Tech Talk Live Notes for 12-5-11

Chris Coleman, TechSideline.com, on December 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

Weaver was kind of down on Saturday night, but from Sunday morning through
Sunday afternoon there was some communication that the Hokies might be in
contention for an at-large bid for the Sugar Bowl. He was in communication with
John Swofford, Frank Beamer and Paul Hoolahan (the head of the Sugar Bowl
committee).

Some people say the Hokies shouldn’t be going to the BCS. Weaver remembers
when a much higher ranked VT team was bypassed for a 9-2 Notre Dame team in the
Fiesta Bowl following the 2000 season. Tech has been on the other end of this.
Weaver is sorry for the teams that were bypassed this year, but he’s happier for
the Hokies.

The order deadline for Sugar Bowl tickets is this coming Friday at noon. You
may order as many tickets as you want, but only eight tickets will be in
priority, which will be filled by Hokie Club points. Next Monday, tickets will
be on sale to the general public. Weaver is excited by the opportunity to sell
17,500 tickets to this game.

Saturday night was very tough. The one thing Frank Beamer has always talked
about is being resilient, and this is a chance to showcase to the nation the
resiliency they have in the program. Weaver is convinced the Hokies will show up
in New Orleans and play a great football game.

The Hokie Nation is going to show up in force. They are excited about the
opponent and they are excited about the destination.

Jeff Hundley, COO of the Sugar Bowl

The Sugar Bowl has been in love with Virginia Tech since the 1995 game. The
bowl administration is glad that they get the opportunity to invite Virginia
Tech fans back to New Orleans again.

The Sugar Bowl picked Virginia Tech for a number of reasons. They don’t feel
like they need to defend the selection at all. Tech is an awesome football
program with great leadership. The tradition of the program is excellent. They
beat seven teams with a record of .500 or better in 2011.

New Orleans is unlike any city in America. It’s a great city in terms of
culture and food. The central point is Bourbon Street, but there are so many
other things to do. There is a zoo, an aquarium, and so many other things. You
can walk everywhere, and there are world class hotels within walking distance of
the Superdome. Over $300 million has been put into the Superdome since Hurricane
Katrina.

The Sugar Bowl will also host the National Championship Game a week after the
Sugar Bowl. New Orleans will have fans from Virginia Tech, Michigan, Alabama and
LSU visiting in a short span of time. The expected financial windfall is over
$400 million.

Jim Weaver asked Hundley to call Kirk Herbstreit and tell him that the bowl
system has always been about economics. Bowl games started in the 1930s in the
south, and they were started to generate money. That’s what the bowls have
always been about, so Virginia Tech being selected is no big surprise. Hundley
said the Sugar Bowl’s main goal is to create an economic impact for New Orleans
and the state of Louisiana.

Michigan has only been to the Sugar Bowl once, so this is exciting for them
as well. The Sugar Bowl couldn’t be any happier about this matchup.

Seth Greenberg

The Hokies were very competitive in the first half against Kansas State, and
they took care of the ball. Kansas State was obviously the better second half
team. Tech didn’t respond, and Kansas State had a 12-2 run that was the
difference in the game.

The Hokies played four freshmen and two sophomores on Sunday, and didn’t get
much contribution from their upper classmen. C.J. Barksdale competed really
well, and it was nice to see Marquis Rankin get some minutes in his first
college game.

Greenberg is concerned about how the Hokies are closing games. They led for
30 minutes at Syracuse. They had a lead at halftime against Minnesota and Kansas
State, and lost both games.

Cadarian Raines is in his third year, but he had only played in seven games
coming into this season because of injury. His instincts are getting better, and
he’s more active. He’s improving in a lot of different areas. Jarell Eddie also
has a completely different role this year.

Greenberg is very pleased with the freshmen. The team just has to get
tougher. Sunday’s game was simple: Kansas State was tougher down the stretch.
The Hokies have to continue to practice tough, and hopefully that will carry
over to the court. Greenberg showed film on Monday of plays against Kansas State
where the Hokies weren’t tough enough, where they didn’t box out, and where they
melted away against screens. A young team has to understand that’s not
acceptable.

Dorenzo Hudson isn’t 100%. He twisted his knee in practice three days ago,
and missed a couple of days of practice. He played through a lot of pain. He
competed, and Greenberg thought he played hard. He’s got a full load
academically right now. He’s going to come around. He’s being a good teammate.

Tech was a better team with Dorian Finney-Smith on the court against Kansas
State. When he picked up two quick fouls in the second half, things started
going downhill quickly. He’s not going to be a 20 points per game guy, but he
rebounds and he makes the players around him better.

The Hokies have played a really tough schedule. Syracuse, Oklahoma State, St.
Bonaventure, Minnesota, Kansas State … that’s a tough stretch, particularly
for a team that plays so many young guys.

