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Advance Auto Parts Hokie Hotline Notes
Monday, December 13, 2004
by Wayne Clevenger

Due to renovations at Beamer’s Restaurant in Christiansburg, Bill Roth kicked off the broadcast from Cassell Coliseum without a studio audience. He then went over the news of the day:

  • VT’s David Hoffman was named ACC wrestler of the week.
  • Jimmy Williams was named Sports Illustrated and second team All-American with Jeff King and Darryl Tapp receiving honorable mentions.
  • Frank Beamer was named the Sports Illustrated National Coach of the Year.
  • The Sporting News named Vince Hall ACC Freshman defensive player of the year and honored Chris Ellis, Josh Hyman, Xavier Adibi, and Roland Minor as outstanding ACC freshmen as well.
  • As of this broadcast 7 ACC basketball teams are in the AP top 25.
  • There will be 2 Hokie Hotline broadcasts from New Orleans, one on December 31st and another on January 1st. The broadcasts will take place from 4-6pm CT at the Marriott team hotel on Canal Street and will be open to the public.
  • On Sunday January 2nd there will be an Auburn/VT pep rally at Jacks Brewery on 600 Decatur Street from 3:45 – 5:45PM CT.

Seth Greenberg – Men’s Head Basketball Coach

Roth introduced Greenberg and noted that VT’s win over JMU in basketball put the team record at 5-2. Greenberg said that the team was showing progress even with the injuries to Gordon and Collins. He said that it’s tough when you have to start 3 freshmen for two years in a row, but labeled the team a hard working group that will improve over time. Roth noted that Gordon was practicing already so soon after his injury. Greenberg said that he was hopeful that both Gordon and Collins will make quick recoveries and be ready to go in the upcoming games.

Roth brought up the losses to VMI and St. Johns and asked if these were “hiccups” of “red flags” in terms of where team is at this point in the young season. Greenberg said that those losses constituted a little of both. He said that the team is young and will make some mistakes, but is still trying to find its identity. He said those losses bother him but feels confident that they’ll show improvement with more coaching and hard work.

Roth asked if maybe VT’s best 5 man combination was a little on the small side right now. Greenberg said that the injury to Collins was unexpected, but that they have to get the freshman center Krabbendam on the court as well. He said that he’s still moving players around in different roles to see where the overall team identity will emerge. Greenberg also pointed out that Dixon has seen many different roles in the games played so far and noted that his senior leadership is important because of the overall team youth.

After a break Barek from Blacksburg called and asked what type of game plan the VT coaches would need against a heavily talented UNC team. Greenberg said that he thinks the ACC opener against UNC is the biggest game in the history of VT basketball. He noted that he intended no disrespect to former coaches and/or players accomplishments with that viewpoint, but that this game represents a new beginning for VT basketball. He said that the coaches have and will spend countless hours coming up with a game plan for UNC that will be as effective as possible, but noted that UNC returns 82 points in scoring average from last year. Greenberg also pointed out that UNC is obviously talented, deep, athletic and well coached; and that this game should provide a starting point for much improvement in the VT men’s basketball program in the coming years.

Roth noted that UNC probably has 4 NBA lottery picks on their roster and will obviously be a tough match up for this young Hokie team. Greenberg agreed but said that the excitement surrounding the game ultimately goes beyond the final results because it represents a launching pad for the coach’s plan for improving the program in the coming years. He said he can’t wait to hear a packed and sold out Cassell Coliseum for the UNC game.

Mark in Richmond wrote in and asked about the current recruits and if they’ll help with rebounding next season. Greenberg said that both Terrance Vincent and Hyman Taylor will help the team with their low post skills in the coming seasons.

After a break Roth and Greenberg discussed the fact that 7 ACC teams are currently ranked in the AP top 25, but both noted that other unranked teams such as Clemson and Miami are also playing well. Roth noted that UNC was criticized for not playing good defense at some points last year and asked if they are playing better defense now. Greenberg said that UNC is playing very solid defense right now and they really clog the passing lanes and pressure the ball. He praised the job that Matt Dougherty did for bringing in some great talent that Coach Williams is now developing well.

Bryan Stinespring – Offensive Coordinator / Offensive Line Coach

After a break, Roth introduced Stinespring and asked him for his comments on the regular season. Stinespring said that he liked this VT team’s toughness and resolve from the very beginning of the season. He said that they were fun to coach and a joy to be a part of.

