Tech Talk Live Notes for 9-5-11

Chris Coleman, TechSideline.com, on September 6, 2011
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Tech Talk Live (football and basketball season)

When: Every Monday from 7:00-9:00 during football season, 7:00-8:00 during basketball season.

Where: 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 hokiesports.com page that loads when you click the link). You can see the show in person Bull & Bones Brewhaus & Grill in Blacksburg.


Jim Weaver

The opening week went very well. It’s a lot better to win that opener. From
an athletic administration standpoint, things went well, though things generally
don’t go as smoothly for the first game. Weaver would like to see the lines move
a little quicker through the gates, particularly for hot games.

Coach Beamer’s contract has been extended through the 2016 season. Details of
the contract will be announced during Tuesday’s press conference. It will take
effect for the 2013 through 2016 seasons.

At the end of the contract, Beamer will join Weaver as a special assistant to
the athletic director, and he will primarily be involved in fundraising. Weaver
can’t think of a better man for the job. That doesn’t mean Beamer will retire
after 2016. If he wants to keep coaching, he is certainly welcome. They’ll just
have to negotiate a new contract later on if that is the case.

Tech will not face East Carolina in 2013. The Hokies want to take on Alabama
in Atlanta that year for the opening of the College Football Hall of Fame in
Atlanta. The 2012 game has also been pushed back. The Hokies and Pirates will
resume in 2014, and play through 2017. Tech is working on finding an opponent to
replace East Carolina in 2012.

Tech got the Appalachian State game for $325,000. A Central Michigan or
another 1-A team like that would cost closer to $700,000.

Weaver talked to the Oklahoma athletic director about conference realignment
(though he called him for a completely different reason). The Pac-12 once again
is approaching Texas and Oklahoma, and Weaver has heard that Texas would take
Texas Tech with them, and Oklahoma would take Oklahoma State with them. That
would make a 16-team conference. Six or seven years ago, people started talking
about four mega-conferences of 16 teams each. That’s 64 total, and that would
leave a few schools out, such as some Big 12 schools or some Big East schools.

Weaver has every confidence that John Swofford will lead the ACC through
realignment.

Going to the SEC would be a situation that would put Virginia Tech with some
institutions that are “maybe a little different than ours.” People at
Tech feel like they are well-placed within the ACC. People don’t understand what
Tech would have to do if they went to the SEC, and how much it would cost. They
would have to expand Lane Stadium, they would have to replace Cassell Coliseum,
they would have to upgrade English Field. People don’t understand what it costs
to compete in a conference where many football stadiums seat over 90,000. Weaver
spent 12 years at the University of Florida, and he feels that Virginia Tech is
best placed where they are now, in the ACC.

If there was ever a lightning strike during a football game, the people who
parked in lots 1 and 2 around the stadium would be asked to go to their cars.
Some people would be evacuated to Cassell Coliseum. Some would go to Rector
Field House, while others would be asked to take shelter under the stands in
Lane Stadium.

Mike O’Cain

O’Cain has never been in a football game where he wasn’t nervous. That’s just
part of it. It’s always an anxious nervousness. As it turned out, the
Appalachian State game was easy to call … just give it to David Wilson. Tech
had a really good game overall, on offense, defense and special teams. That was
probably as good a first game as O’Cain has ever been involved with.

O’Cain had the first 16 normal down plays scripted. Sometimes you can make
better decisions on Thursday or Friday than you can on Saturday. He stayed on
the script for the first eight or nine plays, other than the short yardage plays
or the third and long plays.

Playcalling is important, but so much of it is done during the week with game
planning. Sometimes you make a lot better decisions as a staff on Thursday than
one man can do on Saturday.

Logan Thomas managed the game very well. He got every signal correct, the
huddle was sharp, etc.

O’Cain wanted to get Ju-Ju Clayton into the game, but he was busy calling
plays and forgot about it.

O’Cain looks at completion percentage and interceptions. Completion
percentage shows accuracy, and interceptions show what kind of decision maker he
is. Yards and touchdown passes are products of the system he plays in.

You have to play the quarterback position at a very high level, but you also
have to play it at a very even level. Logan Thomas has a very even keeled
personality. O’Cain coaches in a laid back manner, and isn’t helter skelter.
That’s how he wants his quarterbacks to play.

