Advance Auto Parts Hokie Hotline Notes
, August 30, 2004
by Chris James,

This weekís Hokie Hotline featured running backs coach Billy Hite, athletic director Jim Weaver and head coach Frank Beamer.

Bill Roth first went over the new student ticket policy for football games. Students now must register in an online lottery to receive tickets to football games. Monday night was the deadline for students to register for the Western Michigan game. All student tickets that are not claimed will be put on sale to the general public.

Roth went on to say that many games of the Olympic sports teams at Virginia Tech (particularly men's and women's soccer and wrestling) can now be heard live on Tony Luftman will provide the play-by-play.

After the opening announcement, Roth changed the subject to football. He asked how many people in the crowd had attended the BCA Classic against USC, and about two-thirds of the crowd raised their hands. Roth complimented them on their great support at the game, and invited them to show the same support for the first guest, Billy Hite.

Running Backs Coach Billy Hite

Hite began by thanking everyone for their support at the USC game, commenting how special it was for him personally because he grew up only 10 minutes from the stadium. Hite said it was his motherís 80th birthday as well, so overall it was a very special day for the Hite family. Hite thanked the crowd again, saying that Tech fans were the best in the country.

Roth mentioned that it must have been amazing to run out onto the field in that atmosphere. Hite said it was, and that out of 92,000 people in the stadium, probably 82,000 were Tech fans. He then mentioned that he talked to a couple of friends that go to Redskins games every year, and they told him the atmosphere on Saturday was a lot better than at Redskins games.

Roth said that despite playing USC tough, a lot of people around the Merryman Center are disappointed with the loss. He said that many people felt the Hokies left a golden opportunity on FedEx Field on Saturday night. Hite said there was no question about it. He said it was a team game and everyone gave great effort, but there were a couple of things that didnít get done in the fourth quarter that needed to be done. Hite said there was a couple of things the offense could have done, and the defense canít give up long passing plays like they did. Hite said that it was not a moral victory because the players were very upset about the loss after the game. They came together in the locker room after the game was over and vowed to stick together. Hite said he likes the team a lot.

Roth brought up the fact that the Hokies hadnít lost an opening game since 1995. In 1995, they lost their first two games of the season, but went on to win the Sugar Bowl. The losses at the beginning of 1995 really brought the team together. Hite said that Coach Beamer told the players after the game that playing hard was great, but they needed to play smart down the stretch. An offensive player and a defensive player got up and talked to the team about sticking together. Hite said he thinks the team has great leadership right now, and not just from the seniors, which is a great sign.

Roth moved on to the running game, saying that it was very difficult to run against a team like USC, but that he thought the Hokies did a very good job. Hite agreed, saying that Stinespring had done a great job of coaching up the offensive line. Hite said that to block that USC group as well as they did was really amazing, and he keeps telling Stinespring that the Hokies have a heck of a good line.

Hite said he believes Cedric Humes is close to 100%, but he believes itís more of a mental thing right now with Cedric. He just needs to turn himself loose and run like heís capable of. Hite said Justin Hamilton was unbelievable, especially considering it was his first game at tailback. Hite said he played 4 players during the game, and for 3 of them it was the first time they had ever lined up in the backfield in a college game. He said he thought John Kinzer was going to be special, he just needs to keep working hard.

Hite said he thought it was a great idea to open the season against USC. He said he thinks the program needed it, and it would help in recruiting. It would also provide exposure to Maryland recruits. Hite mentioned that he spoke recently to the coach of the #1 recruit in the country, and that his coach said the player (Derrick Williams, though Hite did not name him per NCAA rules) is very, very interested in Virginia Tech.

Joe in Buena Vista was the first caller of the night. He asked Hite whether or not Andrew Bowman was being redshirted. Hite said Bowman was being redshirted, but the staff feels that he will be a very good player. Hite then went on to explain the linebacker situation now that Xavier Adibi is out for the season. He said that Mikal Baaqee is moving to Backer, with Vince Hall now starting at Mike.

