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Young defense a concern for Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech's Bud Foster has earned his reputation as one of the nation's top defensive coordinators, which is why he earned a big payday last spring to keep him in Blacksburg. But Foster will have some serious work to do this spring.

"I think he’s got his work cut out for him," Coach Frank Beamer said. "That defensive staff is going to have to do some hard coaching. The bad part is there’s not as much experience as you’d like on your defense. The good part is we’ve got some good talented players. It’ll be an interesting spring for them, and we’ll see where we’re at at the end of it."

The Hokies lost seven starters on defense, and are temporarily missing an eighth, linebacker Barquell Rivers, who is recovering from surgery on a torn quadriceps.

In that regard, Virginia Tech enters the spring in an unnatural position. Defense and special teams have long been the hallmarks of Hokies football under Beamer, but this season, Virginia Tech returns a fully stocked offense, with questions on the other side of the ball.

Perhaps the biggest single loss for the Hokies' defense will be linebacker Cody Grimm. He was first-team all-Atlantic Coast Conference selection and brought intangibles and an uncanny football sense that will be hard to replicate.

Virginia Tech has a talented new starter in Jayron Hosley, who is playing at field cornerback, and linebacker Lyndell Gibson is looking to build off of his play toward the end of the 2009 season, when he emerged as a starter.

But for Foster and his defensive coaches, it will be a spring for hard work as they try to mold another top defense for Virginia Tech.

By Mark Viera  |  March 30, 2010; 1:00 PM ET
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