Erick Green didn’t fall into the concrete slab at Minnesota. He fell into the
stairs and jammed his shoulder right into the corner of it. It would have been
better if he had fallen all the way to the ground. Green has a nice gash on his
shoulder to show for it.

The over and back call against the Hokies vs. Minnesota was the wrong call.
Greenberg told the official that, but the official disagreed. The Big Ten came
out after the game and said the wrong call was made. That official has been
reprimanded. (Editor’s note: not that a reprimand helps the Hokies very much).

Tech is playing a good schedule, and the Hokies are competing. They just need
to find a way to close. This will help the strength of schedule quite a bit.

Marquis Rankin reminds Seth Greenberg of former Wake point guard Ish Smith.
Rankin is a very strong on-ball defender. He’s not afraid to be physical. He
made a great pass to C.J. Barksdale, and another one to Robert Brown. He’s fast
now, but he’s still about a step behind where he was before his knee surgery.

Rhode Island is a very athletic team. They are 1-6 somehow, but they are much
better than that. This is a team that is usually in the postseason. They are
turning the ball over way too much. They are a young team right now.

Charley Wiles

Wiles was very down after the game. He had heard there was an outside chance
of the Sugar Bowl, but he wasn’t counting on it.

Clemson got the momentum against the Hokies. The team and coaches felt good
coming out of halftime, but Clemson got the momentum early with good field
position. The Tigers made the game a perimeter game, and they are a perimeter
oriented team.

Losing Jayron Hosley obviously hurt Tech as well. Give Clemson a lot of
credit, because they played a very good game. Wiles doesn’t know that it’s a bad
matchup. Tech will get another opportunity in Death Valley next year.

Tech has played better offensive lines. Clemson is solid. They don’t ask
their guys to do much. It’s all side to side stuff. Defensively, Clemson rose up
and played a great game. They deserved it.

The Tech players are very excited about the opportunity to play Michigan. If
Tech can go 12-2, beat Michigan and win the Sugar Bowl, that would be a great
season.

Wiles is very impressed with Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson. He’s a
great player and a dynamic player. Overall, the Wolverines are deep and they
seem to have their defense fixed this year. It should be a heck of a game.

Wiles doesn’t remember if VT recruited Andre Branch of Clemson, who went to
Varina in Richmond. Jim Cavanaugh was recruiting that area at the time.

Wiles probably should have substituted a little more during the game. He told
his players on Monday that he made a mistake and didn’t get the starters enough
rest.

Tech wants what is best for Jayron Hosley and David Wilson. They submitted
their paperwork to the NFL on Monday to get feedback about where they will be
drafted. That will help them make a better decision when the time comes.

Logan Thomas

If Thomas had a Heisman Trophy vote, he would vote for Robert Griffin III of
Baylor. That guy gets it done through the air and on the ground.

Thomas should have handed the ball off to David Wilson on the first play from
scrimmage, but he kept it instead. He accepted blame for the play. It wasn’t the
best way to start a game.

The Hokies had to pass almost the entire second half, just like the first
game. That didn’t help things, because Tech likes to be a balanced team.

Tech felt good about the game at halftime. Clemson really only scored three
points against the Tech defense in the first half. The Hokies really thought
they were doing well at halftime.

Tech got taken out of their game plan in the second half when Clemson got up
by a couple of scores.

Thomas is able to stay even keeled because that’s the way he was raised. He’s
never gotten too high, and never gotten too low. It’s just the way he’s always
been.

Thomas was at Bull & Bones for the BCS Selection Show, and was extremely
excited when he saw the news about the Sugar Bowl. He was extremely upset after
the ACC Championship Game, because there was no reason to lose that game by 28.
Sunday was a completely different feeling than Saturday night.

Like anyone else, Logan Thomas thinks about 110,000 people in the stadium and
Desmond Howard when he thinks about Michigan football.

Tech is the first ACC team to ever get an at-large berth. The team takes it
as a big honor. They are very blessed to be in this position.

Thomas expects the Hokies to have some great practices, just like the week
following their first loss to Clemson. He’s very excited about the possibility
to play in the Sugar Bowl.

Jack Tyler

It was a strange weekend. You go from losing to Clemson, not wanting to talk
to anyone, to going to the Sugar Bowl. Tyler found out when one of his roommates
came down and told him about it. He always assumed they were going to the Chick-fil-A
Bowl. Who wouldn’t want to go to New Orleans for New Year’s Eve?

What happened against Clemson? They are a good team. They made plays. The
Hokies just didn’t make enough plays in return.

Denard Robinson is a great quarterback. When you think of Michigan, you think
of the fact that they are the winningest program in the history of college
football.

