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Advance Auto Parts Hokie Hotline Notes
, October 20, 2003
by Wayne Clevenger

Bill Roth kicked off the broadcast with the following announcements: The University of Miami has filed law suits against Big East members Pitt, Rutgers, WVU and UCONN (not SU or VT). Details of these law suits will be discussed later in Jim Weaverís segment of the show. The first BCS rankings have VT at #3. WVU officials have announced that those attending the game Wednesday night cannot park around the stadium until after 5 pm.

Bryan Stinespring Ė Offensive Line Coach / Offensive Coordinator

After introducing Stinespring, Roth asked how VT was preparing for WVUís unorthodox 3-3-5 defense. Stinespring agreed that it was a defense that VT only faces once a year. He said itís a challenge because VT has to change a lot of their blocking schemes as a result. He said that VT needed the extra time to prepare for the WVU defense and was happy to have 10 days to install the necessary offensive modifications. Both Roth and Stinespring praised the ability of WVUís linebacker Grant Wiley. Stinespring said he had great football instincts and will challenge VTís offense on every play.

Jeff in Christiansburg called and asked if Stinespring thought WVU would present VTís toughest challenge thus far this season. Stinespring said he thought WVU would indeed be VTís biggest challenge thus far. He said that WVU has improved each game this season. He also pointed out that WVU played both Miami and Wisconsin tough. He added that WVU has a physical defense and an improving offense that will really test VT. Stinespring also mentioned how tough it is to play in Morgantown. Jeff also asked who might replace Doug Easlick as VTís starting fullback next season. Stinespring said that VT is actively recruiting for the fullback position, but added that the staff will look at some potential candidates next spring who are redshirting right now.

Roth brought up the rumors that Kevin Jones may leave for the NFL after this season. He asked Stinespring if this question needed to be answered now in order to avoid any distractions as the season progresses. Stinespring said that the matter had not been discussed at all. He said the team is focused on the tasks at hand right now.

Joe in Buena Vista called and asked two questions. What will VT do offensively to beat WVU, and who will replace the seniors on the offensive line after this season. Stinespring responded by listing the following keys to VTís offense against WVU: 1. Protect the football 2. Convert third downs 3. Avoid third and long situations 4. Keep WVU off-balance defensively. Stinespring answered the second question by saying that Matt Welsh and Tripp Carroll will be outstanding future performers for VTís offensive line. He mentioned that Carroll would be competing next spring with Robert Ramsey for the center position after Jake Grove graduates.

After a break, Roth pointed out that VT is leading the Big East in multiple offensive categories. Stinespring attributed much of VTís offensive success to Coach Beamer and the regimented practice mentality he has installed at VT. He also said that VTís offense is challenged to improve every day in practice by Coach Fosterís defensive unit. Roth asked Stinespring if he had a favorite new play that the VT offense was running this year. Stinespring said he likes all the misdirection options as well as the spread draw play.

Kenny in Marion called and asked if VT would throw more or pass more against WVU. Stinespring said that VT goes into every game expecting to do both well. He said that the coaches like to script the first 10-15 offensive plays, then make any necessary adjustments from there.

Denny in Tazewell called and asked if VT would throw in some new or trick plays against WVU to give Miami more to prepare for. Stinespring said that he and the other coaches are solely focused on preparing for WVU. He said that neither the staff nor the players are looking ahead to the Miami game in any way. Roth pointed out the SU admitted last year that they faked a punt in the game before they played VT to show that they were capable and willing to risk it. He also commented that Miami faked a punt against Temple this past Saturday with the game well in hand. Stinespring admitted that VT had done similar things in the past by running some different option plays and halfback passes to show future opponents new twists in their offensive arsenal.

Dave in Wisconsin called and asked how the VT coaching staff has been preparing the team for the hostile environment in Morgantown. Stinespring said that the team has been practicing with artificial noise inside Rector Field House. He said that the coaches and team know the they will get WVUís best shot and all VT can do is prepare to execute their game plan regardless of the expected conditions.

