Secondary Concerns

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Going into 2005, the Virginia Tech Hokies appear loaded in the offensive
skill positions, and the defense seems rock solid on the line and linebacking
corps. But the D still has a large question mark in the secondary, where only
one of the four D-backs is a returning starter. It helps when that “only one”
is all-American Jimmy Williams, but still, the lack of experience in the
defensive backfield is a major cause for concern heading into this season.

Three of the starting DBs from last year’s team were NFL caliber; two are
now playing professional football and the other¾Jimmy
¾returned to
play his senior season with the Hokies. Playing second fiddle to talent like
that is no knock on a player, particularly when the backup players are
underclassmen. Backing up Eric Green last year was a true freshman, D. J.
Parker. Parker played in over 100 snaps for the 2004 season, registering 10
tackles and forcing a fumble. He has 4.37 speed. While backing up Jimmy
Williams, Roland Minor played in all 13 games, where he recorded 15 tackles,
five pass break-ups, and two interceptions. He has 4.35 speed, hits hard, and
makes plays. After the 2004 regular season, The Sporting News named Minor to the
All-ACC Defensive Freshman Team. Though Minor and Parker are not returning
starters, they come to the field with significant playing time.

The fourth starter in the secondary is new to his position. Aaron Rouse moved
from linebacker to rover to help out the team. Rouse is a hard hitter who plays
strong against the run, tallying 83 tackles in two years. He got plenty of work
at rover during spring training and got the majority of the snaps in preseason
practice. The coaches said he had an “excellent preseason camp and has quickly
adapted to his new position.” His coverage skills are untested in “live play”

All in all, the starting lineup for the secondary looks pretty solid.
Problems don’t become apparent until you start to look at the two-deep roster.

The most experienced backup is junior Cary Wade, who backs up Rouse at rover.
Wade has played in 26 games and registered 17