The Hokie Hotline (football and basketball season)
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Advance Auto Parts Hokie Hotline Notes
Monday, November 15, 2004
by Phil Noftsinger

Tonightís show was broadcast live from Beamerís restaurant in Christiansburg, VA. Guests included Bud Foster, athletic director Jim Weaver, and the Hokies head coach Frank Beamer. Bill Roth asked Weaver about a giant VT that was cut into the grass of the playing surface on Worsham Field. Foster and Roth discuss the Maryland receivers and Beamer spends some time talking about his relationship with Maryland Coach Ralph Friedgen.

Bill Roth opened the show by discussing the Hokie news of the day which included the following items:

  • Virginia Tech and Maryland play this Thursday at 7:45pm.

  • Tech moved up to 15th in both polls and the BCS.

  • Less than 100 tickets remain for the game; expect 4,000 Maryland fans at the game.

  • The Techís menís basketball team takes the court on Friday nigh against Loyola (MD).

  • The UVA game kickoff game time has been set at 1 pm and will be broadcast on ABC regionally.

  • The Miami game time has been set for 1 pm also, and will be a national broadcast.

Bud Foster

Bill asked the coach how practice was going so far this week. Foster said that today was their normal Wednesday practice in preparation for a Thursday game. Coach said that practice was going well. Bill asked about the status of Vinnie Fuller. Bud said that he was held out of practice all week last week, and that he hit the field on Saturday. He has run through some tackling drills, and Mike Daniels will start on Saturday at the safety position.

Roth moved on and pointed out that Xavier Adibi committed to Tech over two years ago, and has never played a football game at Lane Stadium. Foster said that he hadnít thought about that, but thatís correct. Coach said that Xavier has really been a big boost for this defense, and he will only get better as he continues to play. He is a tremendous athlete who does things very instinctively. Foster said that heís a complete football player. He has some things he needs to improve on to be as good as he can be, but heís a great player at this stage.

John in Charleston, SC wrote in and asked about how the overall team speed of this yearís team match up with the teams of the previous six years and against our next three opponents. Foster said he likes our team speed on defense, and the guys are playing with speed thatís not tying up their feet, due to experience. Foster said itís hard to say how we match up with our opponents, but heís satisfied with the speed that this team has.

Roth asked Foster why Maryland is having trouble scoring points this year. Coach said that itís hard to know exactly because they moved the ball well against Florida State. Foster said that their offensive line and receivers are excellent.

After the break Bill Roth asked Foster what his thoughts were on who would start at quarterback for the Terps. Coach said that he expects both to play, despite that Joel Statham is listed as the starter. Foster said that true freshman Jordan Steffy is a little more athletic, but Statham is more experienced and runs the offense better. The team is preparing for both. With Steffy you might get more of the read option play, as heís more athletic.

David from Guatemala who was in the audience wanted to know what he should look for from the defense on the game. Foster said that he is hoping that fans will see the same enthusiasm and energy that the defense has shown all season. This will be Davidís first Hokie game as heís watched them on TV. Foster said that Davidís in for quite an experience, Television doesnít do justice to the atmosphere of Lane Stadium on a Thursday night.

Dave from Fairfax who was in the audience wanted to know how Foster planned to shut down Vernon Davis and the Maryland wide receivers and on special teams how to shut down Steve Suter and stop punts from being blocked. Foster said that the punt that was blocked by UNC was a miscommunication and missed assignment. From a game plan side, coach said that heís not going to go over any plans defensively at this point. Foster did say that he likes the matchups they have against the Maryland tight end. Roth said that many Hokie fans are already talking about the UVA game and their outstanding tight end Heath Miller, who was key in UVAís win over VT last year. Foster said that Xavier has the ability to cover the tight end, so heís not worried.

Roth asked why the Hokies have been so successful playing zone defense this year. Foster said thatís an interesting question because even the two big plays last week were on man coverage plays. The ability of the front four to get pressure on the quarterback really helps in the zone defense.

Roth said that he watched a lot of games on television this weekend, and you see how well BC and Cal played last weekend and he wondered if some might re-think those losses last year. Foster said that both of those teams are hot right now and both are playing very well. Both teams have great quarterbacks and were good teams last year, just a little unknown.

Steering the conversation back to the Hokies, Coach Foster said that one of the things that people notice about the Hokies right now is the closing speed that our players have. Roth said that Jim Davis is a very unselfish player who has moved inside and helped out where help was needed. The sack against UNC was absolutely key to the Hokies' victory last week.