The Hokies have exams coming up, so it’s time to hit the books. After that,
they have to gear up for the game. The next month is hectic. First it will be
all academics, then Christmas, and then all football. It will be worth it,
because New Orleans is a great trip.

Tyler’s hardest class is agricultural economics. He’s not a big math guy, so
that class can give him trouble.

The players will have to stay focused on New Orleans. There will be times to
go out and have fun, but overall it’s a business trip for the team. There is a
reason they are going: to beat Michigan.

Frank Beamer

Saturday night was a bad night. Going from that loss to the Sugar Bowl bid in
less than 24 hours was tremendous. Everyone is excited about the Sugar Bowl.
It’s a great city, and people will be happy to go somewhere different and see
the Hokies play a great opponent like Michigan.

Clemson has a lot of motion in their offense. Tech didn’t do a great job
adjusting and getting people in the right position. They just weren’t as sharp
as they needed to be. Offensively, Clemson stopped Tech’s running game and got
the Hokies into a lot of long yardage situations. Tech is better with a balanced
offense.

You’ve got to give Clemson credit, because they did a great job. They got the
Hokies down, got the momentum, and Tech could never get the flow of the game
going in their way.

As the game went along, the Hokies got behind, and they couldn’t run David
Wilson as much. Tech thought they would have an opportunity to get the ball down
the field against Clemson, and they did it several times, but overall they got
out of the flow. They aren’t as successful in games when David Wilson isn’t
involved, no question.

Tech’s relationship with the people who run the Sugar Bowl is very good.
Those people know how Tech fans travel. Also, the Tech program is a lot
different now than it was in 2000 when they were bypassed for Notre Dame. Since
1995, Tech has more wins than any other football team in the country. That says
quite a bit.

Beamer does feel for teams like Boise State and Kansas State. Beamer is good
friends with Bill Snyder. Snyder sent Beamer a note this season telling him how
well the Hokies were playing.

Beamer is counting on the fans showing up in New Orleans. This is a critical
bowl game for the Hokies. They need to play well in this game. They will need a
lot of support. This is a terrific opportunity for the team and the fans. You
could make an argument that this is Tech’s most important bowl since 1995,
outside the national championship game.

Beamer has no regrets about moving Chris Drager to tight end. He’s been a
very good blocker, and he’s made some critical catches. He was a good defensive
end, but he’s a better tight end.

There’s no question that Clemson’s defense played better against Virginia
Tech than they did against anyone else. At the same time, the Hokies could have
played better. Sometimes the Hokies couldn’t get the momentum. There should have
been a horse collar called on a Clemson defender against Logan Thomas, and he
questions the offensive pass interference against Jarrett Boykin as well.

Tech has won so many games over the years that they get every team’s best
shot. The fact that the coaches still rank Virginia Tech so high shows that the
guys who know something about football have a lot of respect for the Hokies.

What you want when you try to go for a punt block is for seven guys to get
blocked, and one guy to get free. Against Clemson, on Saturday night and the
first meeting, the Hokies had two guys get free and they kind of got in each
other’s way. As a result, they were just barely late in going for the punt block
and it resulted in a roughing the kicker. James Hopper says he got his thumb on
the ball, and Beamer agrees with him.

Beamer doesn’t think the Hokies were tipping plays to the Clemson defense.
They are a well coached team, and their defense just played very well.

Tech hasn’t played a Big Ten team in football since they beat Indiana in the
Independence Bowl back in 1993.

Beamer voted Alabama #2 and Oklahoma State #3. It was very hard. He had
Oklahoma State around #5 before this past week when they destroyed Oklahoma. In
the end, Beamer felt like Alabama’s defense is so dominant that they deserve to
be #2.

There will be four great fan bases in New Orleans: LSU, Alabama, Michigan and
Virginia Tech. The Hokies will be in good company.

Beamer voted VT #13 in the Coaches Poll, which is lower than they actually
finished (#11). He had Clemson at #10. He also had Boise State and Kansas State
ahead of Tech, and he had TCU at #16. It was the right thing to do.

Clemson got hammered by South Carolina, but they had a 2.5 hour meeting and
they obviously closed ranks and played a much better game against the Hokies.

Beamer hopes to get some guys back healthy for the Sugar Bowl, particularly
Alonzo Tweedy. He was playing well when he went down, and the Hokies had to
change some things defensively as a result.

Jayron Hosley will have to do what’s best for him and his family. It would be
tough to turn down being a first round pick, but if you are projected to go
lower than that, then you’ve got a decision to make. Hosley is a talented guy.

The staff plans to sit down with David Wilson and his family this weekend and
talk about the situation. Wilson would be a key guy in the Heisman talk next
year, maybe one of the top two or three guys. That’s one thing he should
consider, because very few college players get to say they are up for that
award.

Monday was Day 2,564 of Virginia Tech’s continuous possession of the Commonwealth Cup.

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