Tech Talk Live Notes for August 27, 2012

Chris Coleman, TechSideline.com, on August 28, 2012
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Jim Weaver

Tech has to make some things happen on offense.  They have to have a receiving corps that will come through, and the new offensive linemen have to rally around Andrew Miller.

The ACC needs to start winning some of these games against the SEC.  This weekend is a great time to start with NC State vs. Tennessee and Auburn vs. Clemson.  Those should be very good games.  It’s a big weekend for the league.

A Monday night game will be great exposure for the school.  Weaver believes the single biggest factor in developing Virginia Tech’s football program was Thursday night football.  When ESPN wants the Hokies so much on Mondays and Thursdays, it’s a great compliment to Coach Beamer and the program.

Tech didn’t want their open date to come after the Georgia Tech game.  They wanted it to come later in the season, before their first Thursday night game so there is adequate preparation time.

The parking lots will be emptied at 3pm on Monday.  Dr. Steger went the extra mile for fans.  Weaver hopes the weather will be good for tailgating.

Tech is playing a home and home with West Virginia in basketball this year.  However, they haven’t gotten to the point where the football rivalry will be renewed.  Tech is scheduled out pretty far right now.

Charley Wiles

The players are very excited.  It was a very good camp, and very physical.  They did a lot of competing against each other, and they are happy to get into game week.

Tech has some depth up front.  Wiles jokes that the media and fans are setting him up for failure by talking about how deep the defensive line is.  But Tech had a chance to get some young linemen like Corey Marshall and Luther Maddy a lot of reps, and those guys are good players.  Marshall can play end or tackle.

At first Wiles wasn’t sure if Marshall was athletic enough to play defensive end, but he’s really come on.  He will play a third of the time at defensive tackle.  He makes Tech more athletic at that position.  Wiles has worked a lot of combinations of linemen during camp, including Marshall and Zack McCray at both end and tackle.

James Gayle has missed a lot of camp.  He got a little ankle injury and tried to come back too soon, so he tweaked it again.  He hasn’t done any tackling yet.  That’s somewhat concerning.  He got a little work in middle drill.  He hasn’t played 11-on-11 football yet, though.  Tuesday will be a Monday style practice for Tech, and James Gayle will be turned loose then.  Gayle will play for sure, but Wiles doesn’t know who will start right now.

Staying off the ground is very important for the defensive linemen.  Georgia Tech does a lot of cut blocking and they try to get defenders off their feet.  You have to keep your inside linebackers, particularly the mike, clean.  He has to be able to run and make tackles.

You can’t simulate how fast Georgia Tech’s offense runs with your scout team.  That’s something that defenses have to adjust to during the middle of the game.  Wiles has a lot of respect for Georgia Tech.  They are very physical and very fast.  Their practices have to be very intense and very fast.

Tech started out playing Georgia Tech’s option from the outside in.  The defensive ends would crash down and hit the fullbacks, trying to make the quarterback make a quick decision.  Now Tech plays it from inside out.  The Hokies have evolved over the years.  They have studied Georgia Tech a lot, and studied the defenses of the teams who have beaten Georgia Tech, such as Iowa.

Wiles is very encouraged by the defense as a whole.  How good they can be will come down to staying healthy and some of the younger players getting better.  Deon Clarke is the #2 backer with Tariq Edwards out.  He’s a fantastic prospect, but this would be a tough game for a true freshman if he was forced to play.  They just have to keep developing throughout the season.

Last Wednesday’s scrimmage was 108 plays.  It was very long.  They were still evaluating younger players, so it wasn’t as smooth as it could have been.  Wiles thought it was a good day for the first group, and some of the #2 guys had a good day as well.

Wiles wouldn’t be surprised of Deon Clarke emerged in some capacity over the next month.  Matt Roth is a guy who has gotten a lot better at defensive end.  He got bigger and faster in the offseason, and he had a “fantastic” camp.  He got a lot more reps than they thought he would get with James Gayle missing time, and he took advantage of it.  He’s going to be playing a lot of special teams.  He’s a good, young prospect.

Wiles believes that Desmond Frye is going to be a really good free safety.  He’s a “heckuva prospect” with great ball skills.  He can cover and he can run.  Can he get lined up?  Not yet.  He’s a little bit all over the place.  But he’s a “heckuva prospect”.

Virginia Tech will have two guys on the quarterback.  They will have an outside player who will try to buy time and forced the quarterback inside to the help coming from the inside.

There is so much offense out there these days.  Fast tempo, spread, the option at Georgia Tech, etc.  There are a lot of different offenses to defend.  Georgia Tech is just one of many.

Bruce Taylor is a very good leader for the defense.  He’s a great player, and as a linebacker he’s in a leadership role.  In the defensive line meeting room, it’s the guys like James Gayle and J.R. Collins.

Wiles recruited Nick Becton .  He wasn’t a big talker then, and he’s not now.  When Wiles recruits, he tries to present an opportunity.  Virginia Tech was a good fit.  Wiles got to know his mom and dad really well.  They have always been really involved with him.  Nick was more of a basketball player coming through high school, but his future was in football.  He’s had a fantastic camp.  Wiles knows that, because he has to watch him block his defensive linemen a lot.  He’s had a big time camp, and he’s getting ready to have a big time senior year.

Nick Becton

Camp has been pretty tough, as usual.  Becton thinks they are ready for the Georgia Tech game.  It’s a grind every day.  Beating on your teammates every day gets old.

Getting through camp is all about getting from one practice to the next.  You can’t think about how much time is left in camp.  You just have to take it one practice at a time.

Becton feels like the offensive line has come together very well.  The first team practiced together all of the spring, and they’ve been together all of August.  They have stayed healthy and the cohesiveness is there.