Jay from Blacksburg had a question from the audience. He asked Hite how John Kinzer and Jesse Allen graded out after reviewing the film. Hite said Kinzer graded out fairly well, but he still needs to work on his technique. Hite said he has been working Kinzer through some new drills to get him to stay low in his stance. Hite said Allen had trouble adjusting to the game moving so fast, but that he is confident that he will adjust to it.

Roth then asked Hite who his best ever pass blocking fullback was, and Hite said Tony Paige.

Pete from Christiansburg was next from the audience. He asked if Xavier Adibi was allowed to have a medical redshirt for 2004. Hite said he isnít aware of all the details, but he thinks that Adibi might lose a year of eligibility, but if there is anyway to get a medical redshirt, they will certainly try. Hite said it was a shame that Adibi got hurt, because the two most impressive players on the field were Adibi and USCís Reggie Bush.

Roth asked Hite about George Bell not playing on Saturday. Hite said it is still up in the air as to whether or not Bell will redshirt. Hite said he believes that Cedric Humes finally knows that his leg is healthy after playing in the game on Saturday, and that he'll be ready to go against Western Michigan.

Rob in Fort Erwin, California called and commented that it looks like the team is coming together, and wondered what the coaches thought. Hite said he believes team chemistry was the most important thing. He said he learned more last year than in 30 previous years of coaching, and that chemistry will win over talent any day. Hite said that the Hokies have a chance to be a heck of a football team if they can get everybody working together on every snap.

Charlie in Williamsburg was the next caller. He commented that the team speed was better this year, especially Bryan Randall. He also asked Hite why Richard Johnson never came up to field short punts. Hite said that the Hokies were rushing the punter, and that resulted in shorter kicks that Johnson didnít have time to run up and field. Hite then got back to Bryan Randall, saying that he had dropped a little bit of weight in the offseason and was in outstanding physical condition after spending even more time in Mike Gentryís program.

Bill in Bellvue, Washington was the next caller. He said that a local high school would be playing the #1 ranked high school in the nation, De LaSalle (CA), this Friday night and asked Hite for some advice. Hite said to play hard for 60 minutes, and they have a chance to win.

Tommy from Blacksburg had the final question of the night for Coach Hite. He asked how George Bell and Brandon Ore are progressing. Hite said they are both doing great. He said Bell reminds him of Kevin Jones with his build, and Ore reminds him of Lee Suggs with his speed and quickness. Right now he plans to redshirt Brandon Ore.

Athletic Director Jim Weaver

Jim Weaver was next up on the show. Weaver said he thought the crowd was great, and that the team played hard for 60 minutes. He said he thought the team overcame a lot of adversity, and thatís a credit to the coaches and players. Roth brought up the fact that the game brought in a lot of money for Tech, but Weaver said that was a secondary issue. He said it was more important for the people in the Northern Virginia/DC area to be able to watch the Hokies play in person, noting that Tech hasnít played in the area since they defeated Temple in RFK Stadium in 1995.

Roth asked Weaver if he would be in favor of Tech playing Maryland every year at FedEx Field, and Weaver said it wasnít a good idea because Tech doesnít play Maryland every year because they arenít in our division of the ACC. Weaver followed that up by saying that it wouldnít be a bad idea to try to play West Virginia every year at FedEx Field, if the right kind of financial deal could be agreed upon. It would be a good way to maintain a developing rivalry. Weaver said he has already had preliminary discussions with Ed Pastilong, the West Virginia athletic director.

Bobby from Satellite, Florida called in for Jim Weaver. He asked if there will be an ACC Championship Game for the 2005 season. Weaver responded by saying that there would be one, and it would take place in Jacksonville, Florida.

Will from Salem was the next caller. Will asked how Virginia Tech benefits from such a great showing on Saturday night, besides money. Weaver said the fan support and turnout was more important than the money. He was happy the Northern Virginia alumni could see the Hokies play in person.

