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Advance Auto Parts Hokie Hotline Notes
Monday
, December 15, 2003
by Wayne Clevenger

Bill Roth opened the show with the usual "news of the day." VT center Jake Grove was named a first team All American by the AP. He joins former VT standouts Jim Pyne and Cory Moore as the only other unanimous first team AP All Americans. VT tailback Kevin Jones was named second team AP All American. Four other Big East football players were also named first team AP All Americans: WVUís Grant Wiley, Miamiís Sean Taylor, Miamiís Kellen Winslow Jr., and Pittsburghís Larry Fitzgerald. In VT menís basketball, Zabian Dowdell was named Big East rookie of the week. Insight Bowl tickets were sent out from the VT ticket office on 12/15 and should arrive to their recipients by 12/17. The VT womenís basketball team moved up from 20th to 17th in the most recent AP poll. Pittís offensive coordinator J.D. Brookhart has moved on to become the new head football coach at Akron.

Kevin Rogers Ė Quarterbacks Coach

Roth introduced Rogers and asked how things were going. Rogers said the coaching staff has been very busy recruiting and are now preparing to switch gears and get the team ready for the upcoming bowl game. He said the team seems to be in good spirits. He said theyíre focused and motivated to play well against Cal in the Insight Bowl.

Roth asked him to comment on the recent media quotes from Bud Foster where Foster characterized VT as having "some selfish players." Rogers said that Foster was upset about how those comments were portrayed in the newspapers. He said they were taken out of context and Foster would never say or do anything to jeopardize team unity or focus. When asked about the negativity coming from VT fans over the teamís recent performance, Rogers said "it goes with the territory." He said that fans have a right to be critical when things donít go well, but itís always a tough pill to swallow for the coaches.

Roth pointed out that Rogersí former boss, SUís Paul Pasqualoni, has taken some heat in recent years about his teamís performance. Rogers said that fans can sometimes become spoiled when things go well for an extended period of time. He said that SU doesnít seem to have as many "impact players" recently, which may be a reason for their poor showings in the past few seasons.

Joe in Buena Vista called and asked how close Marcus Vick is to becoming the starting QB for VT next season. He also asked what the coaches can do to avoid future "dissension" over the QB shuffling that occurred this season. Rogers said that the QB shuffling didnít cause dissension on the team as much as it might have hurt the offensive chemistry at times. He said that both QBís are "positive individuals" who just want to help the team win. Rogers said that the QBís will battle for the starting job again in the spring, and the permanent starter will be determined over time.

Rogers also noted that VT is doing very well recruiting for the QB position. He said that the VT QB outlook is very good for the next six years. Roth asked if the QB strategy for the bowl game will be similar to the one VT employed against UVA. Rogers said that the plan would be similar, but theyíd probably use Vick even more. He said that Vick has emerged as one of the best athletes on the team, and the coaches need to make sure heís on the field as much as possible.

After a break, Francis in Culpeper called and suggested that Rogers step up and become VTís offensive coordinator, and let Bryan Stinespring focus solely on coaching the offensive line. Rogers said that Stinespring is a very good football coach who is doing very well as offensive coordinator. He pointed out that if VT has scored a few more touchdowns this season in a few key situations, there would be no such talk from the fans. He said that Stinespring doesnít come up with the offensive game plan all by himself. He said that numerous coaches are privy to the plan and they all assist in crafting the offensive strategy.

Roth noted that Bryan Randall told him that VT was going to get back to doing some of the things they had success with early in the season (offensively). Roth asked Rogers why VT got away from doing those things in the first place. Rogers said that the coaches try to design the offensive strategy to take advantage of the defense they are facing. He said thatís why the VT offense can look different from game to game.

Roth read an e-mail where the writer asked why Bryan Randall seemed to "regress" in his execution as the season wore on. Rogers said that the QB is the one player who always gets too much credit when things go well and too much blame when things donít go well. He reminded everyone that Randall is on the field with ten other players who have to execute their assignments. In other words, the entire offense needs to be executing in order for the QB to do his job. Rogers said that VT seemed to play really well until the WVU game, which was a comedy of errors. He said that the offense struggled to get back on track after that. He said he thought the season would have played out totally different if VT had been able to pull out the win over Pitt.

