UNC Review: Defensive Scheme Changes

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Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech’s defense is doing some different things under Justin Hamilton. (Jon Fleming)

The good news is that this isn’t Duke 2019. It’s not any of the beatdowns from 2018, either. The Hokies never had a chance in those. The defense is lost right now, but the offense and special teams are clicking.

I’ve been hesitant to dip too far into what the defense is doing. We’ve already looked pretty hard at how Tech’s using single-high safeties more, but the other items I’ve put on the backburner because the Hokies are a bit cloudier in what they’ve been doing. It’s like looking through a microscope with a cracked lens. Injuries, opt-outs, illnesses, and contact tracing have made this defense a shell of itself in terms of talent. Because of this, it’s tough to know if the familiar things are intended holdovers that are central to what these coaches want to do, or if they’re rickety bridges to help the team along until they understand the new techniques, keys, and reactions.

Things seem clearer now. Let’s start with these plays against UNC’s various runs off Counter blocking. We’ll start with the basics of Foster’s defenses from the past few years; if you’re familiar with those, you can skip down to the 2020 clips.

I feel like there

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