With Virginia Tech’s season opener with West Virginia at FedExField 22 days away, head coach Justin Fuente, cornerbacks coach Brian Mitchell and five student-athletes addressed the media on Wednesday as part of the Hokies’ weekly availability. Here are the highlights:
Redshirt junior Vinny Mihota and redshirt sophomore Trevon Hill are back for the Hokies at defensive end after both missed the spring due to shoulder surgeries. The defensive ends battled through their ailments over the course of the season – with Mihota missing the bowl game against Arkansas entirely – but both are back to full strength in fall camp.
On Mihota, Fuente noted his craftiness and football IQ.
“He’s just a pretty savvy guy,” Fuente said. “What he may lack in open area movement, he makes up for with kind of ‘old dog’ savvy. Very knowledgeable player, highly intelligent guy that is awfully steady.”
Despite going up against arguably Tech’s best offensive lineman in practice in junior Yosuah Nijman, Hill drew compliments from Fuente for his improved consistency.
“He’s going against a pretty good guy is the first thing that I would say in Nijman,” Fuente said. “He’s done well. He has continued to be out there every day and be consistent, which has been the thing I think we have been looking for is continued consistency from him. He’s started to bring that, which is a good thing.”
When cornerbacks coach Brian Mitchell first came to Virginia Tech, he admitted that he didn’t know much about Virginia Tech’s reputation as “DBU”. In fact, when asked about it on Wednesday, he responded that, initially, he knew “zero” about Tech’s success with producing NFL-caliber defensive backs.
But after a couple of months in Blacksburg, he understood why.
“The first month or two, people start talking about DBU and the number of DBs that have gone into the NFL and are still playing in the NFL. It’s remarkable,” Mitchell said. “Coach [Bud] Foster has done a tremendous job of creating that DBU here at Virginia Tech, and it’s impressive. There’s no other school like it.”
On paper, Mitchell has some players who are more than capable in carrying on the DBU legacy. He enters the season with three strong cornerbacks in junior Adonis Alexander, senior Brandon Facyson and senior Greg Stroman. Mitchell says between special teams and playing time at the two corner spots, the trio will see equal reps over the course of a game. With Tech’s reputation as DBU, there is little need to motivate them. He hopes that they feel the pressure to live up to the legacy.
“If you can get some DeAngelo Halls and some Kam Chancellors running around out there, wouldn’t you want that?” Mitchell said. “That’s what they’re living up to, and it’s embedded here.”
Seattle Seahawks defensive back and Virginia Tech great Kam Chancellor sat down with ESPN’s “E:60” for a career-spanning interview that will be aired this Sunday, August 13, at 9 a.m.