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Advance Auto Parts Hokie Hotline Notes
, October 13, 2003
by Wayne Clevenger

Bill Roth kicked off the broadcast with the following announcements: DeAngelo Hall was named the Big East Special Teams Player of the Week after his 3 TD performance against SU, the VT -Boston College game is now sold out, and the VT Ė LSU game for next season has been postponed until 2007. Roth also noted that Hall is the first VT player ever to return 2 punts for touchdowns in a single game.

Charley Wiles Ė Defensive Line Coach

After introducing Wiles, he and Roth began the segment by discussing VTís victory over SU. Wiles said he was obviously pleased with the entire teamís performance and added that it was refreshing after VTís lackluster performance last year against SU. He noted that the VT players had a tremendous energy level and enthusiasm throughout all four quarters or the game.

Roth and Wiles then focused on the production of VTís defensive ends. Wiles said that Colas was a real disruptor on both running and passing plays. He also singled out Darryl Tapp, who made some great plays on his pure athleticism, and also put a lot of big hits on SU players. Roth and Wiles both commented on the speed and athleticism of Aaron ("The Missile") Rouse, who went airborne on many plays to put a lick on an opposing player.

Roth asked how VT schematically prepared for SU during the week leading up to the game. Wiles admitted that SU is very difficult to prepare for because they do so many different things on offense. He said that VT tried to keep things simple by calling a basic defense for each play, then shifting if necessary based on what SU was showing in their formation. Wiles noted that VT does not have a complicated defense, so execution is a must. He said the goals were to play the gaps and keep leverage on the ball at all times. He pointed out that VT did a tremendous job of staying disciplined and adjusting on the fly during each play, which shows experience as well.

After a break, Jeff in Christiansburg called and noted that it seems like VT and Oklahoma are the two most well rounded teams in the country right now. Wiles admitted that he hadnít seem Oklahoma play yet, but knew they were winning big seemingly every week. He said that if VT can continue to improve, maybe theyíll have a shot at playing Oklahoma this year in the post-season. Jeff then asked Roth who he was pulling for in the VT-SU game (Roth is an SU alum). Roth emphatically said he always roots for the Hokies when they play SU. He said that he still keeps in contact with folks back at SU and VT victories always give him "bragging rights."

Charles from Blacksburg in the audience commented that VT now has five defensive tackles in the rotation. He asked who might be coming in behind those guys (redshirts, etc). Wiles noted that VT was very fortunate to have had the luxury of redshirting their entire freshmen class with the exception of David Clowney. He singled out Barry Booker, Carlton Powell and Chris Ellis as talented linemen who will compete for starting jobs next season. He noted that most of the tackles now in the rotation will be returning next season, so the future looks very bright along the defensive line.

Joe in Buena Vista called and asked what the coaching staff is planning to do in the future to stop the cut-back draw-type running plays that SU and other teams have run with some success against VT. Wiles admitted that this type of play has become very popular in college football these days and noted that VT runs different variations of it in their offense as well. He said that VT will be more prepared for the play the more itís used against them. He said that discipline, execution and experience are the keys to stopping any offensive misdirection-type plays.

John in Radford emailed asking if VT specifically practices "ball stripping" in practice. Wiles said that the players work on this for about 10 minutes in every practice (with the exception of Monday). He said they use tackling dummies with arms in practice. The ball is attached to the dummieís arm with Velcro and the players run a drill where the first man will secure the tackle and the next defender will strip the ball.

Roth then noted that SU Coach Paul Pasqualoni was asked after the game to compare VTís current defense with the 1999 version. Pasqualoni responded by saying that he thought VTís 1999 defense had more talent, but the current VT defense plays better together. Wiles said that this was a tremendous compliment from Coach Pasqualoni, who is very respected among the VT coaching staff. Wiles added that he thinks this years VT defense may be faster than the 1999 version. He also noted that VTís production at defensive end is similar to the 1999 defense. He hoped that this yearís defense could take it to the same level as 1999.

After a break Roth said that the VT defense had been questioned all year because they never seemed to put four solid quarters together. Wiles agreed that there were some questions about the defense heading into the SU game, but said that those questions have now been answered. He said that itís been VTís goal all year to have a dominating defense that can control the game for four quarters. He noted that itís all about maturing and gaining confidence. Roth commented that Jimmy Williams had another great game against SU. Wiles agreed that SU was Williamsí best game thus far and the coaches like the fact that heís really improving quickly.

