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Advance Auto Parts Hokie Hotline Notes
, November 10, 2003
by Wayne Clevenger

Bill Roth kicked off the broadcast with the following announcements: Kevin Jones was named the Big East co-offensive player of the week after his record setting 241 yard rushing performance against Pittsburgh. Pittsburghís Rod Rutherford shared the recognition as the other co-offensive Big East player of the week. VT will travel to play Temple this Saturday at 1pm. There will be no TV coverage of the game. The BC/VT game time will not be announced until 11/17, while the Big East decides whether to televise the game. Possible kickoff times are 12 pm (TV), 1 pm (no TV) or 3:30 pm (TV).

Bryan Stinespring Ė Offensive Coordinator / Offensive Line Coach

Roth introduced Stinespring and asked him how bad he was hurting after the loss to Pitt. Stinespring said that he was very disappointed because the players left it all on the field and feel they should have won the game but came up short. Roth brought up the topic of KJís big night. Stinespring said that VT expected to have success running the ball versus Pitt, but didnít expect the huge numbers KJ put up.

He said the two first half turnovers really hurt because they resulted in a 14 point swing. Roth asked if KJ was getting tired on VTís last offensive drive. Stinespring said that Pitt was really stacking line against VT on that drive. He said they felt they could get the first down by running KJ, but Pittís defense stepped up and defended 2nd and 3rd down very well. Roth asked what the VT coaches were thinking on the ensuing 4th down. Stinespring said that the coaches considered kicking the field goal, but decided that going for it was the best option. He said that the 4th down play was one VT practices all the time, a 3 choice route where Hamilton happened to be the third choice. He said Vick just overthrew it slightly.

Roth asked for an update on the QB situation in light of the fact that it looked like Vick really took over at Pitt. Stinespring said that the VT coaches werenít sure how much Vick would play at Pitt, but decided to stay with him after watching him play a few series. He confirmed that Randall would start against Temple but added that Vick will also play. Roth asked how the team feels now that most of the preseason goals are unattainable (MNC, BCS Bowl, etc.). Stinespring said that the VT players are a resilient group and added that thereís a lot of character on the team. He said that the players are feeling good and motivated as they look forward to their last three games.

Joe in Buena Vista called and asked two questions. First he asked if Stinespring thought KJ would be back for another season at VT. Secondly he asked why VT doesnít pass deep over the middle more since receivers seem to be open in this area. Stinespring said that thereís been no discussion on the status of KJ beyond this season. He said that KJ and the coaches are just focusing on being successful this season right now. Regarding the second question, Stinespring said that VT has thrown deep on some occasions, but not as much as they want to. He said that a lot of opposing defenses open up the shorter passing lanes by crowding the line of scrimmage so VT tries to take what theyíre given in those circumstances.

Chris in Northern Virginia called and asked why VT went with a pass play on 4th down on the last drive after all the running success earlier in the game. Stinespring said that he has a list of well protected 4th down pass plays that provide multiple options for the QB. He said he liked the call in that situation and would run it again if he had the opportunity.

Richie in Richmond called and asked if the VT coaches considered running the actual reverse off the fake reverse I-formation on the 4th down near the end of the game. He also noted that Pitt was having a lot of success getting receivers open down the middle for big gains, while VT doesnít pass down the middle much. He asked if Pittís success in this area might be a result of the fact that VT doesnít see it in practice as much. Stinespring said that Pitt was actually defending well against the reverse throughout the game by keeping their defenders from over pursuing to one side or the other. He reiterated his point that he and the coaches felt the play they called was the right one for that 4th down situation.

Regarding the second question, Stinespring said that VT would like to throw more down the middle, but opposing defenses have seem to have been keying in that area and forcing throws to the outside. He pointed out that VT passed the ball very well in the first 6 or 7 games of the season, but admitted that they hadnít been as sharp recently. He said that you have to credit opposing defenses for some of this, but also pointed out that many of VTís receivers have been banged up recently. He said that some receivers are playing through slight injuries, but arenít sharp because theyíre missing practice time in the process.

After a break, Roth broke down the latest BCS rankings and pointed out the TCU (6th) is on track for an automatic BCS bowl slot if they keep winning. He then asked Stinespring what heís thought about the most since breaking down and analyzing the Pitt game. Stinespring admitted that heís agonized a lot about how certain plays went during the game. He noted that KJ never saw the defender on his first fumble, so it really wasnít his fault. The defender just went in there and put a helmet on the ball.

He mentioned that he got home at 3 am on Sunday morning and couldnít sleep so he went to work to watch film. Stinespring said that you canít beat yourself up over-analyzing too much, but you have to find out what went right and what went wrong. He said he was extremely proud of the effort during the game from the entire VT team.

