The Hokie Hotline (football and basketball season)
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Tech Talk Tuesday (football season only)
September 10, 2001
It sounded like a good time was had by all, as radio guest Billy Hite and Mike Burnop yucked it up throughout the Hokie Hotline show at Gobblertown Tavern. You could tell it was the beginning of an open week for the Hokies.
There wasnít a lot of news of note, but we did get questions such as why Frank Beamer isnít wearing a hat this season (because he looks like Charlie Brown with a cap on, somebody joked) and why (asked of Jim Weaver for the third time now) we arenít painting the end zones at Worsham Field. We even had Burnop asking Billy Hite if he is Bill Dooleyís son, and TWO questions about VTís long-term contract with Coca-Cola.
BILLY HITE'S COMMENTS
Hite was filling in for Coach Beamer, who left after practice Monday to fly down and speak to the Daytona Touchdown Club since itís an off week. On another off-week Monday later in the year, Beamer is slated to speak to the Atlanta Touchdown Club at lunchtime and to the Macon Touchdown Club for dinner on the same day.
Coach Hite said discussions have taken place with Lee Suggs and his family, and that Lee wants VT to look into the possibility of gaining him another year of eligibility due to medical hardship. In any case, he definitely will return next year. Hite said it was agreed prior to the injury that Lee would not return next season if he was projected as a first round NFL draft pick. (Suggs is probably headed for surgery on Thursday.)
A questioner asked about playing time in a crowded backfield next season. Hite repeated how the players will determine who plays, and who the best two backs are among Suggs, KJ, Burnell, Hamilton, Humes. He said he learned a lesson years ago with Cyrus Lawrence and wonít subject a back to 40 carries in a game again.
The team will have a light practice schedule this week leading up to a JV game Friday in Lane Stadium at 2 p.m. against Fork Union. There will be concentrated work on short yardage situations and other special situations. They donít want to get anybody banged up.
Three of the five starting offensive linemen graded out well (made "chain gang" status) in the Western Michigan game. The two others didnít play as well as Coach Stinespring would have liked, Hite said. One was injured going in and maybe shouldnít have played as much. Hite referred to him as a 320-pounder who injured a groin doing a complete split in practice last Wednesday.
One questioner wondered about using Wayne Ward on fourth and one type situations. Said Hite: "Did Coach Beamer ask you to call in, because he asked me the same damn question the other day!" (His predictable reply was that he has confidence in all his backs in that situation.)
Offensively, weíve seen already some of the new plays that have been put in: passes to the tight and to the fullback in the flat. Hite told a questioner that four-wide sets donít suit VTís offense right now because of the inexperience at quarterback. Against Western, the VT receivers couldnít get behind the defensive backs because they (the WMU DB's) bailed out so far and fast to prevent that. Noel is capable of throwing deep, Hite said.
There was considerable discussion on the headsets Saturday between Beamer and Bustle as to when to put Bryan Randall in at QB. He will likely get in sooner as the season goes on, Hite said. One factor in the Western game was that the coaches wanted Noel to experience some success before he came out of the game. Some of his passes were not far off, Hite said.
Kevin Jones is still learning. In high school, players can get away with inadequate footwork. In college, Hite said, they have to change these habits, run north-south behind their pads and know when to take a hit and get down. Sometimes turnovers happen when the runner doesnít get down. Against Western, KJ had a chance to run over the free safety at the goal line and instead tried to spin and was stopped. Itís something heíll learn from, Hite said.
VT is not recruiting a tailback for next year due to depth at that position. The recruiting priority will be defensive line, according to Hite. Coaches Cavanaugh and Stinespring spent last Thursday evening and Friday until midnight recruiting in Tidewater. Coach Ball was in the Culpeper area and Coach Ward was in Northern Virginia. Three coaches will observe the JV game on Friday and the rest of the staff will be on the road recruiting.
WEAVER'S PORTION OF THE SHOW
Jim Weaver was the guest during the first half hour. He told a fan who was promoting night games at Lane Stadium that television dictates starting times, and that there is "still a good chance" for Boston College and/or Syracuse to be slated at night on ESPN or ESPN2, although "they could pull the wool over our eyes" and start the games at noon. TV game status is determined 12 days in advance of the game.
Weaver also talked a little about the Big Eastís contract arrangement with ABC to provide a team(s) selected by the network to play on Championship Saturday in early December. It does not necessarily have to be a game between two Big East teams; it can be a game involving a Big East team and non-conference opponent. Any one team is limited to five appearances on this date during the seven-year contract. Weaver said he wouldnít be surprised to see ABC choose the VT at Miami game for Dec. 7, 2002.
The conference reached a compromise to retain Temple as a football member through 2004 in order to avoid a threatened lawsuit, he said. It was a "no brainer to stay out of court." VT will probably adjust its 2002 schedule to accommodate a game with Temple by moving a game with Kent State to 2006. UConn could have come into the conference a year earlier than announced (2004 rather than 2005), but now will have to wait until 2005 and after Temple completes Big East play in 2004.