Hokie fans witnessed some beautiful football last week. Head coach Justin Fuente had his players dialed in against Boston College, and dominated that game from start to finish. He even had a chance to get his young players some quality playing time, and backup quarterback Brenden Motley received some mop-up action in the final quarter. When was the last time this program was able to do that against a conference opponent? You might have to go back to the Tyrod Taylor era to find such a lopsided outcome versus an ACC team.
There is no question that the offense and defense have noticeably improved from last season. The defense is far more consistent at maintaining their defensive assignments and controlling the line of scrimmage. Defensive Coordinator Bud Foster is able to mix up his coverages and use more zone schemes than he has in years past. Opposing offenses have to work for every yard, and big plays seem hard to come by against this defense.
The Importance of the Nickel
So many players have improved this season, but the most noticeable difference is nickel back Mook Reynolds. He just pops out of the TV nearly every play. He’s become a playmaker on defense, and that is exactly what this defense needs at that position. He’s physical enough to make an impact in run support, very instinctive reading plays, and has enough athleticism to cover a lot of ground at the line of scrimmage or in coverage downfield. His abilities are similar to past players like Kyle Fuller and Cody Grimm who played the same role and later became NFL draft picks.
Watch how well he reads the run option, and makes a perfect form tackle in the backfield:
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