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Advance Auto Parts Hokie Hotline Notes
, September 20, 2004
by Phil Noftsinger

Tonightís show, which featured interviews with Tech Wide Receivers coach Tony Ball, Tech Athletic Director Jim Weaver, and Head Coach Frank Beamer, was broadcast live from Beamerís restaurant in Christiansburg, Virginia.

Bill Roth opened the show by discussing the Hokie news of the day:

  • Hokies Play NC State this Saturday at noon
  • The time has been set for the WVU game on Oct. 2nd: noon, an ESPN broadcast.

Tony Ball

Roth introduced Tony Ball by complimenting the progression of Techís young wide receivers. Roth specifically mentioned Josh Hyman with 4 catches in two ball games, including last week's catch from Richard Johnson for the touchdown. Roth asked about Eddie Royal. Tony Ball mentioned that Royal has progressed well, and he is probably the one freshman that has made the most progress to date. Heís a good student of the game and heís very athletic. Roth said that the touchdown pass from Johnson was set up by a reverse earlier in the game, and that on that reverse Eddie Royal made a terrific block. Roth asked if these were the types of things that Coach Ball looks for in a wide receiver Coach said that if you're going to make that big block on the perimeter, then that shows your commitment to the game. Coach continued to say that players that show that commitment are also the receivers that are trusted to make that catch in a critical game situation. Roth asked about Joshís attitude after the USC pass interference call. Coach said that you just have to tell them that play is in the past and you have to move on after that.

Roth mentioned that Coach Ball has a good relationship with his players, and specifically talked about the play where Ernest Wilford dropped a two point conversion in the 2001 Miami game that would have sent that game into overtime. Roth wanted to know how the Coach goes about taking a situation like that and turning it into a positive that the player can grow from, pointing out that Ernest has made two game winning catches in the past two weeks in the NFL. Coach said itís how you approach it. You try not to dwell on why you didnít catch it, but to focus on what can I (as a coach) do to help you make that catch in the future. Part of it starts with the mental aspect and your game preparation. Coach also said that what he told Ernest was that if he had that play to call again that he would still pass it to him because he trusts him to make that catch.

Roth said that this year there havenít been a lot of dropped passes. Coach Ball said that starts with practice and what you do in the off season, and catching the difficult passes, those that are behind you and low.

Roth asked about the development of Justin Harper and Josh Morgan. Coach said that both are coming along real well. Josh Morgan is coming off of an injury this summer, and heís continuing to learn. Justin Harper is a very talented young man, and he just needs to mature a little bit and understand how the game is played and the intensity.

Roth asked how Coach Ball gets players like Richard Johnson to buy into the situation where some younger guys may be passing him on the depth chart and how you keep a player in that situation focused and motivated. Coach said that its communication and helping them understand their role, and then just being patient as well. Coach said he was happy that Richard was able to catch and throw for a touchdown in the same game.

Roth asked about Chris Clifton. Coach said that Chris and he met this weekend and that he needs to continue to improve and be more consistent in practice. Roth then asked about David Clowney. Coach said that again heís coming along, and that itís about consistency in practice. Roth said that it looks like these freshman must be pretty consistent in practice, because they are getting lots of playing time. Coach agreed and said that they are also very talented players. Ball said that they arenít quite where they need to be, but he did say that next week they will be better and three weeks from now they will be even better.

Roth asked Coach Ball to give him a quick scouting report on NC Stateís defense. Ball said that they have eight returning starters and they are big long athletes that move around very well and play hard against every opponent. They are the type of defense that commands respect. They are going to line up in the receiver's face and challenge you all day. Roth said that NC State represents the biggest turnaround in defense in the ACC. Roth continued to say that they play a similar defense to Virginia Tech. Coach agreed and said that their defensive line runs extremely well. Coach continued to say that USC may have been the best defense VT has seen to date, but then you go into this game where they may have a better defense. They have a strong physical defensive line and speed in the secondary. Then the style of defense they play makes it very difficult to run against them and to throw as well.

Roth asked if the players can feel the intensity growing with the past two wins, and that the fans are really getting excited about this team. Coach Ball said that in his world heís focused on just making those players better day to day and that they donít try to focus on anything else.

