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Advance Auto Parts Hokie Hotline Notes
Monday
, September 6, 2004
by Phil Noftsinger

The Hokie Hotline was broadcast live from Beamerís Restaurant in Christiansburg, VA.

Tonightís guests included Offensive Coordinator Brian Stinespring, Athletic Director Jim Weaver, and Head Coach Frank Beamer.

News of The Day:

  • ACC Player of the Week was Ashley Stinson with two goals over VMI.
  • Tech recorded its first ACC victory against Maryland in womenís soccer.
  • Western Michigan returned 2,000 tickets for Saturdayís game which are currently available for purchase. Western Michigan only sold 300 tickets.

Bryan Stinespring

Bill Roth began the show by asking Coach Stinespring to review the offensive performance against USC. Coach Stinespring said that the intensity level was very high and you came out of it very proud. Roth pointed out that Bryan Randall played very well up to the fourth quarter where he missed a couple of passes. Coach Stinespring admitted that there were probably a couple of balls he would have liked to have back, but that he played well enough to win the ball game.

Roth asked about the play of the running backs, specifically the play of Tech running back Cedric Humes. Roth mentioned that he didnít seem to be running as fast as he had been, and he wondered how he has been performing in practice. Stinespring said that he went out there and he didnít look like the Cedric of old, but that he has improved since the game and that Tech needs him to be at 100%. Stinespring said that Justin Hamilton played a great game, picking up blitzes and running the ball. Roth asked who the starting tailback will be against Western Michigan on Saturday, to which Stinespring said that it will be Cedric Humes.

Moving onto the O-Line, Roth reviewed that Stinespring said before the start of the season that he wished he had more depth, and that the starting offensive line played every snap of the USC game. Stinespring said that the depth factor is a big question right now. He was proud of the way those first five played out there. He complimented the USC defensive line and felt like the Hokies matched their intensity. Roth wanted to know which one of the guys on the 2nd team which did not play might see action this coming weekend. Stinespring felt like Danny McGrath has come along well enough to spell Will Montgomery, but that he doesnít like changing centers that much. Coach felt like Jason Murphy continues to get better. There are little mistakes that Murphy needs to avoid. Brandon Frye is another player that has the potential to see playing time in game situations.

Roth brought up the illegal formation penalties during the USC game, and made the comment that some of the calls may have been questionable. Stinespring admitted that some of the calls were probably questionable, but that is something they have been working on. There were a couple illegal formations that were there, and those are inexcusable.

Roth asked about the fact that Eddie Royal has moved up to the starting position at flanker. Stinespring said that Eddie Royal is a guy who has the ability to make things happen and that he needs to be on the field for those things to happen. Roth pointed out that when you look at the depth chart you see four freshman wide receivers, which has not happened in Techís history. Stinespring said that competition is a good thing, and we need to perform at that position. If someone else is getting it done, then they need to be on the field.

Roth said that the general feeling was that VT played a great game, but that there was also the feeling that one got away from the team. Roth continued to express the sentiment that Tech played well, but didnít play well enough when they needed to, pointing out the illegal formations. Stinespring said that the coachesí philosophy was not to address specific penalties, but more importantly to make sure the team is getting their individual assignments done. He felt that if they were doing that then the team would be just fine.

Roth brought up the play where tight end Jared Mazetta was wide open, and most fans thought that Bryan just missed an open receiver. Actually what happened was that Jared was an ineligible receiver and that Randall knew that. Stinespring agreed and pointed out that Bryan saw that, knew it, and wanted to make sure that the play was a positive one despite being unable to throw to the tight end. Stinespring said that if it is run correctly that there wouldnít be anyone over there. Stinespring said that if he did throw it that it would have been a penalty.

Stinespring said that there were situations where the team had to execute and didnít. Had they executed properly they would have been in a better position. Overall to see the intensity that the team displayed and to see Virginia Tech playing the type of football that we are used to seeing, all of us are proud to see this team step nose to nose with the number one team in the nation and play tough. When this team does things the way they are supposed to, they are going to be a good football team.

