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Monday, September 14, 1998

Note from Will:  I filled in tonight for GalaxHokie, who should return next week.

Defensive Coordinator Bud Foster and Head Coach Frank Beamer were the guests tonight. The show was broadcast from the Volume II Bookstore in Blacksburg.

Bill Roth said that the 37-0 victory over Clemson was the first shutout of the Tigers at home since 1979.

In 31 possessions by the opposition this year, Tech has allowed no TD's and one field goal. Coach Foster credited the players and also gave credit to the punting game for pinning the opposition deep. "It's hard to drive 80 yards against these guys."

Bill asked Coach Foster if he remembered a game where a defense had as many open shots at the QB and punished the QB as much as Tech did against Clemson. Foster said not since 1995 (I say, ask Texas's James Brown that question).

How about Lorenzo Ferguson and his school record tying 3 INT's? Foster said he had a great game and noted the 'Zo also had a sack.

Bill said that Corey Moore and John Engelberger were unstoppable. Coach Foster said that the "get-off" of the defensive line (don't ask) was excellent.

Bill said that there appeared to be a lot of holding on the plays where Clemson was successful with the pass (6 or 7 times), and Coach Foster declined to take the bait, saying, "Yeah I don't want to get into that."

On the season, Tech has outscored their opponents 75-3. This is Tech's 8th shutout of the Beamer era and third on the road since 1995.

A caller from Atlanta said congrats and asked what Coach Beamer tells the team when he has a 34-0 lead at the half. "We felt like we could still play better and that we didn't want to have a letdown," said Foster. Said that he challenged the kids to play with the same intensity that they had in the first half, in much the same way that they challenge the team to maintain intensity throughout the season.

"Sam in Hampton" asked Foster to comment on the most pleasant surprise, and Coach Foster called out Nate Williams, saying that he was why other teams have not been able to run on the inside. Foster said he was proud of the way the young kids handled themselves on their first road trip. The biggest area in need of improvement? "Consistency," said Coach Foster.

Coach Foster said that Jake Houseright practiced in a blue jersey (limited work) on Monday and that he would probably start on special teams and would work into the linebacker rotation. Wasn't specific about when, and Bill didn't press him, so I'm not sure if you can conclude that he meant Jake will play against Miami.

When asked about the linebackers, Foster said that in '93 and '94, Tech had two good backers in Ken Brown and George Del Ricco, but that this team has five or six linebackers that he feels comfortable giving playing time (my interpretation: Jamel Smith, Michael Hawkes, 'Zo Ferguson, Ben Taylor, Brian Welch, and Jake).

"Bob in Chesapeake" asked what Foster thought about WVU. Coach Foster praised WVU and said he felt in the preseason that they were the team to beat in the Big East. Said they're well-coached and a quality football team. WVU plays Maryland, Tulsa, Navy, and Temple in the next four weeks, then they play Miami, Tech, and Syracuse.

Coach Foster, the caller, and Bill talked about WVU for a few minutes (yawn).

Wayne in the audience said that he read Tech was changing the defense in response to Clemson QB Streeter calling audibles. Asked if Tech had stolen plays from the Clemson playbook. Foster said that when a defense is working, it's working, and they were just in the groove with their calls.

Bill said that sometimes laying back works as well as pressure, and Foster said that's right. He said that against Miami, Tech will pick their spots.

Foster said in response to Mike in Roanoke that Tech has their hands full against Miami. They're good at RB, receiver, O-line has improved, and QB is steady.

Jake in Tennessee asked about the Hokie nickname, and Bill Roth gave the speech about where the word came from. The caller had just moved from Alabama a year ago, is not a Hokie fan, but he loves the broadcasts and was curious about the nickname. Bill invited him to a home game and said, "Tech home games are a lot like Alabama home games, except we win more." Ouch. Fortunately, the caller took the jab in good humor.

William in Franklin said that he felt Miami was the first true test for Foster's defense, and Foster agreed, saying that he didn't want to denigrate Clemson and ECU, but that Miami has more weapons. William said that the Big East was looking good, and Foster agreed, saying that last year the Big East was a young league.

Audience member said that a Clemson fan said it was the fastest defense he had seen in 25 years. Asked why 'Zo was moved from DB to Whip linebacker. Foster said that 'Zo showed playmaking ability on special teams and late-game substitutions at the end of last year, and the Whip requires a playmaker, so that's why he was moved.

Foster said that Tech basically plays with 4 DL's, 2 LB's, and 5 DB's, with the Whip essentially playing the role of the free safety Tech's defense.

Bill asked what kinds of questions other coaches ask about Tech's defense. Foster said that they don't like to give very much away, but that the relationship with the University of Washington is a close one and that they meet often. Said that Tech had developed the package that UW uses a little further to handle the more run-oriented offenses of the East. Bill said that Arizona State runs the defense, too, and in a season opening game between the two, the score was, "What? 49-42?"

Bill said that he has never seen a defense play as well as Tech did on Saturday. Foster said, "Well, thanks, but my daddy always told me, just about the time you start feeling good about yourself, that's when you're going to get run over. That's what we try to teach the kids."

Coach Foster left and Coach Beamer came in.

Beamer said we played great defense and got after their QB. Said we didn't play consistent offense, but we came through with some big plays, which is how a young offense tends to work. They tend not to drive for long drives.

