Tech Talk Live Notes for 9-19-11

Chris Coleman, TechSideline.com, on September 20, 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 ACC had been talking about expansion for the last year and a half in
their conference meetings. Not a meeting went by where the athletic directors
didn’t talk about expansion. And now, the ACC has two new members, and two good
fits.

As a collective group of athletic directors, school presidents and faculty
reps, they felt that Pitt and Syracuse were the best fits. They wanted to be
proactive rather than reactive. They didn’t want to be forced to take the
leftover teams after other conferences expanded.

The ACC is pleased with 14 schools at this moment at time. They aren’t going
to say they are looking to further expand, but that doesn’t mean they won’t.
It’s a fluid situation.

They aren’t sure when Pitt and Syracuse will join the ACC. Their current
by-laws call for those schools to give the Big East 27 months notice if they
leave, but they will probably try to negotiate that down.

Weaver anticipates that Virginia Tech and all the ACC schools will all make
more money as a result of this new expansion.

Weaver would like to see the two ACC divisions stay in place as they are,
with Pitt added to one and Syracuse to the other. He would like to see 10
conference games, and two non-conference games. Each team would have six
division games, one cross-divisional rivalry, and then play three more
conference games on a rotating basis.

A schedule like that would limit Tech’s non-conference scheduling, but it
also limits the large payouts for games such as Arkansas State and Appalachian
State. Weaver would like to see those guarantee games eliminated, and that would
save Tech a lot of money. Since several ACC teams play an SEC opponent each year
(FSU, Georgia Tech and Clemson), it would be fair for the rest of the ACC teams
to have to play a BCS conference opponent each year. He thinks that is something
that can be addressed and will be addressed.

Tech has a non-conference game scheduled for Pitt in 2012 and 2013. That will
be played as a non-conference game unless Pitt can get the 27-month rule waived.

Weaver thinks the ACC will go to an 18-game basketball schedule. With 14
teams in the league, it’s the right move.

There were a lot of different meetings last week. Teleconferences, in-person
meetings, etc. The 4-4-4 committee met last Tuesday, with four presidents, four
athletic directors and four faculty representatives. Charles Steger represents
Virginia Tech on that committee. The decision to expand was “pretty
unanimous” according to Weaver. The school presidents also had a meeting
last week. The 4-4-4 group and the presidents’ meeting were already scheduled,
so it was good timing to expand. Things fell into place.

Bill Roth noted that the top football teams of the Big East haven’t been able
to keep their head coaches recently. It became a stepping stone league. Weaver
agreed.

Weaver thinks the current ACC’s exit fee of 125% of the yearly money take is
enough to prevent schools from leaving. This year it would be a $20 million
penalty to leave. He believes that the size of the exit fee symbolizes that all
ACC schools are very solid and want to remain together.

John Swofford did a great job communicating with the rest of the officials
throughout all the ACC schools, and it obviously worked out very well.

Weaver said that there haven’t been any discussions about possible revenue
sharing deals with Notre Dame or Texas. To Weaver, it seems like the Longhorn
Network would be an issue that would need to be solved.

Bud Foster

They are working hard to be the type of defense that Tech fans are used to
having. Foster told the defense at the beginning of the year that the Hokies
have a young quarterback, so the defense is going to have to step up and take
care of business. So far they have.

The offenses the Hokies have faced so far have been a real pain to game plan
for. Unless the quarterback was a scrambler, defenses could always game plan 11
vs. 10 in the past. Now with the spread offense, you have the read option plays,
counter plays, etc. and they all get the quarterback involved in the running
game. You have to be accountable for all 11 offensive players.

Foster really likes the starting defense. They are playing fast and playing
well. There is a lot of competition, because nobody wants to be the guy to let
everyone else down by giving up a big play. That’s a good thing.

Luther Maddy and Corey Marshall have been impressive up front. Maddy was an
unknown recruit, but everybody is going to be very proud of him. He has great
vision, a high football IQ and tremendous arm violence. Foster really likes how
the second defense has been coming along.

Tech has been playing their regular defense with the whip linebacker (Jeron
Gouveia-Winslow) against “11″ personnel (one running back, one tight
end) and “12″ personnel (one running back, two tight ends). Tech got
fooled with personnel groupings a couple of times, but it doesn’t matter,
because Kyle Fuller is playing the nickel position and he is very capable.

Cris Hill has stepped up and played very well. He’s a fifth year senior with
a lot of ability. He has stepped into his role and played well. People have
tried to attack him, and he’s done a great job.