After a break, Roth pointed out that VT is averaging 6.6 yards per offensive play, which leads the Big East. Stinespring agreed that was a positive stat and praised the coaches and players for the success so far this season. Roth also commented on VTís third down conversion rate of 53%, which also leads the league.

Kathy in Blacksburg called and asked for an injury report on Jimmy Martin. She also asked what the future might hold for Brandon Gore in terms of playing time. Stinespring answered the second question first by saying that Gore was progressing well and should compete for a starting job next spring. Stinespring then reported that Martin had a full practice on Monday and should be ready to go against WVU.

Jim Weaver Ė Athletic Director

After Weaverís introduction, he and Roth made some small talk before revisiting last weekís discussion of the LSU game postponement. Weaver said he wanted to explain a statement he made in an issue of the Roanoke Times last week that quoted him as saying something to the effect that he couldnít worry about the fans. He said he really meant that he couldnít worry about what other people thought of him because his primary job is to oversee the fiscal concerns of VT. He said the quote was taken out of context to a certain extent.

Roth asked Weaver who would be affected if VT had to trim a million dollars from the athletic budget. Weaver said that all the student athletes would be affected if such a thing became necessary. He admitted that heíd never considered the impact of such a scenario because heíd never considered a budget cut. Weaver pointed out that the LSU game postponement had to happen because the budget for 2004 was already set and could not be adjusted.

Roth asked for Weaverís reaction to the lawsuits Miami had brought against UCONN and some other Big East schools. Weaver said that itís sad that thereís so much litigate fallout over ACC expansion, but added that Miami probably feels that itís the only way they can fight back. Roth pointed out that Miami just released confidential letters they sent to Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese in November 1999 stating 16 concerns they had regarding their league membership (editor's note: Miami's press release about the lawsuit did not contain the letter with the 16 concerns).

Weaver said he was unaware of the nature of these letters in 1999 and didnít know any more now than he did then. Weaver said that VT and SUís omission from the lawsuits was fortunate but deserved because both institutions were basically innocent bystanders in the entire ACC expansion situation. Weaver said he didnít know enough about the nature of the lawsuits to comment any further on how the situation might play out.

David called and asked how much money VT makes from a home football game televised by ESPN and is that money divided among all Big East members. Weaver said that each conference has different arrangements with ESPN, but a Big East appearance fee pays $200,000. Weaver didnít say if or how the money is distributed around the league. David also asked Weaver why he thought WVU didnít get offered membership in the ACC. Weaver said he couldnít answer this because he wasnít privy to any discussions that took place between ACC officials and institution chancellors during the expansion process.

He said that UVaís president Casteen spoke highly at last weekís press conference about the high academic standards and geographic advantages that BC brought to the ACC. Roth asked Weaver when he thought BC would begin play in the ACC. Weaver said that this might end up being a legal issue with the Big East because of the new exit fees that were implemented recently.

Roth then asked what Weaver thought would become of the remaining Big East football schools. Weaver said he wasnít sure and added that he really didnít have time to be concerned with this because his main focus is the welfare of VT. Roth pointed out that league expansions happen without the involvement of the NCAA and asked Weaver if he thought the NCAA should be involved in overseeing league expansions/contractions. Weaver said that the NCAA as an organization is not currently designed to be involved in issues of conference affiliation. He added that such issues are completely out of their jurisdictional control, but added that this could change in the future at some point.

Sam called and asked if ESPN would still televise as many VT games after VT begins ACC play. Weaver said that VT had played on ESPN more than any other team over the past 5 years, but admitted that he didnít know for sure if that trend would continue. He said he knew that ESPN feels that VT is very attractive to ESPN because they play an exciting brand of football and the stadium atmosphere is always great. Roth also pointed out that VT and Miami have appeared a total of 35 times in conference games under the Big Eastís television contracts since 1998. Both Weaver and Roth both attributed this impressive exposure statistic to VTís success on the field.