Tanner from Radford who was in the audience asked Foster how the team is reacting to being in first place in the ACC. Foster said that the team is obviously very excited to be in that spot right now. He did say that the team has earned that spot, and they are really focused on the next game rather than the location within the conference. The good thing about being in the top spot is that the team controls its own destiny.

Roth asked the coach how previous seasons' disappointments helped the coaches keep the team focused this year. Foster said the experiences that you have help. You canít control anything except that next ballgame. Foster said that when the team won the Big East Championships, the team was great at focusing on that next ballgame.

Bill Roth said that the Terps are 10th in the league in scoring per game, having several games where they were held to under 10 points. Maryland was shut out at UVA in their last game. Roth asked Foster why he thought the Terps were having so much trouble. Coach said that when you lose someone to graduation who is a constant leader on your team for so long, you get in a situation where a guy is playing for the first time. Sometimes you lose consistency or have trouble establishing some traction, especially when that happens at the quarterback position.

Foster said that overall the preparation is similar to teams we have played in the past couple of weeks, so the game experience will help the team get ready to play.

Jim Weaver

Roth asked about the playing surface of Lane Stadium, where apparently the grounds crew has cut an 80 yard VT into the playing surface. Weaver said that he doesnít know whatís going on with that. He said that he saw it for the first time on the news this evening. Weaver said that he thinks what happens is that they cut the grass everyday, and they must have cut it in there today. He continued to say that he thinks that the crew forgot about the sky cam and now itís all over the television.

Roth reminded fans of the Red Sox who mowed two socks into the ball field. Weaver said that heís been gone a week and doesnít know anything about it. Roth pushed by saying that there are many Hokie fans that are buzzing about it. Weaver did say that heís hoping that people are getting excited about Thursday night. Weaver said that suspects the VT will be mowed out prior to Thursday night's game.

Roth brought up the BCS, with there being three undefeated teams currently in the rankings. Roth asked Weaver what his thoughts are if there are three unbeaten teams each from a major conference, how things shake out for the championship game. Weaver said that heís not really sure, because until the end of the year gets here, everything is speculation. Weaver said that there are polls involved and computers involved to determine the top two teams. Weaver said that the controversy is great for college football, and any publicity is good publicity. Weaver said that the NFL has just signed a new contract with major television networks to try and do Saturday night games and Thursday night games. So college football will be in competition with the NFL, and the regular season will need to be interesting if the college games are hoping to draw television viewers.

Brent in Pinehurst wrote in asking if in the future the UVA game will be the season finale. Weaver said that yes in the future the UVA game would be the final game of the season. This year ABC wanted Virginia Tech and Miami to play on Championship Saturday. Weaver said that heís not at liberty to talk about who and when we will play, but that our first home game will be the 17th of September against Marshall.

Curtis from Blacksburg wrote in and asked how students can get bowl game tickets. Weaver said that they can go to the ticket office and place their name on a list for tickets.

Kevin from Newport News wrote in and wanted to know if changes to Lane Stadium would allow for the ďactionĒ cameras (skycams?) being used by many broadcasts today. Weaver said that the television crews bring that system in, and they are welcome to bring that in if they wish to.

Jim in Charlottesville called in and said that everybody seems to be moving to a philosophy of all their non-conference games being played at home, such as Auburn is doing. Jim said that at some point there needs to be some equity in scheduling. Weaver said that there are no regulations with regard to scheduling. Weaver said that we have a philosophical approach in an eleven game season that we are going to play 8 ACC games in a year (4 at home / 4 on the road). We will have one equity conference opponent, someone from the SEC, Big East, Big Ten, Big XII, or PAC 10. Then we play two other games hopefully at home. We are committed to play 9 equity conference opponents each year. Weaver reviewed the income implications of a home and home versus paying an opponent to visit Lane stadium for a home matchup. Weaver said that the Hokies lose a million dollars each time the Hokies play on the road, even if itís a game on television.

Roth asked about the í06 opening. Weaver said that heís got a couple leads, but itís too premature to talk about anything concrete at this point.

Matt in Blacksburg wrote asking Weaver what the next capital project will be for the Tech athletic facilities, suggesting more seats at the soccer stadium and lights for softball and track. Weaver said that there is a plan to add seats at the soccer stadium with a restroom and concession area. The next major project will be a new field house, and make Rector Field house into a permanent indoor track. This will allow the indoor facilities to be available to a greater number of Olympic sports as well as winter practice sessions for baseball and softball.

Roth asked for an update on the West Side Expansion. Weaver said that the progress is a little slow, we were supposed to have steel structures erected this week on the upper two levels. While that steel was a little bit late, there were other things that were completed. Weaver said that the contractor is the best in the country, having worked on Lambeau Field.

