The Hokie Hotline (football and basketball season)
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Advance Auto Parts Hokie Hotline Notes
Monday
, August 23, 2004
by Phil Noftsinger

The Hokie Hotline aired live from Beamerís Restaurant in Christiansburg, VA. Tonightís guests were QB Coach Kevin Rogers, VT Athletic Director Jim Weaver, and Head Coach Frank Beamer.

Kevin Rogers

Roth started off the show asking the Coach Rogers about the pre-season development of VT starting QB Bryan Randall. Coach responded by saying that Bryan was a very different quarterback this year than last year. Heís much more advanced in his reads and checks, and that he has picked up right where he left off in the bowl game. He also talked about the leadership that Bryan showed in helping to develop Sean Glennon and Cory Holt, Virginia Techís backup quarterbacks. Apparently, Randall, under no direction from Coach Rogers, met with the young quarterbacks three times weekly to go over protections and plays, prior to the start of fall practice. The coaches are prohibited by NCAA regulations to actively coach the new freshmen until a certain point in time. However, it is okay for a teammate to meet with them as Randall has done.

Rogers continued to rave about the play of Randall, indicating that his arm strength has significantly improved. He has the ability to quickly get the ball from his ear to the receiver in the flat, as well as negotiate a 70 yard pass accurately. Rogers said that overall heís really developed into a pro prospect. Itís too bad he was thrown into the mix as a true freshman, because given a redshirt year, he would still have one more year of eligibility. Also of note, Randall has graduated with an undergraduate degree in three years and currently is taking graduate level classes.

Roth asked the coach about the current state of team chemistry, a quality the 2003 Hokies seemed to lack down the stretch. Coach Rogers was very complimentary of the work Beamer and staff has done to reinstate unity and focus.

Larry in the audience asked Coach Rogers where he started his career. The response was Bayside High School in Virginia Beach. Along the same lines Roth asked the coach what is different about the players coming out of high school today. Rogers said that there is more knowledge at the lower levels regarding strength and conditioning, as well as academic support. The kids are stronger, faster, and smarter.

Roth moved on the topic of backup quarterbacks, whoís starting, and is it permanent? Rogers said that currently they have Sean Glennon listed as the #2 guy, and Cory Holt as #3. However, that may not be the decision one year from now. The coach said these two have a lot to learn, despite the tremendous improvement we have seen over the pre-season.

The coaching staff felt like Sean Glennon will manage the game a little better. Coach did admit that an offense run by Glennon would be significantly pared down. You donít want your backup quarterback to lose the game for you. However, when he was QB coach at ND they ran the table with a freshman quarterback, so it can be done. Rogers did point out that Sean played a balanced offense in high school with about 30-40% passing.

Dan from Blacksburg in the audience wanted to know how Rogers planned to attack the USC defense. Rogers said that the strength of the Trojan defense is up front, so we want to get outside the pocket, run quick passes, and use play action. Standing in the pocket, while there will be some, will not be practical in this case.

Roth asked how VT plans to run the ball without our normal star running backs in the backfield. Rogers said that Justin Hamilton has been doing a great job filling in for Humes, who continues to get healthier. Rogers said that VT's ability to run the ball will be determined by their ability to block the USC defensive line.

After the break Roth pointed out that Virginia Techís record in August and September is 28-0 since 1996, and that 9 of those wins came against ranked teams. Roth also mentioned that Tech's last loss in either of those two months was in 1996 against Syracuse, for whom Rogers was the QB coach at that time.

Rick with the Christiansburg Hokie Club in the audience wanted Rogers to talk about Bryan Randallís daily routine. Rogers basically said that Bryan meets with him at 6:45am on Monday to start going through game film, and from the end of that period to 2:00 heís in class. From 3:15-5:30 they are on the practice field working. There is very little down time for a VT football player, and the VT coaching staff certainly get their money's worth for the scholarship they give.

Rogers closed out his section of the interview by saying that this team is ready to go, excited to play, and are not going to cower away from this upcoming opponent as many writers feel they should. ďWe are going to go out there and play our butts off.Ē Rogers did have one closing message he wanted to send to the Hokie fans. ďIn my 30 years of coaching, I have never been to a place that has fans like ours. The support is un-like any other place I have been. I will never forget that night against Miami. Keep it going and stay hungry in the rooting department!!Ē Coming from a former Notre Dame coach, thatís high marks.

Jim Weaver

Next up was Jim Weaver, and Roth kicked off his portion by asking about the progress on the West Side expansion. To which, Weaver replied itís on time, on budget and will be ready for the 2005 season. Also, Weaver indicated that the outer shell should be completed by mid-September, so Hokie fans will already get a good feel for what the changes will look like. The new expansion will have luxury seats, the largest of which will seat 35 people.

