Virginia Tech-Notre Dame Review: Defensive Aggressiveness, And Offensive Scripting

Virginia TEch
Virginia Tech got to Jack Coan early, but they lacked aggressiveness at the end of the game when Coan returned. (Ivan Morozov)

For a while there, I thought I’d be writing a lukewarm article about a Virginia Tech win over a top-fifteen team, and I wasn’t looking forward to it. I’d give my kid’s lunch money to be writing that now. It felt like last year’s Liberty game all over again. I’m not in the spot to do loads of video this week, so I’m going text-heavy. We’ll back to regularly scheduled programming next time.

End-Game Defense

This year, I’m finding myself strongly disagreeing with more in-game decisions by the coaches than I think I have in previous years, leading to me talking at the television/computer more than is probably healthy. A few things happened against Notre Dame that I imagine had a lot of Hokie fans feeling the same way as me, and one of them was Tech’s conservative defensive approach at the end of the game.  

QB Jack Coan (#17) finished the game going 8/9 when the pocket was clean, and 1/3 when pressured. For the season, he’s completing about 40% of his throws when pressured, and he’s been sacked 24 times. I’m not saying Tech should’ve gone crazy with blitzes, but there was little aggression at all from the defensive line, which often played a three-man contain game. There were few rush moves and zero stunting. When Notre Dame got in the red zone, things perked up a little, but by then it was too little, too late.

And while Coan has done okay against the blitz, Tech was minus their starting mike linebacker. I think Dean Ferguson will be a pretty good player in time, but right now he’s a coverage liability. Sending him on blitzes might not have hit home, but it would’ve freed up the d-linemen, and either kept the backs in protection or encouraged more check-down throws.