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   Welcome to TSLMail #136 - Friday, July 23, 2004    
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Heading Off to Beamer's Fantasy Camp
by Will Stewart,

This weekend, I finally get to partake of a generous gift that the TSL faithful bestowed upon me last fall: a trip to Coach Beamer's weekend-long "Football Fantasy Camp".

The idea behind the camp is that about 50 of us -- "us" being the fantasy camp attendees -- will participate in what is basically a simulation of the football team's game weekend. We'll stay at the team hotel, receive briefings from the offensive and defensive coordinators, and "compete" on Saturday in the form of golf, a sport in which I play roughly the same role as the Buffalo Bulls or the UL-Monroe Indians in Division 1-A football: namely, I'm the worst there is.

I'm so bad at golf that I'm going to do what Buffalo or UL-M ought to do -- I'm not even going to play. I have begged out of the golf portion of the weekend, knowing full well that it's not fair to my fellow golfers in a captain's choice tournament to be paired up with a guy who can't hit the broad side of a barn. I don't mind the humiliation; I just don't like to hold up other people from having fun.

But this isn't Randy King's VT Insider column, so I won't go on and on about my golf game or other such non-VT-related topics, like, say, lousy old GM cars (though I could tell a story or two about my recently-sold 1994 Ford Taurus, a car I kind of liked, but which my wife, a Honda snob, didn't care for. Oh well).

For those who are interested, here's a rough outline of the itinerary: check in at the team hotel Friday afternoon, attend a social at the South End Zone Stadium Club, and listen to a guest speaker, ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit (I don't think Herbie speaks to the football team on Friday nights, so I'm feeling like we're getting a special bonus here. I'm going to ask him how tall Chris Fowler is, because Fowler doesn't look that tall to me. I think he just has a large cranium that makes him look taller).

Then we'll head to the Merryman Center for presentations by defensive coordinator Bud Foster and offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring. There's a brief question and answer session -- in which someone, I'm sure, will ask why VT doesn't throw to the tight end more -- and then it's back to the hotel for lights out. Lights out is 11:00, and I think that will be the earliest I've gone to bed since 1996.

On Saturday, we'll golf -- excuse me, everyone else will golf -- in a captain's choice format while I hang back at the club house, whack flowers with a pitching wedge, and shout, "Oh, he got alla dat one!!" I'll be a Cinderella story, with tears in my eyes, I guess.

After the golfers have finished proving their manliness and have come back off the course, it's off to Beamer's Restaurant in Christiansburg for us, where we'll chow down and then hear about VT recruiting from Jim Cavanaugh. I've heard Cav cusses a lot, so that should be fun.

Sunday, we'll have a pre-game meal in our brand new team sweats, "tape and dress" for the game -- by then, they'll probably tape my mouth shut -- and then we'll charge out of the tunnel in front of 65,000 screaming Hokie fans. Or not. It will probably be more like walking quickly out of the tunnel in front of a few disinterested observers.

The weekend sounds fun, absent that pesky golf thing, but what I'm really looking forward to is the gear. We're going to get an official maroon VT football jersey -- mine will be #87, because that was my graduation year, and it'll say STEWART on the back (sorry, not TECHSIDELINE.COM).  We also get authentic VT football helmets, hopefully with "ACC" on them, and not "BIG EAST." Plus, we get official team warm-ups, team practice shorts and T-shirts, an autographed game ball, and a team photo. (I'll be the guy who blinked right when the photo was taken.)

It will be interesting to see if our jerseys are the new-style, funky Nike ones, or the old-style jerseys worn last year. It would be kind of cool to have one of the new ones, but it would also be kind of cool to have one of the old ones, so I'm not picky. Just ask my wife.

Anyway, many thanks to everyone who contributed to the fund to buy me the weekend. I'll try not to let you down by tripping as I come out of the tunnel, or asking a stupid question about blitz packages. I figure the coaches will clam up tight when they get within ear shot of me, so it should be a quiet weekend for me.

Maybe I'll break curfew and see if Beamer was really serious when he gave the team that January discipline speech.

New Cassell Coliseum Bus Loop

There's justified excitement over the West end expansion of Lane Stadium, but another interesting little project that's going on is the construction of a bus loop at Cassell Coliseum's West side entrance.

If you're a Hokie hoops fan, then you know that busses that load and unload at Cassell's West side entrance present a traffic flow problem on game days. The athletic department is tearing into the hillside and sidewalks over there and constructing a bus loop that will get the busses off of Spring Road and aid traffic flow.

Here are a few pics of the construction. The pictures were taken on July 18th, and many thanks to the TSL reader who took them.

Cassell Coliseum Bus Loop Construction -- July 18, 2004
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-- Will Stewart Updates From the Past Week

Inside the Numbers: Rating the 1995 Recruiting Class
by Will Stewart,, 7/22/04, 1:30 am
When Virginia Tech's 1995 football recruiting class was signed, it was deemed by any unbiased measure a disaster. The Hokies signed just 16 players, including a mere two of the Roanoke Times Top 25 players. VT completely whiffed on offensive linemen, signing zero of the big uglies. It was a class that was not highly regarded at the time, and looking back on it years later, it is a fascinating case study and a contradiction in more ways than one, especially when you fit the players into our handy-dandy formulas for ranking recruiting classes.
in TSL Pass

Hokie Club Donations Top $18 Million
by Will Stewart,, 7/20/04, 3:50 pm
This past Friday and Saturday, the Virginia Tech Athletic Fund held their annual summer Hokie Club Presidents Meetings, and sources tell TSL that Hokie Club revenue for the 2003-2004 academic year was an incredible $18.58 million, up from $14.38 million last year and $10.3 million just three years ago.
in News and Notes

A True Virginia Gentleman
by Jim Alderson, 7/20/04, 12:20 pm
As a general rule, I am not fond of Hoo coaches. Along with their irksome penchant for beating Tech entirely too many times for my liking [one time is one too many for me], they have been on the whole not a particularly likable bunch of guys. There has been humor to be gleaned from them, such as the dour visage nearly always presented by George Welsh. Pete Gillen can provide much amusement, especially early in games as he often displays a look of sheer incomprehension as a carefully-crafted game plan sails out the window in the first two minutes, causing him to burn his times out. And most any picture of algroh cracks me up.
in TSL Pass

AAU Basketball: A Primer (Part 2)
by Hoop Alliance, 7/18/04, 11:00 pm
AAU basketball and the shoe companies have taken on great power during the all-important summer months, and wrestling that power back from those two entities is a far greater challenge than recognizing the problem. The National Association of Basketball Coaches just recently met and developed some strategies for gaining more of a voice and influence in not only their own players, but prospective recruits; we know, however, that the NCAA's legislative process can be a lengthy and burdensome one.
in TSL Pass

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