Tech Talk Live Notes for 12-20-11

Chris Coleman, TechSideline.com, on December 21, 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 thinks the basketball team has been playing well recently. It’s tough
playing these games over Christmas when nobody is in school.

Tech has sold 10,187 tickets for the Sugar Bowl. Of the 7,000 tickets
absorbed by the ACC, 4,000 has been sent to military personnel. Thanks to the
secondary ticket market, Tech will have their normal 15-20,000 at the game. It’s
a really tough day for fans to make the game.

Having 15-20,000 fans at the game should put the pundits in their place. It’s
easy to take shots when you don’t know the dynamics.

Weaver was asked if he felt like Tech fans were “tapped out”. The
reseating process was held off for a couple of years because of the downturned
economy. Unfortunately, that’s bad timing. Some people are increasing their
donations this month, so it’s really hard to go to the Sugar Bowl. It’s hard to
answer the question, because each fan has to make tough personal decisions.

Nobody thought the Sugar Bowl was a real possibility, and is always highly
unlikely as well. That’s why the Sugar Bowl wasn’t included in the mailing that
was sent to fans in the month of November.

Tech will play Austin Peay in 2012. The opening on the schedule came about
very late. Weaver ran up a heck of a phone bill trying to find somebody to play.
It’s very difficult to get games this late. Tech needed a game, and Austin Peay
was available.

There is more money involved in the TV contract by going with an 18-game
basketball schedule. That’s why the league is moving to 18 games even before
Pitt and Syracuse join the league.

There is going to be a lot of discussion coming up soon about the BCS. Weaver
isn’t in favor of one location having two games. He is in favor of playing the
+1 model, with the #1 seed playing the #4 seed and #2 playing #3 in a playoff.
There needs to be a separate venue for the National Championship. Whoever wants
to bid can get the game, though he wouldn’t open it up to places with bad
weather. Dallas, St. Louis or Indianapolis seem like good choices.

Virginia Tech can’t afford to give an extra $2,000 to every student-athlete.
You can’t give the money to only football and men’s basketball players without
giving it to all athletes. If that rule ultimately does pass, there will be a
few years for schools to get a plan in place to make sure they can afford it. If
Virginia Tech can’t afford it, then the rest of the ACC can’t afford it. He’s
not sure why John Swofford supported it. He wasn’t a part of the meeting.

Seth Greenberg

Greenberg joined the show from Hampton, VA where he is currently recruiting.

The team is developing, but they are still a work in progress. They have to
continue to improve defensively. They are giving too many easy baskets due to
mental mistakes. Greenberg likes the fact that the Hokies have so many players
who can score, and that the team is very unselfish. They have nine guys who can
contribute.

C.J. Barksdale gave Tech valuable minutes against North Florida. Marquis
Rankin has great speed. The Hokies have different players coming off the bench
that can help the team in a lot of ways.

Greenberg is busy recruiting. The staff is working very hard. Greenberg spent
9 hours in a car on Tuesday, the day after having a game on Monday night.

Montrezl Harrell is a great athlete. He is very strong, and he has long arms.
Marshall Wood is 6-8, but he can really shoot it. Just last week he had 49
points and 20 rebounds in a game. He has a chance to be very good. Tech is
looking to bring in one or two more players to join them in the late signing
period. They will work hard to find the right pieces. Chemistry is very
important.

James Johnson (Associate Head Coach, Men’s Basketball)

This is a very young basketball team. They are playing hard, but making a lot
of mistakes. They have to tighten up before ACC play begins. There are a lot of
little things to work on.

Marquis Rankin being back from injury helps a lot. Erick Green can get a
breather, and the Hokies can extend their defense and pressure the ball because
Rankin is such a good on-ball defender.

The Hokies are having trouble keeping the ball of the lane. Teams run their
offense until about 12 seconds left on the shot clock, and if they aren’t
successful, they try to drive the ball against Tech. Tech is fouling too much
and giving up too many layups.

Eastern Michigan has Syracuse connections and will play a 2-3 zone all night.
They do have some size on the inside.

Marshall Wood is a gem. He’s a Virginia Tech type of guy. The Hokies want
good kids, good students and ACC caliber players. He fits all of those
requirements. He’s athletic, long and he can shoot.

Montrezl Harrell is very athletic. He has the athletic ability and strength
is like J.T. Thompson. He’s very raw, but he’s going to be able to help the
Hokies inside.

Dorenzo Hudson is playing with a torn meniscus. There’s nothing the Hokies
can do about it. Hudson is just going to have to play through it during the last
semester of his career.

Cadarian Raines is doing a very good job for a guy who has been hurt so much
in his career. This year was the first time he was able to work out with the
team in the preaseason. He has always been injured in the past.

The new basketball practice facility has been a big boost to recruiting.
Marquis Rankin was the first to walk into the new building, and he committed to
the Hokies that day.

Bud Foster

The Michigan offense is talented. They are big and physical up front, and
Denard Robinson is a dynamic player. He reminds Foster a lot of Pat White of
West Virginia. The Hokies have to make him throw the football, even though he’s
a better thrower than White.

They are Michigan. They have a great tradition and a great program. It’s
great to be playing them, and it’s also a great opportunity.

Foster thought the team had a really good week of practice heading into the
ACC Championship Game. Foster warned them to not let their guard down. Clemson
had a lot of talent. Tech just didn’t play well in most aspects of the game.

It’s a statement about the program Tech has built that they were selected as
an at-large team to the Sugar Bowl. Foster is very excited for the players, and
proud of them for how they performed this season.

