KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Bob Shoop has seen enough film of last season’s Memphis team to know that first-year Virginia Tech head coach Justin Fuente can create problems for the Tennessee defense.
Question is, which problems and to what extent will the Hokies (1-0 be success against the No. 17-ranked Vols (1-0) at 8 p.m. on Saturday in the “Battle at Bristol?”
“These guys are capable to doing it all, and that’s the hardest part,” said Shoop, UT’s first-year defensive coordinator. “The issue this week is the fact you’re watching Paxton Lynch and Memphis in Year Four of an offense run things (in 2015), and you’re evaluating that and saying, ‘These are the things he can bring with him To Virginia Tech and they are able to execute them.’
“Then you watch last week’s game, and you say these are (current Hokies QB) Jerod Evans’ strengths, and the strengths of the offensive line, and the running backs and receivers, so it’s a little bit of a guessing game to start with.”
Appalachian State scored 13 points on Tennessee in the first 22 minutes before Shoop zeroed in on the Mountaineers’ scheme and shut them out the game’s remainder in the Vols’ 20-13 overtime win last Thursday.
Virginia Tech will pose some of the same problems, Shoop said.
“They can run the triple option, they can run the jet and orbit motions, so we’re kind of preparing for everything,” Shoop said. “It’s kind of what happened against App State, (and) once you get a bead on it, maybe end of first quarter or middle second quarter, you pare down your game plan.
“You kind of figure it out, and it’s problem solving 101.”
Shoop said earlier this week that Tennessee plans on having a hurry-up defense ready to combat Virginia Tech’s hurry-up offense.