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September 21, 2012Sign-up for HokieHaven.com Wireless Text Alerts sent right to your cell phone!
Last Saturday, Virginia Tech registered just one sack in its loss at Pittsburgh, coming by way of junior defensive end James Gayle.
For a defensive front that's been highly touted, the lack of pressure was especially upsetting. But overall, the Hokies were in a funk.
Junior defensive tackle Derrick Hopkins said earlier this week that he didn't think he and his teammates were ready to play.
"We weren't getting pushed back, it was just kind of a stalemate," Hopkins said. "We just weren't as physical as we usually are. There were a lot of stalemates. We were in the neutral zone, but we weren't getting off blocks, making plays. We were just right there and the running backs were running outside of us."
The lack of pressure came in Virginia Tech's first tow games as well. Through three games, the Hokies have just four sacks, 3.5 coming from the defensive line. Hopkins doesn't see the lack of sacks as an issue.
"The teams we played, the first game with Georgia Tech was like option, so they ran the ball 60-plus times," he said. "Our second game, we got pressure, but they were throwing quick passes and getting rid of the ball fast. This past week, we got pressure on him, but he was getting rid of the ball fast. This past week, we got pressure on him, but he was getting rid of the ball. Between one second and two seconds, it was gone. It's kinda hard to get sacks if he's throwing the ball so quick."
This week though, Virginia Tech set about trying to get more pressure in practice.
"It's just playing harder and more aggressive and using your hands more," Hopkins said. "It's ripping up in your gap and holding them to the block. We've just gotta play harder, really, like Hokies play."
But nothing will cure the ails more than showing it on the field. Hopkins said the Hokies have been especially eager coming off a loss.
"We're energized and ready to play this week and prove ourselves," he said. "We know how we can play and we didn't show that this past week. We're looking forward to this weekend so we can prove that and show what kind of team we are."