Tuesday, August 12, 2008

2008 VT Stat Projection: Defense

Lot of new faces out there. Two new starters in the secondary. Another, Kam Chancellor, is at a new position. Two new starters at linebacker, although both are redshirt seniors. Three new starters on the defensive line and not much depth at defensive tackle.

This will be the big test of Bud Foster's abilities as a defensive coordinator. He's earned the reputation as one of the best, if not THE best in the country. If he cranks out another Top 10 defense this year, he's King Bud in my book.

While I believe the defense won't be as stout as the last four years (how could it?), it won't be a significant step down. Foster's an excellent coach and the Hokies have much better talent than they did in 2003, the year of which we will not speak.

My primary concern is at defensive tackle. Although, freshman Vinston Painter's move from the offensive line to defensive tackle alleviates some of that concern. He will provide depth and from all reports, he's going to be an excellent player.

The linebackers won't be as athletic as the last four years, but they'll get the job done. The pressure will be on the secondary to maintain its dominance. The linebackers helped a lot in pass coverage last year.

However, I think the Hokies will put a lot of pressure on the quarterback, which will help the secondary out. Should be a solid year for the defense. Last year, the Hokies gave up 296.93 yards per game, good enough for No. 4 in the country and No. 1 in the ACC. It was the third consecutive year the Hokies led the ACC in total defense and the fourth consecutive year the Hokies led the conference in scoring defense.

2008 Hokies Rush Defense: 115.0 YPG
2008 Hokies Pass Defense: 200.0 YPG
2008 Hokies Total Defense: 315.0 YPG

If the Hokies had given up 315.0 YPG in 2007 they would have ranked No. 12 in the country in total defense. I think the rush yards per game will be higher this season because the front seven is inexperienced and faces more run-oriented teams this year in Nebraska and the new Georgia Tech. They last gave up that many YPG on the ground in 2004, when they gave up 115.23 YPG rushing, ranking No. 21 in the country. That year, they faced teams with tremendous rushing offenses like USC and Auburn. NC State also had TA McClendon that year.

Still, a defense ranked in the Top 15 would be good for this team if the offense is able to improve as I think it will.

No comments: