Tech Talk Live Notes for 12-26-11

Chris Coleman, TechSideline.com, on December 27, 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

Tech has sold just shy of 14,400 tickets. (About 4,000 of those were proxy
tickets purchased by Virginia Tech and the ACC and donated to the military.)

Weaver is a little surprised that Clemson has sold so few tickets to the
Orange Bowl (about 9,000, according to press reports), but their fans are
dealing with a Wednesday game. Making a mid-week BCS game is a very difficult
thing.

After a couple of more years, ESPN might not own the rights to the BCS.
Having mid-week BCS games, with no other game on TV, is very attractive for the
television networks. It’s impossible to predict how things might go.

Weaver suspended Cody Journell as soon as he found out about his situation.
He hasn’t heard anything new in his case since the incident.

Tech and Penn State had a tentative agreement to play in 2018 and 2019, but
the Big Ten talked about going to nine regular season games, so PSU backed out.
When Penn State hires a new athletics director, Weaver will certainly pursue a
series.

College athletics have gotten as commercial as they’ve ever been. There are
some things that need to be addressed, and Weaver thinks a few things will be
addressed in the near future.

The ACC athletic directors and faculty reps will meet again in February, and
they will talk more about the new division setups with Pitt and Syracuse.

The team is traveling to New Orleans early Wednesday morning. Support staff
and families will travel later in the day.

The fact that Tech was selected as an at-large team shows the feeling the
bowl people have for the Hokies, and how the TV people feel. Tech has gotten a
lot of exposure through Thursday night games since the mid-90s, and that has
paid off in a number of ways. That has made Tech more of a national program.

Seth Greenberg

The players were able to go home for three days over Christmas. Greenberg
took the time to get organized and take a look at how the team is playing. They
have 18 straight very tough games coming up. He also got two great home cooked
meals.

Tech has two very tough non-conference games remaining. Oklahoma State is 5-0
at home, and BYU is always a very good team.

The Hokies are improving across the board. They need to continue to get
better in the secondary break. The good thing about the team is that they have a
lot of guys contributing, and a lot of guys who can score. C.J. Barksdale missed
two straight days of practice with an ankle injury, yet still grabbed 10
rebounds in the last game.

Tech is still developing an identity offensively and defensively. Greenberg
has decided to extend the defense a little bit, because he thinks they can wear
people down. How can they get Jarell Eddie open more off screens? How do they
get Dorian Finney-Smith involved? Those are questions the staff is currently
addressing.

C.J. Barksdale has good instincts and he pursues the ball. Cadarian Raines is
a very good offensive rebounder. Jarell Eddie has been a pleasant surprise on
the boards. The staff has to continue to challenge the players and make sure
they aren’t complacent.

Tech has to continue to find a way to find easy baskets, such as inbounds
plays under the basket.

Tech might press more. If you don’t allow a transition basket while pressing,
it helps hide your defensive deficiencies because you don’t have to defend as
long in the halfcourt.

The Hokies have improved their early help defense. That means the opposing
guards have fewer driving lanes.

Cadarian Raines is getting better. He is finishing well, and he gives Tech a
guy who can offensive rebound. He is going to continue to get better. He needs
to keep taking the ball at the rim.

Virginia is having a very good year. Wake Forest is much improved. FSU and NC
State have played tough schedules. There are good teams across the league. Each
and every conference has a few really bad teams that are holding them back.
Overall, the ACC is the #2 RPI league in the entire country.

Tech will see the Heat play the Bobcats on the 28th, and the next day they’ll
fly into Stillwater to get ready for their December 31 matchup with Oklahoma
State.

The teams Tech has lost to are something like 36-2 combined. Kansas State is
a really good team who just won the Diamondhead Classic in Hawaii. The Minnesota
and Kansas State games eat at Greenberg a little bit.

Tech has to work on their screening and spacing offensively, and they have to
keep developing their defense. Everyone has to embrace their role and get better
individually.

Bryan Stinespring

Game planning for Michigan is done. Bud Foster and Bryan Stinespring came off
the recruiting trail a couple of days early to try and get a head start on game
planning.

Michigan has a lot of seniors up front on the defensive line, and that has
helped them to improve a lot defensively. You have to give the coaches credit,
and you have to give the players credit for buying into the new 4-3 system,
rather than last year’s 3-man front.

Michigan has a number of good players up front. Most of the coaching staff
and players agree that Michigan is similar up front to Boise State. Ryan Van
Bergen is a defensive end who is very disruptive. The entire front four plays
well together. They are a bunch of seniors and juniors.

