Ahhh – football is approaching quickly and we couldn’t be more excited! Yesterday we profiled the running back group for Virginia Tech. Today, we’ll be talking about the center (literally) of Virginia Tech’s defense, Bruce Taylor.
Bruce Taylor – Starting Mike (Backer) Linebacker
I think of two things when I hear Bruce Taylor’s name. Firstly, I think of 2010 when, in Lane Stadium, he blew up UVA’s punter on a fake punt halfway through the game. It was after that play that I knew London and Co. were finished. Secondly, I think of the fans of Lane collectively chanting “Bruceeeeeeeeeeeeee” after every tackle.
But, we shouldn’t overlook Bruce Taylor’s importance to Virginia Tech’s (and Bud Foster’s) defense as a whole. Bruce Taylor has been playing mike linebacker for the Hokies, but will be starting against Georgia Tech at the backer position due to Tariq Edwards’ lingering injury. Speaking of injuries, Bruce Taylor is coming off an injury himself. Taylor suffered a Lisfranc sprain against Boston College last season and missed the rest of the season.
Taylor has looked better and seems to be moving well again after the summer practices and scrimmages, which should be a sigh of relief to the Virginia Tech faithful. Bruce Taylor’s biggest strengths are his run-stuffing and sure tackling, both of which are pivotal to playing the backer position. As the starting backer (the outside linebacker opposite the whip), Taylor’s primary responsibilities will be in the run game. He’ll be in charge of moving towards the LOS (line of scrimmage) and meeting the ball carrier at the point of attack. Taylor had a nice interception in the first of the summer scrimmages, but the backer position doesn’t require many pass coverage assignments. Against a team like Georgia Tech, Taylor will be able to hone in to the run game for the most part and worry about sniffing out the ball carrier.
Despite playing only eight games last season before getting injured, Taylor still racked up 53 tackles, including seven for a loss. If he is able to stay healthy this season, I expect Taylor’s tackle numbers to be pretty absurd. Against Georgia Tech alone, I wouldn’t be surprised if Taylor managed 10-15 tackles. Taylor, as one of Virginia Tech’s best pure tacklers, will be integral if the Hokies defense wants to slow down the Yellow Jacket offense.
If Bruce Taylor and the Hokies want to have success against Georgia Tech and the season, Bruce Taylor will have to be running at full speed/be completely healthy, he’ll have to adjusted to the backer position (which it seems like he has), and he’ll have to continue to be the Bruce Taylor that we all know and love. If Bruce is the rock-solid player like he has been in the past, he and the Virginia Tech football team should be successful this season.
Tomorrow we’ll preview the tumultuous punting position, a source of fear for many in the Virginia Tech family.