Whitney called and asked if Weaver would add future budgeting for legal staff in the VT athletic department in light of the recent flurry of lawsuits. Weaver said he hoped that could be avoided. He said that VT was fortunate to have associate athletic director David Chambers, who is an attorney and provides Weaver and the rest of the athletic department with invaluable legal consulting.

Roth went back to the discussion of the lawsuits recently filed by Miami against UCONN and other Big East members. Weaver said he was sure that Miami filed these lawsuits very reluctantly because "it isnít their style." Roth pointed out Miamiís claim that none of their concerns were addressed by the Big East in 1999. Weaver said he wasnít aware of Miamiís concerns in 1999, but added that his ignorance of this might be due to the fact that VT was not an "all sports" member of the Big East at that time.

Frank Beamer Ė Head Football Coach

After a break, Roth introduced Beamer and began the discussion by talking about the BCS rankings. Both pointed out that Northern Illinois (ranked #10) had a shot at a BCS bowl if they keep winning. Roth noted that VTís current schedule strength is ranked 60th in the nation, but pointed out that this rank will get better in the coming weeks. Beamer said that VT just needed to focus on WVU now and not worry about any rankings. He said that VT had its work cut out for it over the coming weeks.

Roth then turned the discussion to the WVU game. Beamer said he thought this game would be a real battle. He pointed out how tough WVU played Miami and added that VT would have to play very well in order to beat WVU.

Barek in Blacksburg called and asked if VTís defense against WVU would focus more on stopping the run or the pass. Beamer said that VT will need to stop WVUís rushing attack first and foremost. He said that stopping WVUís rushing attack will be a challenge because both Marshall (QB) and Wilson (TB) are talented and elusive. Beamer said that VT is very wary of WVUís capabilities. He also added that he expects WVU to play even better against VT than they did against Miami.

Roth noted that WVU administrators have given assurances regarding fan security at Mountaineer Field. Beamer urged all fans to be respectful of other fans and commented that WVU and VT both have tremendous respect for each otherís football teams.

Nathan from Wythe County called in and commented how well VT played against SU, but noted that he thought the WVU game would be a tough matchup. Beamer agreed on both comments. Nathan asked Beamer if he thought VT deserved to be ranked #3 in the BCS poll. Beamer said he didnít want to think about rankings at this point in the season and urged all fans to keep themselves from getting caught up in the rankings hype.

Robert in Christiansburg called and asked why VT seems to relax a bit after getting a big lead. He also asked what the coaches were doing to prepare for some teams (such as Pitt) that historically play well against VT. Beamer said that VT does try to go for the jugular and finish teams off. He said that the coaches want the second string players to play just as well as the first team players. He said that sometimes you have to give the opponent credit for being able to come back instead of blaming VT for relaxing. Beamer said that VT respects all their opponents and wants to beat them decisively without running up the score. He answered the second question by stating that the VT coaches will approach the Pitt game similar to how they approached the SU game. He said the coaches would study past VT-Pitt games and make the adjustments necessary to play better.

Bill in Christiansburg called and commented about how much he appreciated where Beamer had taken the VT football program. Beamer agreed that VT football is a solid operation right now and attributed the success to staff consistency and the ability to recruit blue chip talent.

Pam in Culpeper called and asked if VT has prepared properly for playing on Astroturf. She also asked if the coaches have shown the VT players the game tape for last seasonís WVU-VT game. Beamer said that VT focuses more on execution consistency rather than particular uncontrollable factors like Astroturf and weather conditions. He said itís more about VTís 11 executing effectively against WVUís 11. He did mention that the players were going to get to Mountaineer Field a little early to test the turf and see which shoes they want to wear. Beamer said that VT players have seen key plays from last yearís WVU game, but didnít say theyíd watched the entire tape.

