Family affair: Terrell, Tremaine Edmunds key to Hokies’ ‘D’
BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — One is a redshirt junior safety who Virginia Tech’s coach says is the most tireless worker on his defense. The other is a preseason All-ACC linebacker who was second on the team in tackles last season.
Meet the Edmunds brothers, Terrell and Tremaine.
They are two of the main reasons there are high expectations for the Hokies’ defense this season. Terrell led the team with four interceptions last season, and was fourth with 89 tackles. His brother, the linebacker, had one interception and team-high 106 stops.
The Hokies went 10-4 in coach Justin Fuente’s first season, a return to the double-digit victory days that were once a Virginia Tech constant. But they Hokies hadn’t had 10 wins since another Edmunds, Terrell and Tremaine’s older brother Trey, became a Hokie in the 2012 season.
Trey Edmunds led the Hokies with 675 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns in 2013, but slid down the depth chart and later transferred to Maryland after receiving his degree from Virginia Tech in 2015.
Now the Hokies are out to prove their resurgence was more about meeting expectations than a surprise.
“A lot of people know Virginia Tech football and we’re held to a high expectation,” Tremaine said. “I just felt like last year we let the people know that we’re still here, that we still competing for championships here. I think a lot of eyes are open now and ready to see what we got this year.”
Added Terrell: “I would say it definitely woke us up. I definitely know that we can compete with anybody. We definitely see that we can win 10 games and go to championships and possibly win championships.
“We’re not trying to lower our standards for anyone. We’re trying to go again next year, go to the ACC championship and possibly win it.”
After four consecutive mediocre seasons, the Hokies were the surprise team in the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Coastal Division last season. They gave eventual national champion Clemson all it could handle in the ACC title game before losing, 42-35.
This season, they will head into their opener against West Virginia with redshirt freshman Josh Jackson, who has never thrown a pass in a college game, at quarterback. That could put added pressure on the defense to be up to speed from the opening kickoff.
But that might not be the reality.
Terrell Edmunds said despite its youth and inexperience, the offense has impressed.
“There’s no days that the defense just runs over the offense, or the offense just runs over the defense,” he said. ”... Each day, we’re making each other better. There’s nobody that’s standing over top of the other side of the ball, I’d say, because the defense is competing as well as the offense, and the young guys are stepping up.”
While not as decorated as his younger brother, Terrell has earned accolades from his coach.
“I think athletically he’s just different. He’s an incredibly hard worker but I’ve never seen a guy that can’t get tired,” Fuente said. “He doesn’t. We know about the family, just great people in general, but there’s just something different about him. His stamina, his strength, his work ethic, his intelligence.”
Terrell laughed when asked about the stamina comments, and shared a secret.
“I try to hold myself to coach Fuente’s standard, and not put your hands on your hips. Never put your hands on your head,” he said, adding that the coaches stress never showing any weakness to the Hokies’ opponents.
“That’s big in my head. Each time I even feel like I’m tired, I just stand up and I try to clap, I try to yell, I try to just make a crazy impression, you could say, because I try to get loud when I’m tired,” he said, laughing. “So, whenever I’m loud and clapping all crazy and yelling, that’s when I’m kind of tired.”
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