Putting Jayron Hosley on the opponent’s top receiver the last two weeks was
Torrian Gray’s idea, and Foster didn’t have a problem with it. It has obviously
worked very well. Foster has a lot of respect for ECU’s Lance Lewis and Arkansas
State’s Josh Jarboe, and Hosley did a great job against both of them.

When Tech faces teams that like to get rid of the ball quickly (Bill Roth
called it basketball on grass), they like to compress the pocket. They really
look at the quarterback’s release point when watching game film.

It’s hard to limit a spread type offense to 112 yards like Tech did at East
Carolina. They worked really hard on angles to the football and open field
tackling, and it showed against ECU.

Tariq Edwards is doing a lot of good things at backer. Tech has been missing
some productivity from that spot recently. Edwards is a tall, rangy athlete. He
makes plays in space.

These spread offenses don’t spend much time huddling, and that makes
communication from the sideline to the defense very important. Foster is really
pleased with how the defense has played against these types of offenses.

The defense has limited big plays this year. Guys understand their positions
better this season, and they understand where their help is coming from. They
know their positions and the scheme much better.

Marshall has some good talent on offense, but they are starting a true
freshman quarterback. This is a critical game for the Hokies. They need to go on
the road and play great, and use the opportunity to become a better football
team.

As good as Tech has played defensively, Foster feels like they can be a more
consistent defense. They can be more consistent with their communication and
their gap fits. They are little things, but they can turn into big things
against good teams.

The Hokies have had a lot of success against the no huddle throughout the
years because it gives the defense an earlier look at the offensive formations,
and a chance to get organized and make the right defensive call.

Foster is excited about the conference expansion stuff. He thinks things are
moving towards a playoff, and he thinks the ACC is trying to become a strong
contender.

Tariq Edwards

Edwards feels like everything is going well so far, though he still has a lot
to learn. The defense still has to grow as a group.

There is a lot of competition on the defense right now. There is a lot of
peer pressure amongst the players.

Edwards has been working with Torrian Gray and Jayron Hosley a bit to work on
man coverage. He is asked to cover running backs a lot.

So far, spread offenses have tried to get the linebackers out of the box and
get them running against faster players.

Edwards’ father, Bo Campbell, played at Tech from 1989 through 1992. Tariq’s
first football game at Tech was the 1999 game against Miami.

Edwards was coming to Tech the whole time, despite visiting schools like
South Carolina, Clemson and Tennessee. He just wanted to “get the
view” at those other schools.

Playing for Bud Foster is exciting. Edwards grew up watching Foster get
amplified on the sideline, and that’s the type of coaching he likes.

At the beginning of practice on Monday through Wednesday, the defense works
on pursuit and tackling. That has really helped this year.

Edwards is from Cheraw, SC, and it’s really “country”. On a Friday
night, you are probably going to the high school football game. On Saturday
night, you are probably going to the race in Hartsville. There isn’t much to do,
but it is about an hour from the beach.

Edwards is majoring in psychology at Tech.

Blake DeChristopher

Tech has been playing well as an offense. They just need to be more
consistent. They have hit some big plays, and then they have had some bad plays.
Tech needs to be more consistent.

Tech has been in the red zone 18 times this year, and they’ve scored just 10
touchdowns. There has been some miscommunications down there, but it’s nothing
to be concerned about at this point.

DeChristopher had a pec injury in the preseason, but he’s doing much better
now. He’s almost 100%.

DeChristopher’s time at Tech has flown by. He’s a senior now, and it seems
like yesterday that he was walking around campus as a freshman trying to figure
out where the classes were.

DeChristopher has a degree in sociology, and he is now working on a degree in
psychology.

His beard is probably the greatest in all of college athletics. It’s an
offensive line thing. Mike Gentry always likes to have a good beard on his
linemen. DeChristopher doesn’t think it intimidates defensive linemen, but he
does get some good compliments from them.

DeChristopher has put in a lot of work to improve his pass blocking this
year, and it has paid off.

Logan Thomas has done a great job so far. He’s confident in the huddle, and
he’s loud. He’s a good guy, and the offensive line has his back completely.

Tyrod Taylor was a great leader, and he passed that down to Logan Thomas.

Arkansas State was a good team up front. They had some good players.

Marshall has a really good defensive end, so the Hokies have to have a great
week of preparation. This is a huge game for Marshall, so Tech has to play their
A-game.

Frank Beamer

Beamer thinks everyone involved in ACC expansion did a great job. It was very
important to position the ACC to make sure they didn’t lose any teams to other
conferences. How efficiently they did it and how quickly they did it was very
impressive.

