After a decent performance for Bud Foster’s defense against West Virginia, the defense was excellent this past Saturday against FCS foe Delaware. Tremaine Edmunds led the way with 14 tackles, including four tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, and a forced fumble. Reggie Floyd also contributed with 10 tackles, and Terrell Edmunds had 8 tackles, along with 1.5 tackles for loss, one sack, and one interception.
In the press conference Monday, Foster praised the Edmunds brothers. Foster said, “We are ready to turn the page to move onto East Carolina. It was kind of cool to see the Edmunds brothers have the production that they had together, which is not unusual. It was good to see Tremaine [Edmunds], from my end of it, get going to create some plays with being around the football.”
The Edmunds brothers have stepped up and become two of the leaders of the defense, along with middle linebacker Andrew Motuapuaka. Motuapuaka been consistent in the two games this season, recording 20 total tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, and 1 sack. Junior whip linebacker Mook Reynolds also played well for the defense against Delaware, recording 11 total tackles, one tackle for loss, and one sack.
For the defensive line, starting defensive ends Vinny Mihota and Trevon Hill, accompanied with defensive tackles Ricky Walker and Tim Settle, combined for 12 tackles including three tackles for loss against Delaware.
Bud Foster said, “I really like our defensive tackles. We played Vinny Mihota there a little bit, he’s probably our third-best tackle when it is all said and done. I thought he was very active and productive whether he was at end or at tackle. I thought Jarrod Hewitt showed improvement.” Hewitt is a redshirt freshman and had one tackle against the Blue Hens. Foster also spoke of backups Jimmie Taylor, Darius Fullwood, and Xavier Burke, who are competing for the backup defensive tackle spot.
East Carolina has two played two quarterbacks so far this season. Thomas Sirk, who transferred from Duke after losing his starting job while being hurt during the 2016 season, has seen most of the playing time in the first two games after the Pirates started junior quarterback Gardner Minshew, who played the first half against James Madison and was replaced by Sirk.
Sirk defeated the Hokies 45-43 in 2015 in a four-overtime game. Sirk was 19-39 for 270 yards and 4 passing touchdowns as well as rushing for 108 yards on 18 carries in that game.
Through the first two games, Sirk is 37 for 69 for 401 yards, one touchdown, and four interceptions. Minshew is just 14 for 31 for 219 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.
Sirk went out with a concussion against West Virginia and Minshew took over, but Bud Foster said, “I fully expect him [Sirk] to play. We’re preparing for East Carolina and their offense, not just one particular quarterback or the other.” The Pirates have rushed for 212 yards total on the season so far, 113 yards shy of the Hokies’ total of 315 yards.
Virginia Tech is 14-7 against East Carolina since they first played in 1956. Bud Foster became the defensive coordinator in 1995 after coaching linebackers and special teams since he followed Frank Beamer to Blacksburg in 1987. Foster is 9-3 against East Carolina, with the three losses coming in 2008, 2014, and 2015. The loss in 2008 occurred in Charlotte, while the Hokies lost at Lane Stadium in 2014, and in Greenville in 2015 with that being the first loss at East Carolina since November of 1991.
Foster hopes that one of his takeaways from the East Carolina game will be that he has a better understanding of where the team is at in terms of what the team has worked towards. Foster said he hopes to learn what they have worked towards, “establishing being focused, and going on the road and paying attention to details and not worrying about the things we can’t control. I’m hoping we found out we are a disciplined and focused football team.”
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