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Where's The Beef? Maybe Finally Returning To VT DLine...

I'm here to talk about Virginia Tech's 2018 football season.

Yes, I'm aware that season brings back a lot of anger and despair for Hokies fans, but humor me for a moment.

The 2018 season happened to be Ricky Walker's final season in a Virginia Tech uniform. It also happened to be Vinny Mihota's final season in a Tech uniform. Both graduated and moved on after the season.

Mihota had an odd career — he started it at defensive end opposite Ken Ekanem and served his purpose as an edge-setting end that allowed Ekanem to rush the passer on the other side. Mihota would later move inside to defensive tackle out of necessity, forcing the injury-prone 270-pounder into the slog that is the interior.

Unsurprisingly, Mihota struggled. He played in just six games, registered 11 tackles and zero sacks.

Defensive tackle has been a sore spot for the Hokies for the last several seasons. Woody Baron was the last uber-productive tackle to play in a Hokies uniform, though Walker was more than respectable during his tenure. 

But Woody Baron doesn't come around often. You don't find 260-pound defensive linemen who can dominate the interior very often. You need bigger bodies in there and you need a lot of them

For the first time in what feels like forever, Virginia Tech might have the beef.

Among those returning are DaShawn Crawford, Norell Pollard and Mario Kendricks, all of whom have flashed at various points. Josh Fuga is also back, as well as Jaden Cunningham and Maxx Philpott. Oh, and Clemson transfer Jordan Williams is in town too.

Among those players, Pollard is the only one who weighs less than 290 pounds. And that's OK, since Pollard led all returning defensive tackles in sacks and tackles for loss last season.

Time will tell who will emerge as the starters, but there are several capable players to choose from. Pollard could be on the verge of a breakout season, Crawford recorded six tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks just two seasons ago and Williams finished the same season with 5.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks.

Virginia Tech doesn't have two sure-fire starters at defensive tackle, but they do seem to have gathered the players necessary to build a deep and potentially productive rotation. That's light years ahead of where the Hokies have been in recent seasons.

Bill Teerlinck and JC Price have a lot of tools to work with on the defensive interior. It's now on them to build the machine. 


Comments 1

Guest - John on Tuesday, 30 March 2021 15:53
Check the numbers...

Ricky's numbers better than Barron. Barron had one huge year. Ricky's numbers were better than Settle. ALL-ACC Preseason AA.

Ricky's numbers better than Barron. Barron had one huge year. Ricky's numbers were better than Settle. ALL-ACC Preseason AA.
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Friday, 30 September 2022

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