Wednesday, August 13th, 1997

HokieCentral Receives Large Donation to Fund Syracuse Tailgate Party

Boy, just when I think I've seen it all here at HokieCentral, something like this happens.

I received a couple of pieces of mail at my trusty Christiansburg P.O. Box on Monday, and I opened them both when I got home. The first one was a membership donation (cool, as always). I opened the second one, and it, too, was a piece of paper and a check - another membership donation, I thought at first glance.

As I went to open up the piece of paper to see who the new member was, I glanced at the check. Hmmm - $25 dollars. Another Silver member who pitched in 5 bucks extra (again, always a cool thing to do).

And then a little voice in my head said, You might want to take a closer look at that check. I think it had an extra zero on it.

No joking, folks. It was a check for two hundred and fifty dollars, not twenty-five dollars.

It's hard reading a letter with your jaw lying slack on the floor, but I did manage to pull myself together and check out what the attached piece of paper had to say. It was not a new membership form (talk about your Platinum members!), but rather a personal letter. The author wishes to remain anonymous, and for those reasons, I can't print most of his letter, but here's the heart of what he had to say:

".... Please accept this donation as an HC tailgate fund to be used by you as you see fit, as anything that brings Hokies together is a beautiful thing. Congrats on HC and keep up the good work."

So the money's not for me, folks, it's for all of us! And here's how I "see fit" to use it: we've been talking on the message board about having an early, informal HokieCentral tailgate the day of the Syracuse game, but thanks to the generosity of our benefactor, that party is now official, and it has deep pockets, too! I'm going to get in touch with some catering services and see what $250 will buy me, and the day of the Syracuse game, we're gonna have us a party!

My preliminary thoughts are to hire not just food, but also a tent, in case of rain, if we can afford it. Suggestions are welcome, of course - just make your way over to the message board, or email me at will@hokiecentral.com with your ideas. I will not, however, be using the money to fund the purchase of alcohol, so you'll have to bring your own. Not because I'm a prude or because I don't drink, but because of the liability issues. I would like to use some of the money for non-alcoholic beverages though, so the teetotalers among us won't have to do without.

So, let me take this opportunity to publicly thank our generous donor (I have already thanked him profusely via email - I hope my groveling didn't get out of hand, but this is exciting). Please take a moment to post your thanks on the message board, if you have a password.

And make plans to be there at the First Annual HokieCentral Tailgate Party! The party will start around noon, giving you plenty of time to attend and then move on to your regular tailgate. Other details will be posted as they become available.


Some Notes from a Bill Roth Appearance on SportsTalk with John Hale

Also on Monday, I caught a half-hour interview that Bill Roth did on the radio call-in show SportsTalk With John Hale (AM 710 in Christiansburg, 5:00-7:00 PM weekdays). John talked to Bill about the upcoming season and expectations on both sides of the ball. As usual, Bill handed down some great info and comments, and here they are, in bullet form (I cut out all the obvious stuff, like how great Ox and Parker are):

  • As has been reported elsewhere, Shyrone Stith is a probable redshirt. Freshman RB Wayne Ward is a definite redshirt, according to Bill.
  • The backup offensive line does not have a single game of experience on the OL among them, pointing out once again how important staying injury-free is on the OL. Dave Kadela will play at offensive tackle, and Bill thinks the coaching staff will "find a tight end this week." He commented that Lomax out of Brookville "certainly has the body" to see significant playing time this season. Bill says that TE/DE Derek Carter will probably move to the OL

On defense, I'll include the class the players are a part of, so you can see how young our D is:

  • Nat Williams (r-So.) and Kerwin Hairston (r-Sr.) will start at defensive tackle, backed up by Carl Bradley (So.) and Anthony Lambo (r-Fr.). None of them are as big as Waverly Jackson was, but then again, at nearly 300 pounds, the Wave was an anomaly on Tech's DL. Danny Wheel (r-Sr.) and John Engelberger (r-So.), of course, will be the starting defensive ends.
  • At linebacker, here's the breakdown: Korey Irby (r-Sr.) is entrenched at the starting Whip (Brandon Semones's) spot, but Sean Ruffing (r-Fr.) will battle him for PT there, and Cory Bird (r-Fr.) may play some, too. Jamel Smith (r-So.) will start at Backer (Myron Newsome's old spot), backed up by Jamie Forrest (r-Fr.). Remember, Bill Roth tabbed Smith as his player to watch on defense during the HokieCentral interview he did. At Mike (middle linebacker), Steve Tate (r-Sr.) is da man.
  • At cornerback, one side will feature Anthony Midget (So.) backed up by Ike Charlton (r-Fr). The other side will be Loren Johnson (Jr.), backed up by Larry Green (Sr.). Tony Joe (Sr.) will be the fifth CB. I didn't write down notes on the safeties, but that would be Keion Carpenter (Jr.) and Pierson Prioleau (Jr.).

Count it up: amongst the two-deep I've listed here for the defense, that's 5 freshmen, 5 sophomores, 3 juniors, and 5 seniors (I didn't include Tony Joe among the seniors). 13 of the top 18 players will be here next year, and 10 of the top 18 have at least two more years left after this year. Does this smell like 1993 to anybody else?

One other note: Bill says this team is very reminiscent of the 1993 team (as I just mentioned), with the exception that this year's team is much stronger on special teams than the 1993 team was. He mentioned Shayne Graham at kicker, Larry Green and Shawn Scales at kick returner, and Keion Carpenter and Angelo Harrison blocking kicks.

One of the most interesting things that he said during the entire half hour was that Jimmy Kibble attended a kicking camp this summer and improved his technique, including shaving a step from his kicking motion. He's kicking the ball much better, and I know Hokie fans everywhere are looking forward to seeing that.

          

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