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Bud Foster has to rebuild Virginia Tech's defense

Virginia Tech's Bud Foster has earned a reputation as one of the nation's top defensive coordinators for ensuring the Hokies' defense is not just strong, but often ranked among the top in the country. But the 2010 season could be among his biggest challenges since he became the coordinator in 1995.

“We’ve got a lot of holes to fill,” Foster said.

Foster's acumen will be tested as he and his staff have to rebuild a 2009 unit that lost seven starters.

It lost key contributors in end Jason Worilds, linebacker Cody Grimm and free safety Kam Chancellor. In addition, linebacker Barquell Rivers is currently out after recovering from surgery to repair a torn quadriceps.

Grimm, a diminutive, do-everything play maker, might be the hardest to replace. He led the Hokies in tackles and was named a first-team all-Atlantic Coast Conference selection. Virginia Tech’s new corps of linebackers lacks experience and is perhaps the biggest question on the defense heading into the summer.

Virginia Tech has fashioned a defense-first identity under Coach Frank Beamer. And in the past decade, that has been largely as a result of Foster, who is considered a master tactician.

The Hokies are returning only a handful of players with experience, including tackle John Graves and cornerback Rashad Carmichael. But although Foster has acknowledged there is much to rebuild, it has not swayed his outlook or expectations for the unit.

"Our expectations aren't going to change," Foster said. "We expect to be a great defense out there. We’re expected them to be part of it. But we’re starting at ground zero.”

By Mark Viera  |  April 5, 2010; 2:15 PM ET
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