O’Cain is very pleased with Mark Leal. He has made great strides. He has very
good arm strength, and he’s a calm and easy going guy. He handles situations
well, he’s accurate, and he has good pocket presence. O’Cain likes him an awful
lot.

O’Cain didn’t consciously go back to Marcus Davis two plays after he dropped
an easy pass. It was a third down play, and he just called a play that was good
for that third down situation. You don’t let one play affect the way you call a
game. You might let a series of plays affect it. For example, Tech went to NC
State last year wanting to throw the ball a lot, but Tyrod Taylor was keyed up,
throwing the ball too hard and inaccurately. So the Hokies went to the running
game until Taylor settled down.

Tech will face another 3-4 defensive team this week. It’s always good when
you have some carryover from the previous week. Tech is more comfortable playing
a 4-3, because that’s what they see in practice, but if they are playing 3-4
teams they would like to do it back-to-back.

ECU is more physical defensively than they were last year. That 3-4 scheme
fits their personnel better. They have two really good corners. The South
Carolina score was deceiving, because the Gamecocks got special teams and
defensive touchdowns, plus a lot of short drives for touchdowns because of
turnovers.

Marcus Davis

It’s a lot different opening with a win. Tech was more focused on this game
than any other game Davis has been a part of. They wanted to start the season
off with a bang and let everyone know they were coming to play every week.

Davis thinks he did all right. There is a better game out there for both
himself and the team, but it’s something to build on.

To improve his game, Davis watched a lot of film, did a lot of concentration
drills and catching drills, he worked on his attitude, etc. He strapped tennis
balls to the palms of his hands and caught passes with his fingertips. It makes
you use your fingertips to catch passes. It also makes you look the ball into
your hands.

Davis chose Tech because it is the hometown school. He always liked Tech
growing up, and with so many people from his area coming to Tech, he might as
well stay home and play for the hometown team.

The biggest thing recruits need to know is that it’s going to take a lot of
time, patience and hard work to succeed in college. When Davis first arrived, he
thought he was this and that, but he was soon put in his place. You’ve got
linemen who run a 4.4. You aren’t going to be the fastest person on the field
anymore. That’s hard for some guys who are expecting to play and contribute
early. If they don’t, it can really hurt their confidence.

Davis committed to Tech a few days before Signing Day. He thinks there is a
lot of pressure to commit early. Davis wishes he had committed earlier so he
could have focused on his senior football season, and his basketball season as
well.

There are a lot of good receivers at Tech, and there are no egos. If the team
wins, they all win. There will be plenty of chances to make catches.

Tech is going to ECU to handle business. Whatever gets thrown at them,
they’ll handle it. Tech is good on the road. They like taking on the odds. There
is more pressure on them, and they do a good job of handling it.

Davis isn’t thinking about the NFL Draft right now. He’s just going to play
out the season, and if he’s blessed with the opportunity to leave early, it
would be under consideration.

Jeron Gouveia-Winslow

During the week, the team definitely had the JMU game in the back of their
mind a bit. They came out and took care of business.

Gouveia-Winslow was pretty discouraged about his start last season, but by
the middle of the season he was playing better, and he was good at the end of
the year. That carried over to the spring, and to the fall so far. He just tries
to let the play come to him.

DeAndre Presley kind of threw the ball right at Gouveia-Winslow on that
interception. He didn’t have to do much.

Watching film, Tech knew that Appalachian State was good with their read
option. The key was to stop the quarterback from running the ball, and the
Hokies were able to do that. The defensive line controlled the line of
scrimmage.

Gouveia-Winslow really enjoys playing for Cornell Brown. Every day, he helps
the whips improve. He sees improvement every week. Brown brings a lot of energy,
and Gouveia-Winslow wants to work hard for him.

East Carolina will bring a similar attack as Appalachian State. They like to
spread the field.

Against spread offenses, you really have to play well and tackle in space.
Against pro-style teams, you can get up close to the line and just hit people.

When not playing football, Gouveia-Winslow focuses on school. He likes all
types of music: country music, hip hop, smooth jazz, classic rock, etc.

Martin Scales won the kahuna award this week for biggest hits on special
teams. Everybody watches the game film, and big hits are something everyone
looks for.

Players know right from wrong. You know whether or not you can sell your
stuff, like autographs, and what you can and can’t do off the field. Some guys
think they can get away with it though.

