The Hokie Hotline (football and basketball season)
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Tech Talk Tuesday (football season only)
August 27, 2001
Coach Beamer said early on that he appreciates the respect for the VT football program that is reflected in picks like that of ESPN’s Lee Corso and Chris Fowler that the Hokies will advance to the national championship game in the Rose Bowl. But, he cautioned, "We’re not that team yet that they are talking about. Maybe we can get there…"
Beamer said the team had a "great" practice Monday in preparation for UConn, this after Beamer expressed frustration at the end of last week over the final couple of practices and Friday’s scrimmage, which he called "ragged." The Hokies committed 13 or 14 penalties in the equivalent of three quarters in that scrimmage.
Upon further review, however, Beamer said Monday night that the players the staff is counting on had played pretty well for the most part in the scrimmage. Mostly the ragged play and penalties came from the third and some second teamers. There was too much correcting going on in the scrimmage setting, although Beamer says now that it involved mostly people who won’t be on the field vs. UConn.
Broadcaster Bill Roth asked about the excitement level for UConn as the first opponent, compared to Georgia Tech in the opener last year and people already showing more interest in the 2002 opener with LSU. Beamer said he asked Tech fans long ago to be more concerned with backing the Hokies than with who they are playing. He added that the team needs to improve, regardless of who the opponent is.
The coach was asked who will provide leadership in 2001. He said the captains for the first game have been in that role. They are Matt Wincek, Jarrett Ferguson, Ben Taylor, and Chad Beasley, He also mentioned Jake Houseright, Andre Davis, Bob Slowikowski, Browning Wynn, and David Pugh as leaders. Some people are leaders not just by talking but by leading by example so that others follow, he said.
Browning Wynn’s back is better and he practiced Monday. The question is how well he responds the day after. Houseright is "full speed ahead" right now. Had he not been, the coaches would have presented the redshirt option to him, Beamer said. Burnell was able to practice "full" on Monday. It sounded like Wayne Ward and T.J. Jackson will be available for the opener, although they were in limited "blue" status Monday. Provitt will start at whip.
True freshmen who will play in 2002: Bryan Randall, Kevin Jones, DeAngelo Hall, and offensive linemen Curtis Bradley and James Miller. Chris Clifton was used as a scout team receiver Monday (a position in which the team has been thin due to injuries) and Beamer said Clifton "made three catches that make you say, ‘whoa!"’ Later he went back and worked at QB. "He’s got a future," Beamer said, although he didn’t define the role.
Beamer was asked late in the broadcast about the status of Derrius Monroe. He said VT is "checking on some details" and may be making a statement on Tuesday during VT’s normal media day for game week. "Tomorrow we will take care of it," said Beamer.
Kevin Jones, listed number two at tailback Monday due in part to injuries to Burnell and Ward, will be prominent in VT’s special teams. He is on kickoff coverage and on the punt block and return teams. Lee Suggs is on the punt block unit as well. Willie Pile has taken Burnell’s place on punt block team due to his injury.
Beamer said Coach Hite has settled on Richard Johnson and Andre Davis (in that order) as kickoff returners.
A fan asked who is the fastest player on the team. Bill Roth said that technically it’s Larry Austin, although his 40 time was pre-injury. Beamer couldn’t recall exactly what KJ ran the 40 in, but said "He runs the 40 fast!" He said that in one recent situation KJ "ran about 180 yards to gain 40" on one carry all over the field, and nobody could catch him.
Andre Davis has recovered well from off-season surgery and seems to be at full speed. Beamer said they cut back on some receivers running routes late in the practice schedule in order to save their legs. Another fan asked about Lee Suggs’ weight. Beamer said his weight is about right, that he is stronger and faster and has made some great preseason runs. He said Coach Gentry’s priority was maintaining Suggs’ speed, as opposed to building his size.
Jim Weaver and Bill Roth stressed that fans should allow plenty of time to arrive for Saturday’s noon opener. There is just one lane coming in on 460 and there have been exit changes and traffic pattern changes to Interstate 81. Once at the stadium, fans will not be able to enter on the west side and cross the south end zone to the east side due to construction on that end, so give some thought to how you will enter the stadium for the east stands.
The game is a sellout. Tech radio network coverage begins at 10:30 a.m. TV coverage includes ESPN regional TV, Comcast Sportsnet, MSG cable, New England Sports network and Comcast Sports Southeast.