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 page that loads when you click the link)

Tech Sports Tonight (football season only)
(previously Tech Talk Tuesday)
When: every Tuesday from 7:00-8:30
Station:  WXGI AM 950 in Richmond
Internet: (click on WXGI LIVE!)
Local call-in number: 345-0950
Toll free call-in number: 877-994-4950

Monday, September 30, 2002
by Joel Kelly

The Hokie Express rolls on after a 30-0 shutout victory at Western Michigan on Saturday! The team takes a week off to gear up for their nationally televised Big East Conference opener against Boston College. Hokie fans everywhere had questions about Techís suddenly struggling running game and its aching kicking game as the Hokie Hotline was on the air. Bill Roth took your calls and hosted Hokie Head Football Coach Frank Beamer. Also joining the Hotline this evening was Virginia Tech Athletic Director Jim Weaver.

Bill started tonightís Hotline with the news of the day. The Hokies have climbed another spot to #4 in both the USA TODAY/ESPN Coaches Poll and the AP Top 25.

AD Jim Weaverís segment

Jim Weaver was Billís first guest this evening. The first topic of discussion was the trip to Western Michigan and the attendance, or lack thereof. The game initially was billed as a sellout with a possible crowd of anywhere from 30,000 to 35,000. The crowd, however, topped out at around 28,000. In comparison, the Wake Forest/Virginia game only drew 24,000 and the Temple/Cincinnati game had a paltry 18,000.

Mr. Weaver felt that while it wasnít a financial disaster for Western Michigan, it was certainly disappointing. He also stated that after the Ohio University "2 and 1" next season, that Virginia Tech would not sign any more teams from mid-major conferences to 2 games at home and 1 game away, but instead would pay those schools to play one game at Lane Stadium. That would give the fans an extra game at home and allow the athletic department to increase its revenue.

Bill asked Mr. Weaver exactly how much money is paid to a school to make the trip to Lane. He stated that the fee is between $250,000 and $400,000. Bill then stated that a school like Tennessee can pay a team anywhere from $600,000 to $1,000,000 play their game in Knoxville. This is due to the fact that their stadium seats roughly 35,000 more than Lane.

The first call of the night came from John in Leesburg who asked if the recent struggles in the running game came as a result of having too much speed in the backfield hitting the line before a hole develops. While this question was directed at Bill Roth, and was better suited for Coach Beamer, Mr. Weaver chipped in that the Broncos simply had 9 or 10 players crowding the line of scrimmage. He felt that allowed sophomore QB Bryan Randall to control the offensive flow of the game more so than he has all season.

Robin in Blacksburg asked how the recent state budget cuts effect how Mr. Weaver does his job. He offered that when the Commonwealth announced the recent cuts, a memorandum was issued to all auxiliary departments concerning what financial effects these cuts would have. The athletic department does not receive any state funds, so they were not included in the budget revision. However, the athletic department did its share to help other departments of the university by deferring all revenue received from the contract with Coca-Cola, which will result in several million dollars donated to the university over a ten year period.

Yours truly called in (yes me!!!) with a question concerning the possibility of replacing JMU on next yearís schedule with a stronger OOC opponent to help with our strength of schedule in the BCS rankings. Mr. Weaver gave several reasons why this wasnít an option. The first reason is that a replacement game would result in our traveling to another school, and that would throw off the balance of our home/away games. The second reason is the interest in helping a team from the Commonwealth financially. The third reason is that by JMU playing a Division 1-A opponent, it helps the health and structure of not only Division 1-AA, but college football as a whole.

The talk then turned to Notre Dame and comments out of South Bend regarding a 12- vs. a 13-game schedule. Evidently, someone from their athletic department felt that a 13-game schedule results in the exploitation of the student athlete. Mr. Weaver felt this wasnít so. Notre Dameís schedule starts a week later and ends a week sooner than Techís. This results in more games in a shorter time span. The Hokies have a longer season and this allows the games to be spread out. This results in more downtime and healing time for the team. When Mr. Weaver was asked about Notre Dameís plan to appeal to the NCAA if they are not given a BCS game if they donít win more than 9 games, he stated, to the delight of the crowd, that he would lobby to Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese to not allow this to affect Virginia Techís postseason hopes.

