”
Look for Foster to be Aggressive Again
Bud Foster has always believed in fielding a defense that attacks. That applies to all opponents, but it especially applies to Ohio State.
“You can sit there and play quarters [coverage] like Oregon, like Alabama, Wisconsin…they’re going to score 45, 50 points on you,” Foster said. “I don’t care who it is. We’re trying to come up with something where we can keep them in a phonebooth so to speak, but you’ve always got to be able to match up on the run game. ”
Foster expects Ohio State to be more prepared offensively this time, however.
“They’ll be prepared,it’s not like we’re going to shock them. There’s a lot of people who tried to run what we did [last year].”
It remains to be seen what gameplan Foster came up with in the offseason, but he will certainly tweak last year’s masterful plan.