Weaver spent a lot of time with John Swofford over the last four months. He had nothing but praise for the way Charles Steger handled the 4-team playoff situation. Weaver thinks it will be outstanding for college football.
Four teams is the right number to protect the bowls. Any more than four teams could potentially impact the academic calender as well. An eight team playoff would take too long, and each school’s academic schedule is different. You want as much equality and fairness as you can get in a playoff situation.
Weaver was never concerned that the ACC wouldn’t be able to get a big contract with the Orange Bowl. It was the right move for both sides.
Weaver doesn’t know who the ACC’s Orange Bowl opponent will be. In late June, he thought he knew exactly what would happen, but things changed. Weaver didn’t want to get into what changed, because it could impact something else, and that something else is expansion. He’s not going to say who the expansion involves, but if you surveyed everyone in the audience someone would be able to tell you. Weaver thinks it will play out in the not too distance future.
The four-team playoff will now go to bid for television. The other big bowl games and the conferences are free to negotiate their own TV deals.
Tech is not dropping Ohio State or Wisconsin from their future schedules. He made a call on Monday about playing someone in 2018 and 2019, though he didn’t say who he called.
Tech will play a BCS conference team, a 1-AA team and somebody else in their non-conference schedule each year. If Weaver had his way, the ACC and SEC would play each year. FSU-Florida, Clemson-South Carolina and Georgia Tech-Georgia play each year. Weaver would like the other 11 teams in each conference to play a home and away against everyone else. That would take 22 years. They are talking about it, but he’s not sure if/when it will happen.
Tech was asked to play a Monday night game. Coach Beamer and Weaver were not enamored with the direction it was headed. They had some communication with the conference offices, and they ended up drawing Georgia Tech. That’s terrific. They originally wanted the Monday night game to be on the road, but Weaver and Beamer said no.
The preseason is always exciting. He likes the attitude of this team. They are improving each day.
Foster really likes his defensive line and the depth at that position. There are a lot of hungry guys, and they are really pushing each other for playing time. He has the luxury of playing some guys at both end and tackle. It’s always good for younger guys to push older guys. Foster also likes the whip linebackers. Gouveia-Winslow has come back strong from foot surgery. Alonzo Tweedy does some really good things, and he believes Ronny Vandyke will be a star.
Foster also likes corners Kyle Fuller and Antone Exum. He’s concerned about the depth at cornerback and inside linebacker. He doesn’t think Tariq Edwards will be back for Georgia Tech.
Right now, Bruce Taylor is playing backer. That’s a playmaking spot and Taylor is a playmaker. A guy who might have improved the most is Jack Tyler. He has great vision. He’s a really good player who has played in some big ball games. He reminds Foster some of Vince Hall because he has great vision and a high football IQ. Chase Williams is at mike, and he’s a better fit there. If they can get Tariq Edwards back, then Bruce Taylor can be a swing guy who can play both mike and backer.
Antone Exum at boundary helps the football team. Boye Aromire has really improved. He’s backing up at free safety. Michael Cole is backing up at rover. Those guys provide some good safety depth. Foster would feel comfortable with those guys playing right now. If they did have cornerback injuries, they could always move Detrick Bonner or Kyshoen Jarrett back to corner.
Donaldven Manning enrolled in the spring, and he would be the third corner right now. Davion Tookes and and Donovan Riley are other true freshmen, and Der’Woun Greene was recently moved from receiver to corner. The defensive staff always felt like Greene would be a cornerback anyway. Donaldven Manning strained his hamstring a bit, so they really needed Greene back at corner.
Tech has thrown a lot at the young guys in the secondary, and they aren’t going to slow down. “They have to come up to our level,” Foster said.
Corey Marshall and Luther Maddy played so much as true freshmen last year, and they played well. But they are playing so much faster this year because they got so much experience last season. Marshall is playing defensive end right now, and he’s battling J.R. Collins.
Zack McCray is playing a lot of tackle, and he’s playing a little bit of end. Marshall could play a little bit of tackle too. Antoine Hopkins is back and playing well. Luther Maddy was the MVP of the spring, and Foster really likes Kris Harley as well. They’ve got some kids inside who can chase the ball and make plays out of their alignment.
When Tech has really been good on defense, it has been when they’ve been outstanding up front. To play defense, you have to play so hard, and you need depth up front. Tech has depth up front this year. Obviously they need to stay healthy.
Obviously there is a lot more offense to defend these days than there was in 1999. With the spread offenses and all, offensive football is so much different now. But in 2005 and 2006, Tech was the #1 defense in the country. They gave up 13 touchdowns in each of those seasons, and that’s what Alabama did last year. That’s what Tech’s expectation is. When they become a dominant defense, they put themselves in a position to win the National Championship.
Tech only has four seniors on defense. Foster is excited not only about this season, but the future as well.
Probably after this coming scrimmage, Tech’s scout team periods will start going with the Georgia Tech gameplan. That will give them a lot more prep time for the Yellow Jackets.
Defending the Tech offense each day in practice gets the defense prepared well for the season. The Tech offense can run power, it can run spread, and it can go with one or two-back sets. Almost everything the Hokies see during the regular season they’ve already seen from their own offense in practice.
The biggest challenge early on is installing their coverages with so many young defensive backs. Tech runs more complicated coverages than almost all of college football. Tech has been putting in their blitz packages, and they will continue to install more packages throughout the preseason.
Foster really likes what he’s seen from the Tech offense. They are replacing a lot of starters, but the cupboard is far from bare. He thinks Michael Holmes can be a dynamic football player. J.C. Coleman has added weight, and he looks quicker. He’s a much different looking back than he was in the spring. Foster really likes Chris Mangus. He has great speed and great vision.
He likes Trey Edmunds at tailback too, but he would really like to have him at linebacker. He’s a raw kid, but he’s extremely athletic and explosive. If he ever moves to defense, he would be a whip or a backer, but Foster thinks he can be a big time tailback too.
Camp has gone well so far. There are a lot of younger guys coming along. Tech has to play physical and fast and prove on the field that they are a great defense.
Coming into this season on a two-game losing streak bugs Fuller a bit. They were playing really well at the end of last season. It’s frustrating, but the team had a great offseason.
The younger guys are still trying to learn the defense. It takes time and reps. They’ll get there.
Fuller doesn’t think playing corner will be hard for Antone Exum. He’s gotten plenty of reps, and he’s looked good there.
Bill Roth couldn’t name names, but he asked Kyle Fuller about the recruitment of his younger brother. Fuller said he was happy with the decision, and there was never a doubt.
Fuller wakes up and he’s in the training room by 8:45am. Then he has a positional meeting. Then he lifts for about an hour and a half. Then he eats lunch at 12. Meetings start up again at 2pm, and then they practice. After practice they eat dinner and then watch the tape of practice. It’s a long day, each and every day. He wakes up at 7:30am, and he’s home at around 10pm.
Josh Stanford looks really good as a freshman, and Fuller is looking forward to seeing how he does.
Georgia Tech is a very physical team, and you have to be very disciplined to beat them. It’s exciting to play a game like that to start the season.
Camp is going well. Thomas is having a good time. He’s getting back into the swing of things with his receivers, and he’s excited to see what they can do going forward.
A year ago, Thomas was nervous. This year he’s very excited. He knows what he can do, and he’s not doubting himself at all. He knows what he’s doing, and he understands the playbook. It makes it so much easier.
Tech lost a lot of good players, but it’s still the same deal. There are four senior receivers who are good. The offensive line is good. They work hard, they are physical, and they are smart.
Boykin and Coale were very good receivers. This year Thomas thinks the receiving corps can be very explosive this year. There are a lot of great athletes. David Wilson was an amazing talent, but he thinks the Hokies have the guys to fill the void. He feels like Tech is more athletic up front this year, and it will help them get to the edge better.
Thomas thinks the offense will be faster this year. They will be moving to the ball faster and trying to run more plays. They still want to be physical up front, but they want to get the ball out fast in the passing game.
Thomas likes the pistol formation. He thinks it’s good for the offense. The defense isn’t able to key on where the ball is going. Thomas says it helps that he’s a “fairly large guy” and the defense won’t be able to see the tailback standing behind him. [editor's note: Ha-ha!]
Thomas has to change his mechanics a bit when he’s handing off to J.C. Coleman, because Coleman is so short. He has to bend his knees more and squat down a bit.
Thomas went to California for Spring Break. He worked with George Whitfield, a famous quarterbacks coach. He worked on his footwork, his downfield accuracy, hitting people in stride, etc.
The next step in his development is consistency. He has to play and practice the same way every day. That’s how you have to look at it to get better.
The big Monday Night Football memory for Thomas was seeing Brett Favre go off on the day his father died. Favre is his favorite quarterback of all time because of his fire and competitiveness.
Beamer feels like Tech has had some really good practices. He likes the way things are going. Their full attention is towards football right now.
Beamer really likes the two new punters, Hunter Windmuller and A.J. Hughes. They are both true freshmen, and they both can be really good. Tech is in better shape right now than they were a year ago. Michael Branthover has had some great kicks, and some not-so-great kicks.
Joel Caleb probably came in a little too heavy. As soon as he drops a little weight, he will really be able to compete. Beamer is sorry to see Nick Acree get hurt, that’s a tough deal.
Beamer really likes his quarterbacks. Mark Leal gives you great confidence. He’s been around, he’s accurate, he’s smart and he’s a good athlete. He’s a good player.
J.C. Coleman has really progressed this August. He is getting adjusted to the speed of the game. He’s a very talented guy. They haven’t made any decisions on redshirts and such as of yet.
It’s a delight to have Shane Beamer and his family back in Blacksburg. Cheryl is really happy about it, obviously. But in this business, it goes further than bringing your son back. You better be bringing a good coach in. Shane has done well. He’s very detailed, he’s a good recruiter, and he’s on top of things.
With the staff in place now, their meetings don’t take very long. Everybody works well together. They are a very efficient staff. It doesn’t take them long to make decisions.
Beamer is proud that younger brothers, cousins, etc. always seem to choose Virginia Tech. For that second or third brother to attend, it means the older brothers had good experiences. It makes a great statement about the program.
It’s a credit to the state of Virginia that so many high quality quarterbacks are now playing in the ACC. Beamer is happy the Hokies got the one they got.
When deciding whether or not to redshirt a player, Tech takes it year by year. Do you project that the player will continue to improve throughout the year? Will he be at a certain level by the middle of the year, and then another level by the end of the year? You don’t want to turn a redshirt if the guy’s playing time levels off.
Tech has a good package going with their offense right now, with maybe a little more misdirection than in the past, with some more counter action.
Beamer hates to see ACC schools getting in trouble with the NCAA. You want the ACC to be strong. At the same time, you want everybody following the same rules.
This year teams will kick off from the 35, and touchbacks will come out to the 25. It’s important to have a good directional kicker who can put some height on the ball. Coverage teams will have an extra 5 yards, so it’s possible to pin teams inside the 20 more often.
Beamer didn’t feel right calling Penn State players encouraging them to leave. If they called Tech, he was willing to listen. And that happened. However, nothing came of it.
This will be a big week for Tech. They’ve got a big scrimmage for Tech. They’ve got to keep on making progress. Their installation has gone well, but they’ve got to keep it going.
Monday was Day 2,817 of Virginia Tech’s continuous possession of the Commonwealth Cup.