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   Welcome to TSLMail #275 - Friday, April 20, 2007    
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   Tech Sports News

Thoughts From Our "Rivals"

The events of this week didn't leave us any time -- or inclination -- to put together a typical TSLMail this week, so we thought we would focus on the support provided by Virginia Tech's "rivals" during this difficult time.

There was a huge outpouring of support on the TSL message boards and email this week from fans and alumni of other universities. A lot of it came from schools who have recently played Virginia Tech in football or will soon play them in football ... or both.

Quite a few LSU fans showed up to express condolences, as did Auburn fans (Sugar Bowl 2004), Clemson fans, and even some Alabama fans (from the 1998 Music City Bowl clash -- TSL's GM, Will Stewart, was interviewed by ESPN radio in Mobile, Alabama, by a show host who normally concentrates on Alabama Crimson Tide sports and who referenced that 1998 Music City Bowl as the reason he respected VT.)

Colorado and Colorado State fans stopped by, because the VT tragedy resonated with them, due to the Columbine shootings years ago. They consoled us and warned us about the media coverage. (They were right about that.)

Texas A&M fans came by and emailed in large numbers, because Virginia Tech and Texas A&M "get" each other, more so than perhaps any two other schools in the country. There is a special bond and respect between A&M and VT, even though the two schools haven't played football in four years and aren't scheduled to do so again. The bond arises from mutual respect earned during the 2002 and 2003 A&M/VT clashes.

And of course, there are the Cavaliers from the University of Virginia. The support shown in Charlottesville and on has been remarkable. So we present to you two posts made on our boards this week by Virginia fans. These were among the better, more heartfelt posts we saw. They weren't the only ones, of course, and they may not even be "the best." But we liked them, and we grabbed them when we saw them.

We close out a difficult week with heartfelt thoughts from the other side.

You were AMAZING today...
Posted by: Hoo_ville on Tue Apr 17 2007 9:39:34 PM

I can’t tell you how proud I was to see you chanting “Let’s Go Hokies” during the convocation today. I am a fervent Hoo and like all of us over the country, my heart couldn’t be heavier. Many of my great friends went to VT and I have even filled up some seats at Scott Stadium with Hokie friends over Hoo coworkers because they were, well, my friends. In fact, the last time you came to Charlottesville, I was in the bar with them by halftime. It was a chance to not care about anything in the world but fun and great people.

Its funny to hear the reporters ask dumb questions like “Will the Hokies recover?” Obviously they don’t know about Virginia Tech. You can take the large mega state colleges, the pristine ivy leagues, and the elite private schools; but even the Hoos know that you will be hard pressed to find fans any prouder of their school than those draped in orange and maroon. VT posters keep thanking us on for the support, but we should be thanking you for allowing us to share in your rebuilding. I see students handling questions from merciless reporters with tremendous poise. I tear up just seeing the images on television.

Today, I wore my orange sweater, and kept my office door shut because I didn’t want people seeing my eyes well up every time I clicked online for coverage. And when I watched your service today, one fact was more impressive than the pedigree of the speakers, the words in the messages, or the masses of media clamoring in from the world: You started the service standing up for your leader and you ended the service shouting for your school. There goes that Hokie pride that never, ever waivers. Ever.

“We will prevail, we will prevail, we will prevail.” Damn right you will.

This one's from TheSabre....

Subject: The Hokie Culture
Posted by: Hoo on Wed Apr 18 2007 8:52:34 AM

One thing has become crystal clear in this tragedy: their collective culture has made them uniquely prepared to emerge from this as strong as ever. And thank God.

In "peacetime", the Tech unity always confused me. I've never met a Tech grad who wasn't demonstrative about his or her alma mater. My brother-in-law -- at 40 -- drives the 5 hours or so for every home football game, flies to every bowl game, and travels to many road games. At a colleague's house (female, also 40ish), it seemed like every household item was maroon or orange. Blankets, rugs, cups, etc., etc. Every Tech grad in my neighborhood always has a flag out. School spirit is WAY greater than at most other schools.

Contrast: I was a rabid Wahoo during my undergrad and grad years. Never missed a football, basketball, lax or soccer game. I'm enormously proud of my degrees. But I have... let's see... a UVa sweatshirt, a UVa soccer T, and a UVA lax T. Now, I keep close track of the soccer and lax teams, but little else. People can know me for years without the subject coming up. Obviously there are many rabid Wahoo fans here on this board, but out of my friends, I'd say I'm fairly typical. And the same goes for my non-UVa friends.

In the Post today, they talked about the "be-true-to-your-school chauvinism and clubby rituals" and the "ridiculous sense of unity". Why the big difference? What is it about the Tech experience that forges this identity?

