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Advance Auto Parts Hokie Hotline Notes
, December 29, 2003
by Wayne Clevenger

Editor's Note: We apologize for the lateness of these Hokie Hotline notes, which are the post-Insight Bowl edition. Both the Yahoo and archives were not available until late in the week. -- Will

Editor's Note #2: We're still looking for a replacement for Wayne Clevenger, who bows out after this week. If you're interested in taking over through the remainder of the broadcast year (which runs through March), email me at [email protected] to find out all the wonderful benefits of being the Hokie Hotline note transcriber! Many thanks to Wayne for the great job he did this football season!

Brad Greenberg Ė Assistant Menís Basketball Coach

Roth welcomed Greenberg and noted that it was his debut on the Hokie Hotline show. Roth mentioned that Greenberg was formerly the VP and General Manager of the Philadelphia 76ers and also worked in the Portland Trailblazers organization. After that they began discussion of the basketball team before taking calls. Greenberg said that the team is doing well and gaining experience as they go along. He said that Bryant Matthewsí stats are incredible thus far this season (leads the Big East in scoring). Greenberg said that Matthews has tremendous heart and athleticism.

Roth asked for an injury update and Greenberg said that Jamon Gordonís knee is not good. He may be back after some rest, but itís a wait and see type situation (Editor's Note: it was announced Jan. 2nd and Gordon is out for 8-10 weeks). Greenberg noted that all the freshmen are playing very consistent basketball. He said that Dowdell is a hard worker who is coming along quicker than expected. He had good range and confidence and is not afraid to take the big shot.

Cliff in Blackstone called and asked Greenberg for his thoughts on how high school coaches can build their programs? Greenberg said that it really starts at the junior high level. He said coaches should endeavor to get as many kids interested in the sport as possible and organize pick-up games and leagues early on to build enthusiasm. He said that having more kids interested will build competition down the line and grow talent.

Jeff in Christiansburg called and asked about VTís recruiting needs and also asked how long it would take VT to be competitive in the ACC. Greenberg said that VT needs big talented frontcourt players to complement the perimeter players. He said it might take 2 more recruiting classes to really be able to compete in the ACC year in and year out. He pointed out that all ACC teams have good athletes, but each team needs the intangibles (intelligence, heart and desire) to compete for the entire season in a tough league.

After a break, Mike in Richmond e-mailed asking why VTís basketball schedule is currently so weak? Greenberg admitted that most of the schedule was set before the current coaching staff arrived. He noted that bigger basketball schools have more money to invest in this area. He said that itís important right now to play the schedule and let the players gain confidence for the future. Greenberg promised that the schedule would get tougher starting next season.

Roth asked Greenberg about the differences between college versus the pros when dealing with the players. Greenberg said that the college game allows you to help the men grow and evolve as people, but coaching is basically the same at both levels. He said there will obviously be differences when dealing with a college player versus an NBA millionaire, but working with the pro players is enjoyable too.

Kemper in Suffolk called and asked if that was Justin Holt on the Bench with Carlos Dixon at the ECU game in Norfolk. Greenberg said it wasnít Holt, but he should start practicing with the team soon. He noted that Holt wonít be eligible to play until second semester next season. Greenberg said he was excited that the team can finally practice 5 on 5 now, which is good.

After a break Roth noted that VT has had only one game in 17 days after so many games early. Greenberg said that itís been nice to have the time to work on things, heal some injuries, and have a little mini training camp during that period.

Roth turned the discussion topic back to incoming transfer Justin Holt (from Tacoma Washington). Greenberg said heís a transfer, so he canít play right away and needs to sit out a whole seasonís worth of games. He said that it will be good to have him involved with the team now though. Greenberg mentioned that Holt has bounced around a bit with coaching changes at other schools. Roth noted that Holt was once the Player of the Year in Washington State.

Bryan Stinespring Ė Offensive Coordinator

Roth asked Stinespring, How it was to coach in a game like that (the Insight Bowl)? Stinespring said it was a great environment, and everyone enjoyed it, but we just didnít win the ball game. He said he never anticipated a shoot out, but knew in the second half that VT needed to get some points on the board. He said VTís offensive plan is always to try to score enough to win. He said that missed field goals kept VT from scoring in the 3rd quarter, but there were other missed opportunities in there as well (near misses and dropped passes).

Pam in Culpeper called and asked why it took so long this season for Keith Willis to have a big game (2 TD catches)? Stinespring noted that Willis was hurt for much of the season. He said VT wants to get the tight ends more involved in the offense, but you have to pick and choose your opportunities. He pointed out that the value of the tight end in the VT offense is not always defined by catches, because they have so many other responsibilities (blocking, etc.). Stinespring said he was very proud of the offensive line in the bowl game Ė they got a lot of criticism last year and really finished this season strong. Jake Grove had several tremendous blocks on KJís option run for a touchdown. Stinespring said that Grove has an uncanny ability to predict defenses and help run the offense from the center position.

