Our Tech Lunch Pail Awards start today with our Assistant Coach of the Year. There were multiple contenders this year including Bud Foster, Brian Mitchell, and James Shibest.
While all three of those guys did receive votes from this award, one assistant stood out from the rest; Bud Foster.
Bud Foster is the 2017 Virginia Tech Assistant Coach of the Year. The Hokies’ long-time defensive coordinator had one of his best defensive units in his long tenure. Foster also coaches the Hokies’ linebackers who were one of the best trios in the nation with Tremaine Edmunds, Andrew Motuapuaka, and Mook Reynolds all having big seasons.
When evaluating Foster’s impressive season, it has to start with the obvious, his elite defense. Foster had a defensive unit that had experience all over their starting lineup, and he pushed them to the next level to become one of the best units in the country.
VT consistently held high-scoring teams well under their season scoring averages including Oklahoma State (averaged 45, allowed 30), Clemson (averaged 33.3, allowed 24 on defense), and West Virginia (averaged 34.5, allowed 24). The Hokies also led the nation with three shutouts, an impressive single-season feat no matter the opponents.
There are plenty of stats that show how dominant the Hokies’ defense was, but there may be none better than the stop rate which is the percentage of drives that a defense doesn’t allow any points.
— The All-American (@TheAthleticCFB) November 29, 2017
Throughout the season, the Hokie defense was not only able to keep teams out of the end zone regularly, but they also kept them out of field goal range most of the time. The other three teams that were above 80% in stop rate all finished the season ranked in the top 6 of the College Football Playoff rankings, showing how VT’s defense was one of the best in the nation.
That is far from being the only stat that shows how good the Hokies’ defense. VT was fifth in the nation in scoring defense allowing 13.5 points per game, impressive given some of the elite offenses the Hokies faced. VT also led the nation in opponents’ completion percentage while being 12th in the nation in rushing yards allowed per carry (3.3), showing how good VT’s defense was at stopping the run and defending the pass.
There are plenty of other stats that show how good Foster’s defense was, but they also passed the eye test of a big time defense that was the main reason why the Hokies went 9-4 this season.
Bud Foster also did a great job coaching up a linebacker trio that was one of the best in the nation headlined by All-ACC First Team LB Tremaine Edmunds. Edmunds and Andrew Motuapuaka were first and second on the team in total tackles while Mook Reynolds was fourth. The trio also each had at least 9 tackles for loss with Edmunds having 14 TFLs, Motuapuaka having 11.5 TFLs, and Reynolds having 9 TFLs.
Foster’s impressive job as a defensive coordinator and as a linebackers coach helped him earn the 2017 VT Assistant of the Year award.
Brian Mitchell and James Shibest also received votes and had great coaching seasons. Shibest stood out leading one of America’s best special teams groups on his way to earning the Football Scoop Special Teams Coordinator of the Year. Shibest was also able to coach up a young, talented group of tight ends with Dalton Keene playing well as a true freshman h-back while Chris Cunningham also was a solid receiver at times this season.
Brian Mitchell had a very talented trio of cornerbacks who lived up to expectations this year and more. Greg Stroman headlined Mitchell’s group on his way to earning All-ACC First Team honors while Brandon Facyson played quite well with both rarely being targeted. Mitchell will have a big challenge next season with only Adonis Alexander returning from that talented cornerback trio and Mitchell looking for guys like Jeremy Webb, Bryce Watts, and Tyree Rodgers to step up next season.
Congrats to Bud Foster on being named the VT Assistant of the Year.