Photo Credit: Harley Taylor
Virginia Tech will have their second different defensive playcaller in two weeks as quality control assistant Jack Tyler is expected to be calling the defensive plays today per source.
Defensive coordinator Justin Hamilton is expected to miss his second-straight game as well per source. Justin Fuente shared postgame last week that he found out that Hamilton was out on the day of the N.C. State game while also saying earlier this week that he was unsure whether Hamilton would be available this week.
#Hokies Fuente says he didn't know Hamilton wouldn't be able to coach until this morning.— Aaron McFarling (@aaronmcfarling) September 27, 2020
Fuente says "we'll see" regarding Justin Hamilton's status for Saturday. Later adds that it's out of everyone's hands until he's cleared.— Mike McDaniel (@MikeMcDanielVT) September 28, 2020
This news would also seem to suggest that CBs coach Ryan Smith did not travel to Durham after Smith called the defense last week and was revealed by Fuente to be the backup defensive playcaller after Hamilton. Smith did quite well last week and was named the Athlon Sports Defensive Coordinator of the Week for his performance against N.C. State.
LBs coach Tracy Claeys will be back this week and will have a larger role with the defensive operation as well, but Tyler will be the primary guy in regards to calling plays. However, don't be surprised to see Tyler rely on the veteran Claeys along with his defensive line coaches Bill Teerlinck and Darryl Tapp.
You also have to wonder if Pierson Prioleau may take on a larger role for the Hokies this week given his defensive back experience and background though that's purely speculative at this time.
The fact that Tyler is expected to be the guy running the show is another statement about how high the Tech staff is on Tyler. When Tech was looking for a new LBs coach this offseason, a Jack Tyler promotion was given serious consideration before the Hokies decided to bring in Claeys to add in more experience around a first-time Power 5 defensive coordinator in Justin Hamilton.
Virginia Tech has informed reporters on site in Durham that both Justin Hamilton and Ryan Smith are out today. Tech has said that they are going with a by-committee approach though we continue to expect Jack Tyler to have a primary role especially with playcalling.
Check out more of our pregame coverage here.