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Tech Sports Tonight (football season only)
(previously Tech Talk Tuesday)
When: every Tuesday from 7:00-9:00
Station:  WXGI AM 950 in Richmond
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Local call-in number: 345-0950
Toll free call-in number: 877-994-4950

Monday, January 6, 2003
by Will Stewart,

Monday's guests were quarterbacks coach Kevin Rogers, women's basketball coach Bonnie Henrickson, and men's basketball coach Ricky Stokes. The bulk of this recap will focus on the appearance by Coach Rogers, with a few basketball notes.

Notes on NFL Hokies

With the Atlanta Falcons' victory over Green Bay last weekend, Michael Vick became the first former Hokie to win an NFL playoff game as the starting quarterback since Don Strock filled in for an injured Bob Griese in a 1970's Miami Dolphins playoff game and won it.

Keion Carpenter (Atlanta) became the first former Hokie to intercept two passes in an NFL playoff game.

Andre Davis (Cleveland) became the first Hokie since Antonio Freeman to catch a pass in an NFL playoff game (2 catches for 65 yards and a TD).

Kevin Rogers' Segment

Rogers stated that he had never seen a quarterback improve as much as Bryan Randall did this season. He said that at first, he was not sure that Randall was cut out to be a Division 1-A quarterback when he (Rogers) scouted him for Notre Dame, and when he (Rogers) arrived at Tech. But Randall improved a lot and had a good season.

Bill said that of six up-and-coming athletes tabbed by the Sporting News to watch for next year, across all sports, they included Marcus Vick.

Roth asked what Rogers will say to Randall heading into spring practice, where there will be a competition between Marcus Vick and Randall for the starting job. Rogers said that the starting QB job is Randall's to lose, and that ordinarily, he would be a redshirt-freshman, and that he is still young.

Eric called in and asked if there was any area in which the Hokies could have done better against Air Force. Rogers said that Air Force is a tough draw, because of their unusual offensive and defensive schemes. He said the Tech coaches were completely happy with the way the team played in the bowl game. In response to another question, he said that the field was like ice, it was so slippery. They got as many kids in long cleats as they could.

Mike from Roanoke called and asked if Marcus beats Bryan out, will Randall be moved to defense? Rogers said that VT couldn't afford to do that, for fear that the "backup" will get hurt at his new position and not be available to play QB if needed.

Bill asked for Rogers' thoughts on the upcoming Atlanta-Philadelphia playoff game between Donovan McNabb and Michael Vick. Rogers said that McNabb had invited him and his family up for the game, and that he would go and root for McNabb, but that he has a "soft spot" for Vick, having recruited Vick when he was coaching at Syracuse.

Bill asked Rogers to talk about his first year at VT, and Rogers praised Coach Beamer as a great guy to work for. He also said it was one of the first places he had been where the coaches and players were on the same page, and it wasn't an "us versus them" mentality.

He said that the QB coaching job was an "adjustment" because he had been offensive coordinator at his last couple of jobs, Syracuse and Notre Dame, and at Tech he was just "trying to be a good team member."

Roth asked what sort of job Rogers thought offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring did in his first year. Rogers replied that he thought Stinespring did a great job, and that it's difficult for offensive line coaches to become offensive coordinators, because they "live in world of inside drill," of running between the tackles. He said that Stinespring did a better job of expanding his outlook, as well as the offense, as the season went on.

Barrett (?) in Blacksburg called and said that whoever wound up starting at quarterback, Tech would have a heck of a backup. Rogers agreed, and added that Tech is trying to get a starter "worth the price of admission, someone people come to see, in the same way people came to see Michael [Vick] play."

Barrett then asked Rogers to compare Marcus to McNabb and Michael. Rogers said that he could only compare him to those two at the same stage of their careers. He did not coach Michael as a true freshman, of course, but that Michael was one of the better passers he had ever seen in high school. He said McNabb was a playmaker at that age, but was a "raw" thrower.

Roth asked Rogers what Marcus needs to improve upon. Rogers said there were a couple of things: sometimes his left arm doesn't get out of the way when he throws, so he doesn't follow through properly with his [right] throwing arm and get maximum velocity and accuracy. He also said that since Marcus is six feet tall, you'd like to see his elbow get up over his shoulder, but that Marcus sidearms it sometimes, "making him a little shorter."

He said that Marcus is extremely accurate and can throw the long ball. He should, after winter workouts, be one of the fastest guys on the team. He is also an instinctive ballplayer.

Cameron in Mechanicsville called and asked if a QB rotation was possible. He also noted that ESPN et al made every effort to show Marcus during games, even though he wasn't playing. He asked if that put undue pressure on Marcus.

