The packing of the beloved hardware comes when Justin Hamilton, 38, takes over the defensive coordinator. The former Hokies, who ran back from 2002-2005, trained and will do security last season in addition to overseeing the rest of the defense.
And while his allegiance to Foster, who has served as coordinator since 1995, has never been questioned, Hamilton continues to build the defense in his image as this incarnation of the Hokies is one more step away from the Frank Beamer era.
“I don’t think there is anyone who would question Justin Hamilton’s dedication to Bud and his appreciation for what Bud meant to him as a player and ultimately as a coach,” said Fuente. “It’s not up to him to show that appreciation through the plans he uses on the defensive side of the ball.
“Justin has another staff. He has people who might teach things a little differently, but it all works. So it is up to him as the coordinator to take these ideas and formulate them with his experiences and beliefs on how to best do things and put everything together without a spring ball and in the middle of a pandemic. ”
However, the fear of writing his first plan for a defensive game amid the novel coronavirus outbreak turned to joy in the Hamilton household when he and his wife welcomed their third child, a boy named Ace Henry.
Fuente shared information about the new addition during a Zoom call with local media on Monday morning, reporting that the family had partied over the past weekend and the mother and baby rested comfortably.
Virginia Tech officials have not made Hamilton available to the media since Fuente appointed him defensive coordinator in December, allowing for a rapid rise within the coaching ranks. Hamilton joined the staff in 2018 as Director of Player Development for Defense.
“You can definitely expect 11 aggressive soccer players to get to the ball,” said Hokies quarterback Hendon Hooker. “You can definitely expect them to communicate well and take care of their responsibilities. Coach Ham did a great job switching these guys on his playbook and plans. ”
The first test of defense on the field will take place on Saturday when Virginia Tech plays North Carolina State in the season opener at Lane Stadium. The Hokies were originally scheduled to face the state of North Carolina on September 12, but the game has been postponed due to a virus outbreak in Wolfpack’s sports division.
Hamilton’s group have now tackled myriad off-field problems since training camp began in the Hokies’ football bubble earlier last month.
The first blow came when cornerback Caleb Farley signed off, citing concerns about Virginia Tech’s virus logs and the way some teammates exhibited risky behavior, such as going to the beach and returning to campus without quarantine.
The sophomore redshirt, slated to go into the first round of the NFL draft, was the first high profile player to choose to skip the season.
Secondary school took another hit earlier this month when Nasir Peoples suffered an unknown non-contact injury during practice that ended the Redshirt sophomore season. The races played rovers last season, vying for reserve time at the position renamed Border Security in Hamilton’s system.
Then came the amazing development where Devon Hunter was suspended indefinitely after Christiansburg (VA) police arrested the Redshirt junior and charged him with two offenses, including a class 6 felony of strangling another.
Hunter had been in line to begin border security.
Add the option for each player – or position group – to test positive for the virus or to be quarantined according to contact tracing guidelines. Hamilton’s task is all the more demanding.
“He’s obviously learned a lot from Bud,” said Mark Richt, former Georgia and Miami coach and current ACC Network analyst, of Hamilton. “When you hire within your employees, you have confidence in the processes.
“He’s going to do a lot of things that you did in the past, I’m sure. Some of this may just be work ethic, how they use their practices, how they teach the tackle. Everyone wants to talk about the scheme, but defense is about getting the guy down to earth. ”