Bud Foster, Virginia Tech's defensive coordinator, said he was offered the Georgia defensive coordinator job and was on the verge of constructive contract talks with coach Mark Richt when Tech stepped in with an offer Foster could not refuse.
“It was getting ready to happen,” said Foster, who is in town with the Hokies to play Tennessee in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on New Year’s Eve. “Mark and I talked on several occasions ... and then Tech stepped up to the plate.
“He [Richt] said he would be excited to have me as coordinator. It was going in that direction.”
Virginia Tech offered Foster an annuity that would kick in if Foster stayed five years. A native of Illinois, he has been at Virginia Tech for 23 years.
“I probably have the best contract, when it is all said and done, of anybody in the country,” Foster said. “It is a rollover contract. And then I got a nice annuity, if I stay five years, or if Coach [Frank] Beamer retires.”
Asked about internet-fueled rumors that Georgia would pay him $500,000, Foster, 50, said his talks with Richt never progressed that far, but that it would have taken at least $500,000 to lure him from Blacksburg, considering his present deal.
Through a spokesman, Richt declined comment.
New on the block
Virginia Tech is ranked sixth nationally in pass defense (14th in total defense), but that defense will be without a key veteran against Tennessee. Senior cornerback Stephan Virgil was ruled academically ineligible for the bowl game.
Beamer said sophomore Cris Hill or freshman Jayron Hosley would step in as the starter, depending on how they practice this week.
“Hill and Hosley are going to work hard this week and see who has the best practice and we’re probably going to go with that guy,” Beamer said. “They are both capable.
“Cris Hill has a lot of ability. ... I just want him to play consistent.”
Hill, who said he is better man-to-man than in zone, said he is confident he will be the starter and that Tennessee will test him.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if they did,” Hill said. “But you’re always one snap away from being a starter, so I’ve prepared myself.”
Big game for Tech
There is plenty at stake for Tech in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. The Hokies (9-3) want to keep up with Texas and record their sixth consecutive 10-win season. They also want to finish the season in the top 10.
“We have a heck of a chance here to win 10 games, win back-to-back bowls for the first time, but more important than that is to end up in the top 10 in the country. I really believe if we win this thing we can be in the top 10,” Beamer said.
Tech, which has played in a bowl game for 17 consecutive seasons, started the 2009 season No. 7 here in Atlanta before losing to Alabama 34-24.
The Hokies have to clear two obstacles: the location and the opponent. They have lost twice in Atlanta already this season: to Alabama and to Georgia Tech 28-23 on Oct. 17.
Virginia Tech has also lost four consecutive games to SEC teams.