Joe in Blacksburg called in and wanted to clarify what happened to the LSU road game (moved from 2004 to 2007) and wanted to know what the future OOC schedule might look like.

Weaver responded to the LSU question first, indicating that the athletic offices of LSU were at all times aware that in the event the BCA game could be re-scheduled for 2004, then VT would need to push their road game with LSU back to 2007 per the contract. They were aware from the beginning and VT negotiated with the BCA all the way through October of 2003, when it seemed that things were not going to come together.

Then in November of 2003, ESPN called with the USC match up, and since this was the last year anyone would be able to play a pre-season type game, it was decided to move forward.

As far as future matchups, Tech has a scheduling philosophy of playing one "equity conference" team each year, so that means a team in the Big East, Big Ten, Big XII, SEC, or Pac-10. Teams the Hokies will face in one or more games in the future include LSU, Ohio State, Wisconsin, and West Virginia. You can check TSL's Future Schedules Page to get exact years for those match-ups.

Roth asked if there was any movement to schedule former conference foes of the Big East. Weaver said that they are talking with Pittsburgh and Syracuse, but nothing is concrete at this juncture. The biggest hole right now is for a 2006 home game.

Jeremy from Christiansburg in the audience wanted to know if there was going to be a walk at FedEx Field. Weaver replied that security precautions are much different at an NFL stadium and didnít think a walk would be possible.

Roth asked Weaver to comment on Jacksonville being selected to host the first two ACC Championship football games. Weaver said that a sub-committee of ADís within the ACC were involved in making the decision. The decision was made to select Jacksonville because of great facilities, great volunteer organization, and they did a great job on their budget (they offered the most money). The subsidiary programming that Jacksonville puts on for the Gator Bowl would be equaled or improved for the ACC Championship, making the fan experience one of the best in the nation.

Steve in Salem called in and wanted to know what we can do to get media types to stop calling Virginia Tech ďVa-TechĒ. Weaver said that this was something his department has really worked hard on these last two years. They continually tell game announcers and television crews that itís inappropriate to refer to the school in such a manner. Roth was quick to point out to Hokie fans that USC fans face a similar problem with the use of Southern Cal as a nickname. Apparently the USC media guide compares calling them ďSouthern CalĒ to calling UNC ďNorth CaĒÖ

Fred from Blacksburg called in and wanted to know if there were any Friday night activities planned for the fans. Weaver said that fans could contact the Hokie Clubs or the Athletic Fund for that information.

Rusty in Galax called in pointed out that he and his neighbors were season ticket holders and contributors to the Virginia Tech program. He continued to indicate that VT has had some problems recently, and it seemed that things would get better and then we would have more problems. He pointed out that ever since Weaver has come to Virginia Tech and tried to shake things up that Tech has fallen down the hill, and wanted to know if Weaver planned to resign. Weaver disagreed that VT has declined in national respect or prominence, and that he had no plans to resign.

Byron from Christiansburg called in and wanted to know if due to construction there would not be night games this year. Weaver said that currently the Maryland game is definitely a night game, but television would dictate game times for the other home games.

Frank Beamer

After the break Roth returned by introducing Head Coach Frank Beamer. Frank started off by mentioning that they had a good practice that day, and that they are ready to get after it.

Roth wanted to know what it was going to take to beat the Trojans. Beamer said that the offense needs to take care of and move the football. This will be the best defensive front Tech will face all year. He did state that USC's offense is missing many of their weapons from last year, but that this team is like Miami, itís just a different number. Defensively Tech has to get to their QB, has to play relentless VT Defense. Finally, the Hokies have to generate something from the kicking game.

Roth asked who the place-kicker would be, and Beamer said that Brandon Pace had won the starting job.

Roth asked who the tailback would be, and Beamer said that would be decided later in the week. He did mention that Justin Hamilton has done a terrific job so far.

Roth asked about fullback, and Beamer again said that this would be decided later in the week.

Roth asked about starting receivers, who would dress, who would play, and who would redshirt. Beamer said that all of the receivers would dress and play. He did mention that you are going to know about Josh Morgan before this season is over. Justin Harper and Eddie Royal are both in the mix as well.

Roth pointed out that Virginia Tech will have 24 guys traveling to FedEx who have never played in a college game. Beamer said that it scares him to have a team this young, but that he really likes this team. He seemed very genuine about that fact, and that we will see a very different team take the field in December against Miami then we might in these first few games.