Bill said that early in the game, the Clemson cornerbacks were up on the line, they blitzed, sacked, and had the crowd in the game. What changed? Beamer said that the game plan kicked in, the kids settled down and started playing better, and Rickey Bustle did a good job mixing up the calls.

Also credited Ricky Hall and Andre Davis with stretching the defense once the line started blocking better.

Bill re-asked the question of what Coach Beamer said at the half. Beamer said that what he said "didn't work." He said that the really good teams play better in the second half, and Tech didn't. Said that the atmosphere of the game got to the team, and they started making mistakes.

Bill said that both teams lost their intensity in the second half, and that the refs did, too, not calling a few late hits in the third and fourth quarter. Beamer agreed, saying that some calls were not made that should have been. The two of them didn't get specific.

An Internet question from Ken Smith of State College, PA asked about a rumored Penn State series. Is there any truth to it? Beamer said we're trying to put it together, and that he saw JoPa at a Nike function this summer. We're working on some dates, Coach Beamer said, and he gave the general impression that its in the works, and Tech and PSU are trying to get it going. It's not guaranteed to happen though, and Frank then deferred questions on that to Tech AD Jim Weaver.

Jeff in Houston said congrats on the win, and Beamer praised Coach Foster and Coach Bustle. He also said that the team played with confidence. Jeff said that the young offense played with composure, and Beamer said that was due to Al Clark, because he's not a guy who gets rattled, and that rubs off on the team.

Jeff asked, How does Miami's offensive line stack up with Clemson's?

Beamer said that Miami's line is not as big as some but is athletic, and Beamer thinks they're a "good, good offensive line." Said that Miami's offense has everything. He then ran down the list of Miami offensive players and praised them all.

What's the status of Jake and will he play Saturday?

Beamer said Jake will practice tomorrow, and all week, and they'll sit down Thursday and figure out his situation. Did not elaborate what that means.

Injuries: Beamer expects Kendrick back to practice tomorrow (although he's not as far along as Frank would like), Angelo Harrison (slight concussion) is back, expects Matt Lehr to return tomorrow.

Travis from Glade Spring asked Beamer if this team reminds him of 1995 and 1996 teams. Beamer said we've played well for "where we are, experience-wise," but we have a ways to go. The key is to keep focused and keep improving, and to ignore people who tell them how good they are. Said the team is focused, doesn't talk a lot, and just goes out and works.

Beamer said that Tech's D will get a "supreme test" this week against Miami. Said that Covington (Miami QB) may not have a lot of experience, but that he has been around for a while and has a great supporting cast.

(Nature called at this point, LOUDLY, and I had to take a break. Missed about ten minutes of the show)

Big East preview (Bill and Frank):

PSU at Pitt: Beamer said "you just never know." Bill said Paterno's record at Pitt is 9-1-1.

MD at WVU: Beamer said WVU has a good chance to win, and probably will.

Rutgers at SU, Temple at BC: Bill and Frank agreed that home teams will win.

Atlee Hokie called in and said that Tech beat SU on his birthday (9/13) last year, and Clemson the day before his birthday this year (9/12). Either Bill or Frank said, "You need to have more birthdays."

Atlee asked if the number of the Tech fans at Clemson and the Marching Virginians were a positive influence on the players, and if the players and coaches could "hear us." Beamer said yes, that the players and coaches appreciated the support on the road. He joked with Atlee that the fans need to make "more noise," and he seemed to put Atlee in charge of making sure that happened at the next road game.

VamPIre Hokie called in and asked two questions:

1.) was lack of respect from media a motivator?

2.) how good can this year's team be?

Beamer said that in the preseason, people (the media) were treating us about like what we deserved. It's a credit to coaches and players that we're 2-0. If we stay healthy, offense will continue to get better. He praised the receivers, saying that Monday's practice was one of their best days. Said that the OL will continue to improve, too, and that he wasn't sure how good the team will be, but that Saturday's game against Miami will give us some idea of where we're headed.

Bill said that next week's show at the Volume II Bookstore will be Hokie Kid's club week. Bill said bring the kids out, they'll give away gifts and let the kids ask questions. Said that the first half hour of next week's show with Rickey Bustle is "exclusively for kids."

Audience member said that he saw a play where Al was hit in the knee, and asked if Al is okay. Beamer said he's fine. Said that he saw the play on film, and that it looked rough, but that Al is okay.

Bill took a question from the Internet from San Diego. Asked about the use of receivers and playing to their strengths, Beamer said that we're trying to play a lot guys, and it helps us keep them fresh and keeps them from getting hurt. Beamer took the opportunity to go through the receivers one by one and say positive things about each one. Said that we don't do very much situational substituting. Bill mentioned John Rivers and the fact that Tech used to bring him in for jump balls on the goal line.

Bill went down a list of big road wins: UVa 1995, a game at N.C. State, the 1993 Pitt game. Bill said that Tech is 11-4 in its last 15 road games. Beamer's response was that it all comes down to not worrying about it, and the coaching staff continuity helps. Bill said, "You've had turnover in the offensive staff," and Beamer pointed out the continuity at offensive and defensive coordinator, saying that those coaching staff positions are the real key.

Bill asked for the key to beating Miami. Beamer said that the Miami offense is looking like the Miami offense of old, and that the defense is starting to look like the defense of old. Then he said something generic like, "We're going to try our best."

And on that resounding note, amidst the raucous cheering of the thousands of Hokie fans in attendance, the broadcast ended.

--Will

          

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