Defensive Line Play has been Shocking

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Why does the VT defense look like the pre-2004 defense? How are so many defensive backs able to get isolated in coverage?

Detrick Bonner has had a tough season.

I’m not sure the coaches would admit this, but my opinion is that they’ve got a big problem in the back end. They’ve been trying to figure how to mold something together to minimize the weaknesses and holes that exist. The combination of Michael Cole and Detrick Bonner , especially now with Kyle Fuller playing with one arm, has really exposed some problems. They’ve been trying to figure out how to hide some things.

They are moving pieces around, they put Cole in at free safety, Bonner has been at nickel. They are playing man coverage not because they want to blitz or be aggressive, but because that’s the most simple thing they have. Man coverage means you count from the outside-in at receiver … I’ve got 1, you’ve got 2, etc. It’s a much easier to learn for young defensive backs.

They aren’t doing it because they want to. They are doing it to try and hide some deficiencies. And it’s not working. It’s not pre-2004. We aren’t playing the old 8-man front, 46 style defense or any of that crazy stuff.

The problem is you’ve got Michael Cole at free safety, and he’s still trying to figure it out. Detrick Bonner is at nickel, and he’s making mistakes. You really can’t blitz him either, because he’s not the same type of player as Fuller. So you can’t blitz the nickel this year, so you can’t run your zone blitz stuff. So when you can’t zone blitz and you can’t get pressure