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Advance Auto Parts Hokie Hotline Notes
, September 22, 2003
by Wayne Clevenger

Bill Roth began the broadcast by announcing that both the Richmond and Norfolk radio stations that normally carry the show are unfortunately still without power. He then asked the eveningís callers to share their Isabel-related stories and utility outage situations. He went on to announce that VTís Michael Crawford is the Big East Defensive Player of the Week, while Walter Reyes of Syracuse and Roscoe Parrish or Miami respectively took the same awards this week for offense and special teams. He praised Crawford for his performance against aTm, which included 18 tackles.

Tonight's guests were QB coach Kevin Rogers, AD Jim Weaver, and head coach Frank Beamer.

Kevin Rogers Ė Quarterbacks Coach

After introducing Rogers, Roth commented on the outstanding play of Bryan Randall and asked his guest to do the same. Rogers praised Randall and said he gets better every day, both on and off the field. Roth asked if Randall has always been ahead of Vick in terms of the starting QB position (even during Spring practice). Rogers said that Randallís experience probably kept him a step in front of Vick, because they are both very talented and capable. In fact, he admitted that Vick is probably more physically talented than Randall. However, Rogers clarified things by praising Randallís work ethic and maturity. He said that Randall sets a "barometer" for Vick in these areas.

Roth commented on the level-headedness Randall displayed after throwing his first interception of the season against aTm. Rogers said he may have appeared level-headed, but guaranteed everyone that Randall was "pissed off" about that interception. He then pointed out that the interception wasnít entirely Randallís fault, explaining that it was partly the result of how the play developed and prevented Randall from anticipating a defender in that position. Roth asked what Rogers thought about the talent level of aTm free safety Jaxson Appel, who intercepted Randall. Rogers admitted that, while he was talented, heíd seen better free safeties before.

Joe from Buena Vista called to ask Rogers if he thought there was a chance of Marcus Vick transferring to another university due to limited playing time behind Randall. Rogers said no, he didnít think there was a chance of that happening. He said that Marcus is an introspective guy who understands and accepts his role in the development process. He said that Marcus knows he needs to improve and also knows that his playing time will increase. Rogers finished by reiterating that Marcus is very happy in his current role.

Roth asked how much of a QBís development is based on skill versus raw talent. Rogers explained that coaching can only take a player so far, after that itís raw talent that allows a QB to really put his "signature" on the position. Roth also asked if Marcus Vick is ready to step in now and play QB for VT. Rogers said that heís definitely ready in terms of talent. Right now all he needs is experience, and VT is trying to get Vick playing time whenever possible.

Roth and Rogers then discussed the option execution on a few plays in the aTm game. Roth specifically brought up the option to the short side of the field that resulted in a TD run by Randall. Rogers said that people may criticize the option to the short side, but pointed out that VT executes it very well. He commended Jeff King and Doug Easlick for hitting their blocking assignments on these plays.

After a break Roth asked if VT had really expanded the playbook for Bryan Randall this year versus last. Rogers said that VT had indeed expanded the playbook and indicated that the coaches would ask more and more of Randall as the season progresses. He said that Randall is really becoming "programmed" into VTís offensive system.

Gabe from Ohio emailed and asked jokingly if more former Hokies could get on the Cleveland Browns' roster. He praised the recent play of Andre Davis and Ben Taylor during Clevelandís win over San Francisco. Gabe then asked Rogers if he thought Randall would go pro some day. Rogers stated that Randall is certainly on the right track and should go pro if he keeps working hard and improving. He said that Randall really takes coaching well.

Roth switched gears by bringing up Notre Dame (Rogers used to be a coach there). He asked why ND hasnít seemed to have had a truly great QB lately. Rogers said that itís hard to measure intangibles such as patience and commitment when recruiting high school kids. He used Joe Montana as an example of a QB who had immeasurable intangibles. He also pointed out that some of the QBs he recruited before he left ND have since transferred because of limited playing time. Roth asked what Rogers thought about the current starting QB at Notre Dame, Carlyle Holiday. Rogers said that while Holiday is a great athlete, he doesnít seem to have fully adapted to the QB position and may need a position change.

