2011 Football Preview: Linebackers

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Last season, Virginia Tech’s linebacker play left something to be desired.
Bruce Taylor had a quality year at mike, but subpar play at whip forced Bud
Foster to make a lot of scheme adjustments, and backer play was arguably worse
than whip play.

Jeron Gouveia-Winslow’s shortcomings at whip forced Foster run to a nickel
package. In Tech’s base scheme, the whip linebacker is supposed to be such a
versatile player that the Hokies don’t need a nickel package. Gouveia-Winslow
struggled in coverage in open space early in the season, and his tackling was
even worse. That forced Foster’s hand in the third game of the season.

At backer, Lyndell Gibson had a poor season. He played stiff, he lacked ideal
athleticism for a backer, he missed his gaps, and he struggled to get off
blocks. Gibson is now off the team, and the Hokies should have a major athletic
upgrade at backer.

At mike, the Hokies have several guys who can play: Bruce Taylor, Barquell
Rivers and Jack Tyler.

2011
Linebacker Depth Chart
Pos. Name Ht. Wt. Yr.
Mike Bruce Taylor 6-2 252 r-Jr.
Mike Barquell Rivers 6-0 241 r-Sr.
Mike Jack Tyler 5-11 220 r-So.
Mike Brian Laiti 6-3 205 r-Fr.
Backer Tariq Edwards 6-2 229 r-So.
Backer Telvion Clark 6-1
...