Ryan Malleck played a lot of special teams this year. He didn’t play much at
tight end, but he practiced each week and went through the team meetings, etc.
He’ll compete for a starting spot next season, and he’s got a great future.

Andrew Miller will be at center, and David Wang will be at guard next season.
Michael Via will most likely play tackle, and Nick Becton will be back. There
will be a big battle at the other guard spot. The staff likes Matt Arkema a lot,
and Brent Benedict will be involved as well. Caleb Farris will be ready to
compete for playing time as well.

Stinespring was told that he’s the only guy in NCAA football who doesn’t
cover his mouth when he’s talking on the sideline. However, he’s not calling
plays on the sideline, and he’s not saying anything that tips off what plays
Tech is running. It wouldn’t do any good for opponents to try and read his lips.

Logan Thomas was better than Stinespring thought he would be this season.
Going into the season, Stinespring was more nervous for Thomas than he was for
the actual season. He was worried about the expectations that had been built.
Stinespring has known Thomas since he was a sophomore in high school. To have
come so far while not even preparing to be a college quarterback while in high
school, it’s very impressive.

Anytime you have a quarterback that enables the play to continue with his
feet, and who can throw the ball and manage the game, then you have quite a
weapon. Players like that are very difficult to defend.

Stinespring has actually looked at Michigan’s offense a bit to get an idea of
how they use their running back and quarterback together. Some of the things
they do are similar to some of the things Virginia Tech does.

Doug Doughty does a good job ranking players in the Roanoke Times top 25.
There are always a few guys you feel differently about, but he does a good job.
When it comes down to it, recruiting isn’t about rankings. It’s good recognition
for the players, but they still have to prove it on the field.

Stinespring is recruiting head-to-head with Alabama for three different
prospects right now. There is a bigger SEC presence in Virginia and the
surrounding areas than there was in the past. Stinespring still loves to
recruit.

Tech will have a 1.5 hour practice on Wednesday when they arrive in New
Orleans. Thursday will be an extended regular "Monday" practice. They
scrimmaged last Monday in Blacksburg, and Stinespring feels like they got a lot
out of it. Nobody got hurt, and it was a full contact scrimmage.

Frank Beamer

Beamer is very excited to be in a game of this stature. When you are playing
in a Sugar Bowl against Michigan, it shows that you’ve had a great season.

Cody Journell made a very bad decision. You don’t judge until you hear the
final story, but he certainly didn’t make a good decision for himself. It can
change his life forever. Right now, Tyler Weiss will be the short field goal guy
and Justin Myer will be the long field goal guy.

Tech will practice in the Superdome. It’s a different environment, and the
team will need to get used to the surroundings. With a week of practice, they
should be able to do that.

Al Borges is the offensive coordinator at Michigan. He was the offensive
coordinator at Auburn when they faced the Hokies back in the Sugar Bowl
following the 2005 season. That’s when Beamer started believing that there
should be a Plus-One model. Auburn went undefeated that year and didn’t get to
play for the National Championship.

Denard Robinson is a really good player. He’s shifty in close spaces. He’s
very hard to tackle. It’s going to take a great performance from the defense to
slow him down. The offensive system they run is very good, and their offensive
line can block.

Virginia Tech is #2 in graduation rates among ranked teams. Stanford is #1.
That’s a great compliment to the program. Beamer is very proud of that.

Most bowl games are won by the team that wants to win the game the most.
There is so much time between the last game of the season and the bowl game. Who
wants to win the game the most is generally the deciding factor. Sometimes
that’s not the case though. Beamer thought Tech had a great preparation for the
Orange Bowl last year, but things got out of hand in the second half.

Beamer didn’t want to take Jim Cavanaugh off the road recruiting, but overall
the staff changes have been beneficial to recruiting. Cavanaugh has done a great
job directing Tech’s recruiting efforts from Blacksburg. Tech has about five or
six guys they are still recruiting for the 2012 class.

Michigan has improved defensively quite a bit from 2010 to 2011. They forced
27 turnovers on the season. Last year they couldn’t stop anyone, and this year
they allowed just 17 points per game. They are a more experienced team this
year. They have mature players who believe in their system. Tech can’t get
caught in third and long, because the Wolverines will bring different kinds of
pressures.

Tech will practice when they arrive in New Orleans on Wednesday, and do some
conditioning as well. The next day will be a normal “Monday” practice.
They are going to go a little longer than they usually do on “Monday”.
The rest of the week will be the same. It will be important to get that week of
experience practicing in the Superdome.

Monday was Day 2,585 of Virginia Tech’s continuous possession of the Commonwealth Cup.

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