The Hokie Hotline (football and basketball season)
When: every Monday from 7:00-8:30
Click here for a list of radio stations, and to find the link for listening to the show on the Internet (look to the right on the hokiesports.com page that loads when you click the link)
Tech Sports Tonight (football season only)
Monday, September 2, 2002
Tonightís Hokie Hotline had to be one of the most anticipated in recent memory. To the cheers of Hokie fans everywhere, Bill Roth took phone calls from the Gobblertown Tavern and had Virginia Tech Head Football Coach Frank Beamer tackle such issues as the Hokies big win over LSU, the quarterback situation, and the upcoming tilt with Marshall on September 12th. Athletic Director Jim Weaver joined the program as well.
Bill Roth started the broadcast with some general news of the day. Senior QB Grant Noel is having an arthroscopic procedure Tuesday, and sophomore signal caller Brian Randall is now the starting QB for the Marshall game. The newest polls were released and the Hokies are #10 in the USAToday/ESPN Coaches poll, and #12 in the AP. Sophomore punter Vinnie Burns and junior defensive end Jim Davis both garnered Big East players of the Week honors. Burns, who averaged 44.7 yards a kick on nine punts, was named Special Teams Player of the Week. Davis, who had three QB sacks in the game versus LSU, received defensive player honors.
The first guest on the Hotline for Labor Day was Virginia Tech Athletic Director Jim Weaver. Billís first question for the AD was about the early reviews for the South End Zone. Weaver stated that except for some minor suggestions, the SEZ is a success.
Chris in Blacksburg called with the first question of the night and it concerned, much to Mr. Weaverís delight, something other than the painting of the endzones. It instead dealt with the possibility of college football adopting a twelve game season in the near future. Mr. Weaver thought that while the Hokies play twelve games in 2002 (ASU was a late addition), 2003, 2008, and 2013, that some football purists believe a 12 game season is too long. He did offer that he thought the idea was getting a lot of support. This support does not only come from the conferences with a BCS affiliation, but from the mid-level and base conferences as well who need that twelfth game to generate extra revenue that is vital to smaller schools with smaller revenue streams.
An email was sent to the show voicing consistency when it comes to dedicating travel lanes to incoming traffic for football games. Evidently there were fewer lanes in some parts of the campus for football fans traveling to the LSU game then there were for the ASU contest. Mr. Weaver stressed that the athletic department had no voice in these decisions. The authorities in this matter are state and local police who review the situation week by week and make adjustments accordingly.
Francis from Culpepper called in voicing concern over Hokie fans who boo the opposing team as they enter the field. Mr. Weaver thought it was a little difficult for him to control all 65,000 fans from his seat, but he understood that this happens not only to visiting teams, but to the Hokies when they are the visiting team at opposing stadiums.
Mike in Roanoke called with a comment heard during the TCU/Cincinnati game, which was played on Labor Day. He stated the commentators questioned aloud why anyone would want to play the Hokies in Blacksburg, especially as a season opener. Mr. Weaver felt that Tech has a significant home field advantage and that itís not a secret anymore. He felt that the atmosphere, coupled with the "knowledge of the fans", makes Lane Stadium a dangerous place to play.
Bill Roth asked Mr. Weaver if a win like the LSU game makes his job harder when it comes to scheduling. He offered that it did, but a part of that difficulty comes from his refusal to sign "2 and 1ís" with the traditional powers of college football. While he declined to name schools that had rejected Techís invitation to enter a "1 and 1" contract, he said that our sister schools in the Big East do make such concessions to play at an opposing schools site twice while only getting a visit from that opponent once.
After a break, Bill Roth asked AD Weaver about the newly approved West Side expansion and how he felt about the amended plans to upgrade that side of the Stadium. Mr. Weaver said that the Central Administration and the Board of Visitors felt that the amount of money needed for the desired upgrade to 70,000 seats would be $75 million. Of that amount, the athletic department would be accountable for raising $35-$40 million, and he felt that amount was an excessive burden on his department. Destruction of the press box alone makes up over half of that number: $25 million.
