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Hokie Hitter of the Week: Louisville

By Mike Holmes | November 08
Louisville SOS 3955
Photo by Grant Pearell

Well Hokie fans, the Tech football team ran into a buzzsaw Saturday at Louisville. Some of the Hokies past bad habits came back to bite them on the road in the defeat. For the first time in weeks the Hokies showed some lack of discipline in the run game on defense and the Cards took advantage.

This week, due primarily to a lack of positive plays during the game, I am going to break down the defensive side of the ball, specifically, fitting the gaps in the run game and why these breakdowns sometimes occur.

Stopping the run requires all 11 players on defense to maintain gap integrity and play sound on the back end. A lot of times defensive coaches are looking at analytics and film to make the best guess on how to stop the run (unless you have a Connor Stalions on your staff). Most of the time it works, but occasionally if there is a wrong guess or a stunt/slant in the wrong direction, breakdowns can happen and it leads to explosive plays. It happens to literally every team across all levels of football and unfortunately for the Hokies we saw some examples of this last Saturday.

When The Run Defense Breaks Down:

7:42 1st QTR 2nd and 1

This run, you see the Hokies defensive line get washed out and Louisville’s offensive line uses great angles to open up the hole for Jordan. The linebackers for Tech over pursue the play and cannot get back in time to make the play. The Safeties, as a last resort have to stop the play.

15:00 2nd QTR 1st and 10

On this play you see the Hokies defensive line run get washed out on a split zone run and the linebackers get caught in traffic and Garrindo hits the seam for a score. The Linebackers could not get into their gaps because the offensive line from Louisville executes their blocking scheme to perfection.

When The Run Defense Works

9:13 2nd QTR 1st and 15

The defensive line does a great job of getting hands on the the offensive line and maintaining their gaps and keeping the offensive linemen from getting to the linebacker level and spilling the play to the outside. This allows McDonald to scrape downhill and make an excellent solo tackle.

14:55 3rd QTR 1st and 10

Another excellent example of the defensive line for the Hokies keeping the linebackers clean and getting to the proper depth and allowing the linebackers to read the play and react to the ball carrier. The defensive tackles clog the middle and occupy multiple linemen and get the stop. This shows an example of what the Hokies are capable of on the defensive side of the ball.

Hokie Hitter of the Week:


I am a 5th Generation Hokie. I have Orange and Maroon blood coursing through my veins. I was lucky enough to attend VT from 1999-2003 and graduated with a history degree. I became a history teacher and football coach working my way to spending multiple seasons as Head Coach at schools in North Carolina and Colorado.

I now live in Colorado, with my wife and son and do what I can to follow the Hokies from afar. The outstanding team here at Sons of Saturday was gracious enough to let me talk some football and be able to impart some my knowledge gained from years spent on the sideline.

Aside from following the Hokies in all sports, I am a fan of the Carolina Panthers, Atlanta Braves, and Carolina Hurricanes. I also try to play a lot of golf and enjoy skiing out here in the rockies!

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