Fitzgerald Toussaint, the Michigan running back, is an outstanding running
back. He’s sort of a Branden Ore type player. Foster has talked to Phil
Elmassion, the Ohio State coaches and the Illinois coaches about Michigan. With
Toussaint and Robinson, the Wolverines have two tailbacks in the game.

David Molk is Michigan’s center, and he is the Rimington Award winner as the
top center in the country. He’s not big, but he’s very quick and aggressive.
He’s a very, very talented football player.

Tech will have a very experienced and deep defense next season. Because of
injuries, the Hokies have had some guys step up, and some depth has been
created. They should only get better after another offseason and some guys come
back from injury.

Tech needs to play really well in a BCS Bowl. They’ve played well against
some great teams, like Florida State and Auburn. Last year against Stanford, it
wasn’t so good. Defensively, Tech played a great football game against Kansas.
The coaches are really talking to their players about how important this game is
to Tech. They have a chance to take another step as a program. Tech has been a
top 10, top 15 team. But Foster wants to be a top five type team, and to do that
you have to win games like this.

The Hokies did two 10-minute quarters in a scrimmage on Tuesday. The first
team offense and defense faced each other at times. Foster focused on angling
and tackling. He didn’t blitz at all. They are tackling at full speed right now.

Michigan State played really well against Michigan, but they were rolling
sevens. Michigan was really close to winning, but it was just one of those
games. Iowa played a great game and didn’t allow any big plays.

Foster had an opportunity to visit Pitt last year. He’s kind of a country
guy, and he’s not sure how he’d fit in an urban area like that. If a head
coaching job never opens up for it, he’s not going to lose sleep. He competes at
the highest level of college football, and he works for the best coach in
America. He doesn’t need to take a smaller job just to be a head coach. He has a
great contract, and he works with great people.

Tech is going to watch film on Wednesday morning and then have another
practice. Michigan does a unique package with two quarterbacks on the field, and
the coaching staff will address that.

Blake DeChristopher

The team is very excited to go to the Sugar Bowl. Tech gets a chance to end
the season on a good note after playing a bad game in the ACC Championship game.

It’s very exciting to play Michigan. They are a great team. The Hokies have
to practice hard, because Michigan will be well-prepared. The seniors really
want to go out with a win.

The scrimmage on Tuesday was good. The first team offense got about 15-20
plays, and it went well.

DeChristopher will probably shave a couple of weeks after the bowl game.

Jason Worilds is the best player DeChristopher has ever tried to block. He
really made DeChristopher a much better player.

DeChristopher has had a great experience at Tech. He’s had a lot of great
teammates, friends and coaches. It’s going to be a sad day when he finally has
to leave.

Michigan hustles to the ball, and they play very hard. They are a physical
team. They remind DeChristopher of Boise State.

Kyle Fuller

The scrimmage went well on Tuesday. It was good to move around, and better
than a regular practice.

This is a huge bowl game that is coming up. They can have a little fun, but
they are going down there to win a football game.

Denard Robinson is an explosive player, and the Hokies will have to contain
him for four quarters.

Last year was Fuller’s first bowl game, and it was a great experience. There
was a red carpet from the plane to the bus. Roth joked that Fuller can use that
as a recruiting pitch to players who could be related to him (brother Kendall
Fuller is a 2013 recruit).

Fuller was very down on Saturday night and all day Sunday. When he found out
they were going to the Sugar Bowl, he was really excited.

In this game, Tech has to play fast and physical and read their keys
properly. If they do that, they should be able to come out of New Orleans with a
win. He’ll look at some Michigan film when he’s at home for Christmas to make
sure he is better prepared.

Frank Beamer

The last five practices before Christmas are completely towards Michigan. The
scrimmage on Tuesday was to make sure the Hokies stayed sharp with their
tackling, etc. Scrimmages are full speed, and Tech needs to make sure they are
playing some real football.

In the last four losses (JMU, Stanford, and Clemson twice), it has been 82-3
in the second half. That’s the part that is disappointing. Tech has done some
great things, but they have played poorly in the second half of their recent
losses. They rarely lose, but when they do lose, it’s a bad loss. They need to
get past that.

Michigan has a very dangerous offense. They have a great quarterback and
running back, but it’s their offensive line makes their offense go. They have
very experienced players up front, and explosive athletes behind them. Michigan
is very good up front on both sides of the ball.

Michigan’s defense has really improved since last season. They are tough, and
they play really well as a unit.

Beamer thinks that guys like David Wilson and Jayron Hosley should focus on
where they are projected to be drafted, and let that guide them on whether or
not to leave early. There is a big difference between an early first round pick,
a second round pick, etc. You want that first contract to be a good contract,
because if it doesn’t work out you aren’t going to get a second contract. It’s
very hard to project.

It disappoints Beamer that all the bowl tickets that fans are buying aren’t
getting purchased through Virginia Tech. He worries about that, from a program
standpoint. Obviously the numbers would be a lot higher if the game were on a
weekend or holiday, instead of the middle of the week. That’s the other thing
that needs to be discussed. It’s hard to get off work the first week of January.

Beamer thinks the +1 system is the way to go. As far as the bowls, there
needs to be some serious conversations about how things are managed. With a +1
and a good bowl system, you’ve got the best of both worlds.

It felt good to get out and scrimmage on Tuesday. It helps to keep everyone
sharp.

Beamer feels like the Hokies have a very good group of seniors, and they will
do a good job of getting the younger guys to realize how important this game is,
and how to handle themselves in New Orleans.

Tuesday was Day 2,579 of Virginia Tech’s continuous possession of the Commonwealth Cup.

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