The Hokie Hotline (football and basketball season)
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Advance Auto Parts Hokie Hotline Notes
Monday
, January 19, 2004
by Phil Noftsinger

Bill Roth began the interview portion of the show by asking Coach Greenberg if heís fired his free throw coach yet. Greenberg laughed and said that the coaching staff is still totally intact. Coach said that the team has spent a lot of time on free throws in practice, working from technique to routine to repetition. During half-time of the Miami game he addressed the free throw shooting, but these kids are tired, and after you miss a few, the basket starts to shrink up. It is something they continually work on in practice, but there is a point where it starts to work against you, and they are conscious of that as well.

Roth pointed out that the Hokies were 10-26 in free throws against Miami. Roth also noted that it seemed the 1-3-1 defense seemed to work well, and that Bryant Matthews had a pivotal game. Potential NBA player Darius Rice couldnít seem to handle Bryant. Coach mentioned that the game plan was to try and change the tempo up, and force Miami to play out of rhythm. There were some things that disturbed Greenberg in the game, at one point some of the Hokies were playing man and some were playing 1-3-1.

Coach said that Bryant really let the game come to him, but that he needs to be careful about trying to make something out of nothing. Also, take care not to take shots that take him away from the basket and out of transition. Greenberg pointed out that Matthews is playing a little dinged up too. He said that Sailes also had a good game on defense, and that overall were protecting the ball well with only 17 turnovers in two games. Against Miami they didnít finish shots well, which led to bad floor balance and poor transition. Because of injuries, the team doesnít go up and down the floor a lot in practice, so transition becomes a problem.

Roth read a note that was left in the athletic center, believe to be a year old, which was from George in Bristol. George felt like it was important to have the players names on the backs of the jerseys. Greenberg said that wasnít going to be a problem, and that the names would appear on the jerseys. He also mentioned that one set of uniforms would not be seen again this year. He didnít mention which set. Roth commented on Bryan Randallís uniform, which includes socks pulled all the way up and longer shorts. Roth mentioned that Randall had a three steals and a critical three-pointer in the Miami game. Greenberg added that Randall was very physical on Rice, and that he gives the team added energy on the court and leadership.

Jason in Blacksburg e-mailed in with a question regarding the Pitt game. Apparently during the broadcast someone said "Can we get some security over here." Roth pointed out that the visiting media has no single location from where to operate, so they are in the stands with the fans. Jason also asked if there has been a different reaction from the football schools in the Big East versus the basketball only schools. Roth pointed out that the team has only been on the road at two football schools so far. Greenberg added that the WVU fans were gracious, and it was a good crowd. He said that the Pitt crowd was a little more aggressive and angry. Greenberg wondered how they could be angry though, as they are 18-0. He said that Coach Dixon hasnít had a reason to go home and kick the dog yet, since they havenít lost.

Roth pointed out that the Hokies would probably hear some stuff at Syracuse. Jasonís final question was regarding what the coach was doing as punishment for missing free throws. Greenberg responded by saying that he is putting players at three corners of Cassell and making them write 1000 times "I will not miss my free throws". He was joking of course, but pointed out that these are players not animals, and there isnít any punishment. Free throws are something they are working on, and that the kids want to make the shots. The team needs to find an answer to the free throw problem, but they need to empower the players, not punish them.

Roth asked Greenberg what was the worst thing heís done after a loss, has he gone home and thrown anything. Greenberg said that he throws things before he gets home, on University propertyÖagain joking. However, he did say that he has a very supportive family, and he usually just shuts down, goes into the study reviews film, and groans.

Roth discussed Seton Hall, who the Hokies will take on in New Jersey on Saturday. Virginia Tech has never played in the Meadowlands arena, also home to the NHL champion NJ Devils, who will match up with the Canadians on Friday night. Greenberg asked Roth if he wanted tickets to the hockey game, and also pointed out that Roth was supposed to go recruiting with him. Roth indicated that he would rather have a nice dinner in NYC, instead of a hot dog at a high school basketball game. Greenberg felt like Roth needed to re-address his priorities. Regarding Seton Hall, Greenberg said this teamís been together for a long time. They are big, and they are deep. They play zone well and are tough at home. Greenberg felt that although the arena will seat 20,000 people, he felt like there would be 8-10,000 at the game. He felt that Seton Hall was an NCAA tournament team, who is fast off the dribble. He said the Hokies need to put our arms around one of these games and come out with a win.

