Last season, Virginia Tech’s defensive line was blessed with an enormous 6-3, 335-pound stalwart known as Tim Settle. The big man from Northern Virginia plugged up offensive lines all year, which helped the Hokies finish 2nd in the ACC in rush defense
. However, since Settle decided to forgo his junior season and enter the NFL draft, Bud Foster knows that changes will need to be made for the 2018 Hokie defensive line. Indeed, Foster is already up to the task of replacing him.
On Monday, Foster confirmed that he would move DL Vinny Mihota back to defensive tackle next season. Mihota, a 6-5, 285-pound lineman, spent most of his time at end in 2017, where he accumulated 24 tackles and 3.5 for loss in 11 games
last season. While it seems that Mihota’s frame suits him well for the end position, there are many reasons why this move from Bud Foster makes sense.
Vinny Mihota has the size to play on the interior and has been productive during his time in Blacksburg at end and tackle with Mihota working as the third DT at times last season. That versatility combined with his great size makes it much easier for Bud Foster to move Mihota to DT.
Also, while Virginia Tech’s defensive line is not devoid of talent, it will not have the veteran experience that it possessed last year. Settle’s move to the NFL left a void that needed to be filled, as the Hokies only return senior Ricky Walker at defensive tackle in 2018. By the same token, Foster’s defense has plenty of talent, both experienced and inexperienced, at the defensive end position.
Trevon Hill performed well at the end position last season, racking up 46 tackles, 9.5 for loss, and 5.5 sacks. Houshun Gaines also put up amicable results in his back-up role in 2017, as he finished with 24 tackles, 3 sacks and 7 tackles for loss. Some of the young ends, such as Robert Porcher IV, Jarrod Hewitt, and Jimmie Taylor are talented and will look to make an impact next season. Given the stable of ends Tech has and the lack of depth at the tackle position, it was only logical of Foster to move Mihota where the team needs him.
However, this is banking on the fact that Vinny Mihota is healthy for the 2018 season. That was not the case for the latter part of last season, as the senior injured his knee on senior day against Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, that injury has carried over to the next calendar year; Mihota will miss the spring game in a few weeks. If he is not ready to go for the season, Foster will have to find other ways to fill the hole at DT with Foster's comments suggesting that Jarrod Hewitt would be at the top of that list.
Photo Credit: Harley Taylor
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