2011 Spring Practice Preview: Defensive Tackles

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The Hokies return most of their defensive tackles from last season. The lone
exception is John Graves, one of the leaders of the defense, and his presence
will be missed. However, Tech does get Kwamaine Battle back from a torn ACL that
sidelined him for nearly all of last season.

Good defensive tackle play will cover up for many weaknesses on defense.
Nothing will blow up a play faster than a good defensive tackle beating a guard
and center and getting into the backfield.

The Hokies haven’t had a top notch defensive tackle since the 2007 season.
That year they had two of them: Carlton Powell and Barry Booker. Tech’s overall
defensive talent has dropped since that season, and perhaps the biggest drop has
been defensive tackle. Here’s a look at the defensive tackle production since
the Hokies joined the ACC.

Tackle Production
Year TFL Sacks
2004 29 10
2005 15 7
2006 18.5 7
2007 19 8.5
2008 12 3
2009 11 4
2010 14 6

On the whole, Tech’s defensive tackles haven’t been as productive over the last
three seasons, and it’s a talent issue. The Hokies were using Demetrious Taylor,
who started out as a linebacker, on the interior defensive line in 2008 and
2009. They did it because they didn’t