[caption id="attachment_6042" align="aligncenter" width="793"]
Anthony Shegog has become Virginia Tech's utility defensive player. [Credit: Harley Taylor][/caption]In baseball, just about every team tries to have a utility player on their bench who can play lots of different positions with usually most of those being around the infield along with maybe being able to play as a corner outfielder. However, you don't usually see this in other sports including football where guys usually only know one or two different positions.
However, Anthony Shegog is becoming an exception to that rule.
After starting his career at safety, Shegog moved to whip linebacker less than two years ago and found a role there as a versatile player who had some DB skills but could play in the box and be used alongside starting whip Mook Reynolds as a sixth defensive back especially towards the end of last season.
Now, Shegog has a new position this spring working as the backup backer behind definite starter Tremaine Edmunds, and while that probably would be frustrating to most veteran players just looking for their best chance to earn playing time, Shegog sees it as a "big benefit" to learn the backer spot and he has a point.
As we mentioned above, baseball teams usually have a utility player who can come in for whoever may be struggling or tired and provide some quality play at that position. In this case, Shegog is the Hokies' best backup defensive player so having him be able to play multiple positions and know their roles well makes a lot of sense.
Injuries are a thing of life in college football and with Shegog being able to play multiple positions, it makes it easier for the Hokies to put in their most talented backup at extra positions to allow for less of a dropoff should Tremaine Edmunds, Mook Reynolds, or someone else get hurt during the season that would make putting Shegog in the best move from a talent-perspective.
To an extent, Anthony Shegog is now carving out his own role as Virginia Tech's 12th man, the first sub that Bud Foster can put in for the back 7 of the defense when Virginia Tech is on a long drive or has someone at linebacker or safety that needs to come off the field whether that's due to fatigue, injury, or even simply the player having to come off for a play by NCAA rules due to his helmet coming off.
Usually, you may see a younger player take on this kind of role opening the door for him to play at the first position that opens up to graduation or a draft declaration, but that isn't the case for Shegog and while Shegog could definitely transfer to plenty of other programs and be a starter, Shegog has decided to stick with Virginia Tech and create his own role on the defense.
Shegog also brings a veteran presence that helps him not only be a leader but a mentor including at positions he's worked at the past like whip linebacker where he has been able to give Deon Newsome some pointers this spring at as Newsome makes the transition from safety to whip similar to what Shegog did not too long ago.
In college football, it's rare to have a guy on either the offensive or defensive guy who has the versatility to play multiple positions at linebacker and safety and have a good understanding of those roles. For Virginia Tech, they'll have Anthony Shegog to do just that this upcoming season and that only strengthens the depth of the Hokies on defense while also giving VT a capable veteran that can come in for a fatigued player and provide some quality defensive plays at multiple different positions.
Stay up with The Tech Lunch Pail for the latest on the Hokies via Facebook and Twitter plus subscribe to our email updates.