Lee in Staunton called in and told about her trip to the ESPN GameZone in Times Square over the weekend. She went to the popular sports bar to catch the Hokies play the Broncos. She was told that the game would be shown on one of the smaller televisions. However, there were so many Hokie fans in attendance that the game was switched to one of the big screens. Hokie fans are everywhere these days.

Sue in Blacksburg called and asked if the Big East, like the SEC, is cracking down on noise makers at the football games. Mr. Weaver stated that "artificial noise" is not a problem at Lane. He was very complimentary of the Hokie fans stating that they know when to cheer at the right times. He continued to say that Kyle Field, in his opinion, was not as loud as Lane. He stated the fans are farther away from the sidelines than the fans are at Lane. He also observed that the fans in College Station are more concerned with the pageantry of their cheers than working the crowd noise into the flow of the game.

Ted in Raleigh called in asking if the emails to the department via the website are read. Mr. Weaver praised the group that is responsible for communicating with fans and he encouraged anyone with any sort of question or suggestion to send them in.

In his closing comments, Mr. Weaver said he will be busy in the off week putting the finishing touches on some possible new OOC opponents, which could be announced in the next week or so. He did say that the schools he is in negotiations with are from the Big-10 and may include Ohio State and Penn State.

Head Football Coach Frank Beamerís segment

Coach Beamerís portion of the show started with Bill Roth commenting on the Hokies' defensive stats, which put them #1 in the country in both rushing and scoring defense. Coach Beamer gave praise not only to his players but to his coaching staff for guiding them through what he feels is the toughest schedule the team has ever played.

Bill then asked about two areas of concern which are normally rock solid for the team: the kicking and running games. The running game he felt suffered due to a lack of mental focus by some the players. He said he wasnít criticizing any oneís play, but he did say that mental errors resulted into a lack of synchronization on the offensive side of the ball. Again, the point was made that both A&M and Western Michigan stacked the line against the run. Coach Beamer did say that he felt better about the offense as a whole as it has progressed through the season.

As far as the kicking game is concerned, Coach Beamer stated that redshirt junior Carter Warley is still suffering from back problems. Last season, he had Warley kick on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, which would give his back time to rest. Redshirt senior Jon Mollerup also had problems on Saturday, missing one field goal and an extra point. Coach Beamer said this problem will be addressed before the Boston College game with the possibility of true freshmen Nic Schmitt or Brandon Pace seeing playing time. This, of course, would result in these players losing their redshirt status.

An email from Glen in Brookdale asked about the ball of orange and maroon shoestrings on the sidelines during games. The good luck charm is a result of an exercise during the very popular Ladyís Football Clinic that Coach Beamer puts on each year. All those in attendance received a shoe string and then joined them together, so the ladies can accompany the Hokies wherever they go.

Jim in Charlottesville called complaining that the ABC affiliate in that part of Virginia wonít televise Virginia Tech football games (thereís a real shock). Coach Beamer and Bill Roth encouraged Hokie fans to call stations they would like to have televise the games. The Texas A&M game was televised in Charlotte, NC in place of the normal ACC Game of the Week because of the flood of calls made to the station and due to the overall popularity the Hokies are enjoying these days.

Jeff in Blacksburg called asking about the grading system that the coaching staff uses to evaluate players after each game. The offense gets graded with checks and minuses while the defense is graded on a point system. Points are awarded for tackles, interceptions, fumbles and other defensive plays. This past week, r-Junior DE Cols Colas received the most points with 54 points. Coach Beamer stated that any player that scores 10 points is viewed as having played a good game. This past weekend, 8 different players scored in double digits using this grading system.

