Tech Talk Live Notes for 10-31-11

Chris Coleman, TechSideline.com, on November 1, 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.


Seth Greenberg

So far this has been a fun team to coach. The team has suffered a couple of
their usual injuries, but Greenberg thinks they’ll be healthy for the season.
Right now, the team is a work in progress.

J.T. Thompson is starting to get his bounce and lateral quickness back.
Dorenzo Hudson is shooting the ball really well. Erick Green has worked hard to
improve his range and outside shooting.

It’s nice to have a healthy Cadarian Raines. He has really missed two years
of basketball. He is further along offensively than Greenberg thought he would
be. He needs to be a little more alert defensively.

Jarell Eddie has done a good job of shooting the ball. Dorian Finney-Smith
rolled his ankle early in the season and he has missed practice time. He played
through it at first, but he had a collision with Dorenzo Hudson in practice on
Saturday, and he hurt the same ankle again. Greenberg noted that this is the
first time that Finney-Smith has ever been injured on any level.

The trip to Canada in August went well. It was a great experience for the
freshmen. It gave them early exposure to college basketball.

Finney-Smith is a great player, but he’s not the type of player who will
score 25 points per game. He’s going to be a really good defender, and he makes
people around him better.

Overall, this is going to be one of Tech’s best shooting teams. Finney-Smith
is a capable shooter. Hudson and Green can shoot. Robert Brown can really shoot
the ball. Tech will try to play faster in the first seven seconds of the shot
clock. They will try to extend their defense some, once they get healthy.

Tech is hoping to get Marquis Rankin back by the season opener, or perhaps
the week after. He is the best on-ball defender Virginia Tech has had since
Jamon Gordon. He’s not going to physically dominate a guy like Gordon did, but
he really pesters and bothers ball handlers.

Tech plays three games in the first four days of the season, and Greenberg
isn’t real excited about that. They thought the preseason NIT was going to start
two days later. They thought they were going to play Wednesday and Thursday
instead of Monday and Tuesday. The Hokies have a little more depth now, so they
should be better prepared. The season starts on November 12 on ETSU, and the
first NIT game is on November 14.

Greenberg is excited about Jay Bilas being the special guest at Virginia
Tech’s tip-off event. Bilas is good for college basketball. He is never afraid
to voice his opinion, and he has a great perspective on the sport.

Adding Syracuse and Pitt to the ACC is great. It potentially opens up the
whole northeastern corridor from a recruiting standpoint. Those are two great
programs. How will things work? Will it be an 18-game schedule? Will it be one
or two divisions? Greenberg thinks there should be one division.

If there are permanent partners for scheduling purposes, Greenberg wouldn’t
mind Pitt being one of Tech’s partners. It’s easier to get to Pittsburgh from
Blacksburg than it is to get to College Park.

Things will probably go in the direction of an 18-game conference schedule.
Throw in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, and then an exempt tournament, and Tech will
be playing at least 23 very good opponents each year. Greenberg worries about
having time to develop chemistry against such a tough schedule, and that’s
actually his biggest concern for this season.

Jimmy Martin

Former Tech offensive lineman Jimmy Martin is now a graduate assistant. He
always had coaching in the back of his mind. He got a regular job after he was
done with football, and he quickly realized that wasn’t for him. He missed being
around football, and he missed competing.

Martin does a lot of the video work for Tech. He will get a list from the
coaching staff of what they want, and he puts everything on video that they need
such as blitzes, defensive fronts, etc. It’s been a great experience. He’s
learned a lot about coverages, which he didn’t know a lot about when he was an
offensive lineman.

The Georgia Tech defense is playing very well right now, and they will be
ready for the Hokies.

Camaraderie, trust and communication are key to making a good offensive line.
They have to back each other up on the field.

There is a lot of recognition involved on the offensive line. You have to
recognize blitzes, alignments, etc. That’s very difficult for young players, and
that’s why it takes so long for many offensive linemen to develop.

You have to be a good athlete up front, especially at tackle. But the biggest
thing is just playing with a mean streak and playing tough.

Martin thinks the only times ever talked to the media when he was in college
was after the NC State game in 2004, when the OL gave up 10 sacks, and after the
Miami game in 2005. People really don’t notice linemen unless they do something
wrong.

Logan Thomas and Bryan Randall are very similar. They both have a good
presence about them. Thomas has already won the respect and trust of his
teammates. They are both competitors, and they are both tough guys.

The bye week is huge right now. It is badly needed. Tech has played nine
straight games without a break. Everybody needs a few days to take a break, ice
down their injuries and recharge their batteries.

Coaches like having extra time to prepare for Georgia Tech because their
offense is so unique and difficult to coach against.

Martin anticipates a strong finish in November. Tech has a lot of great
senior leaders and a lot of great competitors. If the Hokies do their jobs, they
will see Clemson in Charlotte again. They have three tough games first.

Martin hopes to be coaching an offensive line somewhere in five years. He
hopes to work his way through the ranks. He would love to come back and be a
full-time coach at Tech one day.

Greg Nosal is a great X’s and O’s offensive lineman. He understands the game
very well, and he’s having a great senior season.

Barquell Rivers

After such a devastating injury, it feels good to be back on the field.
Rivers was told that not many people make it back from an injury like that, and
he couldn’t have done it without a lot of help.

Rivers sustained his injury while power cleaning 351-lbs. He had done that
the previous max out session, but this time his knee gave out, he dropped the
weights to the floor and fell down. When he got up, he didn’t think it was too
bad, so he tried to walk it off, but he couldn’t do it. When he was laying on
the table, it looked like a big hole in his leg.