Steven in Marion called to ask what color uniforms VT would wear against WVU. He also asked Beamer for his personal thoughts on VTís pending ACC membership. Beamer confirmed that VT players would wear white pants and jerseys against WVT. He said that Nathaniel Adibi was the senior who informs the coaches about what color uniforms theyíd like to wear. Beamer said that VT was excited about ACC membership because it will be the best conference in the country. He said VTís recruiting should pick up even more now that VTís future is solidified in the ACC.

Steve in Vinton called and asked if VT had plans to run the swing pass to Kevin Jones this year. He noted that Jones would be hard to stop if VT could get him the ball in open territory. Beamer agreed that VT needed to pass the ball to Jones more. He said that Jones worked very hard in the off season to become a better receiver and the play calling should reward his hard work.

John in Philadelphia called and asked Beamer to comment on the rumors that Bud Foster might be interviewing with a Big Ten school. Beamer said he wasnít aware of Foster interviewing with any other schools right now, but admitted that his coaches are very sought after and have been offered jobs elsewhere over the past few years.

Roth brought up the fact that Carl Franks was recently dismissed as head football coach of Duke. Beamer said this was a shame because Carl is a good guy. Roth asked Beamer if he thought Duke could every be as successful as they were when Spurrier was the coach. Beamer basically said he wasnít familiar enough with their situation to comment. He did praise Duke for being a fine academic institution.

Roth asked if VTís off season preparations would change after this season in light of the fact that they would be preparing for a host of new opponents. Beamer confirmed that VTís preparations would be different because of the new opponents, but said that it would also add an element of excitement.

Gary in Virginia Beach called and asked why VT didnít throw the ball to Cedric Humes more. Beamer praised Humes for being a tremendous athlete and agreed that VT should try to get him the ball more on pass plays. He said that many times Jones and Humes are the third read for Randall and may not get the ball thrown their way because the first or second reads are open. He agreed however that VT needed to design more plays that will definitely get Jones and/or Humes the ball in passing situations. Roth pointed out that Humes is seventh in the Big East in total rushing yards and said this was impressive since heís in a backup role. Beamer agreed and added that Humes is a different type of runner than Jones and praised him for punishing defenders.

Berkeley in Salem called and asked Beamer if heíd ever considered running the old single wing offense for a few plays to catch an opponent such as Miami off guard. Beamer joked that he didnít have any coaches old enough to remember the single wing offense, but added that he did like misdirection plays. He said that the VT offensive package is pretty good right now and said that they just need to continue to get better at executing the plays. Berkeley outlined a specific example of how VT might run the single wing with their personnel, and Beamer joked that Berkeley would have to come to Blacksburg and teach him more about it.

Wally in Knoxville called and suggested that Wilford play defense in key situations against good receivers such as Pittís Larry Fitzgerald. Beamer said he appreciated the suggestion, but playing Wilford on defense might create more problems than solutions. He said that Wilford had never played defense before so he wouldnít have the experience to handle a talented receiver.

Chad in Nashville called and asked what the VT coaches were doing to make sure the players donít lose their tempers in the hostile environment of Mountaineer Field. Beamer said that the coaches work on that from the beginning of the season. He said that he thought VT players and WVU players respect each other and will play hard, but he said he didnít expect any fights.

Mike in Roanoke called and said he thought VT had the best coaching staff in the country and urged them not to change anything right now by adding elements of the single wing offense. Beamer said he appreciated the kind words and assured Mike that the coaching staff likes the path theyíre on with the VT offense and wouldnít change things too much.

Dennis in Christiansburg called and wished Beamer a happy birthday. Beamer thanked Dennis and commented that he wished for a VT win over WVU when he blew out his birthday candles.

In closing, both Beamer and Roth said that the WVU game should be an exciting one.

Monday was Day 1,470 of Tech's continuous possession of the Commonwealth Cup.

-- Wayne


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