Darryl from Richlands emailed asked Wiles if he had been once offered a job with the Dallas Cowboys, and if so, why did he turn it down. Wiles said he loves working at the collegiate level because it is very rewarding. He said heís already enjoying working with the best football coaches in the nation, so thereís no reason to make a change (applause).

Dick in Salem called with recruiting concerns regarding VTís offensive line. He said the line seems very much improved now, but he said he had concerns about the future. Wiles said that coach Beamer sets a certain number of players to be recruited at each position each year. He added that VT is pursuing some very talented offensive linemen right now. Wiles also said that 5-7 years ago, coaches could recruit players for other positions, then move them into the offensive line role after they gained more size. He said that they canít do that anymore because the kids are coming in so big and talented.

Jim Weaver Ė Athletic Director

After introducing Weaver, Roth asked for a brief explanation on the events that led to the postponement of next seasonís VT-LSU game to 2007. Weaver said he could talk about it for an hour, but would attempt to break it down in about 10 minutes:

This is a bit confusing, so I replayed it and tried to be as accurate as possible. Here goes:

Weaver began by stating his disappointment that someone in the VT athletic department spoke to a media representative last week and leaked the story before details could be confirmed. Weaver said he has always responded to all media questions and said he wished the media representative would have contacted him before putting the rumors in print.

He went on to explain that in the spring of 2001, ESPN approached VT about a television series with LSU. VTís schedules were full at the time but the athletic department made arrangements with ESPN to give up a two game series with ECU (home & away) in exchange for a 2004 BCA game pitting VT against ECU that would bring in $750,000 for ECU (to compensate them for their lost home game). VT and ECU both have this arrangement in writing from ESPN.

Weaver then fast-forwarded to the fall of 2001 when the VT administration knew that they would have twelve total 2002 games, seven of which would be at home. The same scheduling model applies to the current 2003 season (12 games Ė 7 at home). In 2004, VT only had an 11 game schedule with 6 home games planned, but the addition of the exempt BCA game with ECU added a 7th home game to make it 12 total games. This addition is allowed under NCAA rules.

Before VT was offered membership in the ACC, the athletic department was expecting around $1,000,000 in revenue Big East menís basketball sharing income for the 2005-6 season. Weaver said that VT had worked very hard over the past 7 months to make the 2004 BCA game a reality, but the BCA representatives had no interest in a VT-ECU match up. VT offered to play other teams away in the BCA game such as Notre Dame, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State (at University Park or the Meadowlands), and Illinois (at Soldier Field in Chicago). None of these offerings worked out and the whole process has become very frustrating for Coach Beamer and Weaver.

He said that VT needs those 7 home games in 2004 in order to operate in the black for that yearís budget. As a result of the process, the LSU away game was the only candidate for postponement. The earliest both schools could accommodate the rescheduling was 2007. He said VT never had any intention of buying out of the LSU game contract for $250,000 (which would have meant an additional home game in 2007). Weaver said that VT doesnít operate that way.

When asked why the BCA opponent alternatives didnít work out, Weaver said that there were a variety of different reasons: some teams could accommodate it in their scheduling, some just refused (ND), and others couldnít get exemptions. He said LSU had been kept in the loop throughout the process and VT was completely above board the entire time. The bottom line issue is that the BCA and ESPN canít get together and one doesnít seem to honor agreements that the other makes.

Roth asked Weaver to comment on the recent remarks by LSU coach Nick Saban when he basically said that LSU honored their end of the agreement, but VT was not honoring theirs. Weaver said that Nick Saban should stick to coaching and let the university administrators do their jobs. He seemed to think that Saban didnít know the whole story as he just explained it.

Roth asked Weaver the difference in revenue between going to play at LSU versus staging a home game. Weaver threw out some numbers basically outlining that VT pockets about $1,000,000 more in revenue for the home game versus the away game. Weaver also said that VT is not dodging LSU in any way Ė he said that VT will play anyone, anywhere, anytime. He said that VT even agreed to an elevated buyout agreement ($350,000) for the 2007 VT-LSU game.

Weaver said that LSU officials have been completely fine with the situation throughout and have complimented VT for working above-board in trying to work things out. Roth asked Weaver who LSU might be replaced with on VTís schedule. He said heís not sure yet.

