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Tech Talk Tuesday (football season only)
October 15, 2001
"Stepping it up" was the message from two Virginia Tech coaches who assessed the Hokies' play Monday night from the Boston College game. Rickey Bustle talked about a young VT offense needing to develop a killer instinct, and assistant head coach Billy Hite said the 2001 Hokies could go into the final regular season game at 10-0 if they will just play their game for 60 minutes every Saturday.
(Due to the open date this coming Saturday, Coach Beamer was out of town for speaking appearances in Atlanta and Macon, Ga.)
Coach Bustle said he was disappointed by the last part of the BC game. He said the offense must develop that killer instinct: "Itís gonna happen. I believe that."
The Hokies were something like 4-for-16 on third down conversions, Bustle said, and on four possessions were in a good situation, only to hurt themselves with penalties. Bustle noted that the offensive line is young, as are most of the backs. He said itís critical that the offense develop to the point where, when crunch time comes at some point in the season, it can buckle down and run the ball. VT hasnít been quite as intimidating as Bustle would like, and the team canít wait and find out too late whether it can run the ball when it has to.
While Bustle said he could see there was less intensityís in VTís play later in the game, he did say that Grant Noel handled things well for the most part, such as his long touchdown throw to Andre Davis and his ability to check into plays at the line against a defense that blitzed a lot.
Halfway through he season, Bustle said he would grade Noel with a B-plus that may be close to an A-minus. He has developed, even though many people didnít give him a chance prior to the season. Bustle says he is working with Grant to learn to eliminate those three or four plays a game Ė like the floater interception vs. BC Ė that set things back. Overall, he thinks Noel played his best game yet against BC, except for one or two plays.
The night game atmosphere at Lane Stadium notwithstanding, Bustle indicated that he likes a noon time start. He joked that he likes to have fun at the game and then some fun after the game. He mentioned in passing that some of the young players "didnít handle Saturday very well at the hotel" due to all the time on their hands, and that they need to learn from the experience.
Bill Roth asked Bustle what he wants to see in the second half of the season. Said Bustle: the team playing for 60 minutes. "We havenít had that game yet," and the offensive line can be more intimidating.
Coach Hite had some disappointment in the performance against BC. He talked abut the young offensive squad as well, and implied that the offense doesnít have many vocal leaders. But he added that thereís no question VT can win them all this year if the Hokies can play for 60 minutes.
Lane Stadium was as loud last Saturday as Hite has ever heard it. He said it was difficult to communicate with the players on the sideline due to the noise. He thought that "The Walk" by the players through the crowd prior to the game went very well.
The coaches that accompanied the players on "The Walk" said it was unbelievable, and the players were overwhelmed by it. Hite hopes it will be repeated. In response to a question, he said it could be another factor in recruiting for the recruits to observe this.
Due to the depth at tailback, Hite said VT is not recruiting a tailback this year, although it may get involved with a blue chip fullback out of state. The redshirting Hamilton and Humes are two of the finest backs heís ever had. Humes is improving weekly in drills. Hamilton has put on 8 pounds and projects to play at around 220 pounds. All the VT tailbacks are good, and some of them could be moved after a long analysis this spring.
A caller praised Hite for his role in helping to hold the Tech staff together last year in the two days after the Virginia game, when Beamer was weighing the offer from UNC. Hite, now in his 24th season at VT, talked about what a special place Blacksburg has been. Roth asked what some of the programís highlights will be when it is looked back on 10 to 15 years from now. Hite said the three biggest things, which happened in chronological order, were: Techís membership into the Big East for football, the first Tech win over Miami in 1995, and Coach Beamerís decision last year to remain in Blacksburg.