Roth asked Stinespring to talk about the beginning of the Miami game and the status of Jimmy Martin at that point. Stinespring said that Martin wanted to give it a try, but it became apparent that he was having a lot of trouble getting his feet set early on, so they made the planned adjustments. He said that the pass play to Mazetta early in the game was a key to changing field position and momentum. Roth asked if the improved ability of VT’s tight ends to get downfield has opened up passing lanes for other receivers. Stinespring said that it has helped considerably. He said that anytime the tight ends can occupy a safety it’s going to open up other areas on the field for the wide receivers. Both Roth and Stinespring praised Jeff King’s touchdown catch, as well as his sensational drive-extending “layout” catch near the end of the game that forced Miami to use their last two timeouts.

Roth noted that twice this season Stinespring has shown a different philosophy near the end of games where, instead of running the ball and then punting to let the defense win the game, VT has gone for the jugular with pass plays to try to extend drives. Roth pointed out that this was unsuccessful against GT earlier in the year, but the play to King against Miami probably sealed the win. Stinespring said that he likes for Bryan Randall to help make those decisions. He said that he trusts Randall because he’s down on the field seeing the defense from a different perspective and has become a great decision maker in addition to offering his insight into each week’s game plans.

Roth offered up some emails he’s received that were all asking about Auburn. Stinespring praised Auburn’s defense and noted that they are top 5 in the nation in most categories. He said they do an excellent job of forcing the ball where they want it to go. Roth asked for Stinespring to compare them to another defense VT has played against this year. Stinespring said that Auburn’s defense probably compares most favorable to the defense of NC State. He said that they may be more choosy about when they blitz than NC State, but they still bring tremendous pressure having an extra defender in the box most of the time.

Chris from Blacksburg wrote in asking about Brandon Gore, Matt Welch, and Tripp Carroll. Stinespring said that Gore has got to step up and get in better shape physically. He said Carrol is athletic enough, but he’s not playing with enough confidence right now and they’re working on that. Finally, he said that Welch will have his opportunity in the spring to show what he can do. Stinespring also noted that the offensive line is a big focus in recruiting right now because it doesn’t matter how many great QB’s or tailbacks VT has if they don’t have room to throw and run.

Roth asked how many verbal commitments VT expected in the coming weeks. Stinespring said that commitments always seem to come when you least expect them. He said he feels great about how recruiting is going this year and that they’ve had some great visits in the past few weeks with a few more to come this weekend. He said it’s challenging to schedule visits with VT’s schedule near the end of the season and the fact that they played on the first weekend in December when a lot of other teams are off. Roth said that he hopes VT always plays on the first weekend in December for years to come.

After a break, Roth asked why VT and Auburn’s defenses were both so stingy in the red zone this season. Stinespring said that both teams play a “constrictive” style of defense where they limit the available field. He said that this style becomes more magnified and effective as the field itself gets shorter.

Jeff in Knoxville called and noted that ACC entry seems to have opened up some other geographic areas for VT football recruiting. Stinespring agreed and pointed out that the Carolinas and Georgia are becoming more of a focus now. He also noted that some coaches already had ties to those new areas and that has helped a lot.

Brad from Giles County called and asked why VT seems to be getting away from the QB option play. Stinespring said that they wanted to use that play selectively this season and only at times when they thought it would really be open. He said that the coaches obviously wanted to limit the number of hits on Randall due to the lack of relative depth at his position this year.

Roth asked at what point Stinespring knew that this might be a special team and a special season this fall. Stinespring said it was probably during the second half of the GT game. He said that the locker room could have been in chaos at halftime because the first half was frustrating, but it was just the opposite. He said the players were composed and focused – and they went out and did exactly what they said they were going to do in the second half.

After a break, Roth asked for Stinespring to point out a few of VT’s unsung heroes on the football team. Stinespring talked about Will Montgomery’s unselfishness and willingness to switch positions early on. He said Montgomery may have been frustrated initially with the move from guard to center, but he adapted and has done an outstanding job. He also singled out Jimmy Miller. He said Miller might not have the most talent out there, but no one can match his work ethic or desire to win.

