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Monday, September 18, 2000
by GalaxHokie


Coach Beamer said Virginia Tech's jump to fourth and fifth place in the national polls this past weekend was amazing, and he said the vote says a lot about the VT program.

Still, the coach says he isn't going to pay a lot of attention to it, as he tried to steer back to the one game at a time mindset. You can get consumed with your polls standing, and that isn't what will keep you there, he said.

"When you start thinking things are gonna happen -- and don't make them happen -- is when you get in trouble," he said.

Bill Roth said that Beamer used a VMI story at practice last week to warn the team about complacency. He told about the time during his VT playing days that Tech defeated VMI 66-12 and went on to the Liberty Bowl. The next season the Hokies started 7-0, lost a couple of games, and then the same basic team that dominated VMI the previous year lost to the Keydets 12-10. The mindset was just different, Beamer said.

Roth and Beamer noted the similar circumstances of Stanford losing something like 69-17(?) to Texas last year, only to come back and bounce the Longhorns from their #6 ranking last weekend. Likewise, they talked about Alabama starting the season at #3 and starting out with two early losses before getting into the heart of their SEC schedule.

The coach said he wouldn't discuss publicly how he voted in this week's coaches' poll, although he did say he did not cast the first place vote received by the Hokies.


It was a slow night on the broadcast and there were no big revelations. So here, in notes format, are some the points that were covered...

  • Michael Vick was named Big East offensive player of the week for the sixth time in his career. True freshman Eric Green was named Big East special teams player. Bud Foster said Green is a playmaker who knows the game and plays with poise.
  • AD Jim Weaver was not on the show. When a caller asked what VT's position is regarding the presence of Hokie Central, Roth said that was a question for Weaver to take on another show. "I'm sure he'd be eager to discuss it."
  • Several callers mentioned the names of VT recruiting targets, but of course the broadcast folks were prohibited from talking about specific players. "How important is it to sign a quarterback this year?" Roth asked. "Real important," said Beamer, who added that the Hokies will sign AT LEAST two quarterbacks in the upcoming class. At another point he mentioned that "four or five" players on the team have brothers in high school who are great players.
  • The Hokies will practice 1.5 hours on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week, then stage a JV game at 2 p.m. Friday. (Players who are being redshirted are not eligible.) Beamer said it's a good chance to evaluate post-grad talent from the opponent (Hargrave Military and Fork Union were mentioned, but they didn't say who this week's opponent is??) and that usually a VT player makes a breakthrough in this game. Past examples: Antonio Freeman and Willie Pile.
  • The broadcast signal was lost for a few seconds as Beamer was responding to a question about which Big East team has surprised him the most this year. He was talking about Temple when the signal was restored, and said they are stronger and were competitive against Maryland. West Virginia, picked sixth in preseason, "won't be the sixth team," he said.
  • A caller noted that players kept kicking up "dust" on the field in the Rutgers game. Beamer said they've had a hard time getting the field just the way they want it. It was covered with a tarp some last week because they don't want a wet track to go against the speed VT possesses -- Beamer said that VT has the fastest QB, and maybe tailback, in the country. He brought up the 16-0 Tech home loss to Cincinnati in 1995 and said the wet surface and mud negated VT's speed and took the Hokies out of the game. A new playing surface is in future plans.
  • 1989 VT alumnus Jeff Mangis (sp?) from Georgia was pilot of the military bomber that flew over the stadium just before kickoff last Saturday. Roth said the bomber was at 400 feet and slowed to 400 mph over the stadium before the afterburners kicked in.
  • Roth told Coach Foster the defense made vast improvement since after the first quarter of the Akron game. Foster said the team is "doing well at playing together," and said the defense has made strides in technique and fundamentals. From the Rutgers game he singled out Summers, Welch, Taylor (a complete game), and Sorensen (one of his better games.)
  • He also praised Kevin McCadam after someone else brought up his name. Foster said McCadam stayed focused and learned while he was out with the injury, that he adds valuable depth at safety and has potential to start. Mature and heady was how Foster described him.
  • Ronyell Whitaker stepped up his play the past two weeks -- very solid and business-like is how Foster put it. He acknowledged that technique has been lacking at times at cornerback, allowing receivers to get a step on the DB. But he said VT has ability at corner and they are working hard at this.
  • Foster was asked which of the new players have stood out in practice so far. He mentioned redshirts Richard Johnson, Josh Spence, tight ends Mazetta and Mike Johnson, and redshirt freshman Jacob Gibson.
  • The penalty against Tech's defense involving the delay of game signal was enforcement of the new rule that disallows feinting toward the offense to make it jump. Foster said the Hokies got their backers and safety caught at the line and that Rutgers jumped. The Tech staff later submitted the play to the head of Big East officiating for review and he agreed there should have been no call against Tech on the play, according to Foster.
  • Someone asked about the role of graduate assistant coaches. Foster joked that they make the biscuit runs to Hardee's and break down film of opponents and work on scouting reports. This year's G.A.s are Chris Malone and Bill Houseright. Past G.A.s who rose to regular coaching roles with the Hokies include Todd Grantham and Bryan Stinespring.
  • Ten offensive linemen played at least 25 plays each against Rutgers.
  • Beamer praised Vick as someone whose demeanor hasn't changed despite his success. He would rather go out and compete than pose for magazine covers, and he still runs around with his same friends.
  • Roth asked the coach if he is happy with things at this point. Yes, Beamer indicated, considering the players that VT lost and a #4 ranking after three weeks. But he naturally said the team isn't where it needs to be and must keep improving. Roth said he has noticed the day to day confidence of players in the program and how accustomed they are to winning.
  • OK, I recounted this thing using all my fingers and toes. This is Day 352 of Virginia Tech's possession of the Commonwealth Cup.

-- GalaxHokie


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