Demetrius from Virginia called in asking if the loss to Syracuse last season resulted in a letdown during the remainder of the season. Coach Beamer felt that even though the Hokies lost to Pittsburgh the following week, it was more of the Panthers playing a flawless game than a lack of focus by the Hokies. He pointed to a win over Virginia and a near upset of eventual national champion Miami as to the Hokies mental state for the remainder of the season.

Wild Bill in Ruckersville called asking about the redshirt tag and the rules that regulate that status. Coach Beamer stated that if a player goes in for one play, he loses his redshirt status. However, if that player was injured and only played in 25% of games during the season, he could apply for a special medical redshirt, and that season would not count against him.

Robin in the audience asked about a recent newspaper article concerning the Hokiesí struggle in the running game. Coach Beamer felt that the offensive line needed to make better decisions and that KJ and Suggs are helping us win, which is the bottom line. He also felt that the passing game was benefiting from the recent focus of teams to stop the run and that Randall is confident, which results in a calm demeanor on the sidelines. He also had 13 broken tackles during the Western Michigan game and protected the ball at the same time.

Jim in New York called in praising the play of walk on redshirt senior LB Alex Markogiannakis in his first start for injured redshirt sophomore LB Mikal Baaqee. He also asked about the play of the secondary and if the Coach was concerned about receivers getting behind the secondary recently. Coach Beamer felt the play of the secondary is fine and the defensive line deserves a lot of credit as their pressure results in the opposing quarterbacks having to rush throws, resulting in overthrown balls.

Bill Roth asked about the use of redshirt sophomore FL Richard Johnson in place of sophomore CB DeAngelo Hall on the punt return team. Coach Beamer stated that the secondary is coached to intercept balls with the thumbs and forefingers together. Hall now uses this technique above his head when fielding punts and Coach Beamer would rather see the more conventional style of bringing the ball into the chest.

John in Blacksburg called in asking if anyone had contacted former Hokie and current Carolina Panther PK Shayne Graham to console him after his missed 27 yard field goal in the waning seconds of regulation against Green Bay. The kick, which would have forced overtime, sailed wide right. Graham joined the Panthers 24 hours before the game at Lambeau in an effort to bolster a struggling kicking game. Coach Beamer said nobody from his staff had talked to Shayne, but felt he was handling the situation properly and he hopes he gets a shot with the Panthers.

Errol in Mechanicsville asked about Hokie attendance at the Western Michigan game and if the offensive game plan will change for the Boston College game. Bill Roth stated that 1,200 tickets were sold for the WMU game. Coach Beamer stated that the offensive game plan will open up for the game against the Eagles next week.

The Hotline wrapped up this evening with questions about the injury situation. Coach Beamer said theyíd know in a few weeks if junior DT "Big" Jimmy Williams will take a redshirt this season. Redshirt freshmen OL Curtis Bradley is still recovering from health problems he suffered during the preseason, and doctors have not cleared him to practice at this time. Redshirt junior C Jake Grove is having problems with back spasms, although they donít seem to be as serious as they were last season.

Junior DE Jim Davis is still nursing a sprained ankle, which has limited his ability to push off from the line. K Carter Warley, redshirt sophomore LB Mike Daniels, and redshirt sophomore LB Mikal Baaqee are also suffering from injuries, although no mention was made if any of the players listed above would be unavailable for the Boston College game.

The Hokies had Monday off. Game week preparations will start on Saturday since the BC game is on Thursday of next week.

Tech Notes:

  • There is Hokie football in Lane this week. The JV will play Fork Union at 1 PM on Friday. Admission is free. Some current players, like freshman TB Mike Imoh, will play in the game.
  • Monday was Day 1,095 of Virginia Tech's continuous possession of the Commonwealth Cup, and Day 1,441 in possession of the Black Diamond Trophy.

-- JKHokie


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