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Advance Auto Parts Hokie Hotline Notes
Monday, October 25, 2004
by Phil Noftsinger

This weekís Hotline was broadcast live from Beamerís Resturant in Christiansburg, VA. Tonight's guests included Defensive Coordinator Bud Foster, Athletic Director Jim Weaver, and Tech Head Coach Frank Beamer.

Bill Roth opened the show by reviewing the Hokie News of the Day:

  • Mason Walsh set a pool record in swimming, and was named the ACC Swimmer of the week.

  • ABC/ESPN will broadcast the Virginia Tech/UNC game, and the game will be broadcast at either noon or 3:30pm, depending upon whether the game is broadcast on ABC, ESPN, ESPN 2, or Jefferson Pilot. The announcement will be made no later than October 31st.

  • Tech has moved up to 22nd in both the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll and the AP Poll.

Bud Foster

Roth began the interview portion with Bud Foster questioning how the practice week has been going. Coach Foster said that the coaches gave the players a couple days off, while the coaches took one day (last Friday) for recruiting. Coach said that the team has been hitting well and has been working very hard.

Roth mentioned that Tech is 7th in the country in total defense and 5th in the country in scoring defense. Foster said while those are impressive numbers, he really doesnít try to focus on stats.

Roth asked about Xavier Adibiís status, noting that he has seen him flying around on the practice field. Foster said that he has been recovering for 10 weeks, and the last couple of weeks they have been working him into non-contact drills. This week he has been making some contact, and yesterday he was involved in full contact. The staff is not going to place him in a situation where he could get hurt again, unless heís ready. Xavier will be worked into the game this Thursday, and heís still got to knock off a little rust from being out for 10 weeks. Overall the coach said heís really pleased with Xavierís progression right now. There are a few other players that have been producing at that position, and that helps with the rotation at that position.

Roth asked about the status of Noland Burchette, who did not play in the last game against Florida A&M. Foster said that he will be ready to go this Thursday as well, and has practiced well this week too. Foster said that the team will be healthy and ready to go this week. Roth pointed out that on both sides of the ball the team is at full speed, with no injuries and no suspensions for the first time this season. Foster agreed that for this next five game stretch that it will be important to have the whole team.

Joe in Buena Vista called in and wanted to know what the keys were for stopping PJ Daniels and Reggie Ball for Georgia Tech; also Joe wanted to know what the team planned to do avoid another game like the NC State game on offense. Foster said that the Georgia Tech tailback Daniels reminds him a lot of Quicy Wilson for West Virginia. Foster said that Tech needed to control the line of scrimmage and turn the Jackets into a one dimensional football team. On offensive protection, Foster suggested that Coach Beamer might answer that question later in the program. Roth mentioned that Daniels leads the ACC in rushing.

Roth mentioned the freshman receiver Calvin Johnson for Georgia Tech. Foster said that he reminds him a lot of Ernest Wilford with Larry Fitzgerald hands. He has great size and tremendous hands. He has great body control and is very effective in the red zone.

Roth asked what Coach Foster has told his players about the next five games. Foster said that they have talked about that. Going into the Florida A&M game, there was an expectation that the opponent would not be able to match up as well. The keys that week were to simply improve as a football team, and the second and third team really showed some progress. Roth asked about the really tough Novembers that Tech has faced the last few years, and that Beamer has really talked a lot about how the team has fallen apart in November. Foster said that the team is in the position to be in the hunt for the ACC title and this game this Thursday is a big key for this season. Coach said that we can only take them one game at a time, and right now our focus is on Georgia Tech.

Jeremy from Christiansburg who was in the audience asked about the depth at linebacker, specifically about Aaron Rouse, and how you can balance all those players. Foster said that the players will rotate every two series, and at the inside linebacker position thereís a little less depth, so there may be less rotation at that position. At positions such as whip there is more rotation with Rouse playing as well as he has. Sometimes you also get with a guy who is hot and is really into the flow of the game, and you may stay with that player a little longer.