David on his cell phone called to ask how VT ran so effectively against aTm last Thursday, especially in the 4th quarter. He pointed out that the running game was less of a factor in last yearís win over aTm. Rogers said that VT is taking a different approach this year with respect to running the football. As an example, he illustrated the misdirection plays where Randall lines up in the shotgun formation and hands off to KJ right, while the line is pulling left. He said these plays are different than normal off-tackle hand-offs because it forces the defense to defend all 11 offensive players. He noted that Randall has several different options as these plays develop, based on what he reads in the defensive coverage (pass, reverse, straight hand-off). Rogers finished by stating that he thought VT had a much better offense now that at any time last year.

Gary in Lynchburg called and asked why VT is not throwing the ball long more? He noted that Wilford has been wide open on several plays recently. Rogers pointed out that the VT offense was always moving the ball against aTm, so there wasnít an immediate need for the quick strike. He also referred to the fact that VT was going against the wind much of the game, and that is not a judicious time to throw the long ball. Rogers finished by saying that the longer, quick strike routes are more a part of VTís offense now than last year. He also took time out to praise the play of the Hokie defense. He said that Bud Foster made some great adjustments at halftime and it seems the offensive and defensive units fed off each otherís successes during the game.

Mike in Richmond called and asked Rogers about what has made Randall improve so much since last year. Rogers said that Randallís year-round work ethic along with his drive to improve himself in the weight room AND the classroom are examples of why he has improved. He also mentioned that Randall studies film religiously and breaks it down very well.

Victor in Blacksburg called and pointed out that ESPNís Lee Corso said Rogers was "the best in the business." Victor then asked Rogers to identify the VTís primary recruiting regions. Rogers mapped out some areas in VA that he personally covers, and went on to explain that heíll also be expanding his efforts to New Jersey and parts of North Carolina next year with VTís ACC membership.

Rogers went on to explain that any successful major college football program needs to have four QBís in the system at all times. He pointed out that VT only has two viable QBís right now. He said this is a delayed effect of Michael Vickís early departure to the NFL. Rogers reiterated his earlier point about recruiting players who have patience and donít demand to play right away. He pointed out that Michael Vickís situation was different because he didnít play behind an incumbent while at VT. Lastly, Rogers stated that Clifton was getting very few reps at the QB position right now because Beamer wanted to be fair and give him more reps at wide out.

Roth asked how VT looked with respect to recruiting incoming QBís. Rogers flatly stated that VT should be in good shape for the next 6 years with the talent that is in the pipeline. They both made reference to Hargraveís QB signee (Cory Holt), but didnít actually say his name.

Roth asked Rogers to comment on UCONNís team. Rogers said that UCONN has very capable players at the skill positions and mentioned the tailback and quarterback specifically. He said that VT better be hungry this coming weekend after seeing what can happen last weekend (referring to the upsets and other losses by Top 10 teams).

Jim Weaver Ė Athletic Director

After a break, Roth introduced Jim Weaver and asked him if heíd ever remembered creating a weather committee before (like the one last week that monitored/predicted the impact of Isabel on Blacksburg). Weaver said that he didnít remember being in that same situation before but praised the committee for their hard work. Roth pointed out that some fans thought the game should not have been played. Weaver said he was aware of these sentiments, but that the ramifications of postponing or canceling a TV game are monumental. He said he was constantly in touch with officials at ESPN and aTm throughout last week as the situation unfolded and stated that the idea of postponement or cancellation was never seriously considered.

Weaver said that all indications pointed to the fact that there was no real or imminent danger in the Blacksburg area as a result of the hurricane. Weaver said he was disappointed by the fact that the media portrayed the entire situation in terms of lost revenue (in the event of postponement or cancellation). Weaver explained that the TV revenues go directly from ESPN to the Big East and that VT would have been paid their $225,000 appearance fee even if the game was cancelled or postponed.

