The happiest football coach in Blacksburg this spring is probably Charley Wiles. His defensive line was good last year, and with everyone coming back for 2012, he has a lot of talent and depth to work with in practice.
This year we aren’t hearing stories about how the Hokies need to find a third defensive end or a third defensive tackle. There are enough solid players to create a two-deep at both positions. Instead, we’re hearing about guys like Corey Marshall and Zack McCray playing two different positions, just so Wiles can figure out where his pieces best fit.
That’s a good problem to have. Think about the best defenses Virginia Tech has ever had. In chronological order, I’d name 1998, 1999, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 as dominant Virginia Tech defenses. Those were defense that could have matched up with any offense in the country, the 2007 LSU game notwithstanding.
Those defenses all had the same thing in common: they were filled with experienced defensive lines that could go two-deep. The defensive line this spring is pretty similar, and it will be even better this August when Antoine Hopkins returns to action. That should be a nice competition between him and Luther Maddy , who Charley Wiles says is probably his most improved player.
It’s tough to watch individuals when you are trying to watch everybody, but here’s a quick update on all of the defensive lineman from my point of view.
James Gayle , r-Jr., DE: It’s obvious how I feel about Gayle. He’s really good. And the good news is that he had quite a battle with Vinston Painter on Saturday. Those guys were getting rough with each other and making each other better players. Gayle got the better of Painter once,...
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