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

Monday, January 14, 2002
by Apex Hokie

Mondayís Hokie Hotline featured athletic director Jim Weaver and menís basketball coach Ricky Stokes. Mr. Weaver discussed various topics within Tech athletics, while Coach Stokes spoke of the menís basketball team.

News of the Day

The womenís basketball team entered the newly released AP Top 25 at number 21, and is now ranked number 20 in the coachís poll.

Erin Gibson was named Big East Rookie of the Week, the first time a Tech womenís basketball player has earned that honor.

Andre Davis was recognized at the NCAA Honors Banquet in Indianapolis on Sunday and gave the acceptance speech for all the recipients.

Virginia Tech Football

Much of the first half of the show was focused on various aspects related to the football team -- from scheduling to the new south end zone expansion to bowl tie-ins and beyond. On the scheduling front, the 2002 Big East football schedule is being finalized and is expected to be released soon. Weaver thinks that it is possible that the Tech-Miami match-up could be the final game of the season, which would be an early December game. One of the problems that may be holding up the release of the schedule is the difficulties inherent in Templeís stadium situation.

The next topic of discussion was the south end zone expansion -- the Game Plan. Many of the specifics of the program have been discussed and are available on the programís web site, so I wonít get into a lot of the details related to that. However, Weaver did indicate that Tech needs to sell out the 2200 seats available in the Game Plan sections in order to pay off the debt service on the financed portion of the cost of the expansion.

A total of $21 million is being financed for this project, and of the $15 million that must be raised from private sources, a total of $12 million has already been raised. There have already been approximately 200 seats reserved in the end zone in the short time since it was announced, and a majority of the luxury suites has also been sold (10 of 14, sources told TSL). The seating capacity for this fall will be 63,459, and the ultimate seating capacity after the west side expansion will be 66,233.

With regard to bowl tie-ins for the Big East, the line-up for next season appears to be (1) the BCS bowl, (2) Gator Bowl, (3) Bowl, and (4) the new bowl in Charlotte. There is a possibility that something could develop in Orlando, but at this point Weaver thinks that it will be a Big XII - ACC match-up.

He also said that he doesnít think there will be any change in the bowl selection process, despite some recent comments by the Syracuse athletic director. Crowds matter, he said, and Tech has been able to bring the crowds to places like Jacksonville for the Gator Bowl. He said that he understands the sentiment from Syracuse, since the same thing affected Tech last year in the Fiesta Bowl selection, but he still sees no change on the horizon.

When asked if he thought the Tech fans would attend a third straight Gator Bowl if it became a reality after next season, Weaver said that he thought they would go and would enjoy the Gator Bowl once again; however, he pointed out that this would be the situation in which a trade might be advantageous in order to enhance the appeal for all parties. He said that he thought the bowls needed to be given a little more autonomy in order to strengthen their economic position.

Later in the show, he responded to a question about Notre Dameís tie- in with the Big East by reminding everyone that, when the contracts were last signed, the conference needed the leverage that Notre Dame provided in order to sign the bowls.

Virginia Tech Menís Basketball

Coach Ricky Stokes joined the show next to discuss his team. He said that practice went well today and that he had been pleased with the effort in the Miami game. He had not been happy following the Connecticut game and had talked to the players in an attempt to motivate them to improve over the remainder of the season.

Bill Roth said that he had recently talked to two coaches with more than 400 wins each about the Tech program. One said that he thought the team was one quality point guard away from winning 18 games. The other said that they were a full class away from being a good team, and that no one on the current team would start for a quality Big East team. He asked Coach Stokes about these two diverse opinions and asked if the truth lay somewhere in the middle. Stokes chose to comment on the point guard situation, reminding the audience that Eric Branhamís hand injury had held him back from being the player that the coaches think he could be.

On recruiting, Roth and Stokes discussed Techís situation in which seven players have committed, while only five will enter on just four scholarships. They said that there are a lot of things that could happen, including playing in prep school, paying the tuition themselves, etc. Stokes said that he has always been able to work these situations out in the past with help from people within the universityís administration.

Members of the audience asked a variety of questions on the menís team, including why the names arenít on the back of the jerseys, why Bryant Matthews wears a different type of shoe than the rest of the team, and the status of Nana. Stokes said that the coaches wanted to try something different with the uniforms, and mentioned that Matthews wears a different type of shoe as a result of his foot injury. He also said that Nana is recovering from his knee surgery and is doing well.

Tech will play Villanova on Tuesday in Cassell Coliseum at 7:30 pm, and the game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN2. Villanova leads the conference in several offensive categories, including field goal percentage, 3-point field goal percentage, free throw percentage and rebound margin, but is last in the conference in turnover margin, which has hurt the team, especially when the point guard is in foul trouble. Villanova typically uses a man-to-man defense, but Stokes says that he expects them to use some zone defenses due to Techís recent shooting problems. Villanova enters the game at 9-4 overall, and 2-2 in conference. Tech is currently 6-10 overall.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • The 2001 Tech football highlight video, "Keep On Rolling," will premiere after next weekís Hokie Hotline.
  • The NCAA had discussions recently on possibly reducing the role of computers in the BCS selection process for the national championship game.
  • In one recent pre-season ranking for the 2002 football season, Tech was ranked number 7.
  • Thanks to Wandering Hokie for filling in for me during my absence last week. Hopefully, there wonít be any more last minute trips to Ann Arbor scheduled that interfere with Hokie Hotline. Some things are just too important to miss!
  • Monday was Day 828 in Virginia Techís continuous possession of the Commonwealth Cup, and Day 1,172 in Tech's possession of the Black Diamond Trohpy.

-- Apex Hokie


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