Irene from Elliston was in the audience with a question. She asked about playing Maryland on a neutral field in the future. Weaver said it was a possibility if Maryland decided to do it. Tech would have no say in the matter because right now this year's game is scheduled to be a home game for Maryland.

Weaver said the only schools he could think of that might have filled up a stadium for a preseason game like Tech did are Ohio State and Michigan, because they have such large fan bases.

Jerry in Williamsburg was the next caller. He asked if anyone had noticed the back judge screen off Xavier Adibi from tackling Reggie Bush on USCís first touchdown play. Roth and Weaver said they didnít notice it, but Weaver did say that he thought the pass interference call on Josh Hyman was made by the wrong official who had the wrong perception on the play.

Weaver said that they would appeal for a medical redshirt for Xavier Adibi. He said that since Adibi was officially injured in a preseason game, he was more likely to find favor with the NCAA. However that decision will not come until later in Adibiís career.

Tim in Northern Virginia was the next caller. He asked about the odds of college football getting instant replay like the NFL. Weaver said that it was a possibility one day. The Big Ten is experimenting with instant replay in their conference games this season, and that should provide good information for the NCAA.

Greg from Dublin had the next question from the audience. He asked about the new "no tent" rule that Virginia Tech is implementing for tailgates this fall. Weaver said it would take awhile to answer the question. The most basic reason is safety. Weaver said he doesnít want anyone to be injured. Weaver also said that some people take up too much room with their tents and some other people canít park properly because of it. He invited Greg to call Associate AD Tom Gabbard for more information.

Coach Frank Beamer

Frank Beamer was the final guest on the show. He said they finished showing game film to the players on Monday, and that it would greatly improve them before the 2nd game. Beamer said he thought the players gave great effort and left it all on the field, but they didnít execute at some crucial points in the game. Beamer said he is disappointed in the pass interference call, because it takes the game out of the players' hands and changes the momentum of the game. Beamer said he told the team that if they play better in the 4th quarter, then they would have won. They had too many mental breakdowns.

Beamer said it wasnít a fluke that Tech was within one point late in the game, because the Hokies were playing very well. He was disappointed that Tech gave up a few deep plays that cost them the game.

Roth mentioned that Tech limited the touches of the USC offense. The USC offense only had 11 possessions, including only one in the 2nd quarter. Beamer said he thought the key to some of that was the kicking game. He said Jared Develli had a strong game kicking off. Beamer said the competition was still open between Develli and Jud Dunlevy. Beamer went on to say that Bryan Stinespring did a nice job of mixing things up and keeping USC off balance, and that helped as well.

Roth asked Beamer about all the illegal formation penalties early in the game. Beamer said he thought it was poor attention to details, and they have to do a better job of being ready for that in the coming weeks. He said they have to do a better job of getting the young guys ready to play.

Charles from Roanoke was the first caller for Coach Beamer. He asked Coach Beamer about how the defensive linemen performed, and what the plans were for the linebacker position with Adibi hurt. Beamer said the line just got after USC up front. He mentioned Jim Davis, Darryl Tapp and Noland Burchette for playing great. He said they played fast and took it to USC. Beamer said if they can make the opponent snap the ball enough times, then something good will happen for the defense. Beamer said Baaqee would be moved to Backer, and Hall will start at Mike. The Warren brothers, Blake and Brett, will back up Baaqee and Hall.

Roth asked Beamer about the performance of the tight ends. Beamer raved about the performance of Jeff King, saying he played a great game. Beamer said they need to work Jared Mazzetta and Duane Brown into the game more, because King was getting tired at the end of the game.

Jeff from Blacksburg had a question for Coach Beamer from the audience. He asked about punt blocking and punt return during the USC game. Beamer said he was trying to get a blocked punt to turn the momentum to Tech. He said he felt Tech should have blocked the last two USC punts, but the Pride and Joy team didnít execute quite well enough. Beamer said the USC punter didnít punt as well as he was capable because he was scared of the block, so Richard Johnson was never able to cleanly field a punt.

