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Tech Talk Tuesday (football season only)
When: every Tuesday from 7:05-8:30
Station:  AM 910 in Richmond

Monday, October 29, 2001
by GalaxHokie

Hereís the take from coaches Beamer and Foster on the loss to SyracuseÖ

Beamer: "I donít think we came out as ready together as we have some other ball games. Seems like the other games we came out focused." At West Virginia "it was bam , bam, bam. Against BC, bam, bam, bam." Then the early events against Syracuse put the team in a situation it hadnít been in before, down 14-0. " We werenít sharp." "Was it the way the game went or did we come out that way or did the cold bother us?" Beamer asked. He thought the Orangemen could have been motivated by a Saturday morning Roanoke newspaper story that talked about how the Cuse quit in the 62-0 game of 1999. The SU team was probably out tearing up a hotel room somewhere, Beamer said

"We were coming back on Syracuse. If time hadnít run out, I think we would have beaten Syracuse."

Foster said the players were disappointed, but may be more resilient than the coaches. Attitude was good Monday in the film session. (No practice outdoors). The coaches/team talked a lot about putting the loss behind them and moving on. In these days of parity, thereís not going to be many undefeated teams, he said.

Could Foster sense something missing on Saturday? Not necessarily that, he said, just that things didnít start out right. "I donít know that you can say it was not there. The kids fought to the end."

Foster said SUís conversion on 8 of 13 third downs was frustrating. But he also noted that overall, until a late meaningless long play, the Hokies had held SU to 179 yards on 68 plays. There were three or four third downs where the D didnít capitalize.

The big questionable pass interference call was on a throw so high that "Lew Alcindor or Wilt Chamberlain couldnít have caught it." Still, it was not a good decision on Ronyell Whitakerís part to commit the contact that would make the official react, he agreed.

Can the referee overrule the back judge on such a play, Foster was asked. The ref could overrule after collaboration, he said. In this case, the officials said the receiver was impeded. In any case, the coaches submit ratings of the officials and problem plays for review after every game.

The quarterback draw and first down conversion by Anderson off the isolation was a new play for Syracuse. On one of his successful option keepers, the defensive end missed his assignment and the QB went inside.

The bottom line is, said Beamer, "We made some mistakes that you canít overcome if youíre playing a good football team." The flow of the game never not going for us.

Much was made of the Tech coaching staffís concern that the Syracuse kicker may have used something to mark the placement spot on field goals attempts. Bill Roth asked Beamer to elaborate, which he did, haltingly, after a deep sigh.

Beamer said that in watching video in preparation for the game, they noticed that after some kicks the SU kicker was picking something up off the field. VT called in the situation to the head of Big East officials to have the game officials alerted that something was going on. (Foster said they turned over "evidence" in advance.)

Beamer said he was not accusing Coach Pasqualoni of doing anything wrong, and then speculated: "Iím not saying this happened, but how would you use a lollipop?" (This was his only acknowledgment that a lollipop or sucker stick was used.) The point is to keep everything at 90 degrees for the kicker, and if he is kicking from the hash mark, something marking the spot for placement would serve that purpose, he said.

It could be helpful to give the kicker direction on a long field goal. "Everybody saw it but the official."

"I thought [the field goal attempt] was missed when he hit it" and then the wind pushed the ball through. "I waited for the official to throw his flag, but he never threw the flag."

Coach Beamer handled several strategy questions about the SU game, but didnít encounter any obnoxious second-guessers.

For one, why didnít he take the wind at the beginning of the game. Thatís probably worth consideration in hindsight, he said. "Knowing we didnít pick up a first down in the first series Ė maybe." But that would mean kicking off twice in the game, and youíd have to go against the wind two quarters anyway, he said.

He told a caller he doesnít really like punting to the sideline and away from the returner. He prefers to work on kicking the ball high and getting coverage downfield under the punt.

Another questioner asked that on the onside kick attempt, with the SU coach motioning everybody up in anticipation, would Beamer consider a long kick over their heads and make it a race to the ball. Beamer said they talked about that very thing on Monday, and that the caller had a point. On the failed second onside kick by Tech, they were trying to kick a hard line drive at all the coverage guys up front (presumably to get a ricochet?).

The point was made that three key mistakes were made by freshmen who were in their first tight game situation like that. Beamer said thatís true, but that weíll be counting on them again this week. He talked with the team about that: be prepared for your role when the time comes.

Bill Roth said that Tech has been outscored 42-14 in its past 5.5 quarters at Lane Stadium. Beamer said that 14 points of the last 20 points by BC resulted from turnovers and poor pass defense by some guys down the depth chart. Against SU, unusual circumstances put the points together Ė a safety, punt return, blocked punt, etc.

One caller suggested that Ronyell Whitaker has no class, but Beamer spoke up for him, saying the caller doesnít know Ronyell and that he, Beamer, likes Ronyell a lot. (And Ronyell seems to think a lot of Ronyell, too, for that matter.) The coach said he would like Whitaker to "change some of the things he does every once in a while."

Two fans offered encouragement: It was a good run, a 16-game home winning streak, one of the longest in nation, put the loss behind us; and Tech fans have become spoiled, expecting to win every time out.

Foster was asked if the Tech offense is predictable. He said he doesnít spend time studying the offense. "Weíre not a complicated team and a lot of good teams are like that. You do what you do well and make people stop you." He observed that the offense is counting on new people along the line and is dealing with losing Lee Suggs.

After Foster went over his playing and coaching background (both at Murray State with Beamer prior to VT) in response to a questioner, Roth observed that he wouldnít be surprised to see Foster hired as head coach someday at a school like Kentucky or Indiana, back in the area he came from. Foster joked that those would be real rebuilding jobs.

Another fan wondered if Richard Johnson would give VT some different options at quarterback, based on having played that position in the JV game. Foster said Johnson has some zip and that may be something to look at in the spring, but heís also a heck of a receiver, which the team needs.

A caller who says he listens to a lot of sports call-in shows in the Southeast remarked that every collegeís fans seem to think their number two quarterback is "the man" and ought to be playing. Beamer said Bryan Randall is still in a learning situation as a freshman.

And he said Grant Noel needs to develop a feel for when to give up on the pass and just run. The more he plays, the better he will get. He needs to run more "north and south," the coach said.

On a question about game captains and leadership, Beamer favors the system of picking four guys who played the best in the previous week to be the leaders for the next week. Then the team elects its permanent captains at the end of the season.

Beamer said he was pleased with the crowd attending The Walk prior to the SU game, and said the team likes it. He said twice that it needs to be determined whether the fans want to continue it, and then the name will be decided on. It has to be a name that somehow involves the aspect of the Virginia Tech fans.

The Pittsburgh and Temple games the next two weeks will have noon kickoffs. No TV for Temple.

Beamer said there was much pre-season talk that Pitt would be Techís toughest game besides Miami. The same quarterback, David Priestley, had 400 yards against Tech two years ago, and Pitt threw for 300+ yards last year in Blacksburg. The Panthers have dangerous receivers in Antonio Bryant and R.J. English, and a good safety. The defense returns nearly all of its starters. Foster said the team started with high hopes and sort of self destructed. Beamer said the offense has struggled and field position has hurt Pitt.

Monday was Day 758 of Virginia Techís continuous possession of the Commonwealth Cup.

-- GalaxHokie


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