Virginia Tech (1-0, 0-0 ACC) was nearly as stingy both defending the run and the pass. Last year's opponents rushed for 93 yards per game and threw for only 154.
That kind of balance does not occur without stellar linebacker play, and Tech has it in spades with bookend inside linebackers Hall and fellow junior Xavier Adibi.
"I'm really looking forward to seeing those guys turn their game up a notch," said Bud Foster, in his 20th year as an assistant at Virginia Tech and defensive coordinator for the last 10.
Hall, 6-0, 244, is a preseason first-team All-ACC pick by The Sporting News. He's a physical player, who runs well and hits hard, and who knows the Tech defense, having started every game last season at the MIKE position. He led the team in tackles with 112 – fourth-best in the ACC – and scored two defensive touchdowns to boot.
"Vince just has a nose for the football," head coach Frank Beamer said. "I watched a tape on him yesterday, and just how quickly he reads things … he has real good football sense. He's a good player that understands the game and likes to play the game."
No current Hokies' player has been in on more snaps (612) than Hall.
North Carolina's (0-1, 0-0) offense was not its complete downfall in last Saturday's 21-16 loss to Rutgers, despite two (three if you count a two-point conversion) interceptions thrown by junior quarterback Joe Dailey.
At the end of the day, Dailey's statistical line looked moderately impressive, especially considering he was playing in his first collegiate game in two years, as he connected on 24-of-36 passing attempts for 234 yards and touchdowns by air and land.
It's also apparent with veteran Jesse Holley, and new faces Brooks Foster and Hakeem Nicks, Dailey has competence awaiting his passes on the other end.
But rest assured Hall and Co. will smell blood in the air every time Dailey drops back.
Senior tailback Ronnie McGill netted 94 rushing yards – the bulk of 169 total yards on the ground for UNC, before cramps got the better of him late in the game.
The Tar Heels definitely picked up their play on both sides of the ball in the fourth quarter, but, as a former vice-presidential candidate might have put it, "UNC has met Virginia Tech, and Rutgers, you're no Virginia Tech."
"We'll be playing a much stouter defense than we faced against Rutgers," Bunting said. "We want to get our vertical game going. We don't want to run sideways."