Barek in Blacksburg called in and after being questioned by Roth, agreed with Greenberg that Roth should attend the basketball game. To which Greenberg said that Barek was a true Hokie fan and at least had his priorities in line, un-like Roth. Barek, after complimenting Bryan Randall on his uniform, wondered how much playing time we could expect for Randall. Greenberg said this is totally situational, we will look at the matchups and put Randall in at appropriate times. He did feel that Randall would start to see some more minutes with the injury to Harris and others. He said that Randall's ball handling was improving, and of course heís a competitor and a leader.

Nick in Covington e-mailed in a question regarding how competitive Greenberg felt the team was after their first few Big East games. Greenberg felt that there is still a talent differential, and that VT has a very tough lineup, with a small margin of error. He is concerned about their ability to defend the post, but the kids are playing as hard as they can. That showed in the Miami game where the team fought back to give ourselves a chance.

Mike in Richmond e-mailed in and asked what the win at WVU said about the character of this team, and did we come out flat against Miami. Greenberg felt like this was a big character win, and that several players stepped up to make big plays. Tech came back from behind twice and that is a testament to their character. Regarding Miami, Greenberg said that coming out flat is not an excuse that will be used with this program, the lights go on 13 more times for this team, and thereís no reason we should ever be flat. Thereís no need to build additional obstacles to the ones they already face.

Roth asked if when you miss lay-ups and free throws if it affects your play on defense as well. Greenberg said that it definitely does, by giving you poor floor balance, and gives the opponent easy baskets. The teamís #1 priority is to not give the opponent offensive opportunities from our offense. Against Miami the team didnít make good shots, and didnít give the Hokie fans time to get into the game. Greenberg really wanted the team to get people out to the game, and get the fans in the game. He said that with as little bench relief we have, it helps when the crowd is in the game, as it inspires the team and keeps them going. It helps when we are in a position to get the house rocking and get fired up.

Steve from West Virginia e-mailed in and said that he was at the WVU game in the student section, and was happy with the win as it took some of the sting out of the football loss. He said that the fans were giving Bryan Randall a hard time. He wanted to know if the ND game was a must win for the Hokies. Greenberg said that on the bus ride home, they were talking about how the WVU fans were yelling "INT" at Bryan during the game. He felt that ND is not a key game. Roth added that there are basically 5 teams in the Big East competing for 3 spots in the tournament. He felt like there would be a 3-4 way tie at the bottom, and the tie breakers would be important. Greenberg felt like the key games to get the team to NYC for the BE tournament were against WVU, Georgetown, St. John's, and Rutgers. Winning head to head is important, and they need to steal a game or two to get out on top. Roth said that he would really want to see Matthews get the chance to play in NYC. Greenberg agreed and felt like the St. John's game was a must win, and that Georgetown and Rutgers would both be very important.

Roth asked Greenberg to talk a little about Justin Holt, a Tech recruit who is practicing with the team, but not eligible to play. Coach said that he took a little while to adjust, but that heís really starting to learn the program now. He felt like heís going to be a great addition, and that Jamon Gordon and Zabian Dowdell have become good friends with Justin. The Hokie family has been real helpful in helping Justin adjust to his new surroundings. Roth asked about the status of Carlos Dixon, and Greenberg said that Carlos had some swelling the other day, so he was held out of practice. He has a bone spur thatís causing the swelling, and they are going to continue to evaluate his progress. Roth pointed out that in the ND game, Greenberg would be playing two walk-ons and the quarterback. Greenberg joked that the scheme was to run out of the Power-I.

With that, Roth and Greenberg wrapped up the show.

-- Phil

          

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