Whew, that took a while.

After a break, Roth read scathing comments from Syracuse chancellors and officials regarding the fact that Boston College is now joining the ACC. He then asked Weaver why he thought these comments were made, when this had been expected for some time. Weaver responded by saying, "because their world is crumbling around them, unfortunately." He said he felt very sorry for Syracuse and the rest of the Big East because thereís a lot of tradition there and those teams should be in a strong conference.

Roth asked Weaver to recount VTís actions in trying to keep the Big East together. Weaver said that on May 14th, 2003 President Steger asked the presidents of Boston College and Syracuse to sign a pact along with the remaining Big East teams pledging to stay put (meaning that only Miami would leave for the ACC). Both institutions rejected Stegerís solidarity overture flatly. Weaver offered the same deal to both SU and BC at the Big East meetings 5 days later and the offer was rejected again because they thought they were assured of ACC membership at that point. Weaver said he thinks BC is as good an addition to the ACC as anyone out there right now. He said he thinks the ACC will have to schedule carefully to limit travel costs so teams wonít potentially have to travel to both Miami and BC in the same year.

Travis in Richmond called and praised Weaver for doing an excellent job as VTís athletic director. He then said he understood the fiscal concerns of scheduling, but asked at what point would VT really commit to strengthening their out-of-conference schedule. He pointed out that strength of schedule is a constant detriment to VTís national respect and used the replacement of LSU with a Division 1-AA team as an example of his frustration.

Weaver said that his main job is to make sure the 33 million dollar annual VT athletic budget operates in the black each year. He said that he and Beamer have worked together from the beginning to make sure VT schedules for success. He said that there are many teams that "over-schedule" and used FSU and Notre Dame as examples.

After a break, Roth continued with the point Travis had brought up by asking why teams like JMU, UCF, UCONN and Western Michigan are on VTís schedule. Weaver responded by using UCF as an example. He pointed out that UCF is a member of the MAC and MAC teams have beaten 6 equity conference opponents this year, which is a fine accomplishment. He also mentioned that Miami of Ohio beat VT back when he began as athletic director.

Lastly, Weaver talked about JMU and VTís commitment to play Division 1-AA teams for two reasons: 1) To keep the revenue in-state and 2) to support the NCAAís initiative to keep college football alive at the Division 1-AA level (this was a reference to the NCAA rule where a division 1-AA win can count toward bowl eligibility once every 4 years, except in 12 game seasons).

Weaver also noted that VTís preferred replacement opponents for the BCA game were contacted by ESPN not VT, so that aspect of the negotiations was removed from VTís hands as well.

Brian in Richmond called and asked about the prospect of raising the ticket prices for the remaining home games in 2004 in order to subsidize the money lost on the 7th home game, thus keeping the LSU away game on the 2004 schedule. Weaver said that moving the game to 2007 was the most fiscally responsible decision and he didnít want to make the fans pay for circumstances that were beyond their control.

Jerry in Christiansburg called and asked if Weaver thought that the LSU administration is OK with the postponement because theyíre mad that VT scheduled Arkansas State at the last minute last year in the kickoff game before LSU. Weaver said he didnít think that was an issue based on his dealings with LSU administrators and hearing the press releases from LSU and SEC officials that have been put out by LSU since the issue began.

Roth brought up the fact that VT and Weaver are in a delicate situation right now. He pointed out that VT cannot blast ESPN for not representing them because VT wants that relationship to stay intact. He also pointed out that VT canít blame the BCA (even though they still owe VT money from the VT-GT lightning game that was cancelled in 2000) because they are a minority group. Roth said that VT and Weaver basically need to "take the bullet." Weaver responded by saying that heís just doing whatís in the best interest of VT, which is his job.

Steve in Vinton called to make additional comments about VTís scheduling. He pointed out that other teams schedule for success by playing teams in major conferences that may not be the best in that particular conference. Steve pointed out that playing a low level team in the SEC is better than playing anyone in the MAC because the SEC is a more respected conference. Weaver said he understood Steveís position, but stated that VT is headed in the right direction in terms of scheduling and he stands by that claim. He warned everyone not to worry about what opposing fans are saying about VTís scheduling philosophy because the coaches and media polls indicate that VT is doing something right by having VT ranked 3rd at this point (applause).

