Nov 8, 2012; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Florida State Seminoles quarterback EJ Manuel (3) is sacked by Virginia Tech Hokies defensive end Corey Marshall (96) in the third quarter at Lane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
The Virginia Tech Hokies take on the North Carolina Tar Heels tomorrow in Chapel Hill with both teams hoping to avoid an 0-2 start in the ACC. Both of these teams started out the season as two of the favorites in the ACC Coastal but there no longer is a favorite in an ACC Coastal that is an absolute mess.
The loss of Luther Maddy was big but it won’t have much an impact on the field as the Hokies have tons of depth at defensive tackle. Meanwhile, opposing defenses will focus more on Dadi Nicolas and that will help one defensive tackle dominate one-on-one matchups.
Corey Marshall is an extremely athletic defensive tackle that has above-average speed for his position. Marshall returned this season after having some off the field issues last season that led to him being redshirted but the redshirt junior has proven to be a very good player.
Marshall hasn’t been bad as a run defender as he has 12 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss but Marshall has done a great job of putting pressure on the quarterback. Marshall might only have 0.5 sacks but he has 11 QB hurries which is second on the team this season and is quite impressive for a defensive tackle.
Marshall’s speed and pass rush skills allow him to shed interior blockers quickly and force the quarterback to either force a pass, throw the ball away, or take a sack. Sometimes, Marshall’s pressure can force the quarterback outside but that will also be an issue with players like Dadi Nicolas and Ken Ekanem.
Also, Marshall can help create space for Chase Williams and Deon Clarke on their blitzes to have an easy path to the quarterback. Bud Foster knows this and he has taken advantage with the two linebackers having 6.5 sacks which is another example of how Marshall’s impact goes beyond his own stats.
Corey Marshall can definitely be a nightmare for opposing defenses and he will be that on Saturday against the North Carolina Tar Heels.