Roth returned from the break talking about how Coach Ball is one of the most dedicated coaches in the game, mentioning that Coach Ball has a mattress in the office and heís watching so much game film that he has to sleep at the office. Coach Ball said that most of that occurs on Monday, but that he does try to find time to get some sleep as well. Coach Ball did mention that Monday night would be an all-nighter.

David in Wytheville called in and asked about the years before Michael Vick that Tech used to run a wide receiver screen, and he hadnít seen that in a while and wanted to know if that was still part of the package. Coach Ball said that itís still in the playbook, and you just look at what the defense is giving you. With some of the man coverages you get, that play may not be as effective.

Mack called in from Williamsburg and wanted to know about the stadium construction and wanted to know if the web cam was going to be re-instated. Roth said that they have received a lot of calls on that issue, and that there are a number of University departments that have to work together on that issue. Itís out of the athletics hands, but that there are so many projects on going that they havenít been able to coordinate that yet. Roth said that he would try to have a more definitive answer next week.

Jim in Charlottesville called in and said that he was appalled to see an NFL quarterback (A.J. Feeley) throwing off his back foot and technically incorrect. He wanted to know why a coach would send a quarterback into a game with technical deficiencies such as that. Jim mentioned that Coach Rogers makes it a point to make sure fundamentals are stressed up front. Coach Ball said that the difference in a successful player and one thatís not is minimal, eluding to the fact that fundamentals are the key in taking that step to the next level.

Roth asked Coach Ball to describe the most important moment in a wide receiver's route where he creates the separation needed to have a successful play. Coach Ball said that route running is broken down into four phases and the most important part is the release, how you come off the football.

Roth said that NC State Coach Amato is getting into the faces of his defensive backs and telling them "thereís no way you're going to let a bunch of freshmen get open on you." Coach Ball said that is what he should be telling them, and by the same token heís telling his kids "thereís no way you're going to let them close you down."

Roth asked about the NC State senior corners Lamont Reed and DaVonte Edwards. Coach Ball said they are both very good corners and they play a right and a left corner scheme so each receiver will be matched up against both of them at some point during the game. They use the same fundamentals and techniques so you prepare and plan to use a certain release, and when they figure that one out you come at them with a different release. Coach Ball said he likes that kind of challenge and he likes having the corners up in the receiver's face.

Roth asked about facing up against Tech's younger corners in practice. Coach Ball said that the future is bright because the young corners are very talented and physical.

Roth asked Coach Ball to wrap up the matchup of receivers to secondary on Saturday. Coach Ball said that itís going to be a challenge for the team, as their corners are going to be up in their faces and heís looking forward to seeing how the guys respond. Roth pointed out that Richmond and Ohio State both had trouble moving the ball on them, and that Tech has a big task ahead. Coach Ball agreed and the team understands that and they are ready to take on that challenge.

Jim Weaver

Roth started off Jim Weaverís interview section echoing the questions of many fans as to why the WVU game time was set at noon. Weaver said that ESPN said that it was noon and so itís at noon. Weaver said that heís sympathetic to fans who have to travel, but unfortunately thatís when TV dictates the start time. Weaver said that for non-television games they had done a survey in the past to determine the best start time, and the results indicated that a 1 pm start time was the preferred time of day. Weaver mentioned that 1 pm would be the start time for Florida A&M if itís not picked for television.

Ernie from Blacksburg who was in the audience wanted to know about the reseating of Lane Stadium, and wanted to know if he, as a Silver Hokie Club Member, would have any choice in keeping those seats. Weaver said that the University has not announced those details for the re-seating of Lane Stadium and that they are evaluating the results of the reseating of Cassell to help in determining the best course of action for the stadium. Weaver reminded fans that they have created a ladder of priority, and there would be more details in about a month to six weeks.

Roth asked how Weaver would handle a situation where a basketball game might be sold out, but it is a weeknight game and most season ticket holders wonít be able to go to the game. Roth wanted to know how the Athletic Department would go about getting those tickets into the hands of people who want to go to the game. Weaver said that currently they are working on a plan to accommodate that situation, and that there are a lot of things going on regarding seating. Weaver mentioned that they are talking with other Universities about what they do as well.

Roth mentioned that last week a caller asked about honoring Hokies who have given their life in the service of our country, and asked Weaver for an update on that. Weaver said that they have checked with NCAA and that they are permitted to do that and that there will be a yellow ribbon decal representing those two individuals who have given their life.