Roth asked what the number of future non-conference opponents VT will schedule per year and Weaver confirmed that VT would schedule three per year. He went on to say that some non-conference games will be at home and some will be away and confirmed that VT is committed to keeping the VT-WVU series alive in future years beyond 2005 (although 2006 and 2007 will not be an option due to recent commitments to LSU).

Sean in VA Beach called to ask if Maryland would be in VTís ACC division, and if so, would VT be open to staging that game at a larger venue like FedEx field. Roth interrupted by stating that now BC (and not Maryland) will be in the same division as VT in the ACC. Weaver confirmed this and said that even if that were not the case, neither VT nor Maryland can afford to take a home game away from those fans that are paying for premium and luxury seating at Lane Stadium (at least on a regular basis).

Roth then shifted gears by asking Weaver if he thought that Connecticut Attorney General Blumenthal would file a law suit against VT over ACC expansion. Weaver said that he almost expected it because heíd read that Blumenthal intended to file suits in each individual state that is involved. He finished by saying that he would let the VT legal counsel in Burruss Hall attend to such matters.

Frank Beamer Ė Head Football Coach

Roth introduced Beamer and asked what his thoughts were on the scheduling discussions. Beamer reiterated Weaverís statements and added that this is "just the way it is." He said it was "common sense" to postpone the game. He went on to state that itís a matter of money and pointed out that VT did everything it could to make a BCA game happen. Beamer said he thought VT had been a little overly accommodating to ESPN and the BCA by offering to play a number of opponents away when the game was supposed to be at home (per the original ESPN agreement).

Roth asked for Beamerís thoughts on BCís addition to the ACC. Beamer said he was primarily concerned about the institutions left behind in the Big East. He said he had tremendous respect for all their programs and "hopes theyíll be OK." He commented that the Big East was good for VT and VT was good for the Big East.

Jeff from Knoxville called and praised Beamer and the other VT coaches for playing a lot of reserves. He asked if Beamer liked the week and a half layoff before playing WVU or would he rather play the game this Saturday if there was a choice. Beamer said he wasnít worried about the layoff in terms of losing the momentum gained from the win against SU. He said that the worst thing the team and coaches could do at this point is to think they canít improve. He said he likes having ten days to prepare for WVU and Miami because the team needs the practice time. Beamer admitted that the VT players and coaches (especially Bud Foster) put a lot of work into preparing for SU (even in the off season) and they may be a little spent after the great effort. He repeated that itís nice to have a little extra time to refocus and prepare for the next opponent.

Greg from Dublin in the audience commented on the cheap shot Kevin Jones took in the JMU game earlier in the season, as well as the choking incident where the Ohio State player put Wisconsinís starting QB out of the game this past weekend. He asked what rules can be implemented to control such behavior in light of the new NCAA sportsmanship initiative. Beamer said he had only seen the Ohio State incident once. He said he thinks the Big 10 would step in and enforce some sort of punishment. He finished by saying that it was a shame the officials didnít catch the player in the act and eject him from the game.

Barek in Blacksburg called and commented on the "night and day" difference in the performance of VTís defense this year against SU versus last year. He asked what made this huge difference, more experience, better execution, better game plan, or combination of all of these? Beamer praised the coaching first. He said VT just didnít play well against SU last year, and the coaches really studied SU in the off season to come up with a better game plan. He also credited the players for stepping up, because itís pretty much the same unit as last year. Finally, he praised the VT offense for getting first downs and allowing the defense to rest.

Roth asked if Beamer thought that VT had finally put together 4 solid quarters of football against SU. Beamer said it was pretty close, with the exceptions of a few plays. He warned that VT must continue to improve in order to keep winning.

Jennifer in Blacksburg called and asked Beamer to comment on the great game DeAngelo Hall had against SU. Beamer said that Hall is a great competitor with tons of talent. He admitted that Hall may have been pressing a little too much earlier in the year, but seems to be relaxing now and allowing the game to come to him. He pointed out that VT was very close to breaking more than just two punt returns for touchdowns against SU. He finished by adding that he expects Hall to make a lot more big plays for VT down the stretch.

Roth asked Beamer if he had flashbacks to the 1999 SU game at any point on Saturday. Beamer said that there were definite similarities between the two games. He reiterated the fact that SU has a great football team, but the inexperience of the punter seemed to handicap them in both those games.