The depth discussion continued with Foster mentioning that on Thursday the coaches will probably play ten defensive linemen, which is really a new concept for Virginia Tech. Great recruiting creates great depth and keeps fresh players in the game.

Kurt from Richmond wrote in and wondered how last years team would have done had Jim Davis been available. Foster said that Jim has made a tremendous impact. He has helped some of the younger guys, but Tapp has also really stepped up as well. Foster said that Tapp is one of the finest young players he has been around, respectful off the field, and has a killer instinct on the field. Foster said that Tapp reminds him of Corey Moore and Dwight Freeney (Syracuse), and Coach said that during the spring he saw him take a step further. Last year his head was tying up his feet, and this year heís much more instinctive.

Roth asked about the corners for Virginia Tech. Foster said thatís another position where we have a lot of experience. Eric Green is playing his most consistent football of his Tech career. Thereís a lot of confidence in the secondary, and we have a good cohesive unit. Roth said that last year, he didnít get the impression that Foster was really confident that all the pieces were in place. This year he really senses a difference in the play and confidence of the defense.

Roth asked Foster what the keys were to stopping the Georgia Tech offense. Coach said that controlling the line of scrimmage is very important, and making Georgia Tech throw the ball. However, the Jackets have a great quarterback too, and the team has to be ready to handle the passing plays by bringing a lot of pressure.

Jim Weaver

Roth asked about the firing of Florida football coach Ron Zook. Weaver said that he feels very badly for Ron Zook, and that he knows him very well. Weaver said that Saturday against Mississippi State was the final straw. The reason the announcement came now rather than at the end of the year, is that it puts them in good position to recruit Steve Spurrier and other potential candidates without competition from other schools. Coach Zook will remain the head coach for the remainder of the season.

Roth mentioned that there are several schools with great budgets and great tradition have had trouble replacing coaches. Weaver said that Notre Dame and Florida are one situation, but the situation at Nebraska is different and heís not convinced that they are different. Weaver said that at Notre Dame and Florida, they took assistant coaches and put them in head coaching positions at some of the most difficult situations. Roth mentioned that Spurrier has mentioned that heís interested in the Florida position. Weaver responded by saying that Coach Spurrier has his home there, he knows the institution, itís his alma mater, he loves U of F -- Weaver said he doesnít see how he doesnít go back. Weaver said if he was the AD that would be the first call he would make.

Steve from Blacksburg who was in the audience asked about the re-seating for womenís basketball. Weaver said that there have been 2100 tickets sold, and the athletic department was trying to keep some lower seats available for general admission on the eastern side. The reason for this was to dress the stadium for television, which they have been asked to do. That decision has been reversed, and if season ticket holders are dissatisfied with their seats, they can contact the athletic department and they will move them to the eastern section of the coliseum. This is just for womenís basketball.

After the break Roth opened the discussion regarding the re-seating of Lane Stadium. Weaver said that the re-seating was necessary to ďorder the houseĒ in both Cassell and Lane Stadium to reward donors as well as loyal season ticket holders. In this process there was great care taken towards being sensitive to desires of all Hokie fans. Weaver said that there were countless hours spent with the Hokie Club in discussing the plan, and the ďLadder of LoyaltyĒ was devised.

Wayne in Bluefield wrote in regarding the commitment by the athletic department regarding season ticket purchasers in 1965 would always be allowed to retain their seats indefinitely as long as they continued to renew. Wayne wanted to express his gratitude that Tech has continued to maintain that commitment even through the new re-seating process. Roth said that this is important that the pioneers in Lane Stadium are getting preference over those major donors in this process.

