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Monday, December 4, 2000
Tonight's show from the Gobblertown Tavern included host Bill Roth and a cast of thousands. The guests included, for varying lengths of time, Jim Weaver, Frank Beamer, Ricky Stokes, Bonnie Henrickson and the new voice of the Lady Hokies, Cory Provus.
JIM WEAVER'S COMMENTS
Unfortunately, the Broadcast.com feed started a few minutes late, so I probably missed most of what fans really wanted to hear, but I did catch his last few comments. He said that there was lobbying for Virginia Tech to go to a BCS bowl, but that Notre Dame is a hot commodity in college football.
He asked rhetorically whether Hokie fans would fill Alltel Stadium for the Gator Bowl, and responded that he felt that they would because demand was high. He went on to say that he felt that the Gator Bowl would be one of the most exciting, if not the most exciting of the bowl games this year.
He concluded by saying that a win over Clemson, and the chance for a top 5 ranking in the final season polls would be an important starting point for next season. Following Weaver's appearance, Bill Roth took a number of questions concerning thoughts on the events of the past few days with regard to the bowl selection process. Many of the comments were typical of those discussed elsewhere, so I chose not to repeat any of them.
COACH BEAMER'S COMMENTS
Coach Beamer began by wishing Coach Stokes and the men's team good luck and offering his support to the team as they work to improve throughout the season.
He said that he met with the football team today, and that there is certainly disappointment, but that it's always been about more than who that best team is. In his opinion, however, he likes the bowl system -- stating that there is more good to the process than bad.
He said that they have a chance to play in a great bowl in a great part of the country with a chance to finish the season in the top 5 in the country. He said he felt that that was a tremendous accomplishment for this team this season.
To conclude his segment, Roth and Coach Beamer discussed the schedule over the next few days. He and Lee Suggs will be traveling to Richmond to attend the Dudley Award banquet along with a few of the other coaches, family and friends. Thursday, there will be a press conference in Jacksonville with Coach Tommy Bowden. He is also in the midst of a few huge recruiting weekends. He mentioned that he is most proud that he hears from many of the recruits that the student-athletes at Virginia Tech are better than at other programs in the country.
COACH STOKES' COMMENTS
Coach Stokes began his segment by relaying a story that he heard in one of the airports which illustrates how thin the team has been over the last few days. An airport employee asked one of the players if the rest of the team was traveling on a different plane, to which he responded that this was the whole team. With the injuries to Dongo and Mims, the team was down to just five scholarship players and five walk-ons. The coach said that it has brought the team together, though. They are playing hard and will continue to get better. They look forward to getting some players back and gaining more experience.
On the status of some of the injuries, neither of the players practiced on Monday, but Dongo was seen walking the steps at Cassell Coliseum during practice. Each will be re-evaluated on Tuesday, but both would probably be listed as questionable. In response to a later question, Coach Stokes mentioned that Drew Smith had also taken an elbow to the shoulder in the Fairfield game.
In the near term, he mentioned that the team will have two additional players following the conclusion of the first semester. Carlton Carter (transfer) and Danny Gathings (recent qualifier) will join the team for the East Tennessee State game. He also mentioned that there might also be another surprise added to that list. They sounded like they were being a bit coy about a player that is expected to join the team but is currently not committed to the program. He was described only as a former recruit who had been mentioned last Spring. When pressed, Coach Stokes affirmed that three new jerseys had been made for the three players.
On the recruiting front, two more recruits were signed, CJ Pigford and another player whose name I missed. They are still looking to sign another player, most likely a big man. They are looking at Junior College transfers and foreign players in addition to the usual high school players.
In response to a few other questions, Coach Stokes offered insight into the team's play over the early part of the season. He said that the team needed to focus a little more on offensive rebounds, and said that he felt that the free throw shooting situation was attributable to the amount of playing time the players had to absorb. He credited the team for playing hard and in many situations playing out of position. He said that he is enjoying the chance to coach at Virginia Tech, and that he feels lucky and finds it exhilarating to have the chance to build the program.
The men's team will play on Wednesday at Cassell Coliseum against Elon College. Coach Stokes described them as well-coached and disciplined, despite not being a very big team. He said that he expected it to be a good game for the Hokies. The game begins at 7:00 with radio coverage beginning at 6:30.
COACH HENRICKSON'S COMMENTS
Bill Roth began by congratulating the team for having played very well recently, with the exception of the Florida State game. Since then, he pointed out, they had had two close wins. After recent victories over Virginia and Richmond, the team is now 12-3 against in-state teams during Henrickson's tenure as head coach.
They discussed Lisa Guarneri, a transfer from Piscataway, NJ by way of the University of Illinois. She comes to Virginia Tech as a junior and will be eligible for the remainder of this season (after the end of the first semester) and all of next season. Coach Henrickson described her as a tremendous leader and communicator and a player that will help them a great deal at the point guard position. Unfortunately, due to scheduling, she will not be able to play against Rutgers, which is the first conference game and is located just minutes from her family's home.
Coach Henrickson discussed the alumni game, which is coming up on Saturday prior to the Radford game. Approximately 30 former players will compete in the contest to be held at 10:00 in one of the back gyms. In addition to the game, they will also be introduced at halftime of the women's game. Some of the former players mentioned include Leftwich, Root, Banks, Kelly, Justin, and others.
On Big East women's basketball, all agreed that it was one of the best conferences in the country -- on par with the SEC. Despite being picked just fifth in the conference, that puts the team in very good company, and would most likely mean post-season play is possible. They should also be near the top of the league in attendance for women's games and Coach Henrickson said that she looks forward to the boost the new affiliation will give to tournament hopes and recruiting.
The new voice of the Lady Hokies was introduced. Cory Provus, a Syracuse graduate, has been with the team for the first six games, and he said that the Virginia game was one of the most exciting games he's seen. He thinks that Ieva Kublina will be a definite fan favorite and looks forward to having Lisa Guarneri join the team shortly. He confirmed having undergone a grueling initiation, but denied that it was snipe hunting in Tallahassee.
Looking into the future, the Lady Hokies will travel east to rekindle a rivalry with Old Dominion on December 21. They look for it to be a hostile environment, but hope to see some Tech colors in the crowd. The game will be on local and regional television on HTS. ODU played Virginia recently and lost by approximately ten points.
-- Apex Hokie