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Advance Auto Parts Hokie Hotline Notes
Monday, February 14, 2005
by Phil Noftsinger

Tonightís show was broadcast live from Attitudeís Bar inside the Blacksburg Holiday Inn. Seth Greenberg answered questions from Hokie faithful about the morale level of his team, and what the future held after three straight losses, including a heart breaking loss to UVA.

Seth Greenberg

Roth asked coach about the recent loss to UVA and whether his team was still competing at the level he wanted. Coach said that there were about five possessions where the team, ďtook a play offĒ, and unfortunately those were five possessions down the final stretch. There were communication mistakes with regard to a dribble hand-off on one play, then we doubled the post and missed a block out. Our defensive fundamentals kept us in a position to win the game, so thatís disappointing. We had two empty possessions that hurt us, and we didnít trail in the game until the 6 minute mark.

Coach said he wasnít sure if fatigue got to his players or not. Some fans asked why we didnít speed up the tempo of the game, but we donít have the depth to run with most teams in the ACC. We got beat in transition a couple times. Coach said that they watched the last six minutes of the game Monday, from the point where we were up 2 points, and there were only 17 possessions during that stretch. A mistake here or there and it costs you, a couple dunks and three putbacks that were missed. Get those and itís a different outcome.

The bottom line is that the coaching staff knows where the team is and where they are going. They were definitely disappointed, but coach is also proud that this team is in every game, except those against the top three ACC teams. Coach said he is disappointed but not discouraged. The team is leaps and bounds ahead of where they were predicted to be. Progress is being made at an unbelievable pace, and they knew that this was going to be tough stretch of games.

Brian from Lawrence, Kansas who was in the audience asked about the coaching philosophy regarding having Dowdell play point instead of Jamon. Coach said that they are tinkering with putting Jamon on the ball so Zabian can run off some screens. Jamon does a great job of pushing the ball, getting into the half court offense after the push is the concern. Also we canít wear him out, with all the things the coaches are asking him to do. The same thing with Marquis Cooke, and this is something the coaches are going to tinker with.

Mark in Blacksburg who submitted his question online asked if coach could have one wish for the team what would it be. Coach said a 6í9Ē power forward that could get a double/double every night. Coach also said that he loves the Cassell and he believes that it will become the best home court in the ACC, he would never want to leave the Cassell. If he had one wish, he would want a basketball practice facility with offices and strength and conditioning facilities for menís and womenís basketball.

Dave from Blacksburg who was in the audience said that the students are doing a good job cheering for the team and does he have any recommendations to the alumni who are also there? Coach said that it all starts with the students, complimenting the student support. Hopefully the team can give the students one more run right now. Coach said that the arena that can create a great environment can really help a team, and that enthusiasm spreads to the rest of the fan base. Coach said that the team has great fans and people have been magnificent. Coach said that the students have really accepted the challenged to take ownership in the program. It is definitely appreciated. The Hokies are building a program. Coach said that come Thursday night, he hopes that there will be a great environment. The fans and team donít need to worry about Duke, they just need to focus on the team and their contribution.

Roth asked about the UVA game and the physicality of that game with guys diving for loose balls, and Zabian getting some stitches after the game. Coach said that everyone is worried about fatigue. Coach said they have cut practice back a little bit, people talk about that, and coach pointed out some of the 30+ minutes a game that Duke players are playing. Coach said the difference is that the Duke players are juniors and seniors. Coach said that each and every game is more important with the success the team has had over the first part of the league season. Itís the pressure that creates the fatigue. Coach said that itís exhausting mentally.

Coach said that this weekend they played four freshman, four sophomores, and one senior. Coach said that when VT beat UVA in Blacksburg, nobody rushed the court, but when UVA beat VT in Charlottesville, their students rushed the court. What that tells you is that beating this team is a big deal, and the program is starting to get the respect and become a big win for opponents. Roles have reversed in that beating this team is a relief to opponents, and wins for this team are starting to become par for the course. Dealing with those pressures is mentally and emotionally exhausting. Itís pretty good to be disappointed, because that means that it means something. It means we have come a long way.

