2013 Football Preview: Mikes and Backers

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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.


Virginia Tech’s mike linebacker is best positioned to be the team’s leading tackler each season.  The Hokies are fortunate to have one of the ACC’s best linebackers in Jack Tyler, who has proven to be a tackling machine throughout the years.  He broke out in the ACC Championship as a r-freshman in 2010, and he was named First Team All-ACC by the conference coaches a year ago.

Tyler has excellent closing speed in the backfield, as he showed in the Florida State game last year.  He didn’t really have the ideal size coming out of high school, but he’s always had the ideal football instincts and mentality to be a great