By LARRY VAUGHT
Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster knows all about Kentucky quarterback Lynn Bowden — but then again, who doesn’t after what Bowden did the final seven games of the season when he demoralized defenses with his running even when defenses knew it was coming.
The Hokies get their turn trying to stop Bowden Tuesday in the Belk Bowl in Charlotte. Foster says he’s a “great athlete with great speed” that does special things.
“With the ball in his hand just extremely dynamic. If you look at the stats, he’s their leading receiver, kick returner, punt returner and at quarterback their leading rusher. Just a dynamic athlete,” Foster said. “Has breakaway speed, great vision and great strength. Has the ability to put his foot in the ground and get north-south and the ability to break tackles.”
Foster has seen enough of UK to know that the Cats’ tailbacks are also dangerous runners who make it impossible to concentrate solely on Bowden no matter how dynamic he is. Now believe what you want because it seems hard to believe that the Hokies have not been working on a defense the last month set up specifically to stop Bowden?
“Since [Bowden] has been in there, they’re averaging 300 yards a game running the football, but they’re always getting extra hats. They’re always trying to find a way they manipulate that guy through blocking him, gaining an extra hat or stressing those areas and that’s really been the challenge for us, trying to figure those things out,” Foster said.
“I’ve been impressed by their physicality up front. They may be one of the bigger offensive lines that we’ve seen all year. they kind of remind me of a Boston College or somebody like that who we’ve played and are big, physical, strong, move their feet well athletically and handle movement well.”
Foster says Bowden is a combination of quarterbacks at Virginia and Georgia Tech and says he will “be a problem” for the Hokies who must remain disciplined to slow down UK’s running attack.
“They’re doing what their strengths are, which is their running game with the running backs, and the quarterback now, and their physicality up front. It’s going to be a challenge,” Foster said. “They only average a little over seven throws a game maybe since he’s been in there, but a lot of them are deep shots and that type of thing.
“Obviously, if we can stop the run and put the ball in his hands that way, that’s got to be one of our goals as far as a defense is control the run game if we can do that.”