Roth asked Rogers to comment on the Cal team VT will face in the Insight Bowl. Rogers said that Cal might be the best offensive team VT has faced all season. He said they can run and throw as good as any team out there. He pointed out that Cal was very close to winning the PAC 10 and going to the Rose Bowl this year.

Jake in Winchester called and referenced the 4th down play call near the end of the Pitt game. He said that he didnít question the play call as much as the personnel in that situation. Rogers said that VT scripts plays for almost every scenario. He said that VT converts that play into 4+ yards over 80% of the time. He said he thought it was the right call at the time, but if you take away VTís turnovers in that game, the 4th down play would have never happened. Rogers also pointed out that there was pass interference on the play that was uncalled.

Barek in Blacksburg called with a game plan question concerning the upcoming Cal match up. He asked if VT would try to play a conservative ball control offense or a quick strike offense to try to keep up with Calís high powered attach. Rogers said that the game will somewhat dictate what VT does offensively. However, he noted that VT will always have to be aware of clock management and take full advantage of every offensive possession they get.

Roth noted that the news coming out of Cal indicates that they are very excited to play VT. However, it seems that the news around VT is more about crisis management than bowl talk. Rogers pointed out that VT hasnít really gotten into full swing practicing for Cal yet. He also noted that there might be a little enthusiasm hangover from the season ending loss to UVA. He said that itís important for VT to match Calís intensity come game time.

Jack in Midlothian called and asked Rogers if Marcus Vick ended up with as many snaps that season as he had envisioned early on. Rogers said that Vick probably got even more snaps this year than he expected. He said he wished things had gone better for him at times and used Vickís performance at Rutgers as an example.


Jim Weaver Ė Athletic Director

After a break, Roth introduced Weaver and they spoke briefly about the recent awards Jake Grove has won. Weaver commended Grove for his work ethic and toughness and added that he might be the best center heís been around in all his years of coaching football and administrating athletics. Roth asked how many tickets VT ended up selling for the Insight Bowl. Weaver said he wasnít sure, but guessed that it would be somewhere in the neighborhood of 3000.

Roth then talked about the rumor that the Gator Bowl might drop its Big East affiliation after 2005 and become and Big Ten / ACC match up. Weaver said heíd heard this rumor, but couldnít substantiate it or comment any further. Roth brought up the topic of BC possibly joining the ACC next season. Weaver said that he believed there was a push to get this done for the 2004 season, but weíd have to wait and see how it plays out in the coming months. Roth noted that Jacksonville and Orlando are both pushing to host a possible ACC championship game in 2004.

After a break, Roth read an e-mail from Brent suggesting that VT paint the floor at Cassell Coliseum with the ACC logo (like other schools in the ACC). Weaver said he would take the suggestion under advisement.

Roth asked Weaver for the latest news on VTís football schedule for next season. Weaver said that both VT and USC had signed letters of intent to play each other in the BCA game, and that a formal announcement from the BCA or the gameís promoter should be imminent. He said that each team would get 30% of the revenue from the game, but admitted that he wasnít sure if it would take place at Fedex Field ot The Meadowlands in New Jersey.

Adam in Blacksburg called and suggested that Weaver "do something" about the lines around the foul line in Cassell Coliseum. Weaver wasnít sure what he meant so Roth interjected and pointed out that sometimes opposing players will step up to the wrong line. Weaver laughed and said that it would be a good thing if opposing players shot their free throws from further away.

Roth asked Weaver if the opponent for VTís 7th 2004 home game had been decided. Weaver said the contract is still out and he will announce the opponent if/when it comes back signed.


Cal Football Coach Jeff Tedford

After a break, Cal football coach Jeff Tedford joined the show via telephone. Tedford said that they are very excited to have the opportunity to play VT in the Insight Bowl. He complimented VTís program for its success over the years.

Roth asked him how heís been able to turn the program around at Cal in such a short period of time. Tedford said that his quality coaching staff is the key. He said theyíve done an excellent job working with their players and getting the team to believe in itself again. Roth pointed out that Cal is the #1 public institution in the country in terms of academics. Tedford said that they use that status to their advantage by actively recruiting players who would like to focus on getting an excellent education.

Roth mentioned that Cal might have been two or three plays away from going to the Rose Bowl this year. Tedford said that his team was indeed close to winning the games in two out of their three conference losses. He said they just didnít do what it took to win in those games.

