Noah Taylor Emerges As X Factor For Virginia

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Virginia is 2-0.
Noah Taylor closes in for a sack against Illinois. ~ Photo by Kris Wright/

X marks the spot. Or marks the spot where Noah Taylor is located for Virginia on a given snap to be more specific.

Ahead of the season’s second game with Illinois, the UVA football team released a newly formatted depth chart with 13 positions on defense to reflect some of the varying packages used in games. The new listing included an X player, which is probably best viewed as a hybrid floating linebacker for simplicity sake. Already known as a versatile chess piece during his time with the Hoos, the X position just officially and publicly labels something that’s been in play during Taylor’s career. He is also the listed starter at the SAM (strong side) linebacker in the base 3-4 set.

The X moves around a lot in the substitution defensive schemes.

“We’re in nickel,” Taylor said. “I can line up in a 5 technique, I can line up in a 30, and I can line up in a 3 technique so it makes a lot of versatility. It shows what I can do. I can do a lot of things.”

For a 3-4 or 3-3-5 type defense, a 5 technique player is someone that aligns over an offensive tackle, typically shaded to the outside shoulder. A 3 technique player is one that aligns over an offensive guard, typically to the outside shoulder. A 30 technique player is a linebacker that is aligned behind where a 3 technique