It can't be the campus-- it's a very nice campus, but there are plenty of beautiful campuses that don't spawn that sense of identity. It can't be the population or demographics -- whatever differences between Tech and UVa populations there once were have largely vanished in the last few decades. Is it the geographic remoteness? Are other remote schools similar? What is handed down from student to student that accounts for this culture?

Let me be clear -- I've never viewed it as a great positive. But now, when an almost unimaginable tragedy has hit the community, I'm hugely, hugely grateful that those kids have that sense of unity to help pull them through.

Hokies -- you're much bigger than this tragedy. Continue to be strong, and know that everyone in Virginia is pulling for you. Pass - Your Ultimate Ticket to Hokie Sports!

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For more info on TechSideline Pass, and to subscribe, click here. Updates From the Past Week

Q&A with Tyrod Taylor

April 20, 2007
A 5-star prospect, Hampton (VA) quarterback Tyrod Taylor finished with 7,690 yards of total offense and 100 touchdowns in his three years as a starter. The 6-2, 185-pound star passed for 5,144 yards and 44 touchdowns and rushed for 2,456 yards, adding 56 touchdowns on the ground. Recruited by schools all across the country, he committed to Virginia Tech on July 21, 2006, and signed with the Hokies in February earlier this year. Taylor took time for a Q&A to discuss his recruitment, why he ultimately chose Virginia Tech, his future at Virginia Tech and much more.

2007 Spring Football Wrapup: The Offense

April 20, 2007
Virginia Tech's spring practice was cut short by the tragedy that took place on campus on Monday, April 16th. The Hokies were only able to get in 11 practices this spring. Their final four practices, including the Spring Game, were cancelled. Although football is the last thing on our minds right now, at some point we all have to move on. Researching and writing this spring practice recap is my attempt.

Big Ten/ACC Challenge Matchups Announced
April 20, 2007
Matchups for the 2007 Big Ten/ACC Challenge were set earlier this week. Virginia Tech will face Penn State on Wednesday, November 28 at 9:30pm. The game will be televised by ESPN2. The Hokies' game will be the very last game of this year's Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The winning conference will receive the Commissioner's Cup.
more to Resume Normal Coverage Today
April 20, 2007
Editorial Notice: will resume coverage of Virginia Tech athletics and recruiting Friday. Fans are of course welcome to continue to discuss the tragedy at Virginia Tech on our message boards. Please read for more details on our editorial plans for the coming days.

The Final Emotion
April 18, 2007
I am in the business of writing, of articulating my thoughts, of putting into words what others may only sense as a blur of feelings. I have never backed down from the challenge, be it capturing the emotion of a landmark victory, the pain of an agonizing defeat, the triumph and heartbreak that are part and parcel of athletics, even the horror of 9/11 over five years ago. It is my calling, my passion, my God-given talent. But I fear this ... this is too much.

Spring Football Game Canceled
April 17, 2007
The Virginia Tech athletics department announced Tuesday afternoon that the remainder of spring football, including two practices and the Spring Game scheduled for Saturday, has been canceled. The athletics department also made announcements regarding other sports and sporting events.

Shooter Identified; Classes Cancelled for Remainder of Week
April 17, 2007
In a morning press conference, Virginia Tech identified the shooter in yesterday's mass murder on the Virginia Tech campus, and Virginia Tech officials and law enforcement officials released more details about the killings. The killer was 23 year old Cho Seung-Hui, a native of South Korea and an English major at Virginia Tech.

Statement from Regarding the Tragedy at Virginia Tech
April 16, 2007
Like everyone else, we are struck numb by the events at Virginia Tech on Monday, April 16th, 2007. The magnitude of this tragedy is currently beyond our comprehension. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family, friends, and loved ones of those slain at Virginia Tech, and we grieve along with everyone else who treasures this university.

Roberts Sees Opportunity on Latest Visit
April 16, 2007
6-2, 190-pound Smithfield (VA) star Dyrell Roberts liked what he saw at Virginia's spring game over the weekend, and it might not be for the reasons you think. One of the top athletes in the state of Virginia, Roberts has now visited UVa on four occasions. He plans to visit Virginia Tech for the first time this Saturday.

Highland Springs Star Visits VT, UVa
April 16, 2007
Highland Springs (VA) junior defensive lineman Antoine Hopkins enjoyed a busy week last week, making visits to the two schools that have extended scholarship offers. Last Friday, he visited Virginia Tech for a spring practice. On Saturday, he was in Charlottesville for UVa's spring game. Both trips went well for the 6-2, 265-pound recruit.

Scrimmage Report: Offensive Line Coming Together?
April 14, 2007
Football games are won in the trenches, and if a defensive line can get penetration, they can dictate the tempo and flow of a game. Tech fans found that out the hard way last season when the Hokies' offensive line was overmatched by many defenses they faced. But during Saturday afternoon's scrimmage, Virginia Tech's offensive line more than held its own against Bud Foster's vaunted defense.

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