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Advance Auto Parts Hokie Hotline Notes
, November 3, 2003
by Wayne Clevenger

Bill Roth kicked off the broadcast with the following announcements: DeAngelo Hall has been suspended for the first half of the upcoming Pitt game as a result of his 4th quarter altercation in the Miami game. DeAngelo Hall was named the BE defensive player of the week after his strip, fumble recovery and ensuing touchdown against Miami. VT is now ranked 5th in both the AP and Coaches' Polls, and has moved up to 6th in the BCS rankings. The VT/Pitt game this Saturday night will be broadcast on ESPN and is sold out. This will be the 3rd consecutive ESPN primetime game VT has played. VT sold its entire allotment of 3400 tickets to the Pitt game.

Roth finished his announcements by commenting that ESPNís Ron Franklin, who did the play by play for the Miami/VT game, called him at home to comment on how amazingly loud the fans were at Lane Stadium during the Miami game. Roth also admitted that he had never heard anything like it.

Charley Wiles Ė Defensive Line Coach

As the audience applauded the introduction of Wiles, Roth pointed out that the fans deserve a round of applause as well. Wiles agreed completely and said that heíd never seen or heard a crowd like the one at Lane Stadium for the Miami game. Wiles then said this was the best the VT defensive line had played all season and commented on the tremendous production out of all eight players in the line rotation.

Roth asked about Darryl Tapp injuring his ankle on the opening kickoff. Wiles said that Tapp has had a nagging ankle injury since the WVU game and re-injured it slightly on the opening kickoff, but was able to come back and play much of the game. Roth asked how VT was able to get such good pressure on the Miami QBís. Wiles said it was a product of stopping the run and forcing Miami into 2nd and long/3rd and long situations. He said it also forced Miami to pass more when VT jumped out to a lead. Wiles said these situations allowed the VT defensive line to "really pin their ears back" and come after the Miami QBís. He added that the pressure VT put on Miamiís backfield was very impressive, given that Miami might have the best offensive line in the country.

Both Roth and Wiles commented on the excellent play of VT punter Vinnie Burns and how his punting forced Miami into unfavorable field position for much of the game. Wiles said that overall he is extremely proud of how the VT players were able to put the WVU loss behind them and come out ready to perform well against Miami. Roth asked if the players would need some new motivation now heading into the game against Pitt. Wiles said that the coaches had already started on that today by emphasizing the fact that Pitt has beaten VT two straight years and how they want to avoid anymore letdowns like the one that happened at WVU. He said VT wants to show they can go on the road and win a tough game.

Joe in Buena Vista called and asked two questions. First he asked what the VT coaches would do in the future to avoid giving the opposition "bulletin board material" before a game like DeAngelo Hall did for Miami. Secondly he asked how VT was planning to defend against the Pitt running attack.

Wiles admitted that Hallís comments, while slightly taken out of context, were unfortunate and might have provided some motivation to Miami. He said that coach Beamer had spoken with Hall about this and added that all the VT players know to avoid giving opponents added motivation with press quotes.

He answered the second question by saying that VT must focus on stopping the Pitt running game, just like they stopped the Miami running game. He admitted that you canít shut down Pittís passing game completely, but said itís important to contain Fitzgerald and disallow any yards after the catch. Roth pointed out that Pitt likes to throw a lot of screens against attacking 8 man fronts. Wiles agreed and said VT would have to be very disciplined to keep Pitt from executing big plays in the run and the pass.

Pete from Christiansburg in the audience praised the game that Jordan Trott played against Miami and asked Wiles to comment on him as a player. Wiles agreed that Trott played an outstanding game, and said VT is very fortunate to have him because he had many offers from other schools while he was being recruited. He said Trott is a big (6í3" 250 lbs) linebacker with good instincts. Wiles pointed out that he had never played an entire game for VT, and admitted Trott was a little tired toward the end of the game. He said that VT will be even deeper at linebacker once Mikal Baqee is able to return, now that Trott has gained that valuable experience from the Miami game.

