Spring Practice Thoughts: The Defense

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The following is a transcribed phone interview with Raleigh Hokie.

The starters on the defensive line certainly looked good on Friday night. The Hopkins brothers know each other well obviously, and they are going to really work very well together on the field. Antoine is going to stay motivated the entire season because his little brother is going to be better than him.

I’m trying to remember who Derrick Hopkins reminds me of, because he’s so short for a defensive tackle. I don’t even know if Charley Wiles has to tell him how to play very much. He almost has that instinct of playing exactly how you want somebody to play. His first step is extremely quick, he’s got great hands, he’s got great feet, he’s very aggressive and he’s all about penetration.

Last year penetration was a problem, and when the tackles did penetrate, they had trouble getting off blocks at times. That made pursuit a problem, and pursuit is very important in Tech’s scheme. If one guy doesn’t hold his gap, and there is no pursuit, then it’s a big gain for the offense. That happened a lot last season.

I don’t know a lot about Kris Harley. I know he was supposed to be very highly ranked, but I don’t know. I’ll defer that to people who know more about him. It’s always hard to tell if a defensive tackle can come in and play effectively in the scheme we run. If he is strong enough, and he’s aggressive enough, then he’ll have a chance.

Corey Marshall, I have seen him, and I think he already would be our third best defensive end, or fourth best if you count Duan Perez-Means. Corey Marshall, in my mind, is the real deal. He’s a guy who seems to be a perfect fit for the scheme. Given where we are with defensive ends, and knowing what I know about him, I can’t remember the last time we had a true freshman at defensive end who will probably be able to hit the field so quickly. Jim Davis was the last one, but he went to prep school, so that doesn’t really count.

I’m trying to remember the last true freshman defensive end to come in and get two-deep snaps. Corey Moore was a transfer, Chris

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