Friday Q&A: Monday Edition

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In today’s Monday edition of the Friday Q&A, Raleigh Hokie talks about why the Hokies don’t block as many punts as they used to. He also discusses how Bud Foster likes to disguise his coverages to confuse opposing quarterbacks.

1) Given that VT’s recent success was at least in part because of “Beamerball”, it seems in the last few years we have not dominated that part of the game in the manner we are accustomed. Is this something of a “technical” reason, ie X’s and O’s, or some other reason?

Raleigh Hokie: Since the defense has continued to dominate I am assuming “Beamerball” in this instance refers primarily to the kicking game and, more specifically, the punt block / punt return aspect of the kicking game. For several years, the Hokies led the nation in blocked kicks, and it’s true that those numbers have dwindled over the last few years.

I think the decline in blocked kicks has been due to a number of factors, but the main reason is that other teams caught on to what Frank Beamer figured out early on – there is no faster way to change the momentum of games than to make a big play in the kicking game. As a result, other programs have followed Frank Beamer’s lead to make special teams a higher priority. Now other teams are using more of their offensive and defensive starters on special teams and they are spending more time in the film room breaking down kick block techniques and tendencies, and more time in practice working on executing kick block protections.

We have seen teams respond in more radical ways – spreading the formation with extremely wide splits and/or using the soccer style roll-out punts. We have seen the introduction of the three-man personal protector as another way to offset aggressive punt block techniques.

All of those factors have played a part in helping other programs catch up in the special teams area. The success the Hokies had throughout the nineties was just too obvious for other coaches to ignore. Now it’s a focus and a priority for everyone.

2) What does Bud Foster do exactly to disguise a defense, and are there specific spots that are better suited for disguising a defense than others?

Raleigh Hokie: The key to