Blaze from Blacksburg who was in the audience wanted to know when student season tickets would arrive for basketball. Weaver said that tickets are being mailed immediately as the first game is this Friday. Roth said that students will get a card with your name on it, and that will be swiped as you enter the game.

After the break, Roth asked Jim Weaver to comment on the situation at Ohio State. Weaver said that the last information he had was that the University had invited the NCAA to come in and take a look at the program. Weaver said that the situation with Clarett was bad from the start, and that Ohio State has run their program correctly for a number of years. Weaver said that he would be surprised if there was any finding of wrong doing.

Roth asked Weaver what heís doing to ensure that things like that donít happen at Tech. Weaver said that you canít watch the kids everyday, but you have to trust your coaching staff, understanding that most of these situations involve some member of the coaching staff. Weaver said that thereís also a check with the DMV plates on all the cars driven by the student athletes to make sure they are from legitimate sources.

Dave from Fairfax who was in the audience asked when Tech would be a perennial contender for the Sears Cup (trophy given for excellence in all collegiate sports), and he also wanted to know what Weaver would do if he were the AD at Penn State with regard to Joe Paterno. Weaver said that is a tough question, as Penn State will suffer their fourth losing season in as many years. According to Weaver, they are loosing because they donít have the quality players. Whatever they have to do to get the recruiting together, they have to take those steps to revitalize the program.

Frank Beamer

Roth asked about the teamís week of practice so far. Beamer said that Chris Ellis hurt himself a little bit yesterday, but he was held out today along with Chris Clifton, who turned his knee a little bit. Coach said that Vinnie Fuller practiced well today and felt good after practice too. Roth said that normally this is the time that the coach scales back on practice. Beamer said that their practices are the same as they have been, and he thinks that keeping the practices the same as earlier in the year helps keep consistency. Roth asked how the team is handling being first place in the ACC. Beamer said that we just need to talk about Maryland, which controls everything else. Beamer said he hopes that if you talk to the players that they will only talk about Maryland.

Roth said that the coach needs to take some great satisfaction in being in the hunt after all the good players that were lost to the NFL draft last year. Beamer said that he does feel good, but that Clemson also felt good after their upset at Miami. Clemson then went on to lose to Duke, which changed things around for them pretty quick. You better prepare yourself for the next ball game, and what the team does Thursday night matters.

Roth discussed the close friendship Beamer and Friedgen have. Beamer said that they talk every once in a while, but that he doesnít spend a lot of time on the phone talking. Beamer said that Ralph was a quarterback in college and ate his way into being an offensive lineman. Coach said that they own property together in Georgia and that Ralph is a guy that he trusts a lot. Beamer and Roth spent several minutes reminiscing about prenatal classes and other stories regarding the two coachís relationships.

Roth asked Beamer what impact Jerry Claiborne has had on both Virginia Tech and Maryland, as he has coached at both institutions, suggesting that the teams should play for the Claiborne Trophy. Beamer said that both Ralph and he have taken things from Coach Claiborne as well as Coach Redding.

John in Tampa called in and asked about how ladies can sign up for the clinic next summer. Beamer said that his thinking is that they will do that every other year, but that you can continue to look on Beamerball.com to get the latest details.

Jack from Virginia Beach who was in the audience asked how Beamer keeps his team focused on Thursday night. Coach said that Maryland will play their best football game of the year on Thursday. Every game is so critical and you have to realize what you can affect is how well you play against Maryland. If you lose that one, then everything changes. Beamer said that the Terps are very capable, and it reminds you some of Boston College last year.

Roth said that it's interesting when you look at the rosters of some of VT's opponents, you see the names of some of Techís recruits. Beamer said that is very true, and itís probably going to get even more familiar, since we are focusing on recruiting in North Carolina and Georgia even more.

Brent in Roanoke asked the coach to talk about the number of hours that are devoted to film study. Beamer said that computers have simplified the film process a lot. In the past you would mark every third and whatever and then you would go back and say show me all the third and X situations. Film prep is more detailed than when they started out, because it was so much more time consuming.

Nick from Blacksburg who was in the audience asked about Cedric Humes, who ran well against North Carolina. Beamer said that he was noticing Humes today, and that heís continually getting better. Coach said that both Humes and Hamilton have both been working really hard.