Roth read an email that outlined Miamiís field goal formation on the fake where they tried the long pass that was dropped by their player in the end zone. The email basically pointed out that the Miami player who ran the route was lined up in the tackle position protected by two players to his left, thus making him an ineligible receiver. Wiles was impressed that the writer noticed this and confirmed that the Miami player was indeed an ineligible receiver on the play and the officials missed the illegal formation call. Wiles finished by saying that the player deserved to drop the pass because they cheated and the audience erupted with applause and laughter.

After a break, Roth and Wiles briefly discussed the play where Hall stripped Miamiís Roscoe Parrish and returned the fumble 28 yards for VTís first touchdown. They both commented how the VT defense read the play well and praised Hall for causing the fumble and making the play. Wiles noted that the play was indicative of VTís overall preparation for Miami. He said that everyone likes to talk about match ups and playmakers, but the games usually come down to overall team preparation and Pitt will be no different.

Roth pointed out that the loss of Hall for the first half against Pitt is significant because VT is already thin at the defensive back position after losing Garnell Wilds to a season ending knee injury. Roth also noted that Hall returns punts for VT, so itís like losing two players for the first half of the Pitt game. Wiles agreed that the loss of Hall is disappointing because Pitt throws the ball almost 50% of the time on offense. He said that players like Eric Green and Vinnie Fuller will have to step up in Hallís absence during the first half.

Roth asked Wiles why he thought the Miami QBís were having a hard time handling snaps during the game. Wiles simply blamed these occurrences on crowd noise (applause from the audience). He also noted that the crowd noise, while inspiring to the VT defense, was so loud that it really challenged their on-field communications as well. He said that adjustments were sometimes made on the fly by passing the information across the field from one player to the next.

Wayne in Blacksburg called to wish Bill Roth a happy birthday and asked Wiles to comment on Pittís offensive line. Wiles said that Pittís offensive line was very similar to Miamiís. He said they lost their center and right guard from last year, but overall they are very big, athletic and experienced. Wiles said that VT didnít do a good job of getting to Pittís QB last year, which allowed some completions for big plays. He said that VT would need to get to their QB (Rutherford) in this game and pressure him to move his feet. Roth pointed out that Pitt tight end Chris Wilson is talented and somewhat underrated in the shadow of Larry Fitzgerald. Wiles agreed that Wilson is talented and pointed out that heís the second leading receiver on the team (behind Fitzgerald).

Billy in Norfolk called and asked Wiles what VT can do to prepare for Pitt, where the VT fan support will be minimal compared to the Miami game. Wiles joked that maybe the defensive players helmet could be outfitted with headphones playing the sound of VT crowd noise (laughter from the audience). He said that the VT offense will practice in the field house with artificial noise on Thursday, but pointed out that the defense should be able to communicate better while the Pitt fans are quiet during their offensive drives.

He finished by pointing out that the coaches focus on keeping the same preparation routines for the players whether itís a home game or away game. He said it doesnít matter where you play, itís how you prepare mentally. He said the VT players definitely know the importance of this game and are approaching it like itís the Big East championship game. Roth pointed out that VT played well against SU at home, then played poorly in the next game at WVU. He said that VT might face the same hostile atmosphere at Pitt. Wiles agreed but said the team learned from their letdown against WVU and shouldnít let that happen again.

Jim Weaver Ė Athletic Director

After a break, Roth introduced Weaver and both discussed the hysterically enthusiastic environment in Lane Stadium for the Miami game. Weaver said he had never heard anything like it in his 37 years of being involved with collegiate athletics. Roth asked Weaver for his thoughts on the post game crowd celebration at Lane Stadium after the Miami game. Weaver said he thought the stadium staff was well prepared and reiterated the need for protection of the goal posts. He said that the goal posts are protected for fan safety reasons, not because the VT administration is worried about them being damaged or carried away. Weaver said he got the idea for the collapsible goal posts from the University of Iowa, whoís been using them for over 10 years. He said heís surprised more big stadiums donít have them. Weaver went on to praise the fans for their "orderly celebration" and said that he doesnít have a problem with any actions on the field after the Miami game.