Scott from Charleston, SC wrote in noting that VT seems to make more adjustments this year during each game and asked what that’s attributed to. Stinespring said that adjustments are a lot easier to make when you have a talented and seasoned starting QB like Bryan Randall. He said the staff is always working on adjustments during a game, but Randall just makes them easier to implement.

Mark from Copenhagen, Denmark wrote in asking how much VT’s trip to the Sugar Bowl helps with recruiting. Stinespring said that it helps tremendously. He said that anytime you can bring up recent accomplishments (like winning the ACC or going to the Sugar Bowl) when talking to recruits it does nothing but bolster the reputation of the program.

Tom in Mechanicsville wrote in asking how VT is going to prepare to play on the Superdome’s artificial surface. Stinespring said that the team will practice at Tulane because they have the same surface installed as the Superdome.

Jaime in Biloxi wrote in asking Stinespring how he felt as he, the other coaches and the players walked into Cassell Coliseum after the Miami game. Stinespring said it felt like game day. He said the hair was standing up on his neck because you could feel the excitement in the building. He said it really meant a lot to the players as well and noted that the players celebrated with the Hokie fans at the Orange Bowl after the game. Stinespring said that he and the other coaches have been to a lot of places in their careers, but you can’t beat Blacksburg on game day.

Ralph in Glen Allen wrote in asking how much basketball helped Randall’s conditioning for football this season. Stinespring said that he was sure basketball helped Randall’s off-season conditioning, but also noted that Randall is a warrior in the weight room and strives to constantly improve his physical condition regardless of what time of year it is.

Pam in Culpeper wrote in and asked if Mike Imoh would be healthy for the Sugar Bowl. Stinespring said that they are keeping their fingers crossed but are hopeful that both Imoh and Martin will be 100% by game time. He noted that all the players are getting a much deserved rest right now and that practice doesn’t resume until 12/18.

After a break, Wes wrote in and asked what a lot of others had asked as well. They all wanted to know what Beamer’s policy was concerning the players freedom to enjoy night life in a destination bowl city. Stinespring said it’s something they discuss constantly with the players and pointed out that the 99-2000 team was allowed to go out in New Orleans and everything was fine. He said that Beamer is very specific about what is expected of the team and he trusts that they know how important this game will be. He said that they bring in a police officer to lecture the team on expectations as well.

Roth brought up the fact that Beamer won ACC Coach of the Year and the Sports Illustrated National Coach of the Year – and pointed out that those awards are also directly tied to the assistant coaches. Stinespring praised Beamer for the way he leads the program and also the players for how they matured and came together as a “Team United” during the season.

Roth asked how Stinespring’s in-laws are doing since they were involved in a car accident after the UVA game. Stinespring said his father-in-law is doing better, but suffered a broken leg and will have to miss his first VT bowl game in a long time.

Bud Foster – Defensive Coordinator / Linebackers Coach

After a break Roth introduced Foster and asked him when he knew this team was going to be special. Foster said that even back in winter conditioning he knew that the attitude and chemistry was right. He said that the defense really came together after the NC State loss because they knew that even with the VT miscues, they still could have won that game on defense and didn’t get it done. He said that’s really when they knew what they had a chance to accomplish.

Roth asked Foster where mental toughness comes from and how players develop it. He noted that last season’s team was physically tough, but seemed to lose focus when times got rough, while this year’s team seems to get better when they face adversity. Foster said that the formula for developing that toughness is different every year. He said that sometimes it’s senior leadership, but really it goes back to the attitude of playing one play at a time and trying to make a difference on each and every play. He said he tells the defense that if VT loses, it’s not because they got beat – they just ran out of time.

Roth noted Jimmy Williams’ post season accolades and asked for Foster’s thoughts on his season. Foster said that Williams had an outstanding season and pointed out that switching positions with Fuller really allowed him to develop and be more successful. He said that he’s very proud of how the secondary played with consistency this season and singled out the outstanding play of Eric Green as well. Foster said that the secondary has tried to show a lot of different coverages this season to confuse opposing offenses, but has still stuck with the basic fundamentals.

