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Tech Talk Tuesday (football season only)
October 1, 2001
Discussion dwelled on several topics from the Central Florida game, particularly the fake punt pass and the back-to-back 15-yard penalties on the Tech coaches.
Bud Foster acknowledged that he was part of the exchange that resulted in the penalties, but indicated that little was said. The same official had missed an illegal formation call on UCF’s first touchdown, Foster said. Then, according to Coach Beamer, the officials missed a hold and then the referee who threw the flags didn’t call anything when a VT player was hit in the back out of bounds right in front of the ref.
Coach Beamer’s take on it: "I never heard anything said in that situation that would cause a flag. It gets pretty wild down there sometimes and it wasn’t anything like that…. The flags didn’t need to be thrown. Usually you know when to stop [when the officials says he’s heard enough]. That’s when I start walking the other way.
"We’d had a couple of discussions with that guy. Everything I discussed with him, when I watched the video, I thought I was right."
It was the first time in 21 years of coaching that Foster had been flagged, and Foster said he’d have to do better. Beamer said he told the players that everybody needs to keep their poise. "We aren’t gonna get any more" penalties.
Bill Roth commented that the particular officials at the UCF game were assigned by the SEC, but that they may not necessarily work any SEC games. "Thank goodness," Roth said.
Beamer said the Hokies worked on the fake punt pass from Vinnie Burns last Thursday and Friday and he was waiting for the right time to call it in the game. He said he wanted to call it on that particular punt, but decided otherwise because "what if you don’t make it" momentum-wise and you give them a short field. FB said he didn’t think the risk was worth it and preferred to back UCF up.
"But Vinnie disagreed," Beamer said. Laughter.
It was the difference, he said, in a coach earning a salary and keeping his job, and a kid out there having fun. VT was lucky that Garnell Wilds was looking back and able to see the pass coming at him. "That’s why you recruit good players, to overcome coaching, that’s all."
Someone asked Beamer later what would have happened if the play called by Burns hadn’t worked. "The question is, what would Vinnie have done?" More laughter. Beamer said there was no reason it shouldn’t have worked in that situation.
The West Virginia offensive attack in this week’s game will resemble that of Clemson’s from the past two seasons, because WVU coach Rich Rodriguez served as offensive coordinator at Clemson those years. It may most resemble Clemson’s pre-Dantzler team of 1999. Foster said the defensive game plan will be similar to what VT used against Clemson those years. WVU has a great tailback in Avon Cobourne and some good receivers, he said.
Rodriguez likes to spread the field and try to open seams in the defense. The Mountaineers threw 52 times and ran 48 times and gained more than 400 yards of offense vs. Maryland, but committed six turnovers. The key for the Hokies is to stop the run and limit yards after catches, Foster said.
WVU’s defensive coordinator is Phil Elmassian, architect of Tech’s present defensive scheme back in 1993. Beamer acknowledged that there may be an advantage to Tech as a result of playing against that defense in practice every day. He expressed respect for coach Elmassian. Roth noted that Elmassian also faced VT as defensive coordinator for Boston College in 1996. The Hokies won that game, 45-6.
A Mountaineer fan called to say that Grant Noel won’t be able to handle the atmosphere at Mountaineer Field. Foster said "those 63,500 can’t make one play," and that VT just has to focus on what it does on the field. Noel is from West Virginia, and another caller said WVU fans should consider that if they had it their way, Noel would be starting at QB for their team this week.
Beamer said the offense continues to work on being able to throw long. Pass protection was very good against UCF and all the elements were there for the passing game. As for defenses committing so many people up front to stop the Hokies, "If they crowd the front, we know it’s one on one on the outside. Before this year is out, we’re gonna welcome those one-on-one situations."
"We know we’ve got to make some long plays. That’s what our defense is based on – you have to make some long plays to beat us.
Beamer responded to a question about freshman QB Bryan Randall by saying he does some things you really like. Randall has calmness and smarts, is a good runner who escapes from defenders. He needs to build his arm strength in the next year. Roth asked what the plan will be next spring – will Noel, Randall, Clifton, and Hunt be battling it out? "We’ll answer that when we get there," Beamer said. "We’ve got some really good players who are redshirting."
Foster was asked about next year’s defense, due to the number of seniors starting at DL and LB this season. Kevin Lewis "will be our bell cow the next three years" at DL, and Mark Costen is developing. Freshman DL Jason Murphy has been impressive in practice and scrimmages. He named others such as Kevin Hilton, Tim Sandidge, Vegas Robinson, Mikal Baaqee. The 2002 defense will be young, but athletic. He volunteered that they may recruit for junior college help on the defensive line. In response to a question, Foster said Josh Spence probably won’t be ready to play defensively until next season. He will move from the offensive scout squad after the season and will play on special teams for now.
Roth asked Beamer about Notre Dame and Penn State each having 0-3 records. Beamer said he hasn’t seen either team play yet, but noted that Notre Dame had tough early opponents in Nebraska and Texas A&M. Teams in general are getting closer to each other because of the 85- scholarship limit, Beamer said. For example, UCF had some fine athletes. But it gets down to a fine line between a team getting chemistry and confidence. Beyond the ND and PSU records, Roth noted that the combined poll votes of Alabama, Ohio State and Auburn wouldn’t be enough to crack the Top 25.
Whip Deon Provitt is out for the season with a torn ACL. The plan is to move Mike Daniels from safety to whip as depth for T.J. Jackson and walk-on Brandon Manning. Beamer said they have always projected Daniels to wind up at whip anyway.
Richard Johnson may be held out at WR and kick returner this week in an effort to get him well. He has been plagued by hamstring problems. Johnson can make a difference if he’s totally healthy, Beamer said.
The trainer felt that Jake Houseright was better on Monday and that he may be able to play. He was running during the UCF game and heard a pop. A ligament tear is suspected, per other reports. He will practice Thursday and possibly Wednesday and see what his status is.
Channing Reed will see how he feels in practice this week. They don’t know that he will be ready for WVU, especially because the game is on artificial turf.