Jeff in Knoxville called and asked about the vendors at the Miami game who were selling shirts with profane language printed on them. Jeff specifically asked if they were allowed to be on campus (around the stadium and in the Hokie Club lots) selling these shirts. Weaver admitted that he wasnít sure if they were permitted to be on the campus, but promised he would check on this question first thing Tuesday morning. He said that many of these vendors are just trying to take advantage of the large crowd to make money.

Tom in Sandston emailed and pointed out that VT has had two unanimous football All-Americans, Jim Pyne and Corey Moore. He pointed out that Pyneís number had been retired and asked if VT could at least retire Mooreís jersey, in light of the fact that VT doesnít retire numbers anymore. Weaver agreed that Mooreís jersey should be retired and said it will be, as soon as they can get Moore to come to VT for the ceremony (applause from the audience). He said that the VT athletic department tried to get Moore in for a game last year for the ceremony, but werenít able to make it work. Weaver said that maybe they could get Moore to attend the VT/BC game and have the ceremony then, but if not, they might just put the banner up in Lane Stadium anyway.

Louis in Lynchburg called and praised the VT administrationís handling of the post game celebrations at Lane Stadium after the game, but pointed out that he saw a member of the stadium security staff being overly physical with a student trying to enter the field even after he had him to the ground. Weaver said he was sorry to hear that this happened but noted that the students have been warned that it is not permitted to enter the field after games for celebratory purposes. He admitted that he and other officials made a conscious decision to allow the celebration after the Miami game, as long as it was kept to an orderly level. He said that the celebration was orderly (for the most part), but promised to check into the incident that Louis had witnessed.

Pam in Culpeper emailed and commented on how awesome "The Walk" was before the Miami game. She asked if a similar walk could be organized at the team hotel (Marriott) in Pittsburgh. Weaver said this would be virtually impossible to pull off at Heinz Field because the players only walk about 10 yards from the bus to the stadium and there are additional security issues beyond the distance considerations.

Austin in NYC called and asked if LSUís reported willingness to pay VT more money to come and play LSU next year, combined with VT season ticket holders paying a little more, might be enough motivation for Weaver to reopen discussion with LSU to hold the game in 2004 as planned. Weaver said he doubted that playing LSU in 2004 would become a reality. He said that VT has not been officially offered more money by LSU and pointed out that those reports came from the Roanoke Times. Weaver went on to point out that the entire LSU game postponement situation was caused by the BCAís inability to work out their problems with ESPN. He also reiterated the fact that VT is facing up to $4.5 million in ACC entry fees and Big East exit fees, and said itís his responsibility to operate the VT athletic department in the black. He said if LSU wanted to offer VT $1 million more, then VT would consider reopening the possibility of playing the game in 2004. Roth backed Weaver up by pointing out that VT makes only 80% less money playing road games versus home games. Weaver also noted that the TV appearance fees are less in the ACC than they are in the Big East (for the team making the appearance) due to different revenue distribution policies.

After a break, they replayed Roth and Burnopís game segment where Eric Green intercepted Brock Berlin and returned it for a touchdown. Weaver and Roth both praised Green's play against Miami for the past three years, and noted his blocked punt, blocked field goal and interception return for a touchdown.

Pam in Culpeper called and clarified her email that Roth read earlier. She essentially wanted to know if there was any way for some or all of the roughly 3400 VT fans heading to Pittsburgh to have the opportunity to see and cheer the team before the game at any time. Weaver said he really didnít know and would defer the question to coach Beamer because he has a better knowledge of the team itinerary. Roth said that maybe this could happen in the parking lot of the ice arena (where the Penguins play) across from Heinz Field. Both noted that this might be a good tradition to start at away games and Roth promised to bring up the question with Beamer later in the show.

Roth noted that the Big East has a big teleconference scheduled for the next day (11/4) where they will announce that Louisville, Cincinnati, and South Florida are being invited for all sports play while Marquette and Depaul are being invited to join for basketball only. Roth also noted that the Big East and BC are currently battling over the $5 million exit fee that is being demanded before BC can join the ACC. He asked what Weaver thought would happen with that BC situation and how would it affect VT scheduling. Weaver said that the BC issue will be partially resolved when itís legally decided if the Big East can hold them to the recently enacted exit fee penalties of $5 million versus $2 million. If itís decided that the Big East has acted improperly in trying to enforce the $5 million penalty against BC, then Weaver said he thinks BC would leave the Big East immediately and join ACC play in 2004. If this scenario turns out to be the case, he also noted that the Big East probably would not want to keep BC around for 2004 to share revenue with the rest of the conference institutions.