Roth asked a very direct question regarding the QB situation. He said it almost seems as if Randallís role is to come out and throw the ceremonial first pitch, before Vick comes in for the rest of the game. Roth said that Randall is always the starter, but whoís the QB for VT? Stinespring said that Randall isnít just getting token starts. He said that Randall has the utmost respect, confidence loyalty of the coaching staff and was told that today by Stinespring and other coaches.

Jeb in Christiansburg called and noted that VT recruits a lot of players for various positions, then converts them to receiver. He asked if VT was planning to recruit any actual "true" receivers in the near future. Stinespring confirmed that VT is committed to bringing pure receivers into the program and singled out some young talented players already in the system. He named David Clowney, Josh Hyman as upcoming stars and added that VT is recruiting other talented receivers that they think will help the program in the future.

Pam in Culpeper called and stated that she thought Bryan Randallís experience would have been beneficial to VT in the 4th quarter of the loss against Pitt. She also stated that Carter Warley should have been given the opportunity to kick a field goal on that 4th down situation near the end. Roth interjected by saying that hindsight is 20/20, and pointed out that fans would have applauded the 4th down call if it had worked. He asked Stinespring what VT might have done if the ball was on the 26 instead of the 30 yard line. Stinespring said that Beamer and Warley discussed the field goal option, but he didnít know exactly what was said. He said he just wanted to be ready if Beamer wanted to go for it, so he chose the play. Essentially, in this exchange I think Stinespring was trying to point out that Beamer had the final say on 4th down decisions.

Burt in Clifton Forge called to give Stinespring his support on the play called during that last VT offensive drive. Stinespring thanked Burt and said that you can second guess the play called, but said the coaches called the plays that they thought would be successful in those situations.

After a break, Bob in Roanoke called and asked if Stinespring thought the VT QB shuffling might cause Vick and Randall to force things too much in an attempt to impress the coaches and win the full time starting job. Stinespring said this was a good question and admitted that the coaches had considered the effect. However, he said that the coaches have tried to impress on each QB the importance of just doing their job and playing their best while theyíre in the game, instead of pressing and trying to force anything.

John in Salem called and asked why VT didnít play Vick more at QB earlier in the season in an attempt to prepare him to be better later in the season. Stinespring outlined the thought process by noting that Vick played significant snaps against UCF, UCONN, Rutgers and Syracuse. He then pointed out that Vick was suspended for the JMU game and said the coaches didnít want to put him in against aTm because of the weather conditions. Stinespring said that there was never an actual concrete plan about Vickís playing time. Instead, the coaches have gone by their instincts regarding when, where and for how long to play Vick.

Jim Weaver Ė Athletic Director

After a break Roth introduced Weaver and they both commented how much they were looking forward to seeing the newly unveiled Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia this Saturday. Roth asked about the situation with the delayed game time announcement for the BC/VT game. Normally the kickoff time and television info would be announced 12 days in advance of a game, however the Big East exercised an option that allows it to delay these announcements (regarding BC/VT game) for six days till 11/17.

Weaver explained that basically ESPN wants to wait to see what happens in the match ups on 11/15 before deciding which games to televise on 11/22. This allows ESPN the option of broadcasting BC/VT and SU/WVU or only broadcasting one of those games along with a Big Ten game to be determined. Roth pointed out that this delay is problematic because thereís a VT menís basketball game on 11/22 at 8pm and a 3:30pm kickoff might interfere with this.

John in Charlottesville called and asked if Hokie Club season ticket holders would have their seats in Lane Stadium reassigned in 2004 due to the stadium expansion project. Weaver said that seats would not be reassigned in 2004, but added that they could be reassigned in 2005. He said the final expansion plan has not quite been decided.

John in VA Beach called and asked if the replay angle could be changed for the Lane Jumbotron feed, because itís currently difficult to get a good view of replays where itís positioned now. Weaver promised to check on this and noted that VT has 3 cameras in place for scoreboard video, but sometimes the replay is taken from the television feed instead.

Roth brought up the topic of VTís 2004 football schedule with respect to BC joining the ACC and the scheduling a team to fill the open date created by the LSU game postponement. Weaver said that he had not heard anything regarding BCís departure/arrival schedule from the Big East to the ACC, but noted that the Big East had filled the vacancies left by VT, Miami and BC with Louisville, Cincinnati, and South Florida. Roth asked Weaver if he knew why the Big East seems so against Temple remaining a conference member. Weaver said he really couldnít speculate on that, but added that Temple has always had trouble drawing partisan spectators for games. He said that the 1999 VT / Temple game drew 25,000 fans, 15-18,000 of which were Hokie fans. He also added that Hokie fans had already purchased over 12,000 tickets for this Saturdayís game against Temple. Weaver alluded to other concerns that came up regarding Temple while VT was in the Big East, but didnít go into details.