Rogers said that VT will not have a "two-quarterback system." He said that he worried how the attention on Marcus affects Bryan, because it's a foregone conclusion by a lot of people that Marcus will start next year, and Bryan has to be the guy that knows that VT will put the QB on the field that will help win the most games.

Rogers said that Marcus is "oblivious" to the pressure placed on him and doesn't feel the need to live up to Michael.

He later reiterated that Bryan is the starter, and that it is Marcus' job to unseat him.

Paul in Roanoke asked if VT got a satisfactory explanation of why Wilford's end zone catch in the bowl game was called an incompletion. The referees told the VT coaches that it was a "simultaneous catch," and that both players came down out of bounds.

Brian in Chesterfield called in (audio was very poor on his call) and talked about how difficult an offense N.C. State, for example, was to prepare for, with their ball distribution and misdirection He asked what it would take to get VT to have that varied of an offense. Rogers said it has a lot to do with matchups, and that that NCSU offense "didn't look that good against Virginia." He went on to say that he thinks the VT offense will evolve more next year, and he expects the offense to be more varied next year.

Roth asked Rogers which of the redshirts impressed him the most in scout team practices, and Rogers said, "Whoa, Aaron Rouse. He's like a heat-seeking missile. If you like what you saw from free safety Jimmy Williams in the bowl game, I think you're talking about a similar type of player." He said that Rouse reminds him of former Syracuse linebacker Keith Bullock, that "he can run real fast, and he arrives in a bad mood." Rouse is playing whip linebacker right now, but he could be an inside or outside linebacker.

Rogers also said he was impressed with defensive tackle Isaac Montgomery, a transfer from UNC. He said Montgomery is 6-4, 305, and "could be a good player for us."

Bonnie Henrickson's Segment

Roth spoke to Coach Henrickson via phone from Philadelphia, where the Tech women were preparing to play Villanova (the Hokie women lost to Villanova the next night, 62-60). Her call was very brief:

  • Bonnie said that there's no reason they can pin down for junior forward Ieva Kublina's struggles (she's averaging just 13.2 points per game, after averaging 15.6 last season, 17.5 in conference play), but that her offensive struggles are starting to affect the other parts of her game.
  • Bonnie noted that sophomore center Erin Gibson is having a great year so far (scoring average is 13.1 points per game, versus 6.3 last year), that she is vastly underrated as a post defender and has quicker feet than most people think. Offensively, she has started to hit the mid-range jumper, a shot that she didn't even take last season.

Ricky Stokes' Segment

Coach Stokes was on for the last 45 minutes of the show. He and Bill Roth spent a lot of time talking about Big East players and teams, and there was a segment were the new "Beamer's" restaurant was talked about at length.

The new AP poll came out before the broadcast, and three of the top six teams were Big East teams (UConn #3, Pittsburgh, #5, and Notre Dame #6). Pittsburgh was in the process of defeating Notre Dame while the broadcast was in progress.

Nick in Covington called in and said he "wasn't real excited about the team," and said that things "didn't seem to be better than last year. You're the coach, why don't you tell me what is better this year." (spoken in a non-confrontational voice).

Stokes said in reply that the turnover statistic has improved (VT's turnovers per game have dropped from 19.1 last year to 13.9 through 11 games this year), but that VT has not pushed the ball as much as they would like. He said they need to shoot better, rebound better, and "push the ball. This team is at its best when it's out breaking and running." He said they need to be more consistent defensively.

"Should Tech fans be concerned?" Roth asked. In response, Stokes said that he liked the team, that they are still practicing hard, and that many of the players continue to get better, and some of them have a lot of experience in Big East play. "This team has not given up, and they like their chances in any game they play."

Jeff in Knoxville called and asked about a player that VT signed last year that had to go to prep school (Winston Robinson, though Jeff didn't mention him by name, and Stokes couldn't, per NCAA rules). He is playing and starting at a JUCO school, Stokes said, and VT continues to recruit him.

Stokes then talked about the two players who signed with VT during the early signing period:

  • Point guard Jamon Gordon from Florida led a four-day holiday tournament in scoring recently (he's still a senior in high school). He is 6-3, likes to penetrate, and is one of the top guards in Florida.
  • Stokes also talked about Coleman Collins, a 16-year old, 6-9 post player from Georgia with perimeter skills who can step out and shoot. He's a great student, with about a 1400 on his SAT's.

Tech Notes

Next Monday's show will originate from Hartford, Connecticut, and in two weeks, they will broadcast from Beamer's restaurant.

Monday was Day 1,190 of Tech's continuous possession of the Commonwealth Cup.

- Will


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