After a break, Jaime in Radford called and asked why VT doesnít schedule more night games at Lane Stadium. Weaver said that the television entities that carry the games reserve the right to dictate the kickoff time, so itís not completely up to VT administration. He also noted that many VT fans wouldnít necessarily like to have more night games on the home schedule because they have to drive home after the game.

Jeff in Christiansburg called and asked for Weaverís comment on two things. First he noted that it seemed that Miamiís players were taking cheap shots near the end of the game, but the officials only threw flags when VT players retaliated. Secondly, he noted Miami post-game player comments that indicated they thought the lesser team won the game. Weaver admitted that both of these items would be better to address to Coach Beamer, but said heíd do his best to comment. He said that VT teaches their football players to always walk away from trouble on the field because itís usually the retaliation thatís more noticeable to the officials. Secondly Weaver said that Miami players can say whatever they want, but regardless of their comments, the final score still reads 31-7 Virginia Tech (loud applause from the audience).

Jeff in Raleigh called and gave our own Will Stewart the credit he so richly deserves for his "Make it Real" article, written by Will and published on Jeff pointed out what we all already know, and thatís how Willís article was read by over 30,000 Hokie fans and directly contributed to the record turnout at "The Walk" ceremony before the Miami game. Jeff finished his call saying that Will Stewart should receive press credentials for all Hokie events. As Jeff hung up, there was applause heard in the audience. Weaver began his much anticipated response by saying he didnít read the article and doesnít have time to read the newspapers, much less the Internet. He then said that Will Stewart already knows what he needs to do to receive press credentials because the accreditation procedure is plainly spelled out in the VT media guideÖ (At this point, Roth interrupted Weaver and said they had to go to break and would be right back with more on the subject.) After the break, Weaver explained that Will does not comply with the press credential accreditation checklist because he operates and/or is affiliated with a web site where there are anonymous message boards and/or chat rooms present. VT press credential accreditation is apparently not possible under these circumstances. Weaver said this is a common policy among institutions across the country.

Bill in Richmond called and noted that the VT athletic department probably doesnít factor in possible BCS bowl revenues when setting the annual budget. Bill essentially wanted to know if VT qualified for and were invited to a BCS bowl this year, would that counter the lost revenue of a home game in 2004 and allow VT to reinstate its away game with LSU next season. Weaver said it would not because it would be too late in the process to make the decision. In other words, by the time VT knows whether or not it will be playing in a BCS bowl this year, it would be too late for LSU or VT to find other opponents to fill the spot vacated by the postponement. Weaver said that any possible revenue VT might get from a BCS bowl this year would be put towards the $4.5 million dollars in conference entrance/exit fees that are imminent.

Since LSU is reportedly having difficulty finding an opponent to fill the schedule vacancy as well, Roth asked Weaver if heíd be willing to negotiate further with LSU by maybe taking $500,000 next year and extending the series to include more LSU/VT games. Weaver said he might consider it, but such an offer was never officially made, so he never has considered it.

Frank Beamer Ė Head Football Coach

After a break, Roth introduced Beamer to a standing ovation. Beamer displayed the game ball that he and the team had presented to the VT fans and the audience applauded even more. Beamer said that the Miami win was very satisfying and relieving after VTís poor performance at WVU and all the subsequent abuse in the media over that game. He said he was proud of how the coaches and players fought through the disappointment and came up with a huge win over a great Miami team. Both Roth and Beamer praised VTís defensive effort in particular. Beamer said that the defensive line (both 1st and 2nd team) deserve a lot of credit for the win because of the constant pressure they put on the Miami backfield.

Roth asked Beamer to comment on the DeAngelo Hall suspension for the first half of the Pitt game. Beamer said that the game officials told him Hall was being ejected for his second personal foul, not for fighting. After the game, Big East officials reviewed the report and it indicated that Hall was fighting, thus the Ĺ game suspensions. Beamer said he called the Big East office for a clarification because no cameras actually caught the actual incident. After further review the Big East had to stand by the original report and suspend Hall for Ĺ of the Pitt game. Beamer said he doesnít necessarily agree with the decision, but thatís the way it is so letís move on.

