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Virginia Tech defender Ricky Walker (right) grabs UVa running back Jordan Ellis from behind during Friday’s game. Walker was named the ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week.

BLACKSBURG - Virginia Tech fans are having a hard time adjusting to defensive coordinator Bud Foster being up in the booth. 

Foster coached from the booth in a 38-14 loss to Miami on doctor's orders. The coach was upstairs once again on Friday when the Hokies beat Virginia 34-31 in the 100th Commonwealth Cup.

Foster wasn’t on the field to rally the troops late in the game when the defense was desperate for a stop or in overtime with opposing quarterback Bryce Perkins driving the Cavaliers down inside the 15-yard line, but that wasn’t a problem for the longtime assistant coach.

“Do I like being a part of that in there? I don’t know if my heart could handle being down in there any more than what we did today,” Foster said with a laugh.

It was only the second time as Virginia Tech’s defensive coordinator Foster has called plays from the booth. Foster hasn’t said when he plans on returning to the sidelines, but he’s not in a rush.

Foster credits Virginia Tech’s defensive assistants and support staff for making the transition a smooth one.

“Our guys on the sideline did an awesome job,” Foster said.

Foster rattled off a list of names from defensive line coach Charley Wiles to safeties coach Tyrone Nix who helped make the set up work. He also credited director of player development Justin Hamilton and defensive grad assistant Jack Tyler.

Hamilton played for Frank Beamer from 2002-05 and started at defensive back as a senior for Foster. Tyler also played for Foster as a linebacker from 2010-13. The Virginia Tech alum has a key role on the sidelines this year for his former coach.

“Jack Tyler is signaling for me now and works with me with the linebackers. He did an awesome job communicating to our guys and keeping everybody focused and going to the next play, going to the next series,” Foster said.

The different perspective also helped Foster make some adjustments late in the game. Virginia scored on four straight possessions to open the second half, but failed to move the ball on its final three possessions in regulation, managing just 12 yards on 12 plays.

“Being up in the booth does help me see some things,” Foster said. “I could see some of the things they were doing particularly at the end. They were going to run the QB and we ended up blitzing a couple things. I was probably tardy on a couple calls in the third quarter with their multiple formations.”

Mike Niziolek is the Virginia Tech football beat writer for The Roanoke Times. Follow him on Facebook.

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