The Hokie Hotline (football and basketball season)
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Tech Talk Tuesday (football season only)
December 17, 2001
Virginia Tech Athletic Director Jim Weaver, FSU radio announcer Gene Deckerhoff, and Tech assistant basketball coaches Randy Peele and Steve Lytton were the guests for Monday nightís Hokie Hotline radio show.
Athletic Director Jim Weaver
Most of Jim Weaverís first segment was devoted to the George OíLeary situation at Notre Dame. He said that he felt bad for George, but that he felt worse for Notre Dame. He said he felt as if George had somewhat brought this on himself, based on the information that was available. Later, he and Bill Roth discussed that this will be a bad situation for the perception of college coaches across the country.
Weaver said that Doug Doughty called him recently and asked if this incident would cause Virginia Tech to do anything differently. He said that he didnít think so, because thereís nothing to change. The first two steps that he goes through in a hiring situation are to check with the NCAA on any potential violations and request official transcripts from the schools involved. He reiterated, as he has in the past, that thereís not a better group of coaches in the country than those at Virginia Tech. He said they care about the student-athletes.
Weaver said that he thought the main issue in this entire situation was academic fraud. He said there would not necessarily be an issue if there was an inaccuracy in a resume, but that when thereís an issue with a masterís degree, as in this case, it canít be overlooked in a college coaching position.
When asked, he suggested that Tyrone Willingham of Stanford could be an excellent candidate, but he admitted to not knowing whether there had been any issues as a result of the first round of the search. He also confirmed that he had given permission for Notre Dame to speak to Frank Beamer, but that the discussions never amounted to anything because Coach Beamer wants to stay at Virginia Tech. There was also a discussion of how much money Notre Dame had to spend, based on buying out the contracts of both Bob Davie and George OíLeary. Weaver listed some of the revenue sources that Notre Dame has, and then suggested that Notre Dame might not have to be the one to buy out Coach OíLearyís contract. He suggested that lawyers might get involved in that issue.
During the conversation, Bill Roth brought up the contract talks with Coach Beamer at the end of last season. Weaver said that there had been 5-6 months of work on the contracts and that he never thought that Coach Beamer would leave. As it turned out, he said, there may have been one or two issues that may have eventually caused him to leave, but that he was not made aware of them until after the fact. All of those issues were resolved, however.
There were a number of questions from callers and the audience on a variety of topics. Following are Weaverís responses to these questions:
There have been discussions with the architects on the acoustics of the new seating configuration in Lane Stadium, but a series of testing must be performed in order to determine if any changes need to be made to the sound system. There is extra capacity if that becomes necessary.
Rickey Bustle will stay with the Hokies as the offensive coordinator through the Gator Bowl. He will return to the team later this week. As the new offensive coordinator for next season, Coach Stinespring will have a role in selecting the new quarterbacks coach to replace that part of Bustleís duties.
Weaver said that he was not aware of Bud Foster being offered a head coaching position, as one caller said was reported in the newspaper. He also said that Foster has stated that heís had no conversations with Georgia Tech with regard to their coaching vacancy.
Another caller asked about a potential Ohio State vs. Virginia Tech game that was being reported on some Ohio State message boards. Weaver said that the first he heard about it was from Jimmy Robertson last week. He said that there is nothing to it at this time and that the schedule for next season is formidable enough without adding a game with Ohio State. He also brought up the BCA game against East Carolina in 2004, and said that before even entertaining the possibility of a pre-season game this year, that heíd have to consult with the NCAA on whether hosting that game would be jeopardized.
Weaver acknowledged that a new bowl in Charlotte being sponsored by Raycom would likely be one of the five Big East bowls, and would replace the Music City Bowl, which has signed a contract for the SEC and Big Ten for 2002. When asked if there was another bowl agreement in the works to bring the total back up to five, he said that the Big East would simply be looking to maintain the total of five bowls that it had through this season.
On the issue of using Big East basketball money to fund additional scholarships, Weaver said that the answer was yes and no. There is work being done to increase the funding of menís soccer, which is being accomplished by adjusting in-state vs. out-of-state scholarships, but that additional funding was tied into Title IX compliance. Currently, he said that all of the womenís sports were fully funded, but that not all menís sports were. (He mentioned track, wrestling, soccer and swimming as the menís sports that were not fully-funded.) In order to increase funding to menís sports, other adjustment, such as adding another womenís sport, would be required, and thatís not the direction that the department wants to go.
Another caller offered a BCS playoff proposal that would involve a 16-team playoff, including the bowls. Weaver said that there had been no complaints to the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) on the current state of the BCS, but he admitted that he thinks that there will eventually be some sort of a playoff.
