Midget Going Back to Move Forward
By BJ Bennett
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As Anthony Midget returns to Virginia Tech, now colleagues with the man who helped cultivate his career, his admiration for his former coach remains the same.
Over a dozen years ago, Anthony Midget helped take Virginia Tech to their first-ever national championship game. Midget and the Hokies took on fellow undefeated Florida State in the Sugar Bowl, ultimately falling 46-29. He left Blacksburg with a third-team All-American selection from The Sporting News, first-team All-Big East accolades and Big-East All-Academic honors as well.
He returns as one of college football's more talented rising coaches, a soon-to-be FBS defensive coordinator for Bill Curry and Georgia State.
Midget was named the replacement to Arkansas State defensive coordinator John Thompson this past March. Not too long after, Monday April the 9th, GSU Athletic Director Cheryl Levick announced that the Panthers will be joining the Sun Belt Conference in 2013. Georgia State will there compete with the likes of Arkansas State, Florida International, Middle Tennessee and Troy. Midget, who has been with the school since 2008 when football was established, will be a key figure in that historic transition.
"It's an exciting time for Georgia State athletics, being able to be accepted into the Sun Belt. As a competitor you want to compete at the highest level and going into the Sun Belt will give us that opportunity to qualify for a bowl game," Midget explained Monday. "I've been here since we first started with coach Curry and the staff. To see what the program has come from, from us originally coming, not having facilities or any equipment, to now today having a press conference at the Georgia Dome saying we are going FBS is truly a blessing. When we came here we were saying possibly some day we will play FBS football. It's come. It's happened quicker than I thought it could possibly happen and that's a credit to our administration and leadership, Dr. Becker and Cheryl Levick."
Midget did more than just excel as a cover corner at Virginia Tech. After an NFL career with the Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers concluded, Midget sharpened his coaching skills at Lake Worth High School in Florida. His first collegiate job came as a graduate assistant at VT, where coached in 2007 before being hired by Georgia State. That season the Hokies won the ACC Championship and earned a berth in the Orange Bowl.
As he looks to the future in what will undoubtedly be a thrilling next couple of years in Atlanta, Midget is now returning to where his coaching career started to help he and his team get to the next level. Working as a graduate assistant, he absorbed the philosophies of a number of veteran college football coaches. Midget now returns to meet with famed Hokie defensive coordinator Bud Foster with a new energy and perspective. And with a new title.
"Coach Foster was one of the first guys to call me when I got this job. Of course before I came here I was there with him at Virginia Tech and also I played for him. He's always been a mentor for me and anytime I have needed him he is always there for me. This is a chance for me to go up there and visit with him because we are running a similar type defense," Midget explained before heading back to Blacksburg.
As he takes over his own unit at Georgia State, the first-year defensive coordinator will look to mimic many of the traits that have made Foster's defense so good for so long.
"We can coach up technique, we can coach up different things but one thing we don't need to be coaching is effort. It doesn't take any talent to run to the ball and the guys got that this spring. I was really excited and encouraged by that," Midget detailed. "You are going to see that when we go out there and play, no matter who we are playing, we are going to play for 60 plus minutes. Guys are going to fly around and we are going to have a lot of fun. We are going to play with emotion. We are going to leave it all out on the field. Whether we win or lose, week-in and week-out, we want people to look at us and say 'man that Georgia State team we played was pretty tough, they played lights out'."
Midget sees being able to stop the run as key number one moving forward.
"We talk about good defense, we have to be able to stop the run. That's something we set as a goal this spring and we made improvements doing that," he added.
As Midget returns north, now colleagues with the man who helped cultivate his coaching career, his admiration for his former coach remains the same. His mind remains open. Foster has been with the Hokies since 1987, serving as defensive coordinator since 1995. He was named the AFCA Defensive Coordinator of the Year in 2000 and won the Frank Broyles Award in 2006. He and Frank Beamer, with Midget in the defensive backfield, took VT to the 1999 BCS National Championship Game after an undefeated regular season. He has won four ACC championships.
"I'm just going to pick his brain because he has been in this profession a long time and he is my mentor...some things that he can help me with to help me be successful at Georgia State and do the best I can, that's part of the reason why we are going up there," Midget concluded.
It's quite obvious that Midget is going places. First, however, he's going back to Blacksburg. There he will feel what once was and see what he hopes will soon be.