After a break, Roth read an email from Jay in Yorktown asking why Ernest Wilford doesnít seem to be getting the ball as much as last year. Beamer said that opposing defenses are doing some things to limit Wilfordís touches. He said heís pleased with how the VT offense spreads the ball around and likes how the other players are stepping up and making plays while the defense focuses on Wilford. Roth asked what players might miss the WVU game. Beamer said he thought that Chris Shreve and Richard Johnson would probably both miss the game while they heal from injuries. He said Chad Cooper is still questionable for WVU.

Dick in Salem called and asked Beamer how he planned to "take the WVU crowd out of the game" when VT plays them next week. Beamer said that concentration and good execution usually are the keys to calming a tough crowd. He pointed out that WVU always gives VT their best shot, especially in Morgantown. He used the 1999 game against WVU (when VT had to kick a last second field goal to win) as an example of this. He said he thinks the VT fans should go to the game if they can. Roth explained that he wanted to have the WVU athletic director Ed Pastilong on the show that night, but couldnít get it scheduled. He said theyíd try again next week. Beamer said he thought the security would be fine and safe for the fans.

Victor in Blacksburg called and asked if Beamer was surprised by VTís performance thus far this year in all three phases of the game (offense, defense and special teams). He also asked if Beamer knew where the ACC championship game might be held. Beamer praised the play of both Randall and Vick in the SU game and went on to say how fortunate VT is to have a well balanced and talented team. He also praised the play of Vinnie Burns and Carter Warley. He said that Warley did great on kickoffs against SU and said the thought this would help him be a better field goal kicker in the long run. Beamer answered the second question by stating that he didnít know where the ACC championship game might be held.

Randy in Columbus OH called and confirmed that the Ohio State player who choked the Wisconsin QB had received a one-game suspension. He then asked how Beamer felt about the progress of Chris Clifton and wanted to know if he was still getting snaps at QB in practice. Beamer said that Clifton wasnít getting any more reps at QB. He said that the coaches want to be fair to Clifton and allow him to excel as a wideout. Beamer said that heís a good athlete and will continue to get better. He also praised the ability of David Clowney, Robert Parker, Chris Caesar and Michael Malone as up and coming receivers who could make an impact this year.

Anthony in Dublin called and recognized the blocking on the punt returns that sprung Hall for touchdowns against SU. Beamer agreed that the blocking was good in these situations and singled out James Anderson and Darryl Tapp as top performers. He then shifted gears by talking briefly about unsportsmanlike conduct penalties for excessive celebration after touchdowns. Beamer said he liked to see the players celebrate briefly with teammates because every touchdown is a team effort. He said this type of celebrating is much better than taunting the opposition in any way. He finished by saying he wished all conference officials would call the penalty consistently.

After a break, Beamer said that he was planning a recruiting trip to Fork Union the next day and invited everyone to come out and watch the VT JV game against FUMA this coming Thursday. He said he was anxious to see the JV squad in action again because thereís a lot of talent and potential talent there that can help the varsity squad in the near future. He mentioned Chad Grimm as an example of a former JV standout whoís now doing well on varsity special teams.

Cheryl from Richmond in the audience asked what the "intangibles" are that VT looks for in kids during recruiting. Beamer said that the VT coaches rely a lot on the high school coaches, teachers and principles when investigating the potential of a particular recruit. He said that VT mainly wants kids who have a strong desire to improve themselves on and off the football field. He said that VT has an outstanding group of young men on their football team, but cautioned that there are sometimes a few bad apples. He specifically praised Jake Grove, Bryan Randall and Kevin Jones for their community service work.

Jim in Long Island called and asked if and when VT might start promoting Kevin Jones for the Heisman Trophy. He also asked how the VT coaches would get the team focused for the WVU game. Beamer pointed out that Michael Vick came in third in the 1999 Heisman voting without a lot of promotion. He said that the best way to make a player truly stand out is to be on national TV, and VT has many nationally televised broadcasts.

After a break, Ken at Smith Mountain Lake called and pointed out the comments SUís R.J. Anderson made after the game. Anderson said that he hates to lose to VT in Blacksburg because the fans almost think they play the game. Anderson also said that SU didnít have the same type of fans when they play at home. Beamer said he had seen these comments and assured everyone that VT fans would see more comments like this from future opponents. He said that quotes like these are great for recruiting as well.

Monday was Day 1,463 of Tech's continuous possession of the Commonwealth Cup.

-- Wayne


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