Margin in Goochland County called in regarding the topic of game time and wanted to know if there was enough input from fans if there could be a move of non-televised games to a 3:00 or later game time. Weaver said that would be difficult to do in a short time, especially with Homecoming celebrations. For this year it will stay where it is.

Steve from Christiansburg in the audience wanted to know about getting into the stadium, since the construction has been going on the path around the outside of the causeway underneath the seating has been cut off, and he wanted to know if it was possible to open that area up more. Weaver said that there are two gates at the either end of the West side are still open, and there are two entrances into that causeway near the center.

Roth asked how stadium entrance would change once the West side is complete, and Weaver said that it would be very similar to how entrance on the west side occurs now.

Roth mentioned that this weekend would be the 45th meeting between NC State, and that these two teams had quite a rivalry going. Weaver agreed and that our admittance to the ACC is really a re-kindling of old rivalries. Weaver and Roth both talked about how similar the two schools' progression has been athletically and facilities wise.

Rich from Christiansburg in the audience said that he noticed during the game plugging in for ďchilled bearĒ for the shoulder pads. Roth said that itís a device to keep the players cool during hot game days.

Roth mentioned that Weaver had painted the ACC logos on the field last week, and wondered if there would be any additions this week. Weaver said that there would not be, the field is complete from a painting perspective.

Steve in Blacksburg called in and wanted to know if Roth was disappointed that the WVU game was scheduled for noon, and also asked Weaver if there would ever be a time when Tech would dictate to the television executives as to when we would play a game. Weaver said that the inventory of football games belong to the ACC and they dictate the time of the games. Weaver said that any game not on television is lost exposure for recruits and for the program. Roth said that his initial reaction was that he would rather seen it played at night because of the succession of noon games. In the past he would have said that he would rather see it at night because of Techís success at night, but in the recent past there have been a lot of teams come in and beat Tech at night. Playing at night wasnít what made Tech tough to beat, great players are what made Tech tough to beat.

Scott in Christiansburg called in mentioning that he is a member of the lifesaving crew that also is on-hand at Tech games. He continued to mention that the extra police force that is present at Tech games gets a nice paycheck for being there and indicated that the Athletic Department hasnít made a donation to the life saving crew which also shares in the safety responsibilities for Tech home games. Weaver said that he will talk tomorrow morning about that very issue in his morning meeting.

Shawn from Blacksburg who was in the audience wanted to know if the ESPN Gameday crew was planning to make an appearance at any Tech games this season. Weaver said that they have not heard from the Gameday crew at this juncture. Weaver said that the game with WVU would be a great event for them to attend given the Mountaineers' ranking and the atmosphere created by Tech fans when they do come. Weaver said that they notify those schools a week to ten days in advance.

Richie in Richmond called in to recommend that the entrances in the center are blocked from view from the outside, Richie wanted to know if the ticket takers could be moved closer to the street. Weaver said that he would check with the operations people about that, and that there have been many discussions regarding the West side entrances even after the first two home games. Unfortunately the construction is very limiting.

Frank Beamer

Roth asked Beamer to describe his first ACC experience this last weekend. Beamer gave Duke some credit, it seemed like the Hokies should be in control, but werenít. Beamer said that there were some mistakes that set the team back, and those things drive you crazy.

Roth said that the team committed 13 penalties in the Duke game and wanted to know if there was a lack of focus. Beamer said that in a game where you think things are under control you start to lose your mental edge a little bit, and mistakes start to happen. (NC State tied a school record with 14 penalties in their game last week).

Roth mentioned Bryan Randallís run, calling it ďVick-eskĒ. Beamer agreed and continued by saying that Bryan is a strong guy who can break through those tackles. Roth also pointed out that the receivers are continuing to play well. Beamer said that there were a couple of missed opportunities, but that they are pleased with the progression at that position. Roth pointed out two guys that are really stepping their games up, Darryl Tapp and Vince Hall. Beamer agreed saying that Darryl really got after the quarterback. Vince Hall continues to improve.

Beamer said that Xavier Adibi is out practicing a little bit, and coming along a lot faster than they had hoped. Beamer said ďno promisesĒ, but that Xavier would certainly hope to get back on the field this season. Roth asked how that can happen in three weeks. Beamer said that the surgery was good and heís a fast healer.

