I am not trying to pick on the defense here. We lost this game because we were bad on both sides of the ball. I wanted to show this play though to address one of the myths floated that Spaz/McGovern don't blitz. We actually blitz a decent amount. We just don't design or execute it particularly well. Sure, part is personnel. If you are blitzing with Herzy and with a front four that has Raji and Brace, your blitzes look good. But the past few weeks our blitzes have been ineffective and that was just one of the reasons we lost today. Take a look at this example.
Virginia Tech's second possession. 3rd and 8. VT leads 3-0.
It makes sense to blitz here. It is a crucial down and a stop here keeps VT from scoring. Taylor is still not a natural passer. Let him (and VT) beat us in the air. We set up in our base.
This is where the problem starts. LeGrande tips off his blitz well before the snap. Taylor is ready and so is the VT OLine and RB.
The element of surprise is gone. But we stay with the blitz. Why not? It is 3rd and long and LeGrande has been playing well. McLaughlin is now covering the slot receiver. Now this is why I say VT is good, but not that good. A good QB and well coached passing offense would see McLaughlin on the slot, make an adjustment and throw the quick out or slant and burn McLaughlin. VT didn't.
The ball is snapped and LeGrande does in fact blitz. However, he is swallowed by the tackle (but his containish play makes me wonder if he was not there to spy Taylor). Regardless there is no pressure on the VT QB...yet another anemic blitz. Taylor doesn't go to the slot. In fact the slot guy goes away from Taylor. But his movement draws McLaughlin.
Now McLaughlin is out of position to cover the RB releasing from the backfield. I don't know if it is his man or if Kuechly should have moved over, but regardless, it is a blown assignment. The RB runs free and Taylor has an outlet. (Because it is a little blurry, the VT RB is the guy by the ref in the middle of the field.)
Easy catch. Easy first down. VT would go on to score and open the floodgates.
This play wasn't a disaster and certainly wasn't the biggest error of the day. But it illustrates some of the struggles of the defense the past few weeks. Poor design, poor execution and a blown assignment. Let's get it fixed soon.