Cliff called and asked Stinespring to grade the offensive line for entire season. Stinespring gave them a B because thereís always room for improvement. He said their average grade was 83% for the season. He said he feels good about the guys coming back next season. He noted that Dunn stepped up big this season, as well as Miller and Montgomery.

Roth asked about the receiver position at VT. Stinespring said that VT needs to develop more quality depth at receiver. He noted that there were some injuries at receiver this season and that hurt the offense. He said that it was great to have a weapon like Vick step in and perform at receiver during the bowl game.

When asked if he had started on a game plan for the USC game next season, Stinespring admitted that he had already started studying USC during review of Cal game tapes, but has not come up with a definitive plan as of yet.

After a break, Roth asked who the next VT center would be. Stinespring said that they havenít decided on one yet, and thatís what spring practice is for. He said that spring practice is the time to evaluate personnel and fill the gaps that are open. Stinespring mentioned that Robert Ramsey and Tripp Carroll will compete at center, as well as Will Montgomery. When asked about the tailback position, Stinespring said that Humes will be ready to step up, but admitted that at least one incoming freshman tailback will probably get playing time next season.

Vince in Christiansburg called and asked if the experiment with Marcus Vick at receiver is a long or short term situation. Stinespring said that Vick will eventually be a QB, but VT has to get the best players on the field for now. He said that Randall and Vick will fight for the QB position in the spring and the competition will make both of them better. He said that all positions are basically up for grabs right now.

Bart e-mailed and asked if more recruits are showing interest in VT because of the move to the ACC. Stinespring said that itís too early to tell, but the current recruiting successes are a good sign. He noted that VT has four commitments from North Carolina already, and thatís definitely a result of the move to the ACC. He said that three VT coaches are now actively recruiting in that state.

Greg in Monroe called in and asked why thereíd been no mention of the tremendous game Lee Suggs recently had for the Cleveland Browns (186 yards rushing, 2 TDs). Stinespring said he was very excited to see that performance. He said that Lee Suggs will always be successful in whatever he does.

Tom e-mailed and asked why VT didnít go for it more on 4th down in the bowl game (because of the poor field goal kicking). Stinespring said he wished he could have the 3rd and 2 call back where Randall took a deep shot to Hamilton. He said he thought it was shorter than two yards, and that they could go for it on 4th down if the deep pass wasnít converted. He said Beamer had already told him that he had 3rd and 4th down to get the first, but it was more yardage that they thought.

After a break Stinespring said that Beamer has really been focusing on spring practice. He said there will be lots of evaluation moving forward and recruiting is very busy right now. He said that the coaches hope to finish the recruiting season strong. Roth asked if VTís poor finish is affecting recruiting. Stinespring said that it wasnít. He said that the VT program is built on a solid foundation that canít be broken by occasional disappointments. The young men that are coming in have confidence in the program.

Stevie Ray in Galax called and asked why VT didnít throw more balls to Jake Grove this season (because he was obviously the most talented athlete). The called turned out to be Grove himself and they all got a big laugh out of it. Roth and Stinespring congratulated Grove on his tremendous season and various awards.

Roth noted that VT has had a very tough season and wished Stinespring luck. Stinespring said that a lot of hard work took place and everyone put a lot into it. He said that there are answers out there and the VT coaches will find them. He said that the VT program stands for more than just wins and losses. He said the program wasnít built on sand that gets blown away by the first storm that comes along. Itís built on rock and the spearhead of that rock is Frank Beamer.

Frank Beamer Ė Head Football Coach

After a break, Roth introduced Beamer. Beamer said the bowl loss was very disappointing, but itís now behind them and time to move forward. He said that VT needs to get back on track and doing things right. He said that the team made some mental mistakes and defensive errors in the bowl game that need to be corrected. He said they let too many receivers run free in the open field. Beamer pointed out that VT needs to find some real playmakers on defense, and hopes that some of the redshirts will step up there. He said heís looking forward to solid competition at all positions in the spring. Beamer said he knows the VT coaches are good and have been successful in the past, and they know they can get back. He said that the plans are not to change the defense as much as getting the right players in the right positions to be successful.

Cliff called and asked Beamer about his worries for next season. Beamer said that VT has a good team. He said the QB position is solid Ė but they need more recruits in the program. He noted that Imoh is very impressive and has a high potential to get even better. He said Humes will be better next year. Beamer admitted that the offensive line has holes to plug, but there are many up and coming players to choose from. He said the tight ends look good, but the wide receivers need to step up and give VT quality depth. He said itís an interesting time for VT right now, because there are many spring battles on the horizon. He said that VT needs kicking to be better next season, but the first step is to finish the recruiting season strong.