Roth asked about the linebackers. Beamer said that you're going to see a lot of the freshmen players there too. Xavier Adibi and Blake Warren will play, and Mikal Baaqee and Vince Hall will play as well.

Horace in Salisbury Maryland called in and wanted an update on the status of USC receiver Mike Williams. Beamer said that as of this moment Williams has not been re-instated, but that he thought the paper work was filed today. (Editor's note: it was to be filed Wednesday at the earliest.)

Bonnie from Christiansburg called in and wanted to know what was the biggest challenge in preparing for Saturday. She also wanted to know how fans could better show their appreciation for Bryan Randall. Beamer responded that Bryan is tremendous person, athlete and student. He always does whatís best for VT. Heís an unselfish team guy, who has a calming influence on the offense. He said that we should show our gratitude at Lane Stadium and FedEx Field.

Barek in Blacksburg called in and asked about the USC linebackers. We had heard so much about the D-line, but nothing about the linebackers. Beamer admitted that he struggled with pronouncing their names, but that #58 brings a load. They are as good as they get. Beamer did say that they have two new corners, but again, very talented.

Neal from Blacksburg in the audience wanted to know how many wins would it take for Beamer to consider this a successful season. Beamer said a successful season to him is one in which the team plays to the best of their abilities or above. He said late last season they played below their ability, and that is a disappointment.

Roth reminded Hokie fans that Friday is Hokie Pride Day!! Wear your Hokie colors.

Curtis in Wythville called in and wanted to know if Tech is going to rush the punter more because of the loss of DeAngelo Hall as a returner. Beamer said that we havenít been as good at that as we used to be, and it was a focus this year. He said that punt returns are also created by constant pressure, because the punt protection team stays back to block longer.

Roth asked Beamer who the return guys would be. Beamer seemed to indicate that Josh Morgan, Josh Hyman, and Eddie Royal were kick return guys, with Richard Johnson and Jimmy Williams returning punts. It was unclear as to whether or not Eddie Royal would also have punt return duties.

Dan from Blacksburg in the audience wanted to know the status of David Clowney and the makeup of the receiving corps. He also wanted to know if VT planned to throw to the tight ends more. Beamer said that Clowney had been slowed by injury, but he was working full speed Monday morning. He continued to say that they planned to throw to our tight ends more, and that in the last scrimmage Jeff King caught 2-3 passes. If the Tight Ends can get open, they will get the ball.

Roth pointed out after the break that every Hokie game would be broadcast live on XM radio this season, as well as the other ACC teams and games.

Jeff in Knoxville called in and wanted to know who was the home team in Saturdayís game. Beamer said that VT is wearing white (white jerseys and maroon pants), so he assumed VT was the away team.

Roth asked about the offensive line. Beamer said that these guys are in for a real challenge. Will Montgomery has a calming affect on the O-Line, and his experience will help at center. These guys will have to step up. The depth here is a little thin, and the 2nd team has to get better.

Sean in Blacksburg called in and wanted to know how the coaches planned to prepare for a season of new teams. Beamer said that we will take it as it comes, but that the exciting part is playing these new teams.

Roth reviewed the ACC Games, which will take place next week:

Wake at Clemson
Virginia at Temple
NC State at Richmond
UNC at William and Mary
Maryland hosting Northern Illinois
Georgia Tech hosts Samford
Duke at Navy
And on Monday Night Ė Fla State vs Miami

Doug from Blacksburg called in and wanted to know how Beamer is preparing for the USC kick block team and how the team planned to contain Leinart. Beamer agreed that they have a great kick blocking squad and that VT has to win the kicking game. Defensively they need to get after people, and tackle well after their short passes. Overall they are not concerned with Leinartís ability to run, though he does move well in the pocket. Roth pointed out that Trojan signal callers have passed for over 7,700 total yards in the past two seasons.

Nick in Covington called in and wanted to know why on Beamerball.com there are two fullbacks listed at 2nd string and no first stringers. Beamer said that they would make the decision to elevate one of the two later in the week. Both have really improved, and itís just a matter of who will line up for the first play.

Jeremy of Christiansburg in the audience was concerned about Tech's ability to pressure the quarterback, but not overpursue as well. Beamer said that having Jim Davis on the line brings a whole new element to the defense. If they can pressure the quarterback that will make the entire defense better, so that is a key factor in this game.

Roth closed the show by asking Beamer if the team was ready. Beamer said itís time for us to play. We have installed and practiced as much as we can, so itís time to go out and see how good we can be.

Roth pointed out and Beamer agreed, that VT has moved up in the world, as they will be playing in the last pre-season game, and that these games were usually showcases for teams like USC, Penn State, Notre Dame, and others.

-- Phil

          

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