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Monday, October 12, 1998
Coach Beamer said the staff will make a decision later in the week about the starter at quarterback for the Temple game. Al Clark practiced "okay" on Monday and threw a lot and "moved around some," said Beamer, who acknowledged that Al's ankle is still bothering him. "We are hopeful he can play. Right now it is our intention that he will play Saturday." Late in the Broadcast he added that they want "to play the best we've got" in a conference game, and that "we want to play Al."
Beamer made these comments about quarterbacks:
Bill Roth said game times have not been set yet for the West Virginia and Virginia games in Blacksburg, contrary to rumors and times that have been published. The CBS deadline for selecting games for Oct. 31 is next Monday (Oct. 19). At hat point the Kickoff time will be known. The Tech-UVa game on ESPN could still be early, mid-afternoon, or night.
For only the second time in Big East history, all three player of the week awards went to players from the same team: VT's Lamont Pegues on offense, Keion Carpenter on defense and Andre Davis on special teams. VT had the defensive player for the fourth time in six weeks; Carpenter for the second time this season.
Defensive coordinator Bud Foster said Keion has really stepped up his game this season and played consistently. He wants to be known for more than just the 100-yard interception return that beat Miami at the Orange Bowl in 1996, Foster said.
Bill Roth got Beamer to reflect on the 1998 season to date as compared to the 1993 season, which Roth said many on the staff and program remember as a really fun year when the program turned the corner. Beamer said 1998 has been very rewarding and that all the serious-minded players make the team fun to be around.
Things have not gone so smoothly with personnel, he said, whereas the team was mostly healthy in 1993 and playing the same players week in and week out.
"As good as it's been [this year], we will remember what happens from here on out," the coach stressed.
A caller wanted to know about his assessment of talent on the 1998 team. Beamer: "The talent level is as high as it has ever been, across the whole team."
He elaborated on his own about the impact of this on special teams. There are no "fill-ins" as he called them, but rather good athletes on all the special teams. That is an indication that the overall depth is better within the program, he said.
Beamer said that he thought before the season that Temple would be a surprise team in the conference this year. He said you never know when the Owls will put it all together.
Temple likewise has injury concerns at quarterback and it appears that their number three QB, a freshman, will start against the Hokies. Temple played four quarterbacks in its most recent game.
Former Tech quarterback Al Kincaid is in his first year as offensive coordinator at Temple, which runs an option attack. Kincaid played with Coach Beamer at VT and lettered in 1967-69. He was head coach at Wyoming in the 1980s, succeeding Pat Dye when Dye went to Auburn.
Just like Frank Beamer, Kincaid got started in coaching in the old New River District just a few miles from Blacksburg. Kincaid was head coach at Giles High School in the early 1970s.
Coach Foster said VT knows Temple can be physical and has some quality talent. The new option offense presents a different look from what VT has seen so far. Temple played well against VT last year and very well could have won, Foster said.
Each week the defense is seeing opponents try something out of the ordinary from their usual offense. The defense is "playing with fire in their eyes" right now. When asked about the goal line stand, he said the keys that are working for us in that situation are getting off the snap fast, getting under the OL's pad level, and STRENGTH.
DL Carl Bradley dominated his man, who was an All-Big East performer, and Chris Cyrus had probably his best game yet, Foster said. He also mentioned Pugh and Engelberger for their play.
DL Chad Beasley is getting better every week and is very athletic inside. He looked like a basketball player on his tipped pass/interception at BC. David Pugh is a little better about getting off the line and using his hands, but Beasley is closing the gap.
Roth pointed out that LB Jamel Smith was not in on the goal line stand, due to a strained hamstring. Freshman Ben Taylor was in on that series. Smith did not practice Monday because of a sore hamstring, but will practice Tuesday. His was the only injury mentioned by Foster when he was asked about injuries. The team is "pretty healthy," he said.
Foster was asked about the frequent substitutions up front on defense. He said that line coach Charlie Wiles is free to do that and Wiles like to keep rotating in fresh people. VT's scheme demands that the DL does a lot of running and pursuit, he said.
The Top 10 ranking in the coaches poll reflects that coaches like the way VT plays, Foster said. Still, he said, he isn't paying attention to it and doesn't know if the players are. "We have to worry about Temple."
Foster said that Tech installed the University of Washington's defensive scheme in 1993 and "uses their package verbatim." The Tech staff has since visited Washington three times in the offseason to discuss philosophy. This past offseason, Washington's staff came to Blacksburg. VT's staff also talks a lot with Toledo, which is using the same defense. He said VT visited UNC after the Gator Bowl because of the way things were going there and similar styles.
Coach Beamer was asked by Roth about jumping five spots in the coaches' poll this week to break into the Top 10. [Have I mentioned yet in this report that VT is in the top 10?]
He said he'd rather be ranked higher in the coaches' poll because it shows a respect for your program. No offense to the AP poll, he said, in which teams of longstanding name may fare better.
Roth said that SI's Ivan Maisel has the Hokies at 8th this week.
"It's critical to keep tending to business," Beamer cautioned during discussion of Tech's advance in the polls. "It's human nature to assume things will continue to happen the way they have been." Beamer also singled out the play at BC in which Loren Johnson closed on the breakaway run by Cloud and caught him from behind. He said Loren dedicated himself over the summer to win back the corner job and that he has been fantastic. A caller said he didn't know Loren had that kind of speed. "We weren't sure we knew it either," Beamer joked. "I'm not sure Loren knew it."
An Alabama grad called the Hotline to congratulate Beamer on Tech's defense this year. The guy said he was listening to former Auburn coach Pat Dye on a radio talk show Sunday and that Dye said his favorite team to watch this season is Virginia Tech!
Another caller said coaches from East Carolina told him they were disappointed that the series with VT was over. Roth said this is incorrect, that there is a long contract involved and that VT plays at ECU in 2000.
Caller asked for the latest on VT becoming a full member of the Big East. Roth quickly summed up that there is no news, that no expansion is being discussed right now. "Maybe some day, but not right now."
Roth reported that broadcast sidekick Mike Burnop consumed a 22-ounce prime rib at the Chart House in Boston last week, then returned to his hotel room and ordered wings. "Do you know how much a dozen wings cost from room service?" Roth said. Beamer cracked up.
Caller asked about procedure for scouting opponents. Coaches can no longer scout games in person. It's done strictly by videotape exchange. To make up for what you'd miss by not being there in person, all Big East teams include film of the clock, the sideline, the huddle to show all the personnel. This leaves only things like the QB cadence (no audio) as an unknown.
Beamer praised the video equipment VT has today, through which a coach can use the computer to access whatever he wants. He can push a button and show, for example, all the plays that a team runs in first down situations, etc.
A caller wondered about VT's system of snapping the ball and QB taking a knee when the opponent jumps offside. Beamer said the practice has usually worked for Tech. He was of the opinion that the officials were incorrect in one of their rulings against Tech on this play at BC.
Big East attendance to date:
The 25th anniversary year of Tech's NIT championship win against Notre Dame will be celebrated Friday night as a prelude to the tip-off of Tech's Midnight Madness basketball practice.
Tech will retire the uniform of number 44, worn by that team's leader, Alan Bristow, in an 11 p.m. ceremony at the Cassell. Also attending will be Don DeVoe, coach of the NIT champs and now the coach at Navy, and former Tech assistant Sonny Smith. It's all public, and starts at 11, far as I know.
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