Roth said that this Saturday is a swing game, and wanted Beamerís opinion on the NC State team. Beamer said that they are a very talented team, their linebackers are excellent and their secondary is quick and they are very active up front defensively. They have some really good running backs behind a big offensive line. Beamer continued that in most of the polls within the ACC, Tech and NC State were picked ahead of one another in different polls, so itís a good match up. Roth pointed out that they lead the country in defense right now.

Roth said that Tech fans are used to seeing a ball club that puts up 200 yards rushing a game, and that the running game hasnít produced those kinds of numbers with the quarterback leading the rushing stats at this juncture. Roth continued to point out that Tech gets running back Mike Imoh back in the lineup this weekend (Imoh will have completed a three game suspension for an off-field incident last spring). Beamer said that everybody will continue to get better, and that the addition of Mike Imoh will be a big part of that process.

Gary called from Salem and wanted to know on the trick play by Duke on the fake punt, you could see that the formation was irregular, and wondered how the team prevents that in the future. Gary also wanted to know if Mike Imoh would factor into the punt return team as he did last year, with Eddie Royal currently in that role. Beamer said that the team had prepared for that, and the team was in a punt safe formation, and that the issue was that Duke had a lineman down field blocking which is illegal and it should have been called back, and he was blocking Eric Green. James Anderson who was going after the quarterback needs to understand how far he has to go to get the first down, and play pass first. On the issue with Eddie Royal and Mike Imoh, we will see how practice goes, both guys have big play ability.

Roth asked if with Imoh coming back if George Bell would get the red-shirt, and Beamer said that is the current plan. Beamer said they are still discussing that though.

Carol in Charlotte called in and wanted to know when there would be an ISP radio station in Charlotte and for Coach Beamer, Carol said that this is the 2nd game that we will have played a formidable opponent and what lessons did we learn from USC with a veteran offensive line and a veteran running back. Beamer said that the lesson is that you better cover the deep guys and make them snap the ball a number of times. Roth said that Charlotte is a tough market to crack with the other teams in that market, but that with XM radio you will be able to get all the games via satellite radio. Beamer said that they are working on getting the coaches show on TV in that market, and that they have got it in Greensboro this year.

Greg from Dublin in the audience mentioned that the wind had a tremendous effect on our punt receiving team and if there was a thought of putting more guys back there. Beamer said that the team should have lined up better, and if the ball was caught it would have made a big difference in field position. Beamer said that he likes to keep eight on the line of scrimmage because it makes it more of a challenge to protect the punt and that translates to better returns...if you catch the punt. Roth pointed out that the Coach pulled Eddie Royal aside after one of the kicks. Beamer said that he talked to Eddie about lining up closer to the line of scrimmage because the opponent is kicking against the wind. Beamer said that he was lined up too deep, and that is where he is learning and that those plays are charted and you get an idea of where a guy is likely to kick the ball.

Roth returned from the break pointing out that over 100 former Hokies have played at least one game in the NFL. Roth passed the mike off to Dallas, ISP Intern, who talked about the 24 current NFL players that are former Hokies, specifically pointing out three players that stood out last week. Michael Vick finished 14 of 19 for 179 yards and a touchdown and rushed 12 times for 109 yards, including a trademark ďVick FlipĒ. Ernest Wilford is making a name for himself by catching a 12 yard pass for a touchdown. Shayne Graham kicked a 39 yard field goal with seven seconds on the clock to beat the Miami Dolphins.

Roth mentioned that every week they are going to try and get a former Hokie on the phone to talk about their NFL experience. Shayne Graham called into the show. Beamer commented on the first field goal, and that he was a little concerned, but that he knew when the game was on the line he would make come through. Beamer wanted to know how Shayne liked those uniforms of the Cincinnati Bengals, and Shayne said that he liked the Orange part.

Roth asked Shayne what he goes through mentally in getting ready to kick a game winning field goal in the NFL. Shayne said that it probably didnít show because he missed the 38 yarder in the beginning of the game, but you have to treat each kick the same. Shayne mentioned that in his junior year he had the same situation, you have to treat it as an extra point and not let your conscious mind take over. Beamer said that Shayne is a level headed kicker and that heís always been that way. Roth said that Peter Warrick, who was key in defeating Tech in the 2000 Sugar Bowl, came up to him prior to the game winning kick last weekend. Roth wanted to know what the conversation was all about. Shayne said that Pete and he are really close and that he calls him ďMoney GrahamĒ, and that he said ďdo what you doĒ, showing confidence in him. Beamer said that Brandon Pace is filling Shayneís shoes very well, and that Jared Develli is kicking field goals on kick-offs. Shayne was proud to point out that he just got his diploma framed this past week.

