Bud Foster works magic for the Hokies

Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster already has a reputation as one of best in the business.

This season, though, he might have officially outdone himself.

If there is one assistant in the ACC this year who would be worthy of an assistant coach of the year title, it would be Virginia Tech's Foster. Not only have the Hokies improved tremendously from a year ago, but they have managed to do it with one of the most injury-laden defenses in the conference. In a span of four games, the Hokies lost three starters:

  • Starting inside linebacker Bruce Taylor was done for the season because of a mid-foot sprain.

  • Starting outside linebacker Jeron Gouveia-Winslow also suffered a season-ending foot sprain.

  • Starting defensive tackle Antoine Hopkins suffered a torn ACL.

For almost the entire Wake Forest game, the Hokies were playing without four opening-day starters, including cornerback Jayron Hosley (hamstring), and defensive end James Gayle (ankle), in addition to Hopkins and Gouveia-Winslow.

By the third quarter against Boston College, Virginia Tech was missing those four, plus Taylor and Gouveia-Winslow's backup, Alonzo Tweedy, who sprained his ankle. Two true freshmen -- Luther Maddy and Corey Marshall -- have taken over one of the defensive tackle positions on the two-deep. Two redshirt sophomores -- Tariq Edwards and Telvion Clark -- are manning a linebacker spot.

And yet here they are, heading into the North Carolina game tonight with the nation's No. 8 scoring defense, No. 7 pass efficiency defense, No. 11 total defense, No. 13 rushing defense, and being No. 5 in sacks.

It's a Hokie miracle.

"You lose Bruce Taylor, your leading tackler, and two whip guys," said coach Frank Beamer. "Not one, but two, I think they've probably handled it as well as you possibly could. The players keep playing hard and make some plays. But I do think probably Bud and his guys have done a tremendous job there. There is no question about it."