Friday, December 31, 1999
by Will Stewart

Enough, Already

The impossible has happened Ė Iíve had enough Virginia Tech coverage.

When the Sugar Bowl bid was announced several weeks ago, I wrote a piece called "Brace Yourself Ö Here it Comes" about the upcoming wave of Hokie coverage that was about to descend. The title was tongue-in-cheek, but there was more than a little truth behind it.

And in the weeks since then, I have discovered a simple, undeniable fact: yes, Virginia Tech, there is such a thing as too much Hokie coverage. I didnít think it was possible, but I have discovered that yes indeed, even for this diehard Hokie, it is possible to OD.

Of course, that last paragraph was tongue in cheek, as well. I think. The truth is, for the first time in my life, my eyes have glazed over a little bit when confronted with the wave of articles that the national championship game has generated about Virginia Tech football. Itís simply too much for one person to even think about reading.

Itís a good thing that HokieCentralís own "HokiefromWV," who does the VT Hokie News portion of the web site, took a few days off, otherwise, he might drop dead from exhaustion trying to track down all the Tech articles available on the web.

But the real problem here isnít an overabundance of articles. Itís an underabundance of games. While all this ink has been generated about the Hokies and Noles (and in this business, all these electrons), not one football has been snapped, thrown, or kicked. Itís just a bunch of practice and a bunch of jawing. Thereís been very little hard news, if any.

Can we stop talking and play the darn game? Tuesday canít get here soon enough.

Injuries Hit Hokies

Speaking of hard news, there is a little on the injury front, coming out of (unfortunately) the Virginia Tech camp. As Randy King details in a Thursday update in the Roanoke Times, one of Michael Vickís bullet passes did some serious damage to one of Emmett Johnsonís fingers, severely spraining it and cutting it to the point where it required stitches. Man, that sounds painful.

Thatís a blow to the wide receiver depth, but there was other bad news, as well. Starting fullback Jarrett Ferguson sprained an ankle (not serious, heís listed as "probable"), and Ronyell Whitaker, a pivotal player in the duel with FSUís passing game, sprained his knee (heís also listed as "probable" at this point).

I would think that Fergusonís and Whitakerís injuries, which are of the nagging variety, will be amplified by the fact that the game is on astroturf. And I donít envy Whitaker, with a sore knee, having to chase Peter Warrick around.

Whitakerís injury, if it doesnít clear up, is the most pivotal. If he isnít a hundred percent or close to it, then Anthony Midget will have to play most of the game at cornerback. This limits the coaching staffís opportunity to move Midget to safety and play Whitaker at corner, a combination that Tech used more and more late in the season. Tech was starting to like that combination, and now the option to use it may have been removed from their coaching repertoire.

Ike on the Bubble

Randy King also talks about Ike Charltonís decision to throw his name in next springís NFL draft. If he is selected in the first or second round, heíll go ahead and leave Tech for the NFL. If not, heíll return, continue to take graduate-level classes, and play another season for the Hokies.

Certainly, Tech would hate to lose Ike, but I respect whatever decision he makes. Ike has already earned his degree and has been a credit to the university during his career, so if the next level is available to him, and he wants to take that step, then more power to him. I have nothing but respect for Ike, who hasnít really had a chance to show his stuff here at Tech. Heís so good that no one throws his way!

Locking Up Foster

One noteworthy news item that slipped quietly under the radar recently was reported by the Arkansas Democrat about a week ago. It said that Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster, whom I not-so-jokingly call "Virginia Techís next head coach," recently signed a five year deal with Virginia Tech valued at $200,000 per year.

Iím guessing that he doesnít get the whole $200k in salary. He probably gets a salary in the low $100k range and receives additional compensation for radio and Hokie Club appearances, bringing the total package to $200k.

But more noteworthy than the bucks is a clause in the contract that says if Foster leaves Tech for a non-head-coaching job, he has to pay Virginia Tech $300,000. Itís unusual to see a coach get locked in like that, but youíve got to figure that after turning down Floridaís defensive coordinator job last year, Foster is pretty much waiting for a head coaching job before heíll even consider leaving Tech.

One theory that flew around last year when Foster was being courted by Florida is that Bud was promised the Tech head coaching job when Beamer retires. Thatís pure speculation (in fact, it may have been me who made that one up), but it makes for good gossip, and it doesnít sound unreasonable. No disrespect to Rickey Bustle intended, but I think that Foster is Techís most likely head coaching candidate. He has a presence that no other assistant coach on Techís staff has, heís an Xís and Oís whiz, and heís a no-nonsense type who commands respect.

In other coaching buzz, Bryan Stinespring is greatly respected by his fellow coaches and will probably rise quickly in the ranks, as well.

One last note: I would link to the article that mentioned Foster, but it is no longer on line.

Tech Bytes

BBBS Tickets: remember how we donated unused football tickets to the Big Brothers/Big Sisters of the New River Valley? Well, you can do the same with basketball tickets, as well. To find out how, check out HokieCentralís BBBS ticket donation info. If you think this is something you might like to do, then please bookmark the link for future reference.

Guess the Sugar Bowl Score and Win: over on his Vanity Plate Images web site, Jim Meadows of the "Licensed to Win" print fame is having a contest to guess the Sugar Bowl score and win two of his prints. All proceeds go to the Virginia Tech Athletic Fund, specifically the Eddie Ferrell Memorial Scholarship Fund. For more info, see this link to the contest.

The Daily Press is Looking for Stories: David Teel of The (Newport News) Daily Press is down in New Orleans, and heís looking for stories about Hokie fans. According to David, "While in New Orleans (we arrive the 28th) we'll be looking for cool stories about Tech fans (crazy travel tales, old Hokie fans who haven't missed a game since the '20s, folks who paid $1,000 a ticket, etc.). If youíve got that kind of story, e-mail me at dteel@dailypress.com with your crazy story, along with a phone number where you can be reached." So hook up with David and get your 15 minutes of fame!

          

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