ECU likes to spread the ball around, and that means Tech will use a lot of
nickel packages. The Hokies have to shut down the run, force ECU to pass, and
try and get some interceptions.

Frank Beamer

Tech practiced indoors on Monday, and will again on Tuesday.

Beamer was really concerned about Appalachian State. They are a team that
expects to win. Beamer thinks the Hokies played really, really well. He was
really encouraged.

Tech’s whole operation went smoothly on Saturday. The tempo was very good. In
practice, Tech runs a 25 second clock instead of a 40 second clock. That keeps
things moving, and gets the offense prepared for real games.

David Wilson had 15 broken tackles against Appalachian State. Billy Hite
thinks that is the most ever by a running back at Virginia Tech.

The Hokies were #1 in the nation in the nation in turnover margin last
season, and they were +4 in the Appalachian State game. That’s a very important
stat that helps you win football games.

Jayron Hosley had a big day returning punts. The Hokies had some guys who
were really blocking well, including Kyle Fuller and Antone Exum.

Logan Thomas has had an opportunity to learn the offense and progress as a
redshirt and as a backup. Thomas did well on Saturday. He had some dropped
passes, but he managed the game very well. He’s a guy that is going to get
better each and every week. He pays attention to detail. He just needs
experience. He’s going to go through some growing pains, but he’ll get better
each week.

Beamer doesn’t dress as many players for home games as most programs. He
doesn’t want to dress guys unless they know they have a chance to get into the
football game. Beamer doesn’t want players who know they aren’t going to get in
the game to be a distraction. Sideline management also becomes an issue.

Tech only dressed six wide receivers for Appalachian State. There was going
to be some good receivers in the game, even at the end when the game was out of
hand.

Beamer is going for win #200 at Virginia Tech this Saturday against East
Carolina. He’s had a lot of good assistants over the years, and a lot of good
players around him.

The offensive line played well on Saturday. Nine linemen got recognized for
good play. It’s good to see the backups in the game and playing so well.

The Hopkins brothers played very well. They led the defensive line in points.
Overall, the defense did very well. At one point they had seven freshmen in the
game at once. The key for the defense is for the young guys to come around and
improve, so the coaches can feel better about their depth.

East Carolina is a very good offensive team. They score a lot of points.
Defensively, the Hokies have their work cut out for them.

Beamer was glad that the backups played so hard and never let up. The offense
took a knee on the 10 yard line to end the game. They were playing until the
end.

Jeron Gouveia-Winslow has had some tough times in the past, but he’s really
worked and he’s a much better player now. He’s a heady guy who can help you win.

Marcus Davis has taken the next step. He’s a great athlete who has a lot of
confidence. Beamer is interested in seeing exactly how good he can be.

Beamer feels very good about signing a new contract with Virginia Tech.
Whenever he decides to stop coaching, he still feels very good about being a
fundraiser for Virginia Tech.

In the current indoor facility (Rector FieldHouse), the ceiling isn’t high
enough to punt. The new one will feature a higher ceiling, and will also be in a
much better location, next to the current outdoor practice field.

2016 would put Frank Beamer at exactly 30 seasons at Virginia Tech. Right now
he feels like he has a great staff, and he really likes his players, so that
makes the game a lot of fun.

Billy Hite and Jim Cavanaugh are allowed to listen in on the headsets at
halftime, but they aren’t allowed to interact and coach.

Virginia Tech is in the right conference. Academically, geographically, etc.
The SEC is a great conference, but the ACC is where Tech belongs.

Michael Via is back, and he will get work at center and tackle. Theron Norman
is back as well, and he’ll start to get worked back in during practice.
Hopefully he can get back on the field in a special teams role.

East Carolina is better defensively than they were a year ago. They only gave
up 351 yards of offense against South Carolina. The crowd will be ready to go at
ECU. The Hokies know what they are getting into. They expect the Pirates to be a
better football team this year.

It’s great to coach at your alma mater, but you’ve got to be able to win. It
would really be tough to get fired from your alma mater, such as what happened
to Randy Shannon.

Tech is facing a 3-4 for the second week in a row, and it’s good that it’s
the week after they played Appalachian State’s 3-4.

East Carolina does a great job of supporting their program. Beamer is looking
forward to it, because he would rather be in a situation where the atmosphere is
alive. It should be great for both teams.

Monday was Day 2,473 of Virginia Tech’s continuous possession of the Commonwealth Cup.

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