Thursday Thoughts: Alabama will attack the field side

The Alabama game is right around the corner, believe it or not. Let’s spend a few minutes talking about the Crimson Tide and how they may choose to attack Virginia Tech’s defense. We all know that Alabama will try to pound the football and establish play-action, but where exactly will they go after Bud Foster’s defense?

Donaldven Manning

To me, it seems obvious. The Tide will attack the wide side of the field where Virginia Tech’s least experienced players are likely to be. The stud, whip, field corner, and free safety are responsible for the wide side of the field in Tech’s defense.

Stud: James Gayle normally plays the stud position, if he’s paired with J.R. Collins or Corey Marshall. If Charley Wiles wants to put James Gayle (r-Sr.) and Dadi Nicolas (r-So.) on the field at the same time, then Gayle will have to move to the short side of the field (the end position), with Nicolas on the wide side (the stud position). Nicolas isn’t a good matchup against Alabama because of his size (6-2, 227). If he’s in the game at stud, I would run right after him if I were Alabama.

Whip: Ronny Vandyke (r-So.) got some experience last year, but he’ll need to take it to another level against Alabama. A nickel package against the Tide isn’t ideal because of their size and power running ability, so Vandyke will likely be in this football game for nearly every snap. I would go right after him in the running game, and challenge him with play-action. That’s a big atmosphere for such an inexperienced player who has major run and pass responsibilities.