Jeff in Knoxville called in and wanted to know about the economic impact of a football game in Blacksburg might be, and wondered if a study has ever been done. Jeff mentioned that at University Tennessee, there were some ticket holders who had 40 tickets at regular season prices with no donation, simply due to their tenure. Tennessee has recently reduced the number of tickets those individuals can purchase to six. Jeff wondered if this was the case at Tech and if those individuals would be allowed to continue purchasing those ticket quantities without donation. Weaver said that the process is different than at UT. Many of the SEC schools have a donation per seat, but at Tech there is an annual donation which classifies you as a Silver, Bronze etc. Weaver said that with regard to tickets, all those above Golden are allowed to purchase six tickets in priority. Donors who want tickets beyond the six can still purchase tickets, although they will not be together. Weaver said that not one person who has a season ticket this year will lose their season ticket next year. Everyone who has a seat will have a seat next year. Weaver said that many schools reseat every few years, but Tech does not have plans at this juncture to reseat at any time in the future. Possibly in ten years from now Tech may choose to go through this process again, but it has been a very difficult process.

Roth asked if Lane Stadium will have to be expanded again in the future. Weaver said that right now the stadium is in the most efficient seating capacity given the market and location. However, there is room for additional expansion in the north, as well as two other options which were discussed with the BOV. Both of those situations, were not really cost effective at this time. Next fall the capacity will be 66,230. Weaver said that Blacksburg is very similar to the Penn State home (University Park, PA), but that Tech is about 15 years behind the developmental stage of Penn State.

Dirk from Blacksburg who was in the audience and he wondered what the process was surrounding the selection of Boston College as our cross divisional permanent rival rather than a team more local. Weaver said that itís a good question, and that only Commissioner Swofford and his staff would be able to answer that. When youíre the new kid on the block you donít have a lot to say about that. Obviously, there is the prior relationship between Tech and BC with the history in the Big East. All of the crossovers make good sense, in each case, and our history with BC seems to fit with that logic. Weaver did say that the crossover with BC applies to all sports that have divisional play. Not all schools have the same athletic teams, but situations such as baseball will have divisional play and the model applies to all divisional play. Basketball does not have divisional play, at least for the 2005 season.

Frank Beamer

Roth mentioned that Beamer has been telling the press that the story of this season is yet to be written, given the last couple seasons. Beamer said that itís how you perform in these games remaining as to how your season will be remembered. Roth said that he really likes being around this team, the sprit and team chemistry are good. Beamer agreed, saying that he likes coaching this team, how things fit together, guys flying around, and working together. The practices are better, and the teamís making progress. Roth asked about the concerns regarding the depth on offensive line, but this is the first time that everybodyís healthy and everybodyís eligible. Beamer confirmed that and stated that Lewis and Rouse turned their ankles a little in practice, but they are going to be all right.

Barek from Blacksburg who was in the audience asked about Reggie Ball from Georgia Tech, and compared him to Rasheed Marshall, as a run-first quarterback. Barek wondered how the Hokies would prepare for his run threat. Beamer said that when Ball is hot throwing the football heís very hot, and his deep ball is a real threat. His last couple of games he has been very hot. Beamer said that they are expecting him to play very well on Thursday, and Beamer mentioned that having Calvin Johnson catching the ball gives Georgia Tech a real threat on offense. Beamer said that the tailback Daniels is healthy and having a great year so far. They have great balance.

Roth pointed out that Georgia Tech will run the zone blitzes just like NC State did, and asked Beamer how the Hokies will adapt after being dominated by the NC State defense. Beamer responded by saying that he hoped the Hokies would handle it better than they did against NC State. Beamer continued that the offensive staff has worked hard, but that Georgia Tech is coached very well. Itís a worrisome defense. Beamer said that this will be a great opportunity to see how far the team has come since NC State. Roth asked who fans should watch to see if progress has been made. Beamer said that itís really the whole offense, because it depends upon what protection package is called for that particular play. If you're hitting a hot route, then there will be defensive penetration, but the goal is to get the ball out prior to the defender getting to the quarterback. If you're in a max protect, then you're going to watch the offensive line to see if there is any defensive pressure. Roth mentioned that Miami used a lot of max protect against NC State. Beamer said that it really needs to be a combination, to keep the defense guessing.

