1. The Defense for the Hokies is Legit
The defense for the Hokies had a big responsibility of suppressing a Tar Heels offense that was ranked ninth in the nation in points per game (41.7) and fifth in total yards per game (537.2) last season. The Tar Heels’ offense is led by an experienced offensive line and a preseason Heisman Trophy favorite in quarterback Sam Howell. For the Hokies to have success against an efficient offense, they would need to be aggressive at the line of scrimmage and stay consistent in their man coverages.
The Hokies consistently crashed the backfield of the Tar Heels’ offense as they suppressed the run game and consistently pressured Howell out of the pocket. Virginia Tech accounted for nine tackles for loss, six sacks, and four quarterback hurries.
Defensive end Amare Barno had a fantastic game against North Carolina by accounting for six total tackles, four solo tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, and a quarterback hurry. Barno found a rhythm of beating the offensive tackle on the edge and crashing into the backfield.
Their other defensive end in Tyjuan Garbutt found a key role on the Hokies defense through the last weeks of preseason. Garbutt continues to prove himself as an efficient playmaker for the Hokies defense as he accounted for two tackles for loss and two sacks. Defensive tackle Jordan Williams crashed into the backfield often as well. Williams pressured Howell that forced him to throw a costly interception late in the game to nickelback Chamarri Conner.
Inside linebacker Dax Hollifield, cornerback Jermaine Waller, and Conner each accounted for an interception from Howell. They are all efficient in their coverage schemes called by defensive coordinator Justin Hamilton.
The defense for the Hokies forced the Tar Heels’ offense to be 2-for-10 on third-down conversions. Virginia Tech remained strong in containing the big plays of the Tar Heels’ offense as they allowed only 354 total yards. Virginia Tech held North Carolina to only 36 total yards of offense in the first quarter. The Hokies will prepare for a dual-threat offense of the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders this upcoming Saturday. They will have to take in the high of suppressing the Tar Heels without feeling too confident of their abilities.