Friday Q&A: April 10, 2009

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Today, Raleigh Hokie is our guest on Friday Q&A. He answers questions
ranging from John Graves at defensive end, to whether or not Jaymes Brooks is an
upgrade at offensive guard.

Friday Q&A is a weekly feature. If you have any questions on Virginia
Tech football (or basketball), send them to [email protected].

1) Is the Graves move just a way to address depth/Graves’ best skills, or is
this the result of VT changing the type of DE it plans to use/recruit in the

RH: I don’t think it’s related to any changes in terms of recruiting
strategies. I think it’s simply a tactical move this spring to help solve
what could be a serious depth issue at DE this season.

Remember the Hokies have two defensive end positions that have slightly
different responsibilities. The “Stud” is an edge player that
aligns on the wide side of the field. He must have the speed, quickness
and athleticism to play out in wide space. Jason Worilds will be starter
at the “Stud” position.

The other DE is called the “End”. This is the position that
Graves is practicing this spring. While the End is also an edge defender,
he plays on the short side of the field where the sideline is much more of a
factor. Because of that, the End trends more to the traditional 4-3 DE in
terms of size, alignment and responsibilities (think John Engelberger or Darryl

However, the most important factor in all of this is that the VT defense is
still a 1-gap scheme with a high priority on speed, pursuit and the ability to
close on the ball. The End has to have the necessary speed and quickness
to control the edge on the short side. And like the Stud DE, the End DE
also needs to be able to drop back in coverage as part of VT’s various zone
blitz packages.

For Graves to stick at the End spot, two things must happen. First, he
must demonstrate that he has the speed and athleticism to man the boundary edge,
rush upfield, outquick TE’s and OT’s to secure his outer gap responsibilities,
and drop into