Roth asked if Weaver was pleased with the condition of the field on Thursday. Weaver said he was very pleased. He said that plan all week was to leave the pumps running to dry out the field so it could absorb more water on Thursday Ė and the plan worked to perfection. Roth pointed out that most of aTmís white uniforms looked clean, even at the end of the game. Weaver said that an official at aTm contacted him after the game and praised the condition of Worsham Field.

After a break Roth asked Weaver to comment on the football program at UCONN. Weaver praised the way UCONN has built their program so quickly. However, he pointed out that they have almost unlimited funding to pour into their athletic department. He used the $92 million of state funding UCONN used to build their football stadium as an example. He said theyíre lucky to get this much money because this is not an option in the Commonwealth of VA. Roth brought up the situation at Vanderbilt University (where the athletic department has been dissolved and its functions absorbed by the university), and Weaver commented that he doesnít understand how Vanderbilt plans to run a large fragmented athletic department with different sports programs reporting to different chancellors. Roth said it sounded like it would run like intramural athletics.

A.C. in Richmond called to state that he had a great time at last Thursdayís game. He also stated that a lot of fans from Eastern VA couldnít return home after the game as planned, due to the approaching hurricane. He asked Weaver if it would have been possible to open the field house or the coliseum for these people to provide them overnight shelter. Weaver stated that those facilities were earmarked for emergency evacuation after the GT lightning game in 2000, but that they hadnít considered their use as overnight shelter. He said he would take the suggestion under advisement.

Dave in Alabama called and asked about the possibility of sending a pep band to all VT away games. He suggested that special donations might be collected as a way to pay for their travel costs. Weaver admitted that this is more of a possibility with VTís addition to the ACC because many road games are now reachable by bus. However, he cautioned that the band members would need tickets and it would be difficult to deny the same tickets to those fans accustomed to attending away games.

After a break, Jeff in Knoxville called and praised the field condition during the aTm game. He also referenced a company that builds custom condominiums in and around stadiums (the have them at UT) that are decorated with the university colors, etc. Jeff wonder if such condos would be a possibility in Blacksburg in light of the fact that itís becoming more difficult to secure hotel rooms for home games. Weaver said he had not heard of this company, but that he would pass the suggestion on to Ray Smoot (I guess Ray is in charge of new campus construction projects).

Eric in Lynchburg called to say that, after the aTm game, heíd traveled north to Maryland and then attended the Penn State game on Saturday. He said that Hokie fans received a lot of positive reviews from Maryland and Penn State fans because of their large turnout in poor conditions last Thursday. Weaver praised the fans for sticking it out and said Beamer and the players were both very proud of the large crowd for the aTm game. He said that VTís unbelievable fan support is one of the things that sets them apart from other football programs.

Chuck in Christiansburg called and congratulated Weaver on his pre-season foresight in warning all fans to avoid rushing the field after games. He referenced that fact that students had been injured in Toledo Saturday night after the Rockets upset Pitt. Weaver explained that only VT and the University of Iowa have goal posts that can be taken down in 8-10 seconds. Roth pointed out that both students injured in Toledo are in critical condition, and one is paralyzed after getting hit by the falling goal post.

Both Weaver and Roth expressed their regret over this occurrence because it could have been avoided. They pointed out that the Universityís athletic department can legally be held responsible in these situations. Weaver reiterated that any unauthorized people who attempt to enter Worsham Field either during or after a game, will be arrested and fined.

Frank Beamer Ė Head Football Coach

After a break Roth introduced Beamer as the head coach of the #5 team in the nation and asked him if heíd dried out since last Thursday. Beamer joked that he didnít even notice it was raining during the game. He went on to praise the field condition and said he was a true believer in the tray system. He also emphatically praised the VT fans for their support and was proud of how they showed up in force for the aTm game. He said that instead of the rain driving people away, it seemed to drive them toward the stadium. He said recruits love to see strong fan attendance and support.

