The ACC Kickoff (aka media days) is fast approaching, something we media members consider the unofficial start of the football season. That’s not until July 21, however. In the meantime, it’s as good a time as any to start taking a closer look at Virginia Tech.
This isn’t a list of the 25 best players on the Hokies’ roster. It’s a list of 25 things/people/ideas that will determine whether Virginia Tech’s 2013 season is a success or not. Next up is …
No. 17: Detrick Bonner and Kyshoen Jarrett, safeties
One of the biggest concerns at the start of last year was how two cornerbacks, Bonner and Jarrett, would adjust to playing free safety and rover, a big switch in most peoples’ minds.
They might have had some growing pains early in the season, but by the end of the year, Bonner and Jarrett appeared comfortable in their roles directing things in the secondary.
Jarrett finished with 83 tackles, second on the team to Jack Tyler, with 4.5 tackles for a loss. Bonner had 60 tackles, 3 tackles for a loss, a sack and an interception to go with 10 pass breakups.
Most importantly, the duo showed that they could be physical in run support, not afraid to come up and put a hit on a ballcarrier coming through the hole, something that a question mark initially for a pair of guys who aren’t prototypical safety size.
Continuity is always important in the secondary, and Bonner and Jarrett are back in the same spots for a second straight season, which is important given the situation at cornerback.
Antone Exum‘s return date is TBA right now, meaning a second- or first-year player might have to step in to start in the opener against Alabama at cornerback. The Hokies will need Bonner and Jarrett to make sure whichever youngster might be in the game is in the right spot and knows what defense Tech has called.
That was problematic at times last year, when the secondary had a few communication breakdowns that proved costly. Eliminating those will largely be on Bonner and Jarrett’s shoulders.
But that usually comes with experience. And the two aren’t new starters anymore, which means raised expectations for 2013.
Coming Friday: He had perhaps the best bowl game of anyone on the team.