Filling in for injured teammate Tariq Edwards has helped linebacker Jack Tyler shine during Virginia Tech’s first two contests.
After the first two weeks of the season, only four players in the country have more tackles than the redshirt junior, who set a career high with 17 last Monday night against Georgia Tech.
Tyler credits his success as a tackler to great coaching throughout his football career.
“I think a lot of it is good coaching, knowing when to make certain types of tackles, whether it be roll tackles or going for their legs or going high,” he said. “Really, it’s just knowing the situation.
“Coach (Bud) Foster does a great job in film of letting us know if we make the wrong type of tackle. I think a lot of the credit goes to him.”
After coming to Tech as a walk-on, Tyler has gotten used to filling in for injured teammates. In 2010, he saw action in the ACC Championship Game after filling in for an injured Barquell Rivers. He would also start against Stanford in the Orange Bowl.
Then, after Bruce Taylor went down with a Lisfranc sprain last year against Boston College, Tyler again came off the bench to fill a spot. This time, he started the last four games, finishing with 42 total tackles, 2.5 tackles for a loss and 1.5 sacks.
Now, after spending last year watching his teammate from the sidelines, Taylor is excited to rejoin Tyler on the field.
“I’m just excited to be able to play with him, with the linebacker depth that we have,” Taylor said. “Some of the things that he does, I see some of the things I like to do, he gets downhill and he plays with great speed and those are things that I try to do myself. I feel that when we’re both on the field at the same time that we can (be great).”
His coaches are also highly praiseful of his performance.
“He’s turned into the player I thought he was going to be — just a kid that’s an outstanding football player,” Foster said. “Very instinctive, plays with good vision, and has gotten better and better. He’s helped us out in a lot of wins, and some big wins, in some big ball games.”
Having taken over for Edwards to start the year, Tyler has stepped into a much bigger role for Foster’s defense, something he attributes to confidence.
“That’s been the biggest thing. Confidence in myself, mainly, that I can play at a high level,” he said. “Then it trickles down to confidence in my teammates in me, Coach Foster in me and all the other coaches. That when I play and I go out and run their defense that I’m going to do it at a high level.”
However, despite his vicious play at mike linebacker, his teammates still like to stay on him a particular facet regarding his demeanor on the field.
“Honestly, something I get on him about, he’s too nice,” Taylor said. “At the point of attack, he’s as physical as they come. But it’s certain little things. He’s a defensive player, there’s a certain attitude that you’ve got to have. He’s more of a soft-spoken guy. But he gets the job done.”
But as Tyler would admit, being mean has just never been his style.
“It’s football. I like to have fun, but I’m not one of those guys who’s nuts and crazy on the field and is always screaming and yelling,” he said. “I have my moments where I get energetic after a big play and I like to show emotion, but I’m pretty relaxed out there. I like to have fun.”