Roth asked Beamer about the play of Bryan Randall. Beamer said that Randall makes very smart decisions and that VT is lucky to have two gifted players at QB. Roth pointed out that this marks the 5th year in a row that VT has been ranked in the top 5 at some point in the season (this is a first for VT). Beamer said that someone told him once him that if knock on the door enough times, eventually youíll knock it over (good analogy).

Mark in Roanoke called and commented that heíd never heard a crowd as loud as the one at Lane Stadium last Thursday night and praised the adjustments made by the VT coaching staff at halftime. Mark also asked why DeAngelo Hall seemed to be giving his receiver a lot of room at the beginning of the game. Beamer began his reply by remarking how VT really pretty much dominated aTm in the second half. He said that this is a credit not only to the players and coaches on the field, but also a credit to Mike Gentry for conditioning the players well.

Beamer answered the question about Hallís coverage strategy by saying that it was planned. He said that after the VT coaches saw the scrambling ability of aTmís QB in the first half, they decided to tighten up at the line of scrimmage and try to get after him more. Beamer also commented that Hall was close to getting at least two interceptions and that sometimes he presses too much, instead of using his athleticism and letting the game come to him.

Tom in Winston-Salem emailed and asked, out of all the great runs against VT, has anyone ever had a better one that the aTm punter when he scrambled for a first down after almost getting the punt blocked? Roth and Beamer laughed a bit at the question, then Beamer said he didnít think VT had ever had that many people in one game that were in position to block a punt and was surprised that none were blocked. He laughed when he illustrated that at one point, two VT punter rushers actually tripped over each other. Beamer said that the run was a result of how the players were taught to run their lanes, which enabled the aTm punter to pull it down and take off. He said that VT adjusted this a bit, and didnít let the aTm punter get away the second time. Beamer admitted that the aTm punter was a good athlete and deserved some credit.

Barek in Blacksburg called and asked for Beamerís comments on Terry Caulley, UCONNís talented tailback. Barek wanted to know if Caulleyís style was more like Lee Suggs or Barry Sanders. Beamer said on film that Caulley looked like he did a little of both, making moves AND having the ability to power forward and break tackles for positive yardage. He also pointed out that Caulley is the nationís top rusher Ė a very complete back. Beamer praised UCONNís coaching and precision execution. He said he thought they might be a better team than "some of these MAC teams that are out there upsetting people."

After a break, Linda in Newport News called in just to chat. She admitted that she didnít have any questions for Beamer, but respected him greatly and mentioned that her daughter Ashley worked there at the Christiansburg Beamerís Restaurant. Beamer asked the manager how Ashley was doing (she wasnít working that night) and was told she was doing fine. Beamer passed this along to Linda. Linda went on to praise the food at Beamerís and related that she probably wouldnít have power back until Thursday. Beamer and Roth sympathized with her.

Mark in Smithfield called to relate that he still had no power and no ice. He said that his family did attend the aTm game and praised two VT players for giving their gloves and wristbands to his 10 year old son after the game. Beamer said that most of his players were great guys and really appreciated the fans. Mark then asked Beamer why VTís defensive backs seemed to play further off the line of scrimmage in the first half, then tightened up in the second half. Beamer gave basically the same response as earlier when another called asked this specifically about DeAngelo Hall. Basically, it was a result of coverage changes made at halftime and the coaches decision to tighten up the coverage and get after McNeal more in the second half. More one on one was played in blitzing situations, as opposed to the "cover two" used a lot in the first half.

After a break, Charles in Roanoke called and asked Beamer if VT practiced game winning or game tying plays on a weekly basis. He also asked if VT practiced to defend specific trick plays. Beamer said that VT has a special drill they run with Carter Warley so he can practice making pressure kicks with everyone watching. He also said that VT practices certain pass scale situations for situations where the game is on the line. Beamer said practicing for trick plays is mostly about coaching and fundamental execution, although VT does work on defending reverses, flea flickers, and unexpected onside kicks. Roth mentioned some of the trick plays from both teams in the aTm game (onside kicks, reverses, etc.) Beamer said that there were many times in the game when VT had a chance to really put aTm away and let the chance slip away by making mental errors.