Jay in Charlotte wrote in asked if the coaches were exploring more ways to get Eddie Royal the ball. Beamer said that Stinespring is doing a good job of mixing things up. Coach said that Josh Hyman is a guy that can make some things happen when he catches the ball, as well as Josh Morgan. So there are a couple guys. Beamer said that the best pass offense is one where when the defense double teams a certain player, you can still be effective.

Rick in Christiansburg wrote in and asked about the tiebreaker situation within the ACC. Roth said that question would take 45 minutes to answer, and he suggested that fans look up the solution on the ACC website.

Roth said that if VT, UVA, Miami, and Florida State end up in a four way tie, then Florida State would win the conference title. Next year, the two winners of the divisions will take their teams to Jacksonville to play for the conference title. Beamer said that when youíre in the Big East you donít want to see your conference add a championship game, but now that we are in one with a championship game you want to see every conference have one. Roth pointed out that at least in the Big East the teams played everyone. In the Big Ten and the PAC 10 there isnít a full round robin schedule.

Roth said that in the Big XII things are really messed up, considering that the winner of the North division might have a record just above .500 in their conference. Roth said that it would be interesting to see a 6-5 Nebraska team play in the Big XII championship game and lose. Then at 6-6 they wouldnít even be bowl eligible. Beamer said that seeing the 6-5 team win would be more interesting.

Barek from Blacksburg who was in the audience asked if Maryland ran a 4:3 defense. Beamer said that they do, and they have a great defense. Coach said that they have had their moments on offense as well.

Dan from Blacksburg in the audience asked about David Clowney and what his status is on the wide receiver depth chart. Beamer said that thereís 4-5 receivers and we arenít looking for one guy in particular. Coach said his consistency in practice has been up and down, and he is deceptively fast.

Dave from Gainesville wrote in and he said that heís concerned about not being able to put a team away. Coach said that it is true that the team could have sealed the game earlier. It is not a lack of effort, but more a lack of consistency. You have to give North Carolina a little credit as well. Beamer said that the punt block is something that should never happen.

Roth asked Beamer what you can take from winning three close road games. Beamer said that itís important because you're going to have a few close road games. You learn more in close games than you do in blowouts.

Eric from Stafford in the audience asked who Beamer was rooting for on UVA versus Miami. Beamer said that he wanted to start by saying that he wants all the fans at The Walk for this game. Coach said that Kirk Herbstreet is going to be here and has called Blacksburg the greatest atmosphere to watch a football game at. Thereís as much noise as 100+ thousand stadiums, and he needs to feel that again. Finally Coach turned to the question that Eric asked. Beamer said that there was no definite advantage either way, but the team went out and practiced during the ballgame. It was good because it told the team that they should keep their mind on Maryland.

Fred in Blacksburg called in and asked the coach to touch on the atmosphere in Blacksburg on Thursday night. Beamer said that he always says that our fans help us win ball games and we need help this Thursday night. This is a good football team coming in here; we have a lot of recruits watching this game. There is a lot of reason to be there for The Walk and a lot of reason to be in that stadium bouncing. Beamer said that the recruiting is going really well and a win with a great atmosphere will definitely help.

Roth asked Beamer if he wished there was an early signing period. Beamer said that he did, and he likes that a lot better than these soft commitments. Beamer said thatís its really hard to have visits during the football season, and you donít have a lot of time to take care of the prospect. The problem with an early signing day is that June and July are really the only times that you can take a vacation as a football coach. If you switch to December, then you have a lot more recruits coming during football games.

NFL Update:

  • Lee Suggs rushed 18 times for 38 yards.

  • Andre Davis is out due to injury.

  • Shayne Graham kicked a 41 yard field goal.

  • Michael Vick had 150+ yards passing 1 touchdown and rushing for 73 yards.

  • DeAngelo Hall had 5 tackles.

  • Kevin Jones rushed 19 times for 81 yards and caught 2 passes for 7 yards.

  • Todd Washington played yesterday for the Texans.

  • Gennaro DeNapoli and right guard Matt Lehr are both on the Dallas Cowboys squad, playing on Monday night.

Meyers in Gretna, VA called in and asked about trick plays on fourth and short, why are there no more fake field goals and fake punts. Beamer said that if you can predict what the defense is going to be in, thatís the best time to be in a fake situation. Also if your personal protector is someone who can throw or run the ball then you have an opportunity. However, sometimes it's better to put your best player on the field in Imoh or Randall and let them simply run a fourth down play. Coach said that they just havenít found the right time to run those plays this season.

Beamerís final thoughts on the Terps: he said to be at The Walk, be there early and be ready to go.

Monday was day 44 of Virginia Techís continuous possession of the Black Diamond Trophy.

-- Phil

          

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