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 7:00-9:00
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, January 13, 2003
by Will Stewart,

Monday night's show originated from Hartford, Connecticut, where the men's basketball team was preparing to play against Connecticut the next night. The show featured Virginia Tech Athletic Director Jim Weaver, and a brief appearance via phone by women's basketball coach Bonnie Henrickson.

These notes will concentrate on the appearance by Weaver and will include some basketball notes.

Football News

The Tech football team currently has 17 verbal commitments from recruits, and some big names are still out there. The coaches are on the road this week, trying to wrap up some commitments. Running backs Coach Billy Hite was mentioned as being on the road to Ohio and South Carolina this week.

It was reiterated that Bryan Randall is the starting QB. He got a lot of great experience last year, playing a pivotal role in 13 of Tech's 14 games (Ark. State being the exception).

Roth once again drew the parallel between the 1998 Hokies and the 2002 Hokies (close losses, most players coming back the following year, a redshirt freshman Vick), but noted that 2003 won't necessarily be another 1999, because the 1999 team had an outstanding defense. Roth asked Burnop how good the 2003 Hokie defense can be. Burnop said a lot of it depends upon how healthy they stay (the 1999 defense had no major injuries). He noted that when the Hokies went undefeated, it took some luck (Burnop talked about the WVU win, but I would call that two great plays -- Vick's scamper and Graham's field goal -- more than luck).

Women's Basketball

Bonnie Henrickson joined the broadcast via phone from Blacksburg. The team had just finished up a two-game road swing, losing to #22 Villanova 62-60 and #3 Connecticut, 69-57.

Henrickson said that the team, particularly the young perimeter players, played with a lot of poise at Villanova. They were beaten at the free throw line and got caught in mismatches in transition too much.

Against Villanova, the team had a very good defensive effort, and overall, Bonnie thought the team "showed a lot of poise on the road."

The Hokies (11-4, 2-2 Big East) beat Pittsburgh (8-6, 0-3) by a score of 61-53 at home Wednesday, and will now travel to West Virginia (10-3, 0-3) for a Saturday game.

Men's Basketball

The men's team was in the midst of a two-game road stretch. The team had a team meeting a week ago from Monday, and came out and played much better against Villanova (and later Connecticut, as well). The team pressed for the full game, got down by ten at half time, then won the second half by ten points, and lost in overtime, 92-81.

The Hokies later played well against Connecticut for most of the game, leading 53-49 after 30 minutes. They collapsed down the stretch and lost 83-65.

Roth and Burnop talked about why the team has struggled early in the season (6-6 out of conference). Their best win is the Michigan win, because the Wolverines, after starting 0-6, have won nine in a row. The Hokies have lost to some good teams on the road, like Western Michigan (9-4) and East Carolina (10-3).

The team now has a four-game home stretch against Providence, Virginia, St. John's, and Boston College. Providence (9-5, 2-1), St. John's (8-5, 1-2) and Boston College (6-6, 0-2) represent Tech's best opportunities for wins, because the games are at home, and February is going to be touch, with matchups against Connecticut, Miami, Georgetown, Notre Dame, and Pittsburgh.

Barrett in Blacksburg called in with a question about football recruiting, wanting to know how this year's class, with its commitments, stands up to recent classes. He got the generic "the coaches are very happy" answer. He asked what positions the coaches are concentrating on, and Burnop suggested wide receiver, linebacker, and offensive line.

Roth chimed in that he had a conversation with Coach Beamer in San Francisco, and Beamer told Roth that his strategy is changing in recruiting. He said that he used to not always recruit offensive linemen, that he might take a kid in high school who was a tight end or defensive lineman and move him, but that he is now recruiting true offensive linemen out of high school.

The conversation turned to the offensive line, which has an important off-season in the weight room coming up.

George in Norfolk was next, and he asked what it was going to take to get the men's basketball program up to where they could win and draw large crowds to Cassell Coliseum again. Roth said it was a question of winning games, that fans will not show up if a team is not winning. Roth and Burnop also talked about player attrition in the program and the difficulty of winning in the Big East. Roth said, "You can count the number of places in the country where the fans show up, win or lose, on one hand," and he cited Louisville, Marquette, and UCLA, among a couple others.

Jeff in Raleigh called in to remind listeners that January 24th is Tech's big recruiting weekend, and he encouraged everyone to attend the January 25th men's basketball game against St. John's. Game time is 2:00 pm, and key football recruits will be in attendance, so a large crowd would make a good impression.

Roth and Burnop discussed the NFL prospects for Ronyell Whitaker and Willie Pile, who played in the East-West Shrine Bowl All-Star game recently. Burnop feels that technique-wise, Ronyell is an excellent cornerback, but he doesn't have the speed that other NFL cornerbacks have. Burnop thinks Willie Pile has a better shot at making the NFL, because of his size, but that Ronyell certainly might be more likely to make the NFL as a special teams player and get an opportunity from that.

Roth asked if Burnop was surprised that no NCAA coaching vacancies had resulted in Hokie assistants leaving VT, at least so far. Burnop said yes, but he thinks that the recent (2000) dedication to paying the assistants more has helped increase loyalty and make it difficult for VT's assistants to leave.

Burnop said that he thinks VT will be ranked around #8 or #9 in the preseason next year.

Jim Weaver's Segment

Weaver said that he is a "little disappointed" in the men's basketball team's performance against its non-conference schedule, but was encouraged by the performance at Villanova.

Roth asked Weaver if he felt that winning would be the key to increased attendance, and Weaver said yes. He then went on to say a few more things about attendance.

"Attendance is an issue that was very relevant four years ago, when we made a change," Weaver said. "Our fans need to understand that at that juncture, we had not had the first sellout season in football, and now that we have, that attendance issue -- although it's important, and I don't want to underplay that -- it's not the crucial issue that it was at that point in time, simply because of the dollars and cents that the football situation is generating. Again, I'm not using that as a crutch, [I'm] only pointing out the observation that was in effect back then, versus now."

The men's game against Virginia is not sold out. Weaver said they were not able to schedule the UVa game the night before the football game, as they did in 2000, because Virginia was playing in a tournament in Hawaii at that time.

Weaver said that they are working on scheduling a Friday night basketball game next year at Virginia, the day before the football game, on Thanksgiving weekend.

Roth asked Weaver if UVa was interested in keeping the men's basketball games on campus, and Weaver said that he and UVa AD Craig Littlepage had not talked about it, but that he, Weaver, is interested in keeping the games on-campus.

Roth then changed subjects, talking about some news out of the NCAA Convention in Anaheim, California last week. The NCAA has a new president, Miles Brand, the former "head man" at Indiana University (I assume this means president, not athletic director).

Brand has proposed that schools that do not "graduate their kids" not be allowed to play on TV, not be allowed to share in NCAA basketball money, and even have to wear a patch on their uniforms that says, in Roth's words, "We're not a good academic institution."

Weaver said he thought those ideas were revolutionary, and that the NCAA member institutions were going to have to address them. Weaver reminded everyone that the NCAA is comprised of its member institutions, and that's who they work for. He declined to comment beyond that.

Roth said that currently, student athletes are required, after their second year in college, to have completed 25% of their degree requirements. Starting next year, that number goes up to 40%, or the athlete will not be able to play as a junior. Weaver said that VT has been taking great strides to educate its athletic department members about the new regulations, and if those requirements had been in effect this year, only a very small number of VT athletes would have been affected.

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

- Will


Hokie Hotline Note Archives

TSL Home