After a break, Roth asked how VT would deal with parking issues in the event that the BC/VT game kicks off at 3:30 pm on 11/22. Weaver stated that in such a scenario, basketball-only ticket holders would be allotted space in the Cage Lot for parking before, during and after the basketball game.

Steve in Midlothian called and asked if Weaver heard anything about how VT fans were generally treated in Pittsburgh and if the possibility exists for VT to continue playing Pitt at some point in the future. Weaver said the feedback from fans who went to the Pitt has been fairly good. He said he had a few complaints about disrespectful treatment, but contrasted that with the hordes of messages he got concerning poor treatment from WVU fans in Morgantown. Weaver said that the possibility does exist to continue playing Pitt in the future, but said the details had not been considered yet.

Roth asked if VT and/or Miami might be at a disadvantage with respect to bowl opportunities because of their pending departure from the Big East. Weaver said he didnít think so at all and referenced Gator Bowl commissioner Rick Catlettís recent comments stating that he picks who plays in his bowl, not the Big East. He finished by saying that some bowls donít necessarily have to choose the team with the better record because other considerations come into play (# of traveling fans, TV exposure, etc.).

Frank Beamer Ė Head Football Coach

After a break, Roth introduced Beamer and asked him how things were going. Beamer admitted that he was disappointed but said he and the team were doing fine. He pointed out that thereís still a lot that VT can accomplish this year and theyíre looking to finish the season strong (10-2) and ranked in the top 10. Roth asked Beamer to specifically talk about the nice job Eric Green did in the first half covering Pittís Larry Fitzgerald. Beamer agreed that Green did a good job, with the exception of the slip on the very first play of the game. He added that Green is a very good football player and has been all year. Roth brought up the 241 yard rushing performance by Kevin Jones. In response, Beamer couldnít say enough good things about Jones. He said heís a big time player who came up huge against Pitt. He also said Jones is a fine young man who has been a joy to coach.

Roth asked Beamer about the QB situation. Beamer said that VT basically has two very good QBís right now in Randall and Vick. He said that theyíre both doing things well and added that he didnít agree with speculation that Randallís been struggling. He also praised Randall for how heís handled the decreased playing time recently. Beamer confirmed that both QBs will play Saturday against Temple. Roth asked Beamer, in retrospect, if he would have done anything differently on Pittís final game winning drive. Beamer said that he would have liked to keep Rutherford contained better. He also admitted that he should have called time out at some point to preserve time on the clock, but also added that part of him wanted to save the timeouts. He said that he really thought VTís defense might stop Pitt on that drive (even at the very end).

Todd in Thomasville, GA called and asked why VT went into the "prevent defense" on Pittís game winning drive instead of staying with what had been working fairly well the entire game. Beamer said that VT didnít really change anything on defense for that last drive. He admitted that Rutherford broke containment against VTís four-man rush, but added that VT countered that by bringing more pressure on the next play. Beamer said that Pitt just made the plays when they had to at the end of the game and you have to give them credit. He did state that he didnít think Polite was in the end zone on the touchdown play.

Bill in Hardee called and asked why VT always seems to return kickoffs up the middle instead of setting up to go to one side or the other every once in a while. Beamer said VT had three different kickoff return schemes that they use. He said the schemes are not that complicated because they all put "a hat on a hat" and let the returner find daylight from there. He said that some can end up going up the middle that were intended to go right or left. He referenced VTís success in kickoff returns this year by briefly mentioning Imohís touchdown and other successful returns.

R.J. in Smith Mountain Lake called and said he was hurting after the loss to Pitt and noted that on mornings after tough losses he likes to watch game tapes of the 1986 Peach Bowl and the 1998 Music City Bowl to cheer him up. Roth asked Beamer what he does the next morning after a tough loss. Beamer said he just goes back to work. He said you have to review the game, correct the mistakes and get on with preparation for the next game. Beamer also said that the losses are tougher to deal with since the expectations get higher for the VT program each year. He noted that VT has the chance to finish 6th or higher if they can win their final 4 games, and that would be the second highest ranked finish for a VT team.

After a break, Beamer said he really appreciated the Hokie fan support this season and said he was pleased to hear that over 12,000 are heading up to the Temple game.

Barek from Blacksburg in the audience noted that Temple has a lot of new JUCO transfers on the team this year and asked Beamer if that affected VTís preparations in light of the fact that theyíll not have seen a lot of those players first hand before Saturday. Beamer said you have to look at last yearís game film to review strategy, then look at this seasonís game film to review talent and skill. He said this combination of film review is commonly used when preparing for opponents who have new players in their starting rotation. Beamer said that Temple had the ability to sneak up on an unprepared opponent because they have a lot of athletes who can play. He finished by pointing out that Temple played very well against VT last year and only lost by ten points.

Mike in Roanoke called and commended Roth and his partner Mike Burnop for their patience when VT fans call into the point-after post game show. He said that some of these fans need to get some perspective. Roth said he appreciates the passion of VT fans and knows that a lot of times itís just their frustration talking. He said that people say things they donít mean when theyíre frustrated, just ask Kellen Winslow (laughter).

