Can the Virginia Tech Secondary contain Keyarris Garrett?


Keyarris Garrett is one of the best receivers in the nation. However, he has not faced a talented unit such as the likes of “DBU”.

Oct 3, 2015; Tulsa, OK, USA; Tulsa Golden Hurricane wide receiver Keyarris Garrett (1) attempts to catch the ball as Houston Cougars cornerback William Jackson III (3) defends during the second half at Skelly Field at H.A. Chapman Stadium. Houston won 38-24. Mandatory Credit: Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

Its Christmas time across the Commonwealth, tomorrow as Hokie fans emerge from their food, present, and family comas the Hokies will be taking the field in Louisiana. The Hokies are in Shreveport for the Independence Bowl on Saturday for a 23rd straight bowl game appearance. It is also the last game for legendary coach Frank Beamer. The Hokies are a big favorite in Frank’s last game, but much of the success the Hokies will or will not have against an up and coming Tulsa team will depend on one matchup in particular. The matchup I am referring to is between Tulsa wide receiver Keyarris Garrett and the members of “DBU”.

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Keyarris Garrett is a major threat to blow the game open against the Hokies. The big time receiver for the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes only needs 94 yards to take over as the number one receiver in the nation. Garrett comes into the game with 1451 yards this season. His yardage output is quite impressive, considering Garrett has played fewer games this season than both the number one receiver and number three receiver. Garrett also only needs 272 yards to become Tulsa all-time leading receiver. Both of these feats are milestones the Hokies secondary hope do not happen on their watch.

The Hokies secondary will have to be extremely aware of Garrett as he lines up in the pass-happy Tulsa offense. At times this season the Hokies have struggled at stopping big plays in the passing game. This could be attributed to the youth of their secondary. The Hokies have played more freshman this season than Bud Foster has been used to. Injuries have played a key part but poor play has also caused some younger players to get more looks at key positions.

In most cases, teams try to matchup their best defensive back against a top wide receiver like Keyarris Garrett. This is not Bud Foster’s style. However, this season it doesn’t even really matter, as the Hokies best defensive secondary player, Kendall Fuller, was lost for the season with a knee injury. Fuller has since declared for the NFL draft. The Hokies will more than likely send several different looks against Garrett, most prominently being Brandon Facyson, and Terrell Edmunds. I also look Chuck Clark to draw coverage assignments on Garrett if he lines up in the slot position.

The majority of the Hokies defense is designed to put the secondary players on an island against the receiver. This might be a dangerous situation with the talent of Keyarris Garrett. I however, look for Foster to stay with his defensive principles at the beginning of the game. However, if the defense struggles then I look for Bud to change his defense on the fly. Adonis Alexander will provide much of the help over the top, when Tulsa tries to open up the field. Alexander has proven he is a big time player, and is poised to become the next great member of DBU. Alexander will have to play disciplined to help contain any big plays Garrett hopes to hit for his team.

The matchup between these two stalwarts of each team will be on display on Saturday. The play on either side of the ball could determine the outcome. I think the Hokies defense will be up to the task and shut down this big play receiver. If Keyarris Garrett thinks a trip to the record books is going to be his late Christmas present, the Hokies and “DBU” are going to be playing the part of Ebenezer Scrooge.

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