Friday Q&A: October 22, 2010

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Raleigh Hokie is our go-to guy in today’s Friday Q&A. He talks about Bud
Foster’s new “30” package and what the Hokies can do out of it, and he
also discusses the issues with the run defense against Wake Forest. Lastly, he
talks about why the offense has been more productive in recent weeks.

1) Difference between “30” and the nickel?

Raleigh Hokie: The VT defense normally plays a base defense that includes
four defensive linemen. The “30” package is based on a set of
defensive personnel groupings, all based on having just three defensive linemen
in the game. With three LB’s in the package, it becomes a 3-3-5 alignment which
makes it one variation of a nickel defense. In the literal sense, any defensive
package that has five DB’s on the field can be considered a nickel defense.

What does all of this mean in a Bud Foster system? First, it is a different
look from what we usually see from the VT defense. In terms of coverages, Bud
Foster has been very multiple for several years, but the front rarely changes.
Until this season, VT hasn’t been a multiple front defense. Foster has used
packages of three down linemen in the past, but he used them only in specific
down/distance situations. That changed in 2007 when he broke out a
“30” look in the rain against BC, and that package has resurfaced this
season as part of a true multiple front, multiple coverage defense.

Why did Bud Foster move away from the tried and true? He wants to get his
best personnel on the field, and the strength of the defense and the depth of
the defense is in the secondary. By going with more nickel and more
“30” looks, he can get his best players out there more often.

So why the “30” and not just the standard nickel (4-2-5)? Again it
gives the defense more flexibility in terms of fronts and coverages. In the true
nickel, Foster is more likely to play zone or a man/zone combination to prevent
matching up one of his inside LB’s on a RB or TE. In the “30”, he can
match-up more in man coverage. He can also go to a dime variant of the
“30” alignment (3-2-6) where he can blitz both inside LB’s (rush
five), match-up man to man on all five eligible receivers and still have an
extra DB to plan man free over the top or a robber coverage in the middle