Roth asked how Cal was preparing for VT. Specifically, he asked if they were looking at game film from early in the season or late in the season. Tedford said that theyíre looking at film of all the games. He said Cal will have to be very well prepared to be able to compete with a well coached and talented VT squad.

Roth asked Tedford to comment on the general attitude of his team. Tedford said that both the players and fans are very excited because itís been a while since Cal went to a bowl. He said it should be a good game with good match ups. Roth noted that Kevin Rogers had earlier characterized Cal as a "more talented version of Texas A&M." Tedford complemented VTís team on their talent level as well. He said that VT is just as talented as any team in the Pac 10 this year.

Seth Greenberg Ė Menís Basketball Coach

After a break, Roth introduced Greenberg and they briefly discussed Dowdell being recently named the Big East rookie of the week. Greenberg praised Dowdell for his improvement on both offense and defense. He said that Dowdell works hard both on and off the court. Greenberg also pointed out that the team is playing very well fundamentally at this point in the season.

Robert in Richmond called and asked how many more VT menís basketball games would be televised on ESPN full court. Roth said he didnít know the exact games, but noted that such information is available on HokieSports.com.

Roth and Greenberg then discussed the recent play of freshman Coleman Collins. Greenberg praised his aggressive rebounding and ability to find a take high percentage shots (especially dunks). He also pointed out that Collins is only 17 years old and has a lot of time to improve. Roth noted that four scorers are now emerging on the team -- Bryant Matthews, Jamon Gordon, Dowdell, and Collins -- whereas it was previously thought the team only had one or two scorers.

Roth turned the discussion to VTís upcoming opponent Towson (this Saturday). Greenberg said that Towson is a young and hungry team. He said they are dangerous because they are looking to bounce back from some disappointing losses. Greenberg noted that Shawn Harris (coming back from injury) may be available for the game on a limited basis. He said he looks forward to seeing some Maryland-based Hokies show up to watch the contest (Saturday, Dec. 20th, at Towson, at 4 p.m.).

After another break, Roth commented about how many ACC teams are now ranked in the top 10. Greenberg particularly praised GT because of their aggressive play and talented players. In looking around the country, Greenberg also noted that Indiana, Purdue and Michigan State are playing well right now.

Randy from Richmond in the audience asked Greenberg to identify which upcoming Big East games heís most excited about and looking forward to. Greenberg said heís excited about all of them, but since the first one will be against Pitt, heís most looking forward to that matchup. He said all the Big East teams are big and talented for the most part. He noted that many teams are still struggling to "find themselves" at this point early in the season.

Hunter in Farmville called and praised the work Greenberg is doing with VT basketball. He asked Greenberg to tell him a little more about two of the young Hokies on the team, Dowdell and Gordon. Greenberg thanked Hunter for his kind words. He said that both Gordon and Dowdell are extremely intelligent young men and very hard workers. He noted that Dowdell may get a 4.0 this semester. He said they have taken an ownership role on this team as leaders even though they are freshmen. He said heís very excited about the potential of both young men.

After a break, Roth asked Greenberg how his scheduling philosophy would evolve after VT begins ACC play next season. Greenberg said that scheduling is always a balancing act. He said that they always want to challenge the players without "over-scheduling" and destroying the playersí confidence. He said that VTís schedule would continue to get tougher as the years go by and they continue to improve and compete well in the ACC.

Chris in Blacksburg called and asked Greenberg where he saw VT basketball 5 years from now. Greenberg said that they hope to have an ACC caliber team that can compete with everyone in the league. He said that it will take three solid recruiting classes back to back to back in order to really rebuild a program. Greenberg pointed out that it wonít happen overnight, but theyíre working very hard to improve the program on a daily basis.

After a final break, Roth asked Greenberg for some closing comments on the outlook for the team over the next several weeks. Greenberg said that Christmas time is tough on some of the young freshman players because it will be their first away from home. He said that they will try make it a family atmosphere so theyíll feel comfortable. Greenberg also said that the team is looking forward to making some adjustments and improvements over the next several games as they head toward Big East play. He said they will also experiment with different lineups as they get some players back from injury. Roth thanked Greenberg for his time and signed off.

-- Wayne

          

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