The final caller asked about requesting that the conference not schedule Tech to have home conference basketball games scheduled near bowl time, so that fans returning from the bowl games would not have to miss any of the basketball games. Weaver said that scheduling in a 14-team league was a difficult issue, but that there have been discussions to that effect for the future.
Weaver also addressed a few other issues, such as the Florida State basketball game, which would be held in Tallahassee rather than being transferred to Jacksonville, as was done in 1995 in New Orleans. He said that in this case, Florida State is the home team, unlike in 1995, and that they wanted the game to remain in Tallahassee. He also acknowledged the crowd that attended the menís game over the weekend against Radford. He said that it was clearly the best crowd of the season so far.
Weaver concluded his remarks by wishing all Hokie fans a happy holiday season.
Gene Deckerhoff -- Voice of the Seminoles
The next guest on the program was the "voice of the Seminoles," Gene Deckerhoff, who joined the program by phone from his home. On the subject of FSU football, he began by acknowledging that four losses are not a common occurrence for their team, but pointed out that two of the losses were to Miami and Florida who were both playing in BCS bowls, one for the national championship.
The other two were somewhat more difficult to explain, he said. The UNC game was the week after the games canceled due to the September 11th attacks, a player had been seriously injured in a shooting incident, and they were starting a freshman quarterback, who had not played a lot up to that point. The NC State game was more puzzling, since it represented the first-ever homecoming loss in the Bowden era, and the first-ever home loss to an ACC opponent. He said that the Tech coaching staff should probably be watching that game tape for clues on how to beat the Seminoles in the Gator Bowl. He also pointed out that NC State coach Chuck Amato, a former FSU assistant, is undefeated as a head coach in Tallahassee.
The last time FSU played in the Gator Bowl was 1985 against Oklahoma State and their excellent running back attack. The following year, they played in the All-American Bowl before beginning their New Yearís Day bowl streak in 1987. He also mentioned Bobby Bowdenís comments this summer that the ACC would have to get them this year, since many have said that their team will be very strong next season.
On the basketball season, he acknowledged that the team has had some difficult times recently, especially a loss at home to Western Carolina, and is now just 3-4. He admitted that the alumni are starting to get a little restless with current coach Steve Robinson, and commented on their point-guard, who earned his fifth year of eligibility by graduating in four years after beginning his career as a partial- qualifier.
Tech Menís Basketball
Coach Stokes was out recruiting on Monday, so two of his assistant coaches, Randy Peele and Steve Lytton, took his place. Peele said he thought the team had taken some steps in the right direction this season, especially in regard to some of their statistics, which were near the top in the NCAA. He admitted, though, that the coaches had felt that the schedule was in their favor and that they had looked toward being 8-4 or 9-3 by the end of December. Teams in power conferences that are above .500, he said, are quite often invited to the NIT. While he didnít say that was a team goal, the implication seemed clear.
He said that a lot of the problems go back to injuries and some of the uncertainty of who would be available in some of the games, such as the tournament in Louisville. He reiterated Coach Stokesí comments last week that the depth created by these injuries will be good for the team in the long run.
Roth asked about turnovers and why there had been so many. Peele answered that it wasnít a single thing, but that decision-making and fundamentals were the two main reasons, and that many times the players were pressing too much. He also explained the coachesí reasoning behind having Bryant Matthews handle the in-bound responsibilities, given his high number on turnovers. These included allowing the best ball-handlers to receive the in-bound pass, and taking advantage of his height in different in-bound defenses. He said that Matthews needs to slow down a little bit, but pointed out that a lot of his turnovers came early in the season on transition opportunities.
On the injury front, he said that the coaches expect Carlos Dixon to return for the Connecticut game after the first of the year, but that the FSU game would be a best-case scenario. In response to a callerís question, he said that Coach Stokes has not officially announced the new recruits because he is waiting for the best time to release the names. Bill Roth acknowledged that some have been discussed informally, such as last week on the show. Roth also seemed to imply that another player would be available for the FSU game, but that his name could not be mentioned prior to the official end of the semester due to NCAA rules on the matter.
Steve Lytton joined the show, and ran through the team schedule over the next few days. He also mentioned Eric Branhamís situation with his hand injuries, which he broke once and then re-broke in Louisville.
In the final segment of the broadcast, Bill Roth mentioned one of FSUís players who is nicknamed "Big Jelly." Heís 6í-9" and weighs 335 pounds. The coaches said they expect an up-tempo game and one that will provide good competition for the team as they prepare to enter conference play.
-- Apex Hokie