2013 Football Preview: Mikes and Backers

There have been seasons in the past when Bud Foster didn’t have a lot of depth – or any depth at all – at the inside linebacker positions.  That’s not the case this year.  Foster brings back two guys with a lot of starting experience, and there is also talent behind them.

Gone is Bruce Taylor, who is now a Cincinnati Bengal.  He racked up 76 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks from his backer position last season.  He was an athletic, playmaking linebacker, particularly when he was blitzing the quarterback.

Jack Tyler

However, had Tariq Edwards (#24, 6-2, 234, r-Sr.) been healthy last season, would Bruce Taylor have started?  I think it’s a perfectly legitimate question.  Taylor could play backer or mike, but is he as good a mike as Jack Tyler (#58, 6-1, 230, r-Sr.), who had 119 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks?  Is he as good as a healthy Tariq Edwards at backer, who posted 71 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks as a r-sophomore in 2011?

I don’t know the answer to any of those questions, but I do know that if Tyler and Edwards stay healthy this year, the Hokies will be just fine at mike and backer.