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

Tonightís show was broadcast live from Blacksburg, VA. The guests included Head Basketball Coach Seth Greenberg, ABC Sports Analyst Terry Bowden, Tech Athletic Director Jim Weaver, Womenís Head Basketball Coach Beth Dunkenberger and Tech Head Coach Frank Beamer.

Seth Greenberg

"Itís all part of the process" is how Hokies' Basketball Head Coach Seth Greenberg started out his interview segment after a drilling from the UNC Tarheels in basketball. The coach felt like the team competed for 17 minutes in the game and then lost some of their focus as talent started to take control of the game. The coach reminded listeners that they are a team of freshman and sophomores with little senior leadership. The coach also noted that Sean May of UNC was quoted as saying that the Hokies played hard and reminded him of what it was like playing in the ACC as a freshman.

Greenberg pointed out that this UNC team as freshman won eight basketball games, alluding to possible future success for the Hokies. Greenberg also said that we arenít going to fix this program in one recruiting class, we are going come back and practice and get ready for the next opponent.

The team was excited about getting back and practicing as a team, even after the disappointing loss. Greenberg said that our inability to defend the post is a problem, but we are asking freshman to defend the post who are 6í 6" and 185 pounds. Our center is in the states for six months, and we have some injuries. Our strength is in our guard play right now, and thatís just a reality. We want to develop our front court, but thatís not where the strength of our team.

Roth asked about the injuries, and the coach said that Coleman Collins was playing in practice. However, heís not taking any chances right now, and let injuries become more of a factor by putting players in too early in their recovery process. When Collins can play without pain and without re-injuring himself, heís going to get in the game.

Pam wrote in asking why Carlos Dixon doesnít shoot more from the outside. Also, when Tech has the ball on outside and several players just seem to be standing around rather than moving towards the basket. Greenberg said that at that point they were in the open offense and that you want to get middle penetration and dump it off and cut towards the basket. We tried to do two things against UNC, running our open offense and our high and wide and we wanted them to defend twenty seconds prior to taking a shot. This helps get the other team into foul trouble, which is a good strategy when youíre behind in the talent level.

Roth asked if the team would try to hold the ball and run clock off against other ACC teams. Greenberg said that we want to play up and down the court, but you donít want to cut off your nose to spite your face. The job of the coach is to put the team in the best position to win the game. We need to get easy baskets and those are very important, but because of the talent differential the more possession changes will favor the opponent. We have to shorten the game a little bit, and you have to find ways for your guards to control the game.

After the break Roth pointed out that seven ACC teams are ranked within the top 25.

Al in Richmond called in and asked what the coach wanted to have from the fans as far as atmosphere at games, noting that some ACC venues are known for their rather hostile, sometimes obscene environments. Greenberg said that he wants a healthy atmosphere where fans are involved and knowledgeable. He continued to state that we donít need to be the Cameron Crazies, or Maryland. We donít need to concern ourselves with anyone else. Coach said that our fans need to accept the opportunity and accept the challenge of playing in the ACC. Greenberg said he has great confidence in our fans.

Roth pointed out that Lane Stadium was not always the intimidating place that it is now. Greenberg said that he understands that if you win they will come, but that he feels like the really good teams compete all the time. Coaches are great because their teams play hard and compete.

CJ wrote in and complemented the effort from the team.

Rob in Vinton asked if there were more offensive sets or if there is more free styling. Coach said that teams in the ACC are very difficult to run against, and the team will play out of sets, as mentioned earlier with the high and wide set and the open offense. Everything is pushed out onto the perimeter until we can develop an interior game.

Roth said that there is no doubt that Zabian Dowdell can play at this level given his performance against UNC. Coach said that everyone probably feels the same way, but his two best plays of the game where when he passed off and helped make someone else look better, when the game was out of reach. Thatís great focus and leadership.

Roth asked about Western Michigan, whom the Hokies play Wednesday, and explained that this is a team that is playing great basketball. Coach agreed, talking about some of their solid play in the back court. They are very well coached and a solid half court defensive team, which expects to win. Coach said that these games mean something, right now we are minus one with the loss to VMI. We need to steal one to make up for that game. Right now we are still in a position to see postseason play, and it starts on Wednesday. Heís not having his team worry about when they are going to get their first ACC win.

Terry Bowden and Jim Weaver

Coach Bowden said that itís really a pleasure to work with Coach Beamer and that heís got a lot of respect for coach Beamer and that it takes a lot of work to win as much as this team has.

Roth asked Bowden what his feel is of the Auburn versus Tech match up. Bowden said that these two teams are very similar, in that Auburn went through a tough season last year as well, and the chemistry among the two teams is very similar. These teams mirror each other in a strong aggressive defense and a great running game. Bowden said that he thinks this game has the chance to be the best of the BCS bowl games. Jim said that he feels the same way, and itís the only game in town on the 3rd of January. Coach Bowden said that Tech has an opportunity because the entire country is going to be talking about the three undefeated teams, and Virginia Tech is going to play a part in that whole story.

