Friday Football Q&A: August 22, 2008

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In this week’s Friday Q&A, Raleigh Hokie gives his takes on Tech’s
starting defensive tackles, as well as Billy Hite’s rotation at tailback.
He also discusses where Zach Luckett’s loss will be felt the most.

Have a question you’d like to see answered? Email it to Chris at [email protected].

1) The biggest dropoff on defense this year looks to be at defensive
tackle. We know that there is not much depth at the position, but do you
see John Graves and Cordarrow Thompson being a significant dropoff from Carlton
Powell and Barry Booker?

Raleigh Hokie: I think it’s only natural to expect a dropoff at DT this
year. Graves and Thompson are very talented (especially Graves), but it
will be very difficult for them to play at the same level that Powell and Booker
reached as RS-Seniors last year. The bar was set pretty high by those
two. They were outstanding players that played extremely well
together on the inside. Powell was tough to move and Booker was tough to
contain. And they were consistent from play to play and from game to
game. It’s hard for fans to see the impact of good defensive tackles,
but there is no question that the high level of play from Powell and Booker
contributed significantly to the success of the defense the past two seasons.

Having said that, I think Graves and Thompson have a chance to reach those
same levels, but it will take some time for them to get there.

Both do have some experience, but it’s unrealistic to think they will play at
that same high level with the same consistency early this season.

Thompson’s weight loss was very encouraging, but it remains to be seen how
effective he will be on those key snaps late in the fourth quarter. I
think Graves is the type of athlete that could play a double-header
without working up a sweat, so his endurance shouldn’t be an

And it is safe to say that they will make more mistakes than Powell and
Booker, but can they make as many plays?