Friday Q&A: July 10, 2009

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In this week’s Q&A session, Raleigh Hokie joins us to discuss offensive
line recruiting, what Bud Foster might do against Georgia Tech, and what purpose
wristbands serve for Virginia Tech quarterbacks.

1) It seems like the Hokies have gotten back to recruiting just 2-3 offensive
linemen in each class. Do you agree with this philosophy? It seems
as if Tech doesn’t cast a wide net for offensive linemen. If there aren’t
a lot of OL recruits in the state of Virginia in any given year, it doesn’t seem
as if the Hokies spend much time looking out of state. If they do, they
aren’t very successful. Any overall thoughts on Tech’s offensive line
recruiting?

Raleigh Hokie: Identifying, projecting and developing offensive linemen
is one of the toughest jobs of being a college football coach. The
attrition and pure misses are higher at those positions than any other position
on the field. Coaches at various programs have different approaches to
dealing with that challenge. Some take the volume approach. They cast a
wide net and bring in a higher number of offensive linemen each year. The
downside of this approach is that it ties up a higher number of
scholarships. With the 85 scholarship limit, this can lead to fewer spots
available for other positions. This can impact the overall depth and it
can impact the level of personnel available for special teams (there are not a
lot of offensive linemen athletic enough to man the kick, punt, and return
teams).

That’s the big risk in recruiting more true offensive linemen in terms of sheer
numbers to compensate for the higher miss rate – a program can get saddled with
a large number of scholarships tied up by players that never see the
field. With the higher numbers, they may have their offensive line depth
in good shape, but they may be suffering in terms of talent, depth or both in
other personnel areas.

Another approach is to focus the recruiting of true offensive linemen and
supplement the numbers with defensive linemen, tight ends, and jumbo
athletes. Coaches will look at those numbers on a positional basis, but
they will also look at those numbers in total and track percentages of those
against the 85 scholarship limit. If a scholarship defensive lineman or
tight end does not work out at those positions, they can be given a shot on the
offensive line. Players

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