Roth asked if there is a hangover at Auburn from being excluded from the National Championship game. Bowden said that no, but it is the first question brought up at each press conference. Now they know that the only way they have an argument is to go out and beat Virginia Tech. Weaver pointed out that the story has even more depth since Virginia Tech opened up against USC this season, and pollsters will be comparing the two performances against the Hokies. Terry Bowden pointed out that many people were very impressed with the way the Hokies hung with the Trojans in that early season matchup. Bowden also commented on the win against Miami as a game where athletically Tech matched up with some of the best athletes in the NCAA.

Roth asked Bowden if he was impressed at how the Hokies dominated the offensive line of Miami. Bowden said that he was, but that Virginia Tech has been playing great defense for a very long time. Coach said that the talent level on the Top 10 teams is very similar, and the teams which have a veteran quarterback are the ones playing in a BCS game.

Jared in Salem asked Bowden how the Hokies will have success against Auburn offensively and where did he pick the Hokies pre-season in the ACC. Bowden said that he didnít make a pick this year because he has moved out on the road, but that he felt like this is one of Beamerís best coaching jobs yet. This team was supposed to be a rebuilding year, and it turned out great. Bowden said that he talked to Beamer about what his expectations were for the season, and he said that Beamer was thinking about seven wins possibly eight, so this team seems to have surprised even him. Bowden said that Tech needs to run north-south and put a big body on the linebackers.

Jeff in Knoxville called in and asked about the matchup in the defensive secondary for the Hokies. Bowden felt like the receivers for Auburn are their secret weapon, but that Tech matches up very well. Bowden said that itís going to be critical that Tech not get too focused on the running backs and give up a big play to a talented receiving corps.

Dave from Virginia wrote in asking Terry Bowden if he feels like any of Techís prior opponents have as good a backfield as Auburn. Bowden felt like this is the best backfield in the country with three potential first round draft picks at running back and quarterback.

Roth asked Bowden how he felt like the game was going to play out. Bowden said that it could be a 21-17 game, with a few big plays, or defensive scoring. This should be a defensive battle, and that if heís Virginia Tech, you need to watch for the wrinkles. Bowden refused to pick who the winner would be at this time.

One fan wrote in and asked how much money Tech saved this year by not having to fly to the Big East destinations. Weaver said that his group hasnít gotten to that yet as they are preparing for the bowl trip right now, but that he thought it would be about $70K per trip.

Roth asked how many tickets Hokies purchased to the Sugar Bowl. Weaver said that we sold all our tickets, and that along the way the athletic department picked up more tickets from various sources and were able to sell those quickly as well.

A fan wrote in reminding Weaver that earlier in the season he quoted the Lane Stadium policy which wouldnít allow a Lady Hokie Fan who typically brought sugar cookies to the game for the other fans in her seating area, to bring the cookies into the game. During that Hotline call Weaver said that if the Hokies went to the Sugar Bowl then Sugar Cookies would be allowed in the game. Weaver said that he didnít think the Superdome would allow the cookies, but you could pass them out while waiting in line to get in.

Beth Dunkenberger

Roth asked about the latest game, a 71-70 overtime victory over #12 Texas Tech. Beth said that they are a powerful team that got out on the Hokies early. Her team was able to get back on track and get themselves back into the game. Coach said that this win is important as the team heads back to Blacksburg to start their break. Coach said that there were a lot of contributions from the bench. She said that this will be a memorable win for the Lady Hokies. Beth said that right now the team is on break and has a workout schedule while on break. They will return and prepare for the Lady Luck Classic in Blacksburg.

Frank Beamer

Roth started the show by stating that the coach would be unable to talk any recruiting news until February 4th, just in case a caller may call in to discuss the topic.

Beamer commented on Auburn being a complete team with passing and running on offense. Coach said that itís a challenge, but we are glad to have the opportunity. Beamer said that the two teams are very similar, echoing what Bowden said earlier.

Roth asked about the injury situation. Beamer said that they practiced inside today, because of the cold. Coach said that Imoh is doing well, both the Lewis brothers are fighting a little bit. Overall he felt like if the team can get through the practices, they should be fine going into the game.

Roth asked Beamer if this was a satisfying season, a season of redemption. Beamer said that all the coaches were talked about, after last season didnít go the way it should have. Beamer said that overall he felt like his teams have won more games then they had talent to win, but last year was the first year where he felt like the team lost more games then they should have. The coach said that everyone was disappointed, and that motivates you to get out there and fix the problems. Overall it is very satisfying, but when you feel so good about what you just accomplished, you lose focus that there is one more hurdle left. He reminded his players to stay focused.

