Secondary Issues and State of the Program

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Duke's Erich Schneider beats Chuck Clark for a 25-yard TD in the fourth overtime.
Duke’s Erich Schneider beats Chuck Clark for a 25-yard TD in the fourth overtime.

Duke took advantage of an aggressive yet inexperienced defensive secondary. Watching the past several games, you can tell the defensive backs are still building cohesion as a unit. After several plays, there were hands raised, increased frustration, and confused faces in the secondary trying to grasp what just transpired. That’s something that Hokie fans, quite honestly, just aren’t used to seeing in a Bud Foster secondary. That’s obviously a result of losing starters early in the season and playing not only new starters, but an usually high number of freshmen as well.

When I watched the game, I questioned why Bud Foster continued to run Cover 1. There are some serious disadvantages when running that coverage since it requires lots of trust in your freshmen defensive backs.

When playing Cover 1, the cornerbacks play man coverage with one free safety in zone coverage. Since teams nowadays play with three or more wide receivers, that requires at least one safety to come up and play man. In Bud’s defense, that means Chuck Clark comes down and plays man coverage against the inside receiver while freshman Adonis Alexander plays free safety. The goal is to funnel the receivers inside to the free safety by playing outside shade, with the cornerbacks