Kevin from Yorktown in the audience stated that heíd been in Blacksburg since last Wednesday and was simply hanging out and enjoying himself. He then asked about the aTmís play fake that resulted in a TD pass to the receiver covered by Jimmy Williams. Beamer said that it was good play action execution and a good pass, but he definitely thought that the receiver pushed off on Williams in order to make the catch. He said that VT had the play defended about as well as you can expect.

Liz in Norfolk called in and reported that she was still without power. She said they couldnít make it to the game but wanted to get away from the coast so they secured a room for Thursday night at the Hotel Roanoke and ended up watching the game with a bunch of aTm fans in the bar there. Beamer told Liz that he appreciated her loyalty and was glad she was able to watch the game. Beamer and Roth then briefly mentioned the outstanding play of former Hokie Andre Davis in the Cleveland/San Francisco game the day before. Both said that the second TD catch he made was unbelievable. Beamer also commended the play of John Engelberger, who recorded two QB sacks on two consecutive plays.

Gordon from Vincent called in and praised the play of VTís rover Michael Crawford and commended him for his comeback from the illness he experienced last season. Beamer couldnít say enough good things about Crawford and stated that Mike is the type of guy you want to go into battle with. He makes good things happen on and off the field. He said Crawfordís impromptu halftime speech pumped up the players a lot Ė he said Crawford simply said, "Weíre going to do whatever it takes to win this game." He said a lot of players talk a big game, but Mike simply goes out there, leads by example and gives you everything heís got on every play.

Roth commented on the excellent play of James Anderson on special teams. Beamer agreed that Anderson did make some great plays against aTm and said he is a much better player now than last year (with more athleticism and maturity). He said he like to have guys like James on special teams.

Curtis in Wytheville called and pointed out that the fans on the West side seemed loud at the beginning of the game, but seemed to quiet down and stop standing as the game progressed. Beamer jokingly said that he would let Curtis work this out in the stands because he had all he could handle on the sidelines.

After a break, Trey in Alabama called and praised the play of both Randall and KJ on the deep counter running plays. He also pointed out that all Big East commercials advertisements have now eliminated VT and Miami. He said to use this as motivation, take no prisoners, play to win and donít play not to lose. He finally asked what food Beamer would recommend at his restaurant. Roth and Beamer both recommended the filet, creamed spinach, crab cakes and all the desserts. Roth and Beamer joked about the huge dessert Mrs. Beamer had eaten that night after dinner. Beamer then said he might be in trouble for saying that (laughter).

Scott in the audience then stood up and praised the play of Jake Grove. He pointed out that there was only one mishandled snap in the aTm game, which was amazing because of the wet conditions. Beamer agreed that Grove might have played his best game ever on against aTm, but pointed out that with the equipment players have these days (gloves), that wind is more of an adverse factor than wetness. Scott then asked if Beamer had directed Warley to kick 62 yard field goals with the wind during warm-ups. Beamer said that he didnít even know about it. He said when they spoke before the game Warley told him that he felt good about kicking field goals with the wind. He then praised Warleyís personality and said he felt good having him as VTís place kicker. He said that Warley is very important to VT.

Jonathon in Floyd called and asked for Beamerís comments on the recent upsets in college football. Beamer said that upsets happen almost every week, there just seemed to be more than usual this past weekend. He said that it doesnít matter if youíre supposed to beat a team, all that matters is how a team actually plays on the field. He said that there is no favorite once the ball is kicked off.

After a break, Mike in Roanoke called in and asked Beamer to keep the team fired up and keep beating opponents that VT is supposed to beat. Beamer responded by saying, "Absolutely."

Roth then asked Beamer for closing comments about UCONN and Beamer simply said that VT needed to stop or at least contain their tailback Caulley. He said that heís very talented and that might be the key to VT victory.

Monday was Day 1,442 of Tech's continuous possession of the Commonwealth Cup.

-- Wayne


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