The ACC should be a more stable platform for Pitt and Syracuse. Those teams
should benefit from being in the ACC.

The Hokies won’t change their recruiting any with an expanded ACC. They will
still recruit the six-hour radius around Blacksburg.

It looks like college football will end up with 16-team leagues. Beamer could
see that happening, but how quickly will it happen? He’s not sure. As Beamer
understands it, several other teams have contacted the ACC about joining. The
league is in a strong position right now.

Clemson and Miami got great non-conference wins on Saturday, while Florida
State and Maryland were very close. The league has gotten much better this year.

Beamer talked with Dyrell Roberts on Monday morning, and his spirits are very
high despite the broken arm. Roberts told Beamer that he was in no hurry to
leave Virginia Tech, and that he loves it in Blacksburg. He is eligible to
return for the 2012 season.

Michael Via did okay at offensive guard this past week. He’s athletic. He’s a
guy who is very important to the team because he can play so many positions.
He’s a good player.

Tech could have scored more points on Saturday, but they had some
interceptions, a missed field goal, and went with the wrong personnel group
once. You also have to give Arkansas State credit. They were a very athletic
defense. They played hard the entire football game.

Tech is continuing to let Danny Coale practice at punter. Every kicker and
punter Tech has is good enough, but right now they aren’t consistent enough. If
anything, Scott Demler tries too hard and puts too much pressure on himself.
It’s like a golf swing. You can’t be tense. You have to be loose and flexible.

Beamer feels like Tech has been unpredictable on first down, as they’ve been
throwing it on first down a lot. That’s good when it works, but when it doesn’t
work it gets you in a long yardage situation.

The defense is playing much better this year. They have guys who really know
what they are doing. Corey Marshall and Luther Maddy are playing well, and so
are the backup defensive ends. Seeing those guys come along is very encouraging.

Tariq Edwards has been very steady. He is a very consistent player. He has
meant a lot to the defense. He has height, and he can run and cover in space.
He’s made a big difference to the defense. He does remind Beamer of Xavier
Adibi.

The Marshall plane crash was in 1970. Marshall head coach Rick Tolley was a
Virginia Tech grad, as was defensive coordinator Frank Loria. Loria was one of
Frank Beamer’s best friends. They played in the same defensive backfield at
Tech.

Danny Coale had a great game on Saturday. He took out two guys on the
touchdown by D.J. Coles. Beamer was also glad to see Coles have some success. He
has a big body and he can run.

With Dyrell Roberts out, Coles will have to step up. Beamer said Demetri
Knowles will get some work on the kickoff return team this week. He is a really
fast guy who reminds Beamer of Bryan Still. Corey Fuller has been the #6
receiver and he will continue to get work. It’s too early to know how many
receivers will travel with the team to Marshall.

Cris Hill is really playing well. He has been a big plus for the football
team. He’s got speed and he’s got toughness. He has been doing a good job of
making the plays in one-on-one matchups.

Tech’s defensive scheme is much more capable of stopping these spread teams,
ever since Bud Foster made the changes following the 2003 season.

Miami looked good against Ohio State on Saturday night. They always have good
athletes, and that showed up against Ohio State.

Justin Myer has 11 touchbacks in 20 kickoffs. (Editor’s Note: Myer’s
touchback percentage is 4th in the nation.) He is a big weapon. If you can start
a team off at the 20, that’s big. The kickoff coverage team is very good as
well.

Beamer isn’t concerned about Cody Journell right now. He has been very good
in practice, and he’s still settling down. He’ll do fine.

Wiley Brown is doing a great job on special teams. He loves being a
headhunter on the kickoff team. He is very good in that role.

George George had a huge reception against Arkansas State. He means a lot to
the team. He has a good personality, and he’s a good teammate.

Rakeem Cato is a very talented true freshman quarterback for Marshall. He’s
hot and cold, as most freshman quarterbacks are. He’s athletic, and he can throw
the football. He’s got the makings to be very good.

Marshall running back Tron Martinez is a graduate of Hampton High School.
He’s a very good running back who is a home run threat.

Tech needs to take another step this week. They have played well at home, but
do they take a step forward and play a great game on the road this week? Those
fans will be ready for this game.

Virginia Tech has won 13 straight non-conference true road games, according
to Bill Roth. Beamer said the Hokies have been on a good run. The good teams
have to win on the road. You have to have the right mindset. This will be a big
test for the Hokies.

Monday was Day 2,487 of Virginia Tech’s continuous possession of the Commonwealth Cup.

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