Bob in Ft. Lauderdale called and asked if the injuries on the defense (Fuller, Lewis Brothers, etc.) will be healed by the Sugar Bowl. He also noted the 3 deflected passes at the end of the Miami game and asked if VT had seen Berlin making low throws on film and planned to attack that way. Foster said that the deflected passes by Tapp and Davis were just examples of great individual effort. With respect to the other question, he said that Adibi, Fuller and the Lewis Brothers really toughed it out this season when it came to playing through injuries and he’s very proud of them all. Foster said that it was exciting how the defense improved as the season went on and that each week it seemed like a different player stepped up to make critical plays.

Brett in Roanoke called and pointed out that many media pundits aren’t giving VT much of a chance against Auburn, and asked for Foster’s comments on that. Foster said that Auburn has a very talented team that’s laden with senior leadership. However, he pointed out that VT’s motto all season has been “it’s not about them, it’s about us,” and that’s how they’ll approach this game. If VT can play its game and take care of business, then Foster said he’s excited about VT’s chances.

Roth noted that a lot of VT bowl games in the recent past have come down to kick blocks and big plays on special teams. Foster said that might be a product of the fact that kicking games and special teams in general can get “out of sync” with a long period of inactivity before the bowl game.

After a break, Roth asked Foster if he planned to use Auburn’s “we should be playing for the National Championship” mentality as a motivational tool for the team. Foster said that VT really isn’t worried what Auburn is saying, but instead is just focusing on what it will take to play a great game and have a chance to win. Foster remembered back to when VT probably should have gone to the Fiesta Bowl in 2001, but went to the Gator Bowl instead. He said that they told the team that they can’t control anything other than how they play on game day - and that’s probably what Auburn coaches are telling their players now. Roth asked Foster for further thoughts on Auburn’s offense. Foster said that their running backs remind him of UVA’s and that their receivers are almost as fast as Miami’s. He said they run a very efficient offense that’s handled by a very capable decision maker in 5th year senior Jason Campbell.

Sid from Staunton wrote in and asked if the key to the game might be shutting down the Auburn running game. Foster said that stopping the run is very important since they have two very talented tailbacks. He said that VT always wants to make the opposing offense as one-dimensional as possible.

Roth asked Foster for his unsung heroes for the season. Foster singled out Brandon Manning, Kevin Lewis, Carlton Powell, Chris Ellis and Jason Lallis for giving their all and being very unselfish leaders for the football team.

Ron in Mechanicsville wrote in asking if Foster had any connections for Sugar Bowl tickets. Foster chuckled and said he was looking for tickets as well. He and Roth both laughed at the fact that Ron noted that he and his wife celebrated their honeymoon at the 1996 Orange Bowl and said he was indeed a sensitive guy to include his wife in those activities.

After a break Roth noted that the radio frequency for their Sugar Bowl game coverage had not been set as of yet, but would be posted on as soon as possible. An email asked what was wrong with the Sugar Bowl ticket distribution process because so many fans have to buy tickets from Ebay and scalpers. Roth noted that VT sells 37K+ season tickets and Auburn sells 75K+ season tickets while the Superdome only seats 72K, 40K of which were already sold before the teams were invited.

After the “Hokies In the Pros” update, Roth brought up the fact that former VT standout J.C. Price, who now coaches at JMU, has a chance to win a Division 1-AA national championship this Friday night against Montana. Foster said he is very happy for Price and hated to see him go, but Price took advantage of an opportunity he couldn’t pass up. He said that he feels that Price will be back at VT before it’s all over with.

After a final break, Roth asked Foster to point out the young players on VT’s defense that he feels have promising futures. Foster singled out players like Andrew Bowman, Kory Robertson, Barry Booker, Kent Hicks, Vince Hall, Xavier Adibi, Chris Ellis, Robert Parker, Roland Minor and D.J. Walton. He said that all these players have promising potential and could have awesome careers at VT. Roth asked for Foster’s comments on recruiting and how many might be ready to commit soon. Foster said you never know, but did point out that recruiting services like Lemming sometimes encourage recruits to wait a little longer so the process can keep going. Roth closed by asking about the schedule from here on out. Foster said that he and Stinespring will be reviewing Auburn game tape all week and that the rest of the coaches will return from the recruiting trail on Thursday to get ready for Saturday’s first practice. He said that the team will depart for New Orleans on 1/28.

Roth then thanked all the guests for their time and signed off.

Monday was day 16 in VT’s possession of the Commonwealth Cup, day 72 in their possession of the Black Diamond Trophy, and day 9 of their possession of the ACC championship.



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