Roth pointed out that at the start of the season Beamer was talking about how one of the positives for this team was that they had a senior quarterback. Beamer agreed, and continued to say that if you have a good team, and a quarterback whoís struggling, youíre going to struggle as a football team.

Larry in Burkeville called in and asked if there was another coach in the country who had won a major conference championship in two different major conferences. Beamer said that heís really appreciative of the Big East, but that we are really excited about being in the ACC. Roth said that he may be the only active coach.

Barek in Blacksburg called in and asked what the basic procedures that the coaching staff goes through to monitor and control player behavior when going to a place like New Orleans. Beamer said that the first night there, they have guests come in and talk to them about where they should and shouldnít go. Coach said that there is a curfew that gets earlier and earlier each night of the week, until we get to the last night, which is an 11 pm curfew. Hopefully the kids will enjoy themselves, but the main objective is to go down there and play a good football game.

Jerry in Radford called in and asked about the school colors and which one is actually the primary color. Beamer said that the uniforms are maroon with an orange accent, but that he was aware that orange shirts were passed out at the basketball game on Sunday. Roth said that he doesnít think that one color is necessarily a secondary color, because prior teams have had orange jerseys. Beamer said that in his mind, Virginia Tech is maroon with orange accents, so that the maroon is the primary color on the uniform. Beamer said that heís always thought of orange as the secondary color, and then there was the one year where the team wore all orange uniforms for a UVA game. He continued that you wonít see those uniforms again.

Warren from Blacksburg called in and asked who the players were for next year that will step up and provide the senior leadership and how will Tech adjust to the role, which traditionally they havenít made the transition well, from the hunter to the hunted. Beamer said that there are some talented players on this yearís team. How the team works together is very beneficial and next year you look to Jeff King, Will Montgomery, Jimmy Williams, Daryl Tapp, and others who will step up and lead us next year. It doesnít matter where youíre picked, it's how you play. Mentally itís a big part of it, and all year we were fighting to show we were better than the preseason picks. This year we didnít talk about bowls or championships and the team focused on the next game.

Roth said that right now itís difficult to say that this team isnít as talented as last yearís team. Perhaps at the beginning of the year it was unproven talent, but now this team is showing how talented they really are.

Ken in Smith Mountain Lake called in and stated that the orange uniforms came in during Charlie Coffeeís tenure. Beamer said that itís exactly right, and that itís probably never been stated which is the dominant color.

Phil called in from Richmond and commented on how proud he is to be a Hokie fan, and his question was if they could turn the cameras around for the basketball games so the students would be on TV more often. Roth said that the students are behind the basket.

Robert called in from Hanover County and asked if there is an agreement that UVA and Tech do not pursue recruits after a verbal commitment. Beamer said there is no agreement, but at Tech after a verbal commitment is given to another school, the recruiting process ends for Tech. If the player calls the coaches after a commitment they will talk with him. Beamer said that once a kid reneges on a commitment itís a domino effect. Beamer said that Tech encourages kids to not make soft commitments. Beamer said that an early commitment period would present some problems with scheduling visits, so the process will continue as it has for now.

Jason in Arlington called in and asked what the coaches planned to do about covering Robbie Brown out of the backfield. Coach said that heís a tremendous player with great hands and explosive. He can keep the defense confused.

Scott (an Auburn fan) called in from North Carolina and asked what he would tell his team if they were in Auburnís shoes with potentially being left out of the national championship picture. Beamer said that he thinks they do deserve to be #2 in the poll, and they have voted that way all season. Coach said that if you can get through the SEC undefeated you deserve to play for the championship. Beamer said that Auburn has played hard all year long and he thinks they are going to play that way in the Sugar Bowl.

Roth said that based upon Bowdenís comments ABC will be setting the stage that there are three potential teams playing for a share of the title. Beamer said that we have a challenge playing a team that wants to win and win in convincing fashion, so they can put themselves in the position to make a statement.

Chris in Salem called in and commented that on visits to other stadiums, the fans get stuck in the upper corners where they canít impact the game, but at Lane Stadium the opposing fans are right on the field behind the goal posts. Chris wanted Beamerís thoughts. Beamer said thatís been talked about quite a bit. Roth said that the goal line seats were the remaining seats unsold, because Hokie fans were purchasing the seats in the upper deck. Roth said that heís sure it will be re-addressed next year.

Beamer said that practices will occur on Tuesday and Wednesday and the team will then be turned loose for the break.

Monday was day 24 of Virginia Techís continuous possession of the Commonwealth Cup, day 79 of Virginia Techís continuous possession of the Black Diamond Trophy, and day 16 of Virginia Tech's possession of the ACC football championship.

-- Phil

          

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