Opponents Will Need to Account for More Bryce Perkins

Bryce Perkins leaps for first-down yardage in the first period against Duke Saturday (Photo by John Markon).

By Jerry Ratcliffe

Now that Virginia has taken then reins off quarterback Bryce Perkins, giving him more freedom to run the football on designed plays, defenses are going to take a closer look on how to stop him.

Perkins rushed 22 times for 62 yards and three touchdowns in UVA’s 48-14 domination of Duke last weekend. It was a season high in rushing attempts for the dual-threat senior and came after the return of backup QB Brennan Armstrong, who had missed the last few games while sidelined with an injury.

Coach Bronco Mendenhall revealed that the staff had purposely held Perkins back during Armstrong’s absence because they didn’t want to increase the risk of Perkins being injured. It didn’t help that the offensive line had struggled to protect Perkins, who was sacked 13 times over the span of only two games.

So, with Perkins healthy and ready to run more if required, how is that going to impact the way opponents defende him?

Louisville coach Scott Satterfield didn’t hesitate when asked that question this week. He was questioned on whether he planned to put a “spy” on Perkins the same strategy that Clemson used against Louisville’s quarterbacks last week in a lopsided Tigers win.

“Yeah that will be a part of our package depending on what defense we would call that particular time and a lot of it depends on down and distance where you’re out on the field, but yeah,” Satterfield said

“Clemson did a good job rushing three and having one guy just kind of sitting there and waiting.”

The Louisville coach said that Perkins is good at breaking tackles, so even if there’s a spy on him, the tackle still has to be executed.

“[Perkins] is a strong runner and you have to be able to do what you’ld like to be able to do … contain him and not let him get out loose. I think that’s where he’s dangerous,” Satterfield said. “He’s out on the edges and he can run-pass, and that’s where he becomes really dangerous. So, we got to keep them in the pocket and then when he does break out, have a player there to be able to contain him.”

Of course, that means Virginia, and Perkins specifically, will have to do a good job of pre-snap recognition of the defense. If there’s a spy on him, that means there’s probably a one-on-one mismatch of a receiver on a linebacker somewhere. Perkins has to recognize it and execute it to help take the pressure away.


  1. Dennis says:

    Having Armstrong back makes me feel so much better about the rest of the season. Run Bryce, run!

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