He did offer that he felt that expansion would be necessary, but that the current economic climate in the Commonwealth was too strained to for the Governor to approve the previous plan. Current bonds are targeted for educational projects, and Mr. Weaver felt that was where the money needed to be spent.
Yvonne called in asking if a change could be made in next yearís home schedule to improve the quality of opponent that will be visiting Lane Stadium. Currently UConn, JMU, and Central Florida are part of the contingent which will be coming to Blacksburg. Mr. Weaver said that no changes can be made.
Mr. Weaver offered that former AD Dave Braine set up the current 2 and 1 with Central Florida. The University of Connecticut must make a mandatory visit to each member of the Big East Football Conference before becoming a permanent member in 2005. Last yearís game did not count towards that stipulation, as Mr. Weaver had made that game a part of the Hokiesí home schedule as a "filler" game 18 months before the game was played.
As far as JMU is concerned, a Division 1-A football team may play a Division I-AA team every four years and have that game count towards the seven-win minimum required for bowl consideration. Mr. Weaver stated he picked JMU because they are a Virginia university that can benefit from the money they make from coming to play the Hokies at Lane Stadium.
A caller asked if all the games for this season are sold out. Mr. Weaver stated that Marshall is virtually sold out, and that WVU and the UVa game will approach sellout status. He did say that season tickets are available for Rutgers, Temple, and Pitt. The status of selling out these games probably depends on selling the Goal Line tickets, which are located in the new South End Zone. Mr. Weaver reiterated that he would not sell these seats as single game tickets as there is a per seat premium of $200 attached to these seats, and he would not compromise the contributions made by fans who have purchased seats in this section.
Marc and Jenny emailed from Florida asking if the Hokies would be playing the team in Gainesville any time soon. Mr. Weaver stated that our schedule was full from now until 2013. He did offer that some opponents on the docket include Texas A&M, Wisconsin, Auburn, NC State, North Carolina, LSU, Illinois and that he is working on Penn State and Ohio State. The mention of Penn State and Ohio State was somewhat of a surprise as these are schools that Hokies fans would like to see on the schedule.
The man of the hour, Hokies head football coach Frank Beamer joined the Hotline and was received by a nice ovation. When asked if he enjoyed the game as much as the fans, he said he did for the most part, although he was pretty nervous during the game. However, as the game went on, he felt that the Hokies were really controlling the game in all areas.
He thought all areas of the team played well, although he thought Tech needed a little more consistency on offense. He really was pleased with the speed and conditioning of the defense, and credited Mike Gentry for getting the team in great shape. Players he singled out as having a good game were redshirt junior center Jake Grove, redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Kevin Lewis, redshirt junior linebacker Vegas Robinson, and redshirt junior defensive end Cols Colas.
Mark in Roanoke called with a question concerning the success of Tech's defensive line over LSUís bigger offensive line. Coach Beamer credited strength coach Mike Gentry and defensive line Coach Charley Wiles for much of that success. He also felt that bigger, at times, does not necessarily mean better when you are talking linemen. He offered center Jake Grove as an example. Grove, a 300 lb. Center, is a big guy who can move his feet well. Coach Beamer felt that in many situations, coaches value size and put less of a premium on mobility. He felt that LSU is a good football team and the Hokies took it to them on Sunday.
Bill Roth asked Coach Beamer about a comment he made concerning the youth of the team stating, "In the absence of experience, Iíll take talent." Coach Beamer mentioned some true or redshirt freshman that have all ready seen playing time this year: DT Jonathan Lewis, DE Darryl Tapp, FS Jimmy Williams, WR/RB Mike Imoh, FL Justin Hamilton, and LB James Anderson. He felt that successful recruiting is the key to the contributions that these young men have made towards the football team this season.
He felt we need to continue to develop young talent and that the future looks good. Coach Beamer stated that a hundred recruits were at the game yesterday and that they participated in "The Walk", the pre-game stroll to Lane Stadium before the game.