Phil in Bristol called and asked if Beamer had noticed something about Randall that has caused him to be less poised in big games lately. He also said he noticed the look on Beamerís face as he got ready to come out of the tunnel with the team (a look of nervous anticipation) and wondered if he ever had an innate sense of whether the team was ready or not for a game. Beamer first responded by giving Randall praise for being a very good person and excellent team player. He referenced the tremendous strides Randall has made in strength and conditioning, as well as the progress heís made at the QB position overall. He then complimented Marcus Vick for his poise and readiness when called upon. Beamer said that both QBs are team players and can help VT win football games, but right now the coaches are making decisions on the fly regarding which should play QB and when. In answering the callerís second question, Beamer said that he always thinks the team is ready to play, but never knows for sure 100% of the time. He said that the players better be ready for the Pitt game because that will be an environment similar to Morgantown and the Pitt team is very talented.

Denny in Tazwell called and asked if it is possible to quantify the impact of VTís win over Miami will have on recruiting. Secondly, Denny pointed out that Pitt used a trick halfback option play to score a touchdown in their last game. Beamer never answered the first question, but went directly into praising Pittís offensive execution. He said that Pitt runs the toss sweep very well and the opposition always has to be ready for the halfback option pass in that situation.

Roth read some emails that pointed out the fact that VTís offense had only totaled 430 yards in the past two games. The writer wanted what was being done to improve in this area given the fact that more offensive production will undoubtedly be needed against Pitt. Beamer said that you definitely have to give credit to Miamiís outstanding defense and added that WVUís defense isnít bad either. He noted that VT intentionally played conservative on offense because they had built a lead and were trying to protect that lead.

However, Beamer admitted that VT would need a fabulous offensive game plan against Pitt to get the job done. Roth asked Beamer to comment on Pittís outstanding receiver Larry Fitzgerald. Beamer said heís the best VT has ever faced. He said that Fitzgeraldís uncanny athleticism and timing set him apart and make him a truly special player. Beamer also praised Fitzgeraldís classy demeanor in that he doesnít trash talk or taunt opponents. Roth pointed out that, as good as Fitzgerald is, Pittís running game was the difference in last yearís game against VT. Beamer agreed and noted that Pittís running game looked impressive on the game film against BC. He added that VT must stop the run against Pitt and put them in pass-only situations in order to win.

John in Troutville called and said he took his 8 year old son down on the field after the game and noted that Bryan Randall and Nathaniel Adibi knelt down and spoke to his son for several minutes during the post game celebration. John just wanted to thank coach Beamer for running such a respectable program with such great young men. Beamer praised Adibi and Randall for being fine individuals both on and off the field. He said they are tremendous representatives of Virginia Tech.

Barek from Blacksburg in the audience asked who would return punts against Pitt during the first half while DeAngelo Hall serves his suspension. Beamer indicated that it would either be Mike Imoh or Richard Johnson. He praised Imohís handling of the pooch kickoff in the Miami game. Roth asked Beamer when he realized that it was VTís night against Miami. Beamer joked that he held his breath until the final gun. After the laughter subsided he said that Miami has so many talented players that they can make things happen very quickly, so he wasnít counting it as win until it was in the books.

Jeff from Roanoke in the audience stood up and thanked Beamer for presenting the game ball to the VT fans. He admitted that heíd never seen an atmosphere quite like Lane Stadium last Saturday night. Beamer congratulated the fans on their performance and said that the coaches and players really appreciated everything they did during the pre-game Walk ceremony as well as during the game itself.

Roth read an email from Charles in Hillsville suggesting that Beamer open a "Beamerís" restaurant in Hillsville (Beamerís hometown). Beamer laughed and said he didnít think the population would support the addition of a restaurant because when he left there were about three other people there (more laughter from the audience).