After the break Roth reminded fans that Virginia Tech will take on Western Michigan at 1pm on Saturday, and that there will be no television coverage for the game.

Dan from Blacksburg who was in the audience had two questions. Was USC as good in real life as you saw on film, and were our wide receivers having trouble getting open because of the speed of the cornerbacks? Stinespring said that they had trouble at times getting them open. USC plays a lot of man coverage, and it gets tough sometimes. A couple of times we had some timing throws that we missed, and there was one busted route. The receivers need to do a better job at getting off the line of scrimmage. Coach felt like the team got the real USC when they played them live versus watching the films. He felt like their intensity wasnít quite there, but when they realized they were in a dog fight, they stepped it up.

Roth asked about playing freshman quarterbacks, mentioning that Syracuse and Tennessee both played freshman quarterbacks. Roth wanted to know if Tech were required to play a freshman quarterback, how would that change the game plan. Stinespring said that he watched some of the weekend's games, but that he spent most of the time recruiting. Coach said that you have to condense the package so they are able to operate, and then also what are they capable of doing. By now you understand the abilities of each of your freshmen, and you have to accent what they are capable of doing. Roth asked about the progression of Tech QB backup Sean Glennon. Stinespring felt that he understands the protections better. Although he didnít get hit during practice he understands that if you donít pick those things up, that itís going to hurt.

Roth asked about the pre-snap responsibilities of a quarterback. Stinespring said that the play comes down from him, and gets signaled into the quarterback, who then calls the play in the huddle. From his position on the offensive line he points out where the protection needs are based upon who may be blitzing, if it were a passing play. Basically he will do this with each play regardless of the play call, but that you obviously donít want to do that only on passing plays. The defensive players will pick up on that too quickly. It helps get everyone on the same page. Roth wanted to know what a defensive coordinator might do which would confuse a young quarterback enough to make them call a timeout. Stinespring said that the easiest thing to do is to first disguise the coverage. You want them to check into a quick game to gain an advantage. You also want to disguise your front, because most young quarterbacks are in two play mode, and you want him to have to change the play.

Steve from Hillsville in the audience pointed out that in the USC game that VT used the tight ends more in the passing game, and asked if this would continue to be part of the package. Stinespring joked that the use of the tight ends was a one-game plan. Seriously Coach said that the tight ends will be part of the passing game as long as the quarterback feels confident that they are getting open and catching balls. This is something that the team has really worked on over the off-season. Stinespring complimented the current group of tight ends and that they have instilled that confidence through practice and game play.

Nick from Blacksburg in the audience said he noticed that there were no trick plays in the USC game. Stinespring said that this was something that Beamer had also asked him about. When you play a team thatís man coverage, you can do a lot of tricks in the backfield, but that those corners are going to stay with the receivers regardless of whatís happening in the backfield. If you try to squeeze down, those corners are not going to come up.

Roth asked about Western Michiganís scheme. Stinespring felt like they were going to stay with their eight man front, with a little variation. Stinespring said that an eight man front will force an offense to play very precise. Stinespring said itís very similar to the defense that Tech plays with some variations.

Roth said that there will be some new starters, and what does Coach want to see as far as improvement for this game. Stinespring said that overall execution is the primary focus. USC was a minus-yardage football team. Coach said that he wants his offense to be productive on every play, and make the defense make a play to stop the offense. Stinespring also said he wants to see that same intensity across the board that the team showed against USC.


Jim Weaver

After the break Roth introduced Tech Athletic Director Jim Weaver. Roth started Weaverís interview by talking about several problems that Techís ACC counterparts experienced this past weekend. There were three issues that arose: Miami and FSU had to postpone their game, Georgia Tech had an incident where they had ineligible players on the field, and then at NC State two fans were murdered in the parking lot while tailgating during their game.