Rivers has a great relationship with Felix Blakney, a police officer from
North Carolina. He has been a mentor for Rivers, even when Rivers didn’t want to
be pushed when he was younger. Blakney was the coach of Rivers’ Pop Warner team.
He told Rivers to concentrate on his degree, because that’s the most important
thing.

Rivers is from a very small town where there isn’t a lot to do. No movie
theater, only a couple of restaurants, etc. High school sports are the only
entertainment.

Rivers didn’t see the Duke game going down to the wire. Tech played hard, but
nobody really thought the game was going to be as close as it was.

On Duke’s last offensive play, Rivers dropped back in a zone because the
running back went in the opposite direction. Cris Hill was in man-to-man
coverage, and Rivers’ eyes lit up to get such an easy interception.

Bud Foster always puts the defense in perfect position to make plays. Their
backs were against the wall a lot on Saturday, but they were able to keep Duke
out of the end zone.

To stop Georgia Tech, everybody has to take care of their own assignments and
not worry about anyone else. There are so many reads and checks. The Hokies want
to make them throw the ball on third down rather than giving them short yardage
situations.

Rivers is good physically right now. He’s not at his best, but things have
gotten better since the spring.

Greg Nosal

Nosal feels like he is playing his best football right now. The last few
games have been a very good stretch for the offensive line.

Tech needs to do a better job of taking advantage of their opportunities in
the red zone. There needs to be a lot of focus on that heading into the Georgia
Tech game.

It sort of felt like a high school game on Saturday. Tech fans were into it,
but the weather was bad, and overall it was quiet.

Becoming a good offensive lineman takes a long time. It takes awhile to learn
the playbook, adjust to the speed of the game, etc.

After the bye week, things will start to get serious. Tech needs to continue
to play well, because the last three games are big.

David Wilson is a special player. Sometimes he doesn’t even need the
offensive line. Darren Evans and Ryan Williams were great backs. Wilson has some
of the same traits. They are all great runners.

Georgia Tech has a tough defense to block. They run a 3-4, but hopefully
Tech’s experience blocking a 3-4 earlier in the season will help prepare them
for this game.

It’s been a long season so far, and the bye week is coming at the right time.
It will be a nice rest before they start preparing for Georgia Tech.

During his spare time, Nosal plays video games or watches TV. His favorite
show is probably SportsCenter.

Nosal also likes to watch basketball, and he’s even gotten into soccer
recently. He’s not a big fan of baseball, but the World Series was exciting.

Frank Beamer

Beamer knew the Duke game would be tough. Tech had a lot of good things going
in the first half, but they didn’t take advantage of their opportunities by
scoring points. Give Duke credit, because their defense hung in there.

The second half was a field position game. Tech didn’t do a good job in the
kicking game. As a result of that, field position was tough to get. Beamer was
very proud of the offense for moving the ball down the field on that final drive
and changing the field position.

The defense fought like heck the entire game to keep Duke out of the end
zone. They did a great job, despite the field position.

On the first Logan Thomas interception, Tech probably should have called
something different on that play. It’s easy for safeties to sit on plays like
that because they don’t have to worry about the deep ball.

The Hokies had some big penalties that hurt them throughout the course of the
game, and that’s not how they normally play. Beamer is proud that the team hung
together, overcame sloppy play, and was able to win the game in the end.

On the other side of the argument, when you can go on the road and not play
your best and still win, that’s a good thing.

Jayron Hosley had a tough day, but he was going against a really good
receiver, and he was coming off an injury.

Kyle Fuller has been great. He has seven tackles, two tackles for loss, a
sack, two big hits, four exceptional plays, a fumble recovery, three pass
breakups, two factor plays and four extra miles. He played a fantastic game.

It was great to see Barquell Rivers back on the football field on Saturday.
To his credit, he has really worked hard to come back. He could have quit
football, and everyone would have understood.

Michael Branthover will remain as the punter. He’s a great punter,
physically. He’s just got to get more consistent. He’s still a very young
player. He’s a gifted guy. His 75 yard punt was the second best in school
history.

Beamer thinks Cody Journell will be back for Georgia Tech.

Growing up, Beamer was a Redskins fan. Today, he just pulls for whoever has
Tech guys playing for them.

Tech will have a team meeting on Wednesday and start their game planning on
Wednesday. The scout team will also go out and learn Georgia Tech’s offense on
Wednesday. The team will resume practice on Thursday.

Tech is 24-2 in November in the last seven years. That’s when you’ve got to
be good. Tech will have to be good this November, because they have three really
tough opponents this month.

Georgia Tech played a great game against Clemson. They played with great
execution on both sides of the ball. They are a very confident team right now
because of that win. Their defense is much-improved this season.

Whoever wins the VT-GT game will have the advantage in the Coastal Division.
This game will be very important for both sides.

The players enjoy wearing different uniforms and different combinations each
week. As long as they are playing hard, the coaching staff is going to let the
seniors decide what they are going to wear each week.

To win 11 games in a row on the road, you have to have some tough-minded
players. You have to be consistent in practice so that you do the same things
each game.

The offensive line graded out really well against Duke. The yardage was there
in the first half, but the points weren’t. The field position in the second half
was so tough that it was difficult to get things going.

You have to be very exact defensively against the Georgia Tech options. You
have to be able to take the fullback option out of the picture. You also can’t
do the same thing defensively all game, because they will change their blocking
schemes.

In recruiting, you always need to be one step ahead. The Tech coaches have to
be ready in case guys like Jayron Hosley and David Wilson declare for the NFL
Draft.

Monday was Day 2,529 of Virginia Tech’s continuous possession of the Commonwealth Cup.

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