Future of the Defense Looks Bright

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Virginia Tech had a young defense at the start of this past season, and it
got even younger as players were injured and shuffled from spot to spot. If they
can stay healthy, this can be a very good group next season. We could also see
some position changes this spring.

At the beginning of the Clemson game, Virginia Tech started seven sophomores,
two seniors, a junior and a freshman on the defensive side of the ball. After
Jayron Hosley went down, there were two freshmen getting major snaps. It’s
difficult to stop an offense like Clemson’s with so many young players on the

Most of Tech’s youth was in the front seven, where the Hokies started three
sophomores and a freshman on the defensive line, two sophomores at mike and
backer, and a sophomore who was a converted cornerback at nickel/whip.

Next year the Hokies should be bigger, deeper and more experienced in the
front seven. Let’s start with the defensive line.

Depth Strong Up Front

When Charley Wiles lost defensive tackle Antoine Hopkins for the season
during the first meeting with Clemson, it took away his most experienced player.
After that injury, the Hokies were all freshmen and sophomores up front. Things
got worse, as James Gayle got banged up, Luther Maddy sprained an ankle and
Tyrel Wilson was banged up. Wiles was still able to keep his patchwork unit
together, and for the most part the Hokies were very good against the run.

Assuming that next season is a good year when it comes to injuries, Virginia
Tech is going to be much deeper and much more experienced up front on defense
next season.

2012 DL Depth Chart
Pos. Player Yr.
Stud James Gayle r-Jr.
Stud Tyrel Wilson r-Jr.