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
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
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
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.