After a break, Roth asked Beamer how VT would continue its recent team intensity on the road versus Pitt. Beamer said that itís all about focusing on proper mental preparation. He said that the VT coaches preach this to the players and each of them needs to reach down deep and play with the same intensity regardless of the location or noise level. Roth and Beamer then both discussed Governor Warnerís attendance at the VT/Miami game and appearance at "The Walk" ceremony. Beamer said that VT is very appreciative of everything Warner did to help with the ACC membership offer and noted that the fans seemed to indicate their appreciation for Warner as well. Roth also pointed out the presence of actor Robert Duvall at the VT/Miami game and noted that Duvall was a "big fan" of coach Beamer.

Sam in Roanoke called and praised Beamer for his poise following the WVU loss and went on to compliment the VT players on their crisp tackling and execution against Miami. Beamer thanked Sam and agreed that VT tackled well against Miami. He noted that, even though Miami receivers caught some balls, the VT defense tackled well and limited or prevented yard gained after each catch. He said that this fundamental execution would be just as critical against Pitt this weekend.

Roth then asked Beamer for an injury update. Beamer said that Keith Willis (ankle) and Chris Shreve (hamstring) are questionable for Pitt, but everyone else should be OK to go against Pitt including Ernest Wilford who suffered a bruised foot in the game against Miami.

Francis in Culpeper called and reported that a double suicide had occurred in his area involving two VT students (a brother and sister I believe). He asked for everyone to keep them in their thoughts and prayers. Beamer and Roth seemed shocked and expressed their mutual condolences and said that the entire Hokie nation would be thinking about those affected by this tragedy.

After a break, Rob in California called and asked how VT can guard against a big letdown after the emotional win against Miami. Beamer said that the WVU loss is still fresh in the minds of the players, so that should help them avoid losing focus. He added that the team didnít practice today as part of the coaches' strategy to limit practice time later in the season. He said that the coaches may have pressed and practiced the players too much in previous years and added that thereís not as much need for extensive practice later in the season because itís more mental at this point. He said that fresh legs are more important from here on out.

Stan in Marion called to congratulate Beamer on the teamís big win against Miami. He also wanted to call out the man from Christiansburg who wanted to start a petition to oust Beamer as VTís football coach. Stan said he hoped this man was eating his words right now. Finally, he praised Beamer on running a respectable program that all Hokie fans can be proud of and briefly mentioned the unnecessary cheap shots near the end of the game. Beamer agreed that both Miami and VT were guilty of some contact after the whistle near the end of the game, but praised Coker for running the ball at the end to get it over with. Roth asked Beamer if he could comment on his exchange at midfield with Coker after the game. Beamer said it was a quick exchange and didnít express what exactly was said. Instead he just praised Coker for running a great program with a lot of very talented players. Roth and Beamer then both commented on the positive experience of the 35+ recruits that were present at the VT/Miami game.

Bonnie from Christiansburg in the audience said she spoke to a parent of a VT recruit at "The Walk" ceremony before the game. He asked her, "Is it always like this?" She said the turnout was larger than normal but promised the recruitís parent that Hokie fans always support their team through thick and thin. Beamer thanked Bonnie and said he really appreciated the tremendous support from all the Hokie fans.

Dan in Richmond called and asked Beamer to explain the thought process behind the decision to have VT punt from the Miami 31 yard line during the game. He pointed out that the ball went into the end zone. Beamer said the officials missed a call on that play because a VT player, who was trying to down the ball near the goal line, was hit in the back by a Miami player. He said that the VT staff had sent a tape of that play to the Big East for their review. Beamer also hinted at the fact that the VT staff had sent a tape of the missed illegal formation call on Miamiís fake field goal to the Big East as well.

After a break, John in Centreville called and asked Beamer if the coaches had noticed the flagrant late hit by Miamiís Wilfork against VTís Will Montgomery. Beamer admitted that there was some contact after the whistle near the end of the game and said that it wasnít just Miami. He said that he hated to see it happen, but was glad no one was seriously hurt.

Roth wished Beamer good luck against Miami. Beamer thanked everyone for the great turnout at Beamerís Restaurant and Roth signed off.

Monday was Day 1,484 of Tech's continuous possession of the Commonwealth Cup.

-- Wayne


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