Roth returned from the break talking about Techís kickers this season. Beamer said that the kickers have been good so far, and very consistent. Vinnie Burns has been a real weapon, and that Develli has been good on kick-offs, although he missed a couple this last weekend.

Kevin from Raleigh called in and said that the VT vs NC State is a big game for Hokies in the North Carolina region. Kevin wanted to know how the team planned to counter the NC State defensive ends. Beamer complimented the entire NC State defensive line, and said that they lead the country in defense. The team has their work cut out for them.

Nick from Covington called in and wanted to know where the ďhot readsĒ for Bryan Randall were because he seemed to be doing a lot of running around in the backfield this past weekend. Nick also felt like we were doing more directional punting this season. Beamer said that we directional kick every kick. On Bryanís situation the receiver didnít sight adjust and Bryan had to scramble. Beamer felt like the protection was okay, and that the receiver needs to adjust to that. Beamer said that the pressure would increase this week. Roth said that Ohio State had trouble running the ball on the NC State defense. Beamer said that you really need to mix it up on offense to counter the pressure that they are bringing.

Barek in Blacksburg called in and wondered about the first kick-off which wasnít very good and wanted to know what Beamer said to the kicker after that kick. Beamer said that he didnít want to know what he said to Jared Develli after that kick, but that young kickers sometimes over think the situation.

Jim called in from Colorado wanting to know what happened on the first interception on the Hokies first drive, and that a lot of teams are starting to line-up in irregular formations to stop the punt block. Beamer said that that Mazzetta was the proper read there, but Randall went to King and he wanted to loft the ball and didnít. Beamer said that on the kick formations that the team expected the formation, but that they were kicking the ball very quickly and changed their protections somewhat. Overall though thatís a compliment to the special teams, but that we need to get better skill on that team and better production. The team is getting closer to that punt block.

Chris from Blacksburg in the audience wanted to know about the illegal formations in the USC game. Beamer said that the officials have made an emphasis on the tackles being on the line of scrimmage, and that some of those calls were questionable. Beamer said that the officials are human and they are going to make mistakes too, but that you donít want a game to be in the hands of someone else.

Mike in Blacksburg called in and wanted to get an update on freshman players who may be red-shirting and the status of Rod Council. Beamer said that Rod Council has decided to play for Louisville. Ryan Shuman is going to be a good football player, Nick Marshman is a good tackle, and Brandon Ore and George Bell are progressing. Jeremy Gilchrest is someone else with a bright future. Ken Hicks may be moving to safety, and Robert Parker played at rover. Corey Gordon played at whip and he may move a little too. Andrew Bowman will be an excellent player as well. Purnell Sturdivant has a hand injury which has hampered his development recently.

Susan from Winnipeg Canada called in and inquired about the new NCAA rule where if you block a kick and run into the kicker itís a penalty, and how Beamerball will prepare for that new rule. Beamer clarified the rule in that you cannot come down on top of the opponent, which occurred in the Auburn game. Beamer said that you have to make sure that you jump straight up rather than at people.

Charles in Roanoke called in wanting to know if the team will blitz more on defense with a young quarterback starting for NC State, and he wanted to know if there would be instant replay in the NCAA football in the future. Beamer said that in the Big Ten they are experimenting with instant replay, but that the coach canít challenge the ruling. Beamer is in favor of any change which helps get the call right as long as it can be implemented consistently.

Rob in California called in and asked how you prepare for NS State running back T.A. McLendon and also wanted the coach to address all the penalties the team has been getting lately. Beamer said that this last ball game the team got out of the game mentally and the team has gone over those individually. The team has also gone over some calls that werenít made. Beamer said that this week he hoped that fans would see a cleaner game from a penalty standpoint. Beamer said that McLendon is great back and you canít let him get outside on you, because heís got great speed.

Beamer closed the show by asking all the fans to show up at the Walk at 10am prior to game time to help get the team ready for a tough match up this weekend.

-- Phil


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