Duke Review: Nothing Working For Virginia Tech

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Bud Foster, Virginia Tech
Bud Foster’s defense became undisciplined after the first quarter. (Ivan Morozov)

I’d really hoped that 2018 would be the last game like this I’d have to dissect for a while. Like most of you, I imagine, I was feeling reasonably good about the first quarter. Then the real game kicked in. On offense, both Duke and Tech came in with wrinkles. Duke’s just worked a lot better, while Tech’s struggled with the very basics. At the same time, the fairly disciplined Tech defense I’ve been praising decided to take a vacation.

Duke’s offense called a bubble screen and went to the flat on their first drive, with both getting stuffed; later they found the Hokies still aggressively attacking the short zones, so they decided to throw some counterpunches. The first was the screen-and-go:

This should look familiar to Hokie fans, as Cam Phillips snagged a long TD on a similar play against WVU in 2017. This play was set nicely for Duke—Tech matched Duke’s numbers to the field, but two of the cover men (Deablo and Waller) were playing deep, which is the kind of situation that can have guys overreact to short plays. It worked, as the deep defenders panicked upon seeing