Game Preview: Virginia Tech, Part 2

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UVa’s Branden Albert and the offensive line must slow down the Hokies’ pressure.

For the second time in as many weeks the Cavaliers will face one of the nation’s top three defenses. Last week, it was Miami’s third best defensive team and this week Virginia will face the country’s second best overall unit in Bud Foster’s Hokies. Tech is 20th against the run (97.2), first in passing (133.8) defense, and leads the NCAA in scoring defense (10.2). In other words, it may be another grind it out kind of day for the Hoos’ offense.

Virginia Offense vs. Virginia Tech Defense

The Hokies have traditionally been a multiple-front, man-to-man coverage team that relies on shutdown corners and attacking with seven or eight men around the line of scrimmage. Foster has modified his scheme over the last few years and is playing fewer multiple fronts, relying more on the front four to rush the passer and shut down opposing running games. VT has gone to more zone coverages in recent years, giving opponents the short-to-medium plays and waiting for them to make mistakes against an opportunistic defense.

At its core, the Tech defense is built around highly athletic and speedy defenders. Up front, defensive end Chris Ellis is a player that can wreak havoc on an offense. He leads the team with 3.5 sacks, 15 quarterback pressures, and is tied for second on the team with 7.5 tackles for loss. The other bookend is Noland Burchette , who is second for the Hokies with 14 quarterback hurries and tied for third with 6.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. Though not as productive, the interior tackles Carlton Powell and Barry Booker are just as disruptive. The two redshirt junior linemen have combined for 12 tackles for loss, four sacks, and 18 quarterback pressures.

Last year, Foster was able to contain