Chris from Salem who was in the audience asked about Coach Zook being let go at Florida, and how they deal with that from a recruiting standpoint. Beamer said that itís a tough situation down there, and heís not real sure of the arrangement. Beamer said that they have to continue to make contact with the recruits, and hope that the next coaching staff will maintain contact after the transition.

Roth asked if Beamer was ready for the questions regarding whether or not he might be interested in the Florida job. Beamer said that he has heard Steve Spurrierís name thrown around there. It didnít seem to be a big concern for the coach at this point. Beamer said heís got enough problems coaching this football team right now.

Bob from Yorktown wrote in and asked about playing 3 games in a span of 21 days. Beamer said that itís unusual when your timing gets off like that, but that is a period where you can work on special issues and get healthy. Beamer said he looks at it as an advantage.

Roth asked about Xavier Adibiís status and if heís ready to go. Beamer said that they are going to discuss it more tomorrow. Beamer did admit that heís a little rusty, but that heís a very natural football player. Beamer did state that heís an excellent football player.

Bill in Franklin wrote in and asked if the ďfree kickĒ after fair catching a punt still exists. Beamer said that he wasnít sure if the rule did exist anymore, indicating that he didnít think it did. In the past you would be able to fair catch a punt and then drop kick the ball for a field goal, you must drop the ball on the ground first. Beamer said that the way people punt today; you shouldnít be in field goal range after a punt.

Roth mentioned that Brandon Pace is #3 in field goals in the NCAA so far this year. Roth asked if Thursday night might be a game where it comes down to field goals. Beamer said that it might be, the Georgia Tech team has played well in the last couple of games. Beamer said that whomever makes plays in the kicking game might have the advantage.

Richard from Blacksburg who was in the audience wanted to know how important kicking was to the game plan for Thursday. Beamer said that the first key is to have talent at the kicking positions. Beamer followed by stating that Tech is one of the few schools which offer scholarships for the kicking positions. Beamer said that he gets a lot of letters from kickers because of the reputation of the program. Beamer said that once or twice a week there is a field goal kicking competitions to see who is kicking the best. Also, Beamer takes a personal interest in the kickers and that places a greater importance on the position. Roth asked about kicking to a particular player, specifically kicking to Devin Hester for Miami. Beamer said that we will see when we are preparing for that game, but that thereís more to game planning for that than just whoís returning the ball. You do want to directional kick so that you can set up your coverage towards that side of the field, limiting the options of the return man.

Gus from Roanoke who was in the audience asked about the shift in focus on Georgia and North Carolina for recruiting rather than Florida. Gus also asked about a rumor regarding a transfer from Florida who dropped out of school there. Beamer said that Tech has been really well received in North Carolina, and having Michael Vick playing in Georgia helps. Beamer said that Lorenzo Ward is recruiting in the Georgia area, and knowing coaches is the most important part. Beamer said that in Florida there are too many soft commitments, and heís not interested in that. Beamer said that he cannot respond to anything regarding transfers. Beamer said that when Tech was in the Big East, that there wasnít a focus on North Carolina. When the recruiting coaches went into North Carolina, the reception was very good.

Roth asked Beamer about the competition in the ACC, and if he liked the continual competition from week to week. Beamer said that itís definitely interesting, but that itís tough week to week to have a good opponent. Beamer said that if you win the league you have earned your paycheck. Roth said that he had trouble in the past convincing the media about the quality of the opponent in the Big East, pointing out that Rich Rodriquez will have that problem this week as West Virginia faces Rutgers. Beamer said that he doesnít have to do that anymore, the guys on the other sideline are a legitimate team. Beamer said that it makes it interesting; itís good for national television. Beamer said that its great to play in these atmospheres. Beamer said that heís really looking forward to hearing the 5,000 Hokie fans during the game. Roth pointed out that Hokie fans are impressive for traveling for a mid-week game as far away as Atlanta.