Coach Beamer then addressed the QB situation. Grant Noel will have his knee scoped Tuesday morning at 8 AM. According to Coach, Noel tweaked his knee in the first series of the game, and came out after the second. He may or may not be back as the backup QB to starter Bryan Randall for the Marshall game. It appears more likely he will be available for the Texas A&M contest September 21st. If not, it is possible that Marcus Vick would see playing time.
Scott emailed a question concerning the conversation between Coach Beamer and LSU Head Coach Nick Saban on the field before Sundayís game. Coach Beamer said its normal coach chit chat that can be a little forced at times. He said Coach Saban is a coach that he doesnít know all that well and that the LSU coach was very complimentary of the upgrades to Lane Stadium that have been made since he had last visited the stadium as an assistant.
Coach Beamer stated he really likes to check out the opposing team during their warm-ups and really doesnít like to wish opposing coaches "Good Luck" before the game, because, "Öyou donít really mean it." When asked what he does say, he offered he "hopes for a good game and that everyone stays healthy."
Bill Roth asked the Coach about a prediction he made to Justin Hamilton that Hamilton would block a punt that day. Coach Beamer said he had seen the possibility for blocking a punt and thought we had a good shot at doing just that. He also said that while the punt blocking team was young, it was filled with guys that are tall who can run. He offered that when you "just miss" blocking a punt, itís not by much and taller players can make the difference.
Dave in Salem asked about the strength of the defensive line. Coach Beamer thought that redshirt sophomore DT Kevin Lewis and redshirt sophomore DT Jason Lallis played well. He pointed out that Lallis, who weighs 250 pounds, was giving up about 50 pounds to the Tiger lineman. Dave, who evidently worked the LSU sideline in some capacity, stated that the LSU players where "sucking wind" when they came off the field. Coach Beamer said that the proper conditioning and the number of players the Hokies use helps keep the team fresh.
Jeff in Christiansburg asked about last seasonís contest for naming "The Walk." While some names like the "Turkey Trot" or the "Hokie Hike" were considered, Coach Beamer liked the name "The Walk." He offered that like the Hokies, the name wasnít flashy, but it fits the team and we win football games.
Ethan from Blacksburg asked about the offensive game plan the team would use against Marshall. Coach Beamer thought that since he knew Randall would be the QB going into the game, it would be a little easier to devise the game plan. He felt the passing game is improving and that the receivers are improving. He also offered that the offensive line has done a solid job when it comes to protection.
Gary in Blacksburg asked why LSU didnít take more shots downfield with Ronyell Whitaker serving the final game of his two game suspension. Coach Beamer thought that the pressure put on the LSU QB limited the ability for plays to develop down the field. He also likes the fact that the LSU receivers didnít get a lot of yards after the catch.
Gary also asked about the successful two-point conversion and why the Hokies didnít use a man on man defense in that situation. Coach Beamer offered that a defender shadowing that man in motion, who caught the conversion, is more likely to get "picked" by the offense and that zone coverage is more successful in defending a two-point conversion.
Kevin in Greensboro called in and asked about the play of the secondary. Coach Beamer stated the really liked the play of redshirt sophomore CB Vinnie Fuller and called him a "solid guy with a solid game." He also thought redshirt junior CB Garnell Wilds played well and that sophomore CB DeAngelo Hall continues his stellar play.
Lee from Coco Beach, Florida called asking about the responsibilities of student-athletes on game days that fall in the middle of the week. Coach Beamer stated that the team, even when it doesnít travel, likes to get the team off by themselves the night and day before a game. Dorm and apartment life can get loud and the team needs its rest and to prepare mentally. The team has dinner and spends the night before a game in a hotel and spends the day of the game together. In those cases, players are excused from class.
Bill Roth ended tonightís Hotline with a question about injuries. Coach Beamer stated that redshirt junior DE Nathaniel Adibi sprained an ankle and junior DE Jim Davis suffered a shoulder bruise, although he played in the second half. Other than that, the team is healthy, will practice the next several days, take a day or two off, and then start game preparations for Marshall.