Weaver first addressed the NC State issue. The two people who did the shooting were driving recklessly through the parking lot, while two fans were throwing the football. The two fans stopped the car, and assaulted the driver and passenger. The two suspects returned to the scene with a weapon and shot both fans. That speaks to what the University is trying to do with the tailgates, with regard to maintaining open traffic lanes. If your tailgate exceeds the 17í margin out the back of the parking spot then it is in the roadway.

With regard to the GA Tech situation, Weaver said that he hasnít heard any more about it, but that the school did self report this situation. When a school self reports a situation the NCAA, sanctions would be more favorable. That means that there is a check and balance in place.

The third issue was the postponement of the U of M game, and that was a no choice situation. Weaver said that you canít take a risk with the safety of your team and fans, despite the fact that itís clear skies in Miami right now. There was some uncertainty as to where and when the storm would hit, and that you simply canít take those kinds of risks. Roth pointed out that there is another hurricane headed towards Florida. Weaver said that Thanksgiving weekend would be a fall back position if they needed re-schedule again. This would put the Miami matchup with FSU the weekend prior to their date with Tech. Currently Miami has that weekend off, and Tech plays UVA. Weaver said that the lesson to be learned from the NC State incident was that we must have responsibility where thereís the use of alcohol, and that is tough to legislate.

Bill in Christiansburg called in and wanted to know the status of George Bell. Weaver said that Beamer needed to answer that question, regarding the red-shirting status of Bell.

After the break, Roth asked about the trouble with having an open date after a loss. Weaver said that coaches always say that the most improvement comes between week one and two, and with that open date, you have the ability to get guys healthy and rested. Roth pointed out that Mikal Baaqee is glad for the extra week to learn how to take over for Xavier Adibi, who was injured during the USC game and will be out for the season. Weaver said that the loss of Adibi, but that the chemistry that this football team has will help them rise above this loss.

Frank in Riner, Virginia called in with a question regarding the fan guide that was sent out. Specifically Frank wanted to know about the prohibition regarding the use of noise makers and if that included the turkey call so used by so many Hokie fans. Frank also wanted to know if there was any way to have a camera on the cadet crew who manís Skipper and show them firing the cannon when Tech scores. Weaver responded by stating that the ACC is responsible for banning all artificial noisemakers, specifically the ďThunder StixĒ are prohibited. There is an ACC prohibition of noisemakers of any kind. Regarding showing the cannon shot during the game, he said that he would like to make that happen.

After the break Roth mentioned a rumor regarding Weaver looking at paint samples at the local hardware store.

Steve in Midlothian called in and asked about the policy regarding leaving the game at halftime and returning. Weaver said that Tech does not allow fans to exit the stadium and return. Weaver said that since 9-11 most stadiums do not allow fans to leave the seating arena and return.

Steve also wanted to know about Techís efforts to clear insect nests under the seating in the stadium. Weaver said that Tech takes steps a week prior to the opening game, and focusís on specific spots during the season.

Roth, alluding to his comment earlier, said that this year there is a rumor that the end zones would be painted. Weaver said that they would be painted, but that was not why he was looking at paint colors. He insinuated that he was there to select an appropriate color to paint the visiting teamís locker room. Specifically a baby blue or some color that might subdue the opponent, which was a tactic that Western Michigan had used for Techís visit there.

Roth pushed by asking Weaver to provide some details regarding the end zones. Weaver said that the fans would see when they get there, but that they are going to do something this week. Next week that design would be complimented with additional changes for the following week.


Frank Beamer

Roth began Beamerís interview by asking about Monday's practice. Beamer said that practice was very good. The team is rested and that they practiced real well. Beamer continued by saying that the team needed to play with the same intensity and focus that they did against USC. Beamer pointed out that Western Michigan had a good win this last week, and we needed our fans to get out there and get ready to play a good football team.