Ralph in Richmond called in and asked about starting off the season playing USC, and how that set the tone for the season. Beamer said that starting out with USC helped in a lot of ways because we were able to play well. It helped in preseason practice because you were preparing to play the number one team in the country. Even though Tech lost the ballgame, it was a help. Beamer said that if the team played well in the fourth quarter they might have won that ballgame. Beamer said that Hamilton and Adibi played really well in that game.

Brad in Fairlawn called in and commented on the season ticket holders who sit on the east side that the construction workers on the West Side have U of T flag on the crane. Roth pointed out that the checkerboard flag on the crane is a FAA regulation and not a Volís flag.

Bill from Kingsport, TN called in and wanted to know if the band would be in Atlanta. Roth said that they would not be, due to it being a school night. Bill asked about North Carolina, and Roth responded by saying that they would. Beamer said that is another good thing about the ACC is being able to have the band at more games. Roth pointed out that Beamer is probably happy as some of his colleagues such as Ron Zook are not getting questions about where the bandís going to be. Beamer responded that heís had some tough questions to answer in his time as well.

Suzie from Blacksburg who was in the audience asked if some of Beamerís former players in the NFL contacted him. Beamer said that all of the players on the Falcons squad will be on the sidelines on Thursday night: Michael Vick, DeAngelo Hall, Kevin McCadam, and Keion Carpenter. Beamer said that Kevin Jones and Lee Suggs talk to Billy Hite a lot, and there are plans to get all our players back for a spring game. Beamer said he really likes it when they want to come back to Tech, and he really likes having them on the sidelines. Roth pointed out that you really felt bad for Vick getting chased around and knocked down in Kansas City, and then you realize that itís Willie Pile knocking him down. Roth pointed out that there would be two Falcons on the Georgia Tech sideline as well.

Jason in Arlington called in and wished the team good luck, and wondered if the team would spy a player on Reggie Ball. Beamer said that Georgia Tech runs Reggie Ball in some games more than others, and it will depend upon how they attack the Hokies. Beamer said they are really a balanced football team, and those are the tough teams to predict.

Jeremy from Christiansburg who was in the audience asked Beamer about the workload on Mike Imoh and about the progression of Humes. Beamer said that Imoh wants the ball, and heís a strong, tough guy. Beamer said that Justin Hamilton has been good for us, and that Cedric has had a good week of practice. Beamer said that Humes is looking quicker, but that it takes time to get back after an injury. Roth mentioned that Georgia Tech has 12 sacks and only allowed 265 offensive yards in two games. Beamer responded by saying that he was enjoying the show until that stat. Beamer said they are really playing well on defense.

George in Virginia Beach asked why so many players wear white bands above their elbows. Beamer said that Lester Carlin the equipment manager might need to answer that question, but that he thought it was for protection. Roth asked if the team would wear high or low socks. Beamer said that it would be up to Bryan Randall and the seniors, but that he preferred the high socks. Due to the heat the team may choose to wear the low socks.

The Hokies NFL Update:

  • Lee Suggs carried 15 times for 78 yards and a touchdown.

  • Ernest Wilford caught a third down pass to keep the drive alive which led to the game winning field goal.

  • Kevin Jones rushed for 65 yards on 13 carries and a touchdown.

Roth said that Thursday is really where the season starts. Beamer said the season already started, but that this is a key game on national television. Beamer said the team has prepared well, and that he hoped they would play well as well.

Roth said that the Hokies traditionally have played well on Thursday. Beamer said that he thinks the key is staying within your schedule, by shifting your weekly game prep to match a regular game week. Beamer said that the team will leave late Wednesday night for Atlanta so the team doesnít have a lot of down time prior to the game. Beamer doesnít want them sitting around the hotel.

Monday was day 23 of Virginia Techís continuous possession of the Black Diamond Trophy.

-- Phil

          

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