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Hokie Hitter of the Week: NC State

By Mike Holmes | November 21
Hokie Hitter of the Week: NC State
Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Not a good showing for the hokies against a NC State team that had struggled to put points on the board in previous weeks. Most Hokie fans would agree that it was going to be difficult to score a lot of points against Payton Wilson and a very stout Wolfpack defense.

In previous weeks Hokie Hitters, I have broken down how VT’s offensive staff used misdirection to get athletes open in space. This week, I'm hopefully going to show you how the misdirection that NC State used, created confusion for our linebacking corps and got guys out of position. NC State struggled earlier this season on offense and has found a way to move the ball the past couple of weeks since the return of Armstrong as QB.

First, the Bad:

2nd and 10 :55 1st QTR

The Pack run a great play design to catch the Hokies in a blitz. The misdirection occurs when the RG and RT pull away from the play confusing the eyes of the blitzing linebackers and #10 gets lost in the shuffle. The Pack start out in 20 Personnel pistol look (2 backs, no TE’s) and the Hokies start out with a cover 2 look on the back end and their regular 4-3 look up front. #10 from NCSU bubbles out and right away Tech looks in trouble as no LB motions out with the RB. After the snap, a play fake and counter movement by the OL invited the left-side of the DL and the blitzing LB into the middle of the formation. This allows #5 to hit the RB on the flare and with no LB trailing, #10 gets a big gain. The confusion here is at the LB level, where there was miscommunication and confusion on who was blitzing and who had coverage of the RB.

4th and 1 12:09 2nd QTR

The Pack are in 11 personnel (1RB, 1TE) and this is a unique twist on a traditional “Clear out” play. The Hokies are in Cover 0 which means man across the board. What makes this play different is that the RB is the one running the clear route into the left flat. When he starts going into motion, the LB responsible for covering #10, Alan Tisdale, gets caught in traffic due to being so close to the goalline, and #10 gets the easy reception. Great play design and use of personnel by NCSU to get their playmaker open.

1st and 10 9:35 2nd QTR

The Pack start this play in 11 Personnel again and the Hokies are in their Base 4-3 with cover 1 behind it. NCSU uses jet motion to draw the eyes of the LB away from the play. The RB steps up and looks like he is going to throw a lead block for the Jet Sweep. This Holds the LB in place and when the RB leaks out into the flats the LB is late on coverage and the Hokies give up a decent gain on 1st down.

Now, the Not So Bad:

1st and 10 4:37 2nd QTR

Let's end this week on a good note. The Hokies line up in 11 personnel and NC State is in Cover 1 or Man coverage with a single high safety. Jaylen Lane goes into orbit motion behind the formation and returns to the sideline, resembling the TD play from last week. Drones and the RB follow Lane to the left after the snap giving the appearance of an option to the left side. The line steps left like blocking the Option and the right side of the line delays and releases to the right. XTB, Xavion Turner Bradshaw runs back against the grain and catches the defense off guard and goes untouched into the endzone! Great play design and another wrinkle on film for UVA to prepare for next week.

Hokie Hitter of the Week

Mike Holmes

Mike Holmes

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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