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Virginia Tech Defense: Ohio State Preview

Will Bud and Co. do it again?

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Bud Foster is one of the best defensive minds in football, let alone the college game. More importantly than being a good play caller he is an exceptional coach with an eye for talent, whether undersized or overlooked his player flat-out perform. This year looks to be no different as Foster and Co. seem to be healthy, focused and confident. Lets breakdown what the Hokie's Defense might look like come Monday night:

Defensive Line: Starters- Ken Ekanem, Corey Marshall, Luther Maddy, Dadi Nicolas

This might be one of the best all-around defensive starting fours in the country not because of ability, which they have, but because of their intelligence. The chess-match starts up-front with these guys hitting holes and playing containment football. It will not only be their jobs to slow down Heisman hopeful Ezekiel Elliott, but also to contain the QB trio of Jones, Barrett and Miller. While many expect Braxton Miller, former QB turned H-back, to be more of a decoy than receiver I suspect Bud will be prepared if Urban Meyer gives Miller the green light to take the snap. While it might seem difficult to face 3 potential throwing threats it might also free up the Hokies defense to fly around because no single QB will be given the opportunity to get in rhythm. The key for the front four is to play physical and smart on 1st and 2nd down, but to pin their ears back on 3rd.

Linebacker: Starters- Andrew Motuapuaka, Deon Clarke and Ronny Vandyke

The starting linebackers for Virginia Tech will be tested every down by Ohio State. This group has complete control of whether this ball game is close or a blowout, in my opinion. OSU's offense will look to attack the linebackers both on the ground and across the middle in the passing game. In the ground game this unit will be responsible for hitting the right holes to prevent the OSU ground game from getting on a roll, which is where they found success on their national title role. In the passing game Ohio State is likely to attack the Hokies underneath the secondary coverage by targeting this linebacker unit to create favorable match-ups and put stress on the second level. Also, technically this unit is the most sophisticated and critical for the defense to be successful in Bud Foster's system where communication is key.

Secondary: Brandon Facyson, Donovan Riley, Desmond Frye, Kendall Fuller -- Key Backup: Chuck Clark

The corner combination of Facyson and Fuller were very successful in one-on-one coverage against the Buckeyes last season and proved to be the difference makers in the Hokie's upset bid. With the plethora of injuries to the OSU receiving core expect this unit to perform well in coverage and to aid in stopping the run game along with the linebackers. Riley and Frye are both veterans in Foster's defense, but have not had as big of roles as they will this year as they replace Detrick Bonner and Kyshoen Jarrett who were both 3 and 4 year starters respectively. However, both have game experience and will be asked to produce in making the right reads and communicating with the rest fo the defense.

Go Hokies!