Roth asked Beamer if the Clemson / FSU result surprised him. Beamer said it certainly did. He said it also surprised him that UT beat Miami. Roth then asked if Beamer was surprised the way the national media jumped on Miamiís Kellen Winslow for his post game comments Saturday. Beamer admitted that he hadnít heard the interview first-hand, but said heíd heard an account of the interview from his wife and said it didnít surprise him that the media jumped on it.

Jason in Roanoke called and asked why VT didnít spread the offense with 4 wide receivers on that critical 4th down play late in the game. Beamer said he thought that VT made the right play call and added that there was pass interference against Hamilton on the play. He said that no one would be talking about the play call if the officials had seen what VT coaches saw in their film review (defender grabbing Hamiltonís hand before the ball got there). Beamer finished by saying that there were a lot of plays during the Pitt game where you could "what if" yourself to death.

After a break, Roth noted that it was quite cold during the Pitt game. Beamer said that temperature wasnít as much of a factor in football games as it used to be with all the advancement in clothing and equipment. He said that rain and wind are bigger factors than temperature.

Warren in Smithfield called and noted that Bob Molinaro of the Virginia Pilot had recently compared Beamerís tenure and success at VT with Joe Paterno of Penn State. Warren thought this was amazing coming from a media representative who didnít normally show support for VT. Beamer said he didnít read the article, but was flattered by the comparison. He said that he was proud of everything he, the other coaches and the players had accomplished at VT over the years and finished by saying that he hoped to still make this season one to be proud of.

L.T. in Bedford called and noted that, throughout this season, VTís offense has had a propensity to score on quick short drives and asked Beamer if that made the defense wear down because of lack of game-time rest. Beamer agreed that the VT defense gets tired at times because, even though they play a lot of people, they are a small / fast defense. He said there are many factors that keep defenses on the field too much during a game (including defensive touchdowns), but you have to be conditioned well enough to deal with those circumstances.

Phil in Bristol called and asked for Beamerís thoughts on whether or not Kevin Jones would stay for another year at VT. Beamer reiterated that the subject has not been discussed among the VT coaches or with KJ himself. However, Beamer did note that the coaches are willing to provide sound unbiased counseling for KJ in this area if he asks for it. He noted that VT coaches have ties with certain team administrators in the NFL who could help predict where a player like KJ might be picked in the draft. Beamer finished by saying that the ultimate decision is KJ and KJís family to make. Roth asked Beamer if he would vote for KJ as the Big East player of the year. Beamer said he couldnít vote for KJ because he was his coach. Beamer admitted that he hadnít thought about who he would vote for as Big East player of the year. He singled out Kellen Winslow, Rod Rutherford, KJ, and Larry Fitzgerald (among others) as likely candidates for the award.

After a break, Roth and Beamer talked about what went on when the team/coaches got back to Roanoke at 3am on Sunday morning. Beamer said he drove home and the door (that was usually unlocked) was locked and he thought that Cheryl might be taking the loss harder than he thought (laughter). Beamer said he later found out that his wife had locked the door inadvertently, which was a relief (more laughter).

Rich in West Virginia called and praised the VT defense for playing tough against Pitt, even though they were forced into some tough situations by turnovers and punting miscues. Beamer agreed and added that you could only pick about a half dozen plays in the game where the defense actually made mistakes that led to significant gains for Pitt. He again said that you canít "what if" yourself too much at this point because the game is over and done and everyone should move on.

Rich in Courtland called and noted that VT seems to blow a lot of teams out, but lose the close games. He asked for Beamerís thoughts on this. Beamer said that that fact that VT blows out a lot of teams says that theyíre a good football team. He added that "you canít win them all" and that tends to explain the close losses.

After a break, Billy in Pulaski called and revisited the topic of the timeout that wasnít called in the final Pitt drive. Billy suggested that it might be a good idea to assign the task of clock management to a specific coach on the sidelines. Beamer adamantly stated that he had the issue of clock management taken care of, although he admitted that he wished heíd called a timeout during that drive.

Roth switched gears for a moment and noted that, even though the Beamers keep a door unlocked at their house, they keep an "army" of Dobermans guarding it. Beamer said that his dogs are great watchdogs unless you offer to rub their bellies, then theyíre not vicious at all. Roth joked that Mike Burnop is the same way and Beamer said he didnít want to touch that comment (laughter).

Roth asked for final thoughts from Beamer regarding the Temple game. Beamer said that he expected his players to come back strong and play well against a good Temple team. He said itís very important to not underestimate Temple. Roth wished Beamer good luck and signed off.

Monday was Day 1,491 of Tech's continuous possession of the Commonwealth Cup.

-- Wayne


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