March 26, 1996

Spring Football Practice is Now in Session

That's right, folks. The Sugar Bowl, in all its glory, was three months ago, and it's time for Hokie football again! Okay, so it's "only" Spring football, but when you're a Hokie sports addict like me, even a reasonable facsimile will do, right?

The challenge this year for our football team is one they've never had before. Namely, we're King of the Hill now, and this year's mission is to not get knocked off! Did you think a few years back, when we were named to the Big East football conference, that we would be champs of the conference so soon?

I didn't. I figured Miami's dominance would be eternal, and that more often than not, West Virginia would get the best of us. Well, fortunately for us, I'm not right all the time. Now, we have the luxury of looking back on the greatest season ever in Virginia Tech football, and hopefully, looking forward to more of the same.

But I'm babbling. This is, after all, the "News and Notes" section, so ... here's some news and notes.

Injury Update

Billy Conaty broke his ankle. The other ankle, not the one he broke against Virginia (ugh) last year. But I don't think that's anything to worry about. As my buddy Bruce said, "How long did it take him to get over the last one? Five days?"

For the record, Conaty will be full speed by August, and hey, look at it this way: this gives the backups more reps in Spring practice.


G&W Recruiting ranked our football class fourth in the Big East (33 in the country), behind Syracuse (23), Miami (25), and Pitt(28!). Ranked behind the Hokies were BC(43), West Virginia (not in the top 50), Temple and Rutgers.

Of course, I'm sure you're all dying to know what I think of those rankings. First of all, it doesn't matter where Syracuse is ranked in recruiting, because they just don't have what it takes to beat the Hokies, unless they're playing in their precious Carrier Dome.

I like the fact that Miami is rated so low (low for them, anyway). They deserve it. Nuff said.

I don't know what I think about Pitt. I have a desire for Pitt to get better, because their success is important to the conference, but I don't want them to get too good. Every year they get a little closer to beating us, and I'm not looking forward to when they finally do.

BC? To heck with 'em. That's what they get for stealing all those recruits from our state last year. And we owe them big time for beating us last year.

And as for West Virginia, well, ask not for whom the bell tolls, Mountaineers ... it tolls for thee (that's fancy talk for "You gonna get it now, Clem!" for all you WVU fans). I don't like what I see happening to WVU, folks, because their success is important to maintaining the image of the conference as a whole. Looks like they're going down, though, so to keep the conference strong, somebody (are you listening, Pitt?) is going to have to step up. Don Nehlen may be a short-timer at West Virginia if this keeps up.

Temple and Rutgers? Who cares? Everybody needs two guaranteed wins every year

Looking ahead, the Spring Game is Saturday, April 20th at 4:00 P.M. Be there if you can! And oh, yeah... BUY SEASON TICKETS!!!

Next Year in Hokie Hoops

"Temple tries to inbound the ball against the Hokie press. They're having difficulty. Now there's the inbound -- Manns strips the ball and lays it in! He was all by himself, Q!"

"Shot missed by Padillo. The UMass guards are really having trouble getting free, Q. Ever since Dingle and Bright graduated, and Camby left early, there's no inside threat for UMass, and teams are just blanketing the guards. There's a steal by Jackson, he throws it ahead to Andre Ray for the dunk! A tomahawk jam by the redshirt freshman!"

"Manns drives and dishes to a wide open Mathews for the dunk! The senior is 8 of 9, most of them off of feeds from Manns!"

"Jackson dives for the loose ball...Tor lays it in for his 18th point...that's 10 assists for Manns...Shawn Browne goes up and dunks it!...Rolan Roberts blocks it! The freshman has been a terror!...that's eight straight wins for the Hokies!"

Are you getting the idea? That's all stuff that I want to hear Bill Roth say next year. If the Hokies can keep the momentum going, he'll get the chance, too.

Bill Foster did something that I like after the team lost to Kentucky. He said that he got up and challenged the team to "carry on the tradition established by the graduating seniors."

Excuse me, but did I just hear the word tradition? Hmmm, "tradition." I like the way that sounds, and I like the effect it probably had on those young guys. Not twenty minutes after the loss to Kentucky, Foster was passing the baton, and he also told the guys, "Next year starts now. Your success next year depends on the work you start putting in now."

Think the guy knows a little bit about coaching? Well, whether he needs my help or not, I'm going to make a few suggestions to Coach Foster:

  1. Press. Press. Press some more.
  2. Get Alvaro Tor some significant playing time. Until Keefe Mathews gets his game straightened out (I kiddingly call him The Human Turnover), I'd like to see Tor develop his game. Foster continues to rave about Tor, saying that he's going to be a great player. Well, one year has gone by, and it was a wasted year for Alvaro. Let's see some more of him (WAY more) next year.
  3. Let Troy Manns do whatever he wants, as long as it involves driving to the middle and dishing off. I'm telling you, folks, Troy can play. He's the prototypical penetrate-and-pass point guard.
  4. Challenge Ace. Tell him he's going to have to step up in the big games. I love Ace to death (doesn't everybody?), but he posted terrible numbers against UMass and Temple last year. And Ace would be the first to admit it. Big players play big in big games, so if I was Coach Foster, I'd challenge Ace to come through in the big ones.
  5. One more thing: Press.


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