Roth asked if there was any foreshadowing about the season-ending collapse? Beamer said there really wasnít, but the loss at Pitt was tough and took the wind out of their sails. He said that VT just didnít get it done down the stretch. He said that a lot of the recent play is not like VT in the past, because theyíre seeing a lot more mental errors than normal. He said that VT needs to keep working hard and playing hard and things will go their way eventually.

Randy in Blacksburg called and asked if VT intends to move the defensive backs closer to the line of scrimmage in the future. Beamer said that it depends on what coverage theyíre playing. He said that you need different techniques for different situations.

Jeff in Knoxville called and predicted a VT win over USC next season. Beamer said it would be a great challenge because theyíre #1 now and theyíre getting most of their players back. Jeff noted that there were not many VT penalties in the bowl game. Beamer said that VT has definitely improved in that area. Jeff asked if VT should have called more time outs during Calís last drive so they could get the ball back. Beamer said that you want them to kick the field goal in that situation because their guy had missed 5 straight and was 3 of 11 overall from that distance. He said that VT didnít want to give Cal six more offensive snaps by calling timeout. Beamer noted that Cal has the best quarterback VT has faced all season.

Bob from Roanoke called and asked everyone whoís down on coach Beamer to read his book, "Turn Up The Wick." Beamer thanked Bob for his kind words and pledged to get things turned in the right direction at VT.

Barek in Blacksburg called and noted that we havenít seen much of James Anderson this year and asked about his status going into spring. Beamer said that Anderson is one of VTís best special teams players. He said that Anderson is set to play weak side linebacker now, but may have opportunities to look at other positions in the spring.

Robert in Richmond called and asked if Beamer comes up with more complex special teams strategies for bigger opponents like Miami. He also asked about the team chemistry problems that VT coaches have been hinting at. Beamer said that heís always working on new special teams plays and strategies. He said that they approach each team the same by trying to attack the weaknesses of each opponent. Beamer said that VT is always working to promote positive team chemistry throughout the year.

Sue in SW VA called and asked why Beamer left Warley in the game after missing a few field goals. Beamer said that he and Warley talked at halftime and he (Warley) wanted another opportunity. He said he gave him that opportunity because he wanted it to end better for Carter. He said it was just one of those nights for him (not the Warley weíve known). He said that VT has capable kickers in the program right now and will get better at that. He said that VT is also actively recruiting a few kickers.

Brandon in Lynchburg called and asked how was Cal repeatedly able to pick up first downs using the same plays. Beamer said they were not the same plays but may have looked the same. He said their QB did a good job of finding the receivers. He admitted that he was disappointed that VT didnít stop them more. Brandon asked why VT wasnít rushing the front four on defense like in the past. Beamer said theyíre rushing them, but theyíre not getting the push up field that they normally get. He said that Gentry just needs to get the guys bigger stronger and faster.

Jerry in Tazwell called to voice his support for Beamer and noted that VT has come a long way since it feared being left out of ACC expansion. Beamer said that things will work out and get better. He said that everyone is disappointed, but VT needs to move on and look forward to being successful in the ACC.

Bill in Lynchburg called to voice more support for Beamer and to say BEAT USC!! Beamer said thanks and weíll get them on August 28th.

After a break Roth noted that he saw a renewed vigor in Beamerís eyes. Beamer said, "absolutely, weíre going to get this thing straightened out." He said he appreciates all the support and VT just needs to get back to playing VT football.

Earl in Chesapeake called and said to keep up the good work and to keep recruiting very hard in that Tidewater region. Beamer said thanks and added that VT definitely will continue to cultivate ties to that region.

Jack in Midlothian called and said he was proud of the team because they never quit (14 down with five minutes to go in the bowl game). Beamer said he was proud of this as well. He said that showed tremendous spirit, and after all theyíve been through it made a great statement. Jack asked if there was any thought at all to try on onside kick against Cal? Beamer said they thought about it with four minutes left, but Cal countered with their "hands team." At that point Beamer just wanted to kick it deep and hold them. He also said that he wanted to block a kick if the defense stopped them. However, plans changed when Pace kicked off and the ball went out of bounds.

Jack in Christiansburg called and asked if VTís defensive line is undersized. Beamer said that VTís defensive line is not as big as some, but are very quick. He said that as long as defensive linemen keep the technique right, thatís whatís most important. He pointed out that Miami couldnít move VTís defensive line much.


<End of broadcast not available on Ė fades out>

-- Wayne


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