JB in Cartersville called in and asked about fatigue and if it ever crossed his mind to do a zone defense. Coach said that heís thought about it, but the coaches are trying to create a foundation to build on, sticking with the man defense. They have considered the 1-3-1, but the personnel doesnít match that scheme. They have messed with 1-2-2, but they wanted to get good at something, and they donít want to confuse the team. As this team matures they will throw in some new wrinkles. Right now they are focusing on the fundamentals.

Roth mentioned that Duke, Techís Thursday opponent, is ranked #7 in the country. Roth said that he thinks of all the people in the ACC, John Gilcrest, Maryland ACC player of the week, is one of the surprises out of the state of Virginia. Coach said that John is much quicker in person, heís aggressive and an attacking guy. Coach said that heís not afraid of the other teams in the ACC, and thatís key to building a program. He hopes to develop Marquis Cooke into a player like that.

Steve from Christiansburg who was in the audience asked about the coach's disappointment coming down the stretch, and is that more mental or because they had fouls on them and playing tentative. Coach says they werenít afraid to foul, because the guys on one of the misses were not in foul trouble. Coach said it wasnít a lack of effort, but a lack of urgency or attention to detail. UVA got those three offensive rebounds in one possession because they were bad shots. Itís a little mental and a little physical. Again we are not as strong as the opponents right now. Coach was more upset versus Maryland the team wasnít as tough as they needed to be, and we were tough against UVA.

Scott in Washington wrote in and asked what is causing Deron to miss dunks, as it seems like there have been quite a few this season. Coach said you probably havenít seen as many dunks by one player in the same season. Coach said he probably needs to make sure and get the layup rather than make a difficult play. Heís only missed three recently, heís a guy who is 6í6Ē, and coaches concern is that Deron has to attack and be quick and be on balance each and every play.

Pam from Culpeper wrote in asking for more offensive rebounds this Thursday. Coach said that the important thing against Duke is getting the missed free throw rebounds which were a problem last time they played Duke. Coach said five of their first seven points were on free throw block outs. Using quickness to rebound the basketball is going to be important. The two guys that are important for Duke are Nelson and Dockerty, and thatís a concern for VT.

Roth said that the atmosphere will be interesting on Thursday night, as a coach you can put games behind you and you have to. However, thatís not the case with fans. Coach said thatís great and he wants the fans to take ownership. Coach said he has small goals, like being there for the whole game. Roth said that if Carlos and Jamon pick up two fouls each before the first TV timeout, Coach may not make it through four minutes. Coach said that heís very interested to see whatís going to happen. Itís very hard to run offense against Duke, you're going to have to cut and drive and penetrate. Coach said people are upset with Duke because of their arrogance, but they deserve that. When youíre very good youíre not liked, but we aspire to be like them in having a great program. Coach said he wants people to take ownership and be inspired, and cheer for their team.

Roth said there are less than three weeks left in regular season play, and wondered what the Hokies chances of postseason play were. Coach said heís thinking about what they need to do to beat Duke, heís thinking there are five separate opportunities to get wins. Coach said there are chances for a lot of scenarios to happen, but the team canít get caught up in that. There is a chance for postseason play, but each game is a separate entity. If you look at the schedule you knew that there were tough games ahead, but you just have to stay in the present.

Clark from Troutville who was in the audience asked which teams of the ACC are legitimate final four teams. Coach said UNC is the best team in the country, Duke and Wake Forest have a shot, but Carolinaís front court depth and ability to score upfront is great. If McCants doesnít get caught up in the hype and plays within himself, they have a great chance. UNC is the best team from the ACC to have a shot. Duke is a team with a shot, and Wake has magnificent depth and shoots the ball well. Any of those teams could get to the final four. Coach said his final four is Carolina, Illinois, Wake Forest, and Kansas.

After the final break, Roth asked about Miami. Coach said that Miami is a very good road team. Hite shoots the ball with range, and their front court guys are very underrated. Roth said the fans need to bounce back quickly after Duke and get ready to attend that Miami game this Saturday at 7 pm.

  • Monday was day 81 of Virginia Techís continuous possession of the Commonwealth Cup, day 136 of Virginia Techís continuous possession of the Black Diamond Trophy, and day 74 of Virginia Tech's continuous possession of the ACC football championship.

-- Phil

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