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Hokies' Foster gets the full Monte

ATLANTA – The meeting between Virginia Tech and Tennessee in the Chick-fil-A Bowl has been a long-awaited match up among fans from both schools. But it was also an anticipated event for Hokies defensive coordinator Bud Foster for other reasons.

On Tuesday, Foster sounded giddy about the chance to go to dinner later that night with Tennessee defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, one of football’s great minds, at a function put on by the bowl representatives.

“He’s one of the legends of all football, and it would be a tremendous honor for me to sit down there,” Foster said of having dinner with Kiffin. “Not that we’d sit down there and talk shop and pick each other’s brains, but I’m going to try to just to see what drives him. I’m looking forward to that opportunity.”

Kiffin, the father of Tennessee Coach Lane Kiffin, is a defensive guru who has coached college and professional football since 1966, including 26 seasons in the NFL.

Kiffin helped the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the 2002 Super Bowl championship as the architect of a defense that led the league in total defense and points allowed. He is considered the father of the Tampa 2 defense that has been widely copied.

At the dinner on Tuesday, it was a chance for both Kiffin and Foster to talk shop. As the alchemist of Virginia Tech’s perennially strong defenses, Foster has gained respect as one of the nation’s top coordinators, with units often ranked in the top 15 nationally.

“Bud is very sound; they play really hard,” Kiffin said. “That's probably their trademark.”

Foster said he attended a similar dinner event before the 2006 Chick-fil-A Bowl, which the Hokies lost to Georgia. Foster said he befriended the Bulldogs’ recently fired defensive coordinator, Willie Martinez, and became so close that he has even visited Athens to try to learn from Georgia’s staff.

“Maybe this will do something with us and Tennessee,” Foster said of building a similar relationship between the schools separated by a 230-mile drive. “I have the utmost respect for what Monte Kiffin has done at the college level and obviously for what he’s done at the professional level. It’s going to be quite a thrill to eat dinner with him tonight.”

By Mark Viera  |  December 30, 2009; 9:30 AM ET
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