Roth asked about the move of Mikal Baaqee to the Backer linebacker spot and what that does to the depth at that position. Beamer said that heís more of an adjustment linebacker and he will line up on some passing plays. Beamer also said that you might see Brandon Manning some on passing situations. Baaqee does have the speed to play the position. Roth pointed out that Western Michigan has a big tight end and that they will probably do some things to get him matched up against Mikal. Beamer said that a lot has to happen for that matchup to pay dividends, in that the quarterback has to recognize that match up. Tech has the guys to handle that matchup, and we will take it as it comes. Beamer mentioned that Blake Warren filled in for Xavier in the USC game and made some plays as well.

Roth pointed out that Beamer wanted to get the ball into the hands of Eddie Royal and Josh Hyman a little more. Beamer agreed that they needed to get some better production from the wide receiver spot, and also threw in Josh Morgan as someone who had been hurt but someone who can help out. Beamer said that Eddie Royal is a natural football player who can make plays. Beamer said that they could end up with the first four receivers being freshman, but that they need to practice this week and see what happens.

Linda in Christiansburg called in and wanted to know how the construction on Lane Stadium was progressing. Beamer handed that question off to Jim Weaver. Weaver said that construction was on schedule and that the 2005 season would see that project completed. The new construction will be two feet higher than the current press box and extend from the ends of the West Side Stands. Beamer said that the facilities improvement, would allow the Hokies to have the best stadium in the country. Some stadiums hold more people, but every seat in Lane Stadium would be a good seat. This will make everything very convenient for the athletes. Beamer moved on to say that the indoor facility would also improve the teamís ability to practice in inclement weather. Today the team is unable to throw deep balls and practice the kicking game due to the height of the current facility. The new facility would allow for those types of plays to occur.

Jeff in Roanoke called in and wanted to know the coach's perspective on the Big Ten experiment with instant replay and if it would have made a difference in the USC game. Jeff also wanted to know the status of the running backs and if Bell or Imoh might redshirt this year. Beamer said instant replay wouldn't have changed the game because pass interference would not be the type of play that can be reviewed. He did admit that if it helps get the call right and can be done expeditiously, then he would be all for it. Unfortunately, most teams do not have the game on TV, and so thereís always an issue with regard to some having it and some not. Beamer said that if itís universal then he would be for it. Roth pointed out that some of the replay calls took so long that it broke the momentum of the game.

Beamer said that regarding the running backs, Bell, who didnít play in the USC game and Imoh, who is currently serving a three game suspension, possibly one of those two would redshirt. It depends on whatís in the best interests of the player. Beamer said that the NCAA would probably go to a five year eligibility clause, and that would eliminate redshirting all together. Beamer did point out that Bell is still experiencing problems with his injury from high school, and it takes him a long time to get loose.

Barek from Blacksburg in the audience wanted to know about the status of Tripp Carroll and the progression of the younger secondary players. Beamer said that Tripp got hurt during fall practice and missed some work. Currently Tripp is getting back in there on short snaps for field goals, and he wants to get better. Beamer said that he felt fans might see him more as the season progresses. Regarding the secondary, Beamer is pleased with the progress. Roland Minor is competing for playing time. Brandon Flowers is someone who plays with good football sense. Beamer said that you should watch for Flowers to see some more playing time as the season progresses. Roth said that the media guide said that Minor may actually start over Jimmy Williams this weekend. Beamer confirmed by saying that we will see how they practice over the course of the week, and whoever practices the best, will play.

After the break Roth talked about the rain lately and asked about the effect on practice. Beamer said that they practiced outside and fought the rain a little at the end. Roth pointed out that FSU has been practicing in the gym, and wondered if they didnít have an indoor facility. Beamer said that he didnít think they did, but given their fall climate there isnít typically a need for that facility. Roth wondered if that might affect their performance against Miami on Friday. Beamer pointed out that they were ready to play on Monday night, then they are probably just reviewing things and that the package has already been installed.

