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Monday, September 7, 1998

Tonight's guests were Coach Frank Beamer and offensive coordinator Rickey Bustle.

Bustle said Tech played 26 people on offense against ECU and that they got better as the game went on.

Bill Roth commented on the renewed success of the flanker screen. Bustle said that's been a staple of the offense since 1987. "We keep finding ways to run it" even though some teams have been able to take it away. VT was able to move people around on offense and get it to work against ECU, Bustle said.

Bustle acknowledged that he was surprised at the ease with which VT moved the ball on East Carolina -- three touchdowns in four possessions at one point. He said it amounted to ECU tiring as VT started getting better.

Pegues and Stith ran hard, he said, and showed that they hit holes more quickly than recent VT backs, meaning that blocks don't have to be sustained as long.

Coach Stinespring has done a good job with the young linemen, he said. They played a little better than expected.

The receivers, Bustle stressed, did a really good job of catching the ball. Even though they didn't block as well as they should have at times, they did catch what was thrown to them. He said Angelo Harrison and Reggie Samuel did block well in their roles and that the receivers overall had only a couple of busted routes.

The last touchdown drive consumed 6:40 and moved 80 yards in 13 plays, including 10 consecutive running plays at one point -- all executed mostly with the second team offense.

Caller asked about the defense appearing vulnerable to the run up the middle. Bustle said that dive style play won't beat you, although it will get some yards. Roth noted that ECU was not able to get outside on the Hokies.

Bustle said, in response to a question about the tight ends, that the TE in the VT scheme is primarily a run blocker. Four times against ECU, however, a pass play was called to the TE but the TE was open only twice. A completion to Reggie Samuel in the second half was actually a play called for the tight end.

Bustle and new coach Danny Pearman (tight ends and offensive tackles) are Clemson graduates, and Lamont Pegues played two years there before transferring. Bustle said Pegues hasn't said much about the game, although it sounded like that's his personality.

Bustle said Clemson has a great pass rush and defensive ends as good as any VT will see. Clemson thinks it has good corners on defense, and VT will have to make some plays at wideout, he said.

He described Clemson as a "three-linebacker type team," similar to ECU. Said a guy on defense named Dingle is a great pass rusher -- he's a DL who stands up sometimes and lines up on either side.

Coach Beamer talked about Clemson having lots of seniors, size, a very good defense. Said VT is a little in the dark about Clemson's offensive plans. Apparently Clemson didn't have to show much in its 33-0 win against Furman.

Clemson reminds Bustle of West Virginia in its scheme and by being athletic and very physical.

Bill Roth noted that in 1994, when Bustle was offensive coordinator at South Carolina, his team thumped Clemson at Death Valley.

Bustle said he talked to the team about not getting taken in by the atmosphere at Clemson -- the fans, the players running down the hill.

The Tech offense is still geared to use the "no huddle," whenever. They work on it in practice every day. Bustle said they used it on the touchdown play to Handy, and that the free safety didn't see Handy at all. "We can do the no huddle anytime."

A caller noted that the absence of the no huddle also resulted in NO delay of game penalties. Bustle praised the team for not having typical first game errors, such as delays and confusion on substitutions. He said that in the final pre-season scrimmage, two timeouts had to be used because of substitution mix-ups.

Roth asked for some insight on the early development of redshirt QB candidate Michael Vick. He pushed Bustle -- who coached Will Furrer, Jim Druckenmiller, Stan Humphreys and Maurice DeShazo -- for a comparison.

Bustle said Vick, at this point, throws the ball as well as or better than all of them. He said Vick uses a "short step" delivery that they are trying to alter so that he extends himself more on the delivery. Nonetheless, Bustle said of Vick: "He can zing it!"

Coach Reamon did a great job coaching and developing Vick in his high school passing scheme, Bustle said. "He's going to be exceptional."

VT punter Jim Kibble was named Big East co-special teams player of the week. He averaged 50.8 yards on four punts. He shared the honor with a Miami player who blocked a punt and returned another blocked punt for a touchdown.

Coach Beamer said he was struck by how well all phases of the game worked together against ECU. The punts that backed up ECU, big plays by the defense and the offense taking advantage of situations.

Tech had the ball four times in the second half and scored three TDs, two of them on long drives. Beamer said that conditioning played a part in that. He credited the team  with taking control and with answering right back with a TD after ECU scored.

Caller asked about Tyron Edmond and Marcus Gildersleeve. Beamer said it's just a matter of good people moving in front of them. Gildersleeve is now the number seven receiver, needs to get more consistent.

Mention was made of the scholarship that has been set up in honor of Eddie Ferrell. Donations can be sent to the VT Athletic Fund.

Injury report:
1. OL Matt Lehr will practice Tuesday and they will see how he does. Reports elsewhere have said they hope to have him available vs. Clemson.
2. Houseright started jogging today, Monday, but won't be able to play this week.
3. Andre Kendrick "injured his knee a little bit" and is questionable for Clemson, Beamer said. He implied that Wayne Ward would be third on depth chart if Kendrick can't play. Ward was on some special teams vs. ECU.

Caller asked if ECU receivers got open some because VT corners were too focused on stopping the run. Beamer said that was true a few times, that it can happen when the other team is showing play-action passes.

A caller talked about the supposed impact on recruiting last year of Beamer getting out to high schools in the spring to cultivate relationships with the coaches. Beamer confirmed that he did that again this past spring and that he will continue to do it. He stressed again that VT's recruiting emphasis is inside Virginia. He acknowledged that there are fewer early commitments (2) than at this time last year. He said the matter of timing is something that runs in cycles. And he said VT is on its way to another good recruiting year.

Caller asked why John Engelberger didn't start vs. ECU.   Beamer said Engelberger had worked inside on the DL all spring and fall and that Chris Cyrus had worked hard and  deserved to start at DE. Sounded like Engelberger only played two snaps at tackle and otherwise was at DE. Beamer talked about having depth and good competition at DE and DT, allowing them to use a strong rotation of players there.

The coach said he likes the addition of motion to the offense this year. He thinks the defense can't come up and press the receivers as much as before.

Twenty-six players out of 70 who dressed for the ECU game didn't dress last year. Now it's a matter of how they respond when the crowd and humidity is against  them at Clemson, the coach said.

The Hokie Hotline show will be broadcast live from the Volume II bookstore in Blacksburg the next two Mondays.

(And on a personal note, I have a longstanding work commitment next Monday night and won't be able to post hotline notes. Hopefully that's my only schedule conflict during the season.)

--GalaxHokie

          

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