Monday Q&A: May 3, 2010

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With spring practice in the books, we’re back for a special Monday Q&A
with Raleigh Hokie. He talks about what the Tech defensive staff might
have learned from visiting Iowa, and also touches on the situations of David
Wilson, Alonzo Tweedy and Bruce Taylor.

1) The Tech coaches visited Iowa in the offseason, presumably to get ideas
about how to successfully defend the GT option. Can you explain the kinds
of things the Tech coaches hoped to learn that could not be obtained from game

Raleigh Hokie: Coaches can watch game tape to see what a team does in
every situation, but the tape doesn’t tell them why.
Visiting and exchanging ideas allows coaches to discuss low level details as to
why a specific front was used in certain situations or why a certain blitz or a
certain coverage was called against specific formations and personnel
groupings. Iowa chose to defend GT’s option in a certain way. What
did they see in their preparation that led them to defend GT’s offense that

Visits are also beneficial to discuss how a team prepared for a specific
opponent. In this case, Iowa was very crisp in their defensive execution
against the GT option – what techniques did they use in practice to
prepare? How did the Iowa coaches prepare their scout team to run the GT
option at game speed? Sharing of those details can make a tremendous
difference in game preparation, especially when it involves something as unique
as the GT spread option.

Let’s look at that last point in a little more detail. Remember that
scheming a defensive game plan against the option isn’t that tough – there are
many ways to do it and most every coach knows them all. The challenge is
to get the players to forget what the usually do against traditional offenses
and execute a heavy dose of assignment football at game speed.
Perfecting practice techniques and game week preparation are the keys to getting
that done. The scout team has to be able to execute the GT offense as
close to game speed as possible in order to give the defense a good look.
There are all kinds of tricks that can be used to speed up practice – by
visiting the Iowa coaches, the VT coaches were able to learn if Iowa did
anything new and different in practice/preparation that helped the players
speed-up the execution process.

Of course having all