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

Monday, November 5, 2001
by GalaxHokie

Coach Beamer said the Hokies had run into two good football teams the past two weeks who played great games against them Ė VT is taking peopleís best shots now by having become the program people want to beat.

"I donít buy into that we were flat," Beamer said. "I thought we were ready to play" going in. "Some of us didnít play well enough." He said the timing of several bad early pass interference calls didnít help, the offense didnít move the ball and the defense didnít get off the field when it needed to.

A caller said Grant Noelís confidence seemed shaky the past two weeks. Beamer said itís not all Grant Noel. "He is not playing lousy. Itís not his fault when heís holding the ball and we [receivers?] are not adjusting on the outside. Itís not his fault when heís hit from behind, when that guy should have been picked up" by a blocker.

As for the offense, "when itís not happening, either weíre not concentrating or weíre gonna cut back" on plays in the game plan. The plan is to simplify the offense this week Ė use fewer plays but practice those plays more during the week. The offense is missing some people due to injury, and just as the defense grew last year, the offense needs to grow this year.

As for not running the ball well, Beamer said that when the opponent puts so many people up front, youíve got to get them off of you. And that means throwing the ball more than VT is throwing it now. The team has to get better blocking up front, Beamer said, and as a group the OL didnít "fist-fight enough" at Pitt. Still, he said, " I know we have people who very much want to get it done."

The team is disappointed, so "Weíve got to be the best we can be and start this week and get this thing back." Frustration has shown in some of the penalties and that is not the way to get it back. He said the program does not teach players to take cheap shots, and the play that got out of hand with a penalty in that regard against Pitt was made by a freshman. Beamer said film of all penalties is reviewed in a team meeting, and that creates some peer pressure in making the point about what you arenít supposed to do.

Callers and questioners for the most part were respectful. Only one caller was negative, and her comments drew reactions from others and Coach Beamer.

Jackie from Virginia Beach said she was disturbed that Beamer, in a mid-week news conference a week ago, said he didnít know if the team would bounce back from the Syracuse loss. She contended that was one of the worst things he could say as a leader. "Things donít look so good, do they?" she said at one point.

Then she went on to blast the program and coach for the spate of injuries that has hit the team, saying they are a product of conditioning, or a lack of it. "Theyíre not conditioned. Theyíre not in shape," she said of the players. "Whereís the coach?"

Someone soon responded that the womanís comments showed she doesnít follow Virginia Tech football and had never met strength and conditioning Coach Mike Gentry. On the Gentry/conditioning point, Beamer said he agreed: "I think she lost her credibility right there."

Two other callers said they had rather the coach be honest about his assessment of the teamís mental state after a loss, anyway. Beamer said that Jackie probably hadnít heard the full context of his remarks on this point the week before and may have misunderstood the matter. His quote Monday night went something like this: "I said I didnít know, that I assumed we would play great against Syracuse, and I assumed we would come back and play great against Pittsburgh. Trust me, I thought we would come back and play a great game against Pittsburgh, but I wanted to see it" rather than just speak it.

A caller asked Beamer to react to Newport News writer David Teelís published remarks that the team quit in Pittsburgh. Beamer aid he "absolutely" did not agree. "I do not think our guys quit at all. He needs to come in and watch video with us." When someone commented later about how hard Ben Taylor had played, Beamer added that "Iíd like for Dave Teel to tell Ben Taylor that he quit."

Beamer announced two new starters for Saturdayís noon game against Temple -- Kevin Jones at tailback and Cols Colas and Jim Davis at defensive end. He said these changes do not reflect that the loss is being pinned on anyone. In the case of KJ, he will be going back home to play, the team needs a spark, and heís a guy who can break tackles if he gets the carries.

James Miller and Dunn will get extra work at offensive line to see if they can earn some playing time. Mike Daniels will get more work towards playing at whip. Beamer commented that T.J. Jackson at whip is a little out of place when heís in coverage situations.

The start of the past two games went on to affect things, Beamer said, but the team canít let it get to them. The Hokies have won six games with defense and plays in the kicking game and by not turning ball over. The way to get confidence back is by getting the job done.

A caller said it seems the defensive front is not stunting and shifting as much. Beamer said Pitt was going to maximum-protect and utilize its two very good receivers. When you are manned up with them in that situation, you are taking a chance when you stunt, he said.

Injuries: Austin, hamstring, it is hopeful that he can play at Temple; Houseright, lower abdominal strain; Derrius Monroe, hip flexor; David Pugh, ACL sprain. It was unclear what expectations are for the latter three this week. Beamer lamented the loss of Shawn Witten to a broken leg. He faces surgery on Thursday. The coach talked about what a steady player he is, and about his presence on several special teams.

Jim Weaver commented in the opening segment that many of Techís followers and players havenít been through anything like this before. Donít panic, he said. The continuity of the Tech staff will help in getting through it.

Weaver, a former college coach, said the problem is primarily mental and everyone has to get themselves ready to play. The recent outcomes are a classic example, he said, of why ratings shouldnít be talked about prematurely in a season.

Bill Roth said he wonders how Pitt lost to South Florida in week two. The quality of Pittís team in the win "was not a fluke, based on what I saw." Weaver added that it was his recollection that Pitt was picked third in the conference in pre-season (that is correct). Roth said the Hokies will be a better team next year by having gone through this experience now.

The UVa game on Nov. 17 will be televised by ESPN at 3:30 p.m. Weaver said he hadnít anticipated the game would be televised at all, and that ESPN normally doesnít go against ABC in the 3:30 time slot. But ESPN decided to put more games on during the last two weeks of the season. He added that in earlier conversations about an interest in televising the Temple game, Temple officials couldnít deliver a 3:30 time slot for ESPN due to the stadium relationship involving the Philadelphia Eagles. Roth made it a point to clarify that because Temple does not control their own stadium (the Vet), they could not change the start time, and it cost the Big East a VT/Temple television broadcast. That's part of why the Big East is unhappy with Temple and their stadium situation, he said.

At least two callers advocated raising ticket prices next year. "Weíre getting our moneyís worth," one said. Callers made the point that tickets are $38 at Tennessee, $30 at UVa, and $80-100 for NASCAR. Weaver seemed to struggle in holding back his glee over the suggestion, then said that VT would have to do its pricing "in a progressive manner and not overprice our product." Another fan said the fans are still behind the Hokies, because itís impossible to find a UVa or Miami game ticket on the street.

Another fan wondered about the impact of no BCS bowl on revenue that could be applied to stadium construction. Weaver said no bowl money is earmarked for construction, so itís not a factor. Construction money must come from fundraising and the sale of premium seats and luxury boxes. There is consideration of a "capital project assessment of a dollar or two on tickets so that everybody contributes" toward stadium expansion. He indicated that fundraising has been flat from the private sector since the events of Sept. 11. One fan praised the venue of Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, and Weaver said the lead architect for that stadium is the same person involved with VTís stadium project.

Another caller asked about getting an FM station arrangement in the D.C. area. Roth said it would have to be underwritten by a seven- figure commitment from the university, which he indicated would be unlikely.

Monday was Day 765 in Virginia Techís continuous possession of the Commonwealth Cup.

-- GalaxHokie


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