Greg in Monroe called in and wanted to know about the eligibility rules change, and if that would affect Bryan Randallís status. Beamer said that it would depend on whether it was retroactive and how long. At this stage there isnít enough information to answer the question accurately, but that it is a possibility that it might affect Bryan. Beamer felt like the rule change would allow the team to utilize young players with talent on special teams rather than not allowing them to get in the game at all.

Jeremy from Christiansburg who was in the audience commented on the freshman reactions after the last game. Beamer said that it is a critical time for this team. Beamer felt like the seniors are doing a good job of keeping this team focused. However, you've got to improve, and you have to do things better in the second ball game than the first. He felt like the things are in place, but we need to play well, as a season builds on that prior game.

Roth pointed out that the fans are ready to get back home. Beamer agreed and commented that when Lane stadium gets rocking thereís not a better place to play.

Mike from Salem in the audience wondered if the Coach was satisfied with the play of the Pride and Joy team. Beamer said that there needs to be improvement on that team as well. He pointed out that there were two opportunities against USC that you coach all year to get, and we couldnít execute well enough to take advantage of them. Because we were bringing pressure the USC punter was kicking so fast that he wasnít kicking the ball well. Then the ball would hit short and roll, and make a return difficult. Beamer said that we have practiced that this week, and that there would be a good chance that Eddie Royal might get in there to make some plays for the team.

Roth asked about the last time that the Hokies played Western Michigan and that the score was not indicative of the game. Roth continued that this Bronco team is going to really hungry because the last two matchups were shutouts for Virginia Tech. Beamer agreed, pointing out that the MAC conference is known for their upsets. You better be ready to play. Beamer said that they have players who can perform too.

Andrew in Richmond called in and wanted to know what Tech's weakness might be this weekend. Beamer said that Western Michigan has a great punter and is playing a new quarterback. Their punt returner had a big play. The team needs to stay away from long plays. Offensively, Tech needs to mix it up, and that the team did a good job with that until they got behind. The VT special teams need to make some plays as well.

Doug from Roanoke in the audience said he wanted to know the status of wide receiver David Clowney. Beamer said that he needs to catch the ball more consistently, and the fans will see him on the field.

Roth asked about the team lining up in the right spot. Beamer said that the set has a lot to do with that. When you have one or two backs in the backfield there are different formations for each. However, the coaches have designed the playbook so that the wide receivers line up in the same place so there wonít be errors. Beamer said that many of the calls he didnít agree with, but that there were a couple times where a flag should have been thrown and wasnít. Roth pointed out that the supervisor for officials of the SEC conference called and expressed that there were some bad calls in the USC game. Beamer felt like the pass interference call was huge in that game, as it changed field position and the momentum of the game.

Buddy from Claytor Lake who was in the audience had a question regarding Bryan Randall utilizing his elusiveness to get outside the pocket. Beamer said that when you have quarterbacks that can run, he likes the drop back game. When you sprint out you limit yourself to half of the field, and a running quarterback can utilize lanes that present themselves when in the pocket. Also by mixing it up, the defense isnít quite sure where to bring pressure, either from the outside or inside.

Roth asked about the change in offensive line game plan with Bryan in there as opposed to backup Sean Glennon. Beamer said that under Glennon the line will have to block longer, but that Sean is coming along and there is progression.

Roth asked if Sean would see playing time in order to get his feet wet. Beamer said that the first priority was to win the football game, and if the opportunity presents itself where Glennon could see some action thatís great. The top priority is to win the football game though.

Suzie from Blacksburg in the audience asked about the response on the new uniforms. Beamer wasnít sure, but Roth said that the team had commented on the socks. Beamer said that when Nike came to them with the possibility of a new design, they were very excited about the material because of itís weight during the game. Beamer said that he was concerned about the ďlookĒ of the uniforms, but that the team really likes them. Coach said that he likes the socks because he really likes the team to all look the same when they take the field. Beamer said that he did want something different this year as well.

Roth closed out the show by mentioning that fans would see the maroon version of the new uniforms this weekend when the Hokies take on Western Michigan at Lane Stadium at 1pm.

-- Phil

          

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