Getting mean on the field started getting a little easier towards the end of last season.  It takes so long to develop technique, especially when you are a basketball player in high school like Becton.  Basketball was always his main focus in high school, up until his junior year.  He figured out that he wasn’t going to be tall enough, so he thought football would be the better choice.

Amongst the linemen, Becton, David Wang and Vinston Painter have the quickest feet.

Antone Exum

The team is very ready to play.  They are ready to beat up on somebody else for a change.

Exum likes preseason camp.  He moved to a new position, so he was looking forward to camp so he could get more reps under his belt.

The transition to corner has gone well.  He’s learned a lot from Torrian Gray and Kyle Fuller.  The main thing is reps.  There is no substitute for reps and experience.

You really have to stay disciplined with your read keys when playing Georgia Tech.  One misread against those guys could be a touchdown.  You have to stick with your responsibilities.  If you are assigned to the pitch man, then you have to stay with the pitch man, even if you think someone else has the ball.

When Exum originally talked to Foster about the move to corner, he knew they did something similar with Jimmy Williams in 2004.  They saw some of the same characteristics in Exum.  Part of the goal was also to get more versatile in the defensive backfield.  Exum can now play any position in the secondary.

Enrolling in the spring really helped Donaldven Manning get adjust to college and the speed of the game.  He’s more ready to play as a result.  Donovan Riley is coming along well.  Of course they’ll go through freshman mistakes “like we all did”.

Exum is obviously glad he came to Virginia Tech.  His #2 choice was Penn State.  It’s a bad situation.  His heart goes out to the kids involved, and he also feels bad for the current coaching staff.

Exum’s dad is a dentist.  He’s proud to say that he’s never had a cavity.

He feels like the Tech defense can be really good.  They have a lot of pieces in place.  They want to fly around and play with emotion.

Exum was asked what he would say to a recruit who was trying to decide between UVA or Tech.  He actually had this opportunity recently.  He asked the recruit: “Do you want to be great or average?”  The recruit told Exum he wanted to be great, and he committed the next day.

Exum picked Tech because they have a great coaching staff and great academics.  When he took his visit, he felt at home with the family atmosphere.  There is a winning tradition, and it was a good football situation for Exum.  It’s a fun place to go to school.

Exum likes the maroon helmet with orange jersey combo, though wanted them to bring back the maroon jersey with maroon pants look.  He’s trying to get it done, but they haven’t taken any action yet.

The best thing about playing for Tech is the tradition.  With the Lunch Pail defense and the tradition of winning, it’s something that motivates you every time you are on the field.

Frank Beamer

On Monday, Tech had a situation practice.  They went over onside kicks, onside prevents, and all the small things that could potentially happen in a football game.

The staff plans on playing Joshua Stanford.  They think he can help in the passing game and on special teams.  They plan to play Desmond Frye at free safety.  They plan to play Donovan Riley and Donaldven Manning.  They aren’t sure about Trey Edmunds.  They will dress him for a few games and see how things go.

Michael Holmes has been very good, and Martin Scales has been very good.  J.C. Coleman is a completely different player since spring ball.  His mind was tying up his feet then, but it’s not now.  Trey Edmunds certainly has the talent.  He’s got the size you look for.  There is no question about his future.

Joel Caleb will redshirt.  He’s playing a new position.  He was a quarterback in high school, and that adjustment is tough.  Like Edmunds, there is no question about his future.

A.J. Hughes is leading the punting competition right now.  He and Hunter Windmuller have both been good.  They are almost even in hang time, distance, operation time, etc.  Hughes is a little bit more consistent.  When Windmuller hits it, he really hits it.  He always has height on the ball.  When he turns it over, he’s really good.  Overall, Beamer feels a lot better about the punting situation than he did a year ago at this time.

Tariq Edwards will miss the Georgia Tech game, but Beamer feels like he is coming along well.  He feels better with the screw out of his leg.  Beamer isn’t sure when he will be back, and he isn’t sure how long it will take him to get back to playing at a high level.

D.J. Coles felt good about how he was running over the weekend during the scrimmage.  Beamer thought he looked good on film.  They feel encouraged about him right now, and they think he’ll play against Georgia Tech.

Tech has probably hit more this preseason and had more contact in practice.  Beamer decided at the end of last year’s camp that they would have more contact in this year’s camp.  Overall, Tech is pretty healthy.

Tackling is always a concern early in the season, especially against Georgia Tech.  The Hokies have done more scrimmage work and more middle drills than usual.  Hopefully that additional time will help their tackling.

Ryan Malleck has made progress.  He’s a very athletic guy, and he’s smart.  He’s the combination of good receiver and good blocker that they are looking for at tight end.

A lot of people got away from the Oklahoma wishbone.  Paul Johnson kind of kept it going, and it’s become different than what everyone else does.  It used to be normal, but now it’s a very unique offense to prepare against.

Tevin Washington, the Georgia Tech quarterback, is very experienced.  They have to have timing, and an experienced quarterback makes that easier.  Washington is very good.  He’s athletic and experienced.

Georgia Tech has good football players across the board.  Georgia is a good football state.  When you put good players in a unique offense, then you’ve got a good team.

It takes awhile to catch up to the speed of the Georgia Tech offense.  The Hokies played very well down the stretch against Georgia Tech last year because they had adjusted to their speed.  It’s really tough for a scout team to operate at anything close to Georgia Tech’s speed.

Beamer is right where his players are right now.  He’s ready to play somebody else.  What’s key for the Hokies right now is getting the little things down before they face Georgia Tech.  They have to be prepared for unusual situations, and that’s where Monday’s practice focused.

onday was Day 2,831 of Virginia Tech’s continuous possession of the Commonwealth Cup.

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