Mike in Blacksburg was the next caller for Coach Beamer. Mike asked Beamer to comment on Eddie Royal and Josh Hyman, and if they were two of the best freshmen wide receivers that he has ever had at Tech. Beamer said it is too early to tell, but they are looking good so far. Hyman impressed him in the USC game on his touchdown reception and his ability to jump up and get the ball. He said Eddie Royal is a natural, and they are trying to find ways to get him the ball. Beamer also mentioned Josh Morgan as a guy that could have a tremendous impact at receiver for Tech. He has been injured and not effective in practice. Beamer then said Justin Harper could be special as well.

Brendan from Christiansburg was next in the audience with a question. He asked about changing the defensive scheme to prevent getting beat deep in so many games. Beamer said we do run the two-deep some. He said the first USC touchdown was just a good call on the all out blitz. Beamer said Bush just ran by the defender on the second touchdown, and Blake Warren took a bad angle on the third touchdown. Beamer said the coaches try to keep it mixed up as much as possible.

Roth and Beamer then discussed the Jim Davis facemask penalty. Beamer admitted that Davis did have a little facemask on the play, but that is very typical in physical line play.

Jerry in Tazewell was the next caller. Jerry asked about our types of alignment when USC was punting. He also asked what we would do if we opposed another punter such as the UCF punter who rolls out before kicking the ball. Beamer says they like to switch up alignments to confuse the lineman so they wonít know who to block. They also like to try to outnumber the blockers by bringing up the returner to cover the headhunter, while rushing nine players.

Scott in Blacksburg asked if Coach Beamer had a talk with the players about getting back to Beamerball this season. Coach Beamer said they discussed it today. He made it clear that they didnít play USC just to play them close; they played them to win. Everyone has to understand that they canít have mental errors. Beamer said it was a shame that they didnít block a punt, because they came really close. He went on to say that because the USC punter was kicking so short, Tech was never able to get a good punt return because the ball was bouncing.

Barek from Blacksburg had a question from the audience. Barek asked how much of Randallís running was the result of set plays, and how much was scrambling. Beamer said a couple of the plays were a result of scrambling, but that Randall has gotten faster in the offseason. He said USC did a better job in the second half of adjusting to Randallís running.

Dave in Huntsville, Alabama was the next caller. He asked if USC used a spy on Randall in the second half, and how do you attack that. Beamer said he didnít notice that USC used a spy, but that they used their pressure better in the second half. Beamer said losing the lead was a big factor, because USC will get after you more when they have the lead because it is more obvious as to what the offense is going to do.

John from Raleigh, North Carolina was next in the audience. He asked about how much contact they keep with NFL Hokies, such as Doug Easlick. He then asked when Beamer was going to get in an Under Armor commercial with Ralph Friedgen. Beamer said they talk to former Tech players a lot. Generally everyday they get an update from at least one former player. Beamer said Friedgen is getting a lot of press from that commercial.

Dan from Blacksburg was in the audience for Coach Beamer. Dan asked Coach Beamer how to get the team up for Western Michigan after playing #1 USC. Beamer said they had to play with the same intensity, but execute better. The effort was great against USC, but the execution wasnít there for a few plays.

John in Tampa, Florida called in with a question. He asked if Coach Beamer would ever consider a career in politics when he retired from football. Beamer said he has never thought about going in that direction, but heís been asked that question before. He said right now he wants to hang around Virginia Tech and keep improving the program.

Jeff in Knoxville, Tennessee called in for Beamer. He asked if the refs had tightened down on unsportsmanlike conduct this year. Beamer said they had cracked down. The NCAA sent out a list to all the schools to say what will be called. Beamer is hopeful that everything is called the same way all across the country this year.

-- Chris

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