Tech Talk Live Notes for September 10, 2012

Chris Coleman, TechSideline.com, on September 11, 2012
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Jim Weaver

If you never give up, you give yourself a chance to win.  That’s what happened to the Hokies against Georgia Tech.

Playing on Monday night on Labor Day is part of the ACC’s television package.  Virginia Tech won’t be in the game every year.  Other ACC schools will have to take part as well.  Tech will get asked to play in the game again, but Weaver is going to try his best to only play it once every three years.  A short week like that is just not an ideal arrangement, especially if you are the travelling team.

Some football talking heads have been saying that 1-A teams shouldn’t play 1-AA teams.  Weaver disagreed, saying that it’s easier fiscally to get a 1-AA team than a 1-A team.  He’s tired of being told by announcers on television how to run his business.  When you are trying to balance a multi-million dollar budget each year, you have to make the right financial decisions.  It would have cost Tech about $800,000 to get a team like Ohio in Lane Stadium.  The Austin Peay game cost $325,000.

The athletic directors have not discussed the ACC’s 9-game scheduling format yet.  That will happen in the fall meetings.  A number of schools will probably have to play on the road against the same team two years in a row.  It’s possible that the ACC could scrap the current scheduling format and come up with something completely new.

There are 20 bicycle policemen who are supposed to be going through parking lots to make sure people are keeping their tailgates within a reasonable distance from their car.  He knows a lot of people aren’t doing it, and it makes it very difficult for those who are driving through the lot to their parking space.

Women’s soccer is undefeated and ranked #11 in the country.  Chugger Adair and his staff have done a great job.  Kelly Cagle, who was Adair’s predecessor, recommended Adair for the job.

Mike O’Cain

It’s nice to get in a normal week of preparation.  They had three days to get in five days of work.  Tech obviously didn’t play their best on Saturday, but they didn’t make a lot of mistakes.

Georgia Tech did a lot differently last Monday night.  They have predominantly been a 3-4 team, a 2-gap defense.  They played more 1-gap on Monday night, which is much different in terms of how you prepare your blocking schemes in the week leading up to the game.  They brought more pressure and  played more man coverage than they’ve done in the past.

Bryan Stinespring is back in the booth this year, after being on the sideline last year.  He felt like he could see things better up there.  Kevin Sherman had been in the booth with O’Cain last year.  Sherman has several very young receivers this year, and they need to be coached up on the sideline.

Logan Thomas didn’t throw the ball very well in the first game.  He might have been pressing or trying to throw the ball too hard.  He had two high throws against Austin Peay, but they needed to be high because there was a linebacker in the middle of the field who he had to throw over.

Thomas is fine physically.  There are no problems there at all (no sore arm).

O’Cain really likes Mark Leal.  He has a lot of confidence in him, and he believes Leal could go out and win a football game for the Hokies.  He was hoping to get Leal more throws on Saturday, but they went 3-and-out twice in the fourth quarter, and he didn’t have the opportunity.

We’ll see more hurry up in the future.  We were going to see it more on Saturday, but they weren’t able to get into a rhythm.  You want to get something established.  It took them awhile to decide how they wanted to get things done on Saturday.  They went into halftime and made some changes.

Tech has to throw the ball more accurately.  They’ve got to run routes better.  They’ve got to get a better push up front on the offensive line.  O’Cain said he has to do a better job of putting them in a position to move the ball.

The morning of the game, Frank Beamer told the coaching staff that if the game went to overtime, he was thinking about kicking a field goal on the first play (editor’s note: we assume that Beamer meant that if the Hokies had a chance to win the game in overtime, they would go for a field goal on the first play of the possession).  He asked the rest of the staff what they thought, and none of them agreed.  They all felt like they had to try and get closer.  When they got it down to first and goal, the staff discussed whether or not to kick a field goal on first down.  They decided to keep going for quarterback sneaks.

Pitt didn’t play very well against Youngstown State.  They were missing several players in that game.  Cincinnati big-played Pitt.  They did look a lot more athletic against Pitt.  O’Cain believes they are a little bit suspect in the secondary, as they have some young corners.  They changed their safeties from the first game to the second game.

Every game is different, and every team is different.  If you don’t play your best, you can always lose.

The Pistol has gotten a lot of hype, but there’s not a whole lot to it.  The Pistol is a combination of being in the shotgun and the I-formation.  It lets you run the ball downhill from the shotgun alignment.  You can also disguise your protections a little bit.

Tony Gregory

Gregory tries to produce wherever he gets on the field, and special teams is his first opportunity.  He got a good jump on the ball on the blocked punt.  Beamer teaches his players to go as if they aren’t going to be blocked, so they are able to get good jumps.

Tech does a drill before practice every day where they put a mark in front of the punter.  You have to keep your eyes on that mark.  That’s the spot where you aim when trying to block a punt so you don’t run into the kicker.  At that point you just try to focus and keep your eyes open.

It’s tough to tear your ACL twice, as Gregory did.  It’s hard to get through it.  It’s very painful.  You just have to have the right attitude and dedication.  Gregory loves football and he loves the Hokies, so he couldn’t see himself giving it up after the second knee injury.

Tech has different game plans for each opponent, so you could potentially see any of the tailbacks in the game.

It was very exciting to score his first career TD against Austin Peay.  Hopefully he can get some more before it’s all over with.

Gregory will graduate in Human Development in December.  He loves kids, he has a 6-year old sister.  He’s working his internship at a daycare, so hopefully he can open up his own daycare.  He has another year of eligibility left, and he might get a sociology degree in that year.

When Georgia Tech went ahead late in the game, Gregory knew it was going to be a tight one.  But the Hokies had been there before.  The sideline went nuts when Corey Fuller caught the big fourth down pass and Cody Journell kicked the field goal.

Jack Tyler

Tyler grew up in Northern Virginia, so he grew up a big Redskins fan.  Three former Tech players started for the Redskins on Sunday: Will Montgomery, DeAngelo Hall and Josh Morgan.

After last Monday’s game, Tyler felt physically terrible.  It was the worst week ever.  It was a tough game to get over in just a few short days.  It was very hard on his body.  Mentally, it was the best week of his life.  A lot of people back home were proud of him.

Things have been going well.  All the linebackers who are playing are experienced.  Tyler has always been a mike, but Bruce Taylor has moved over to backer, which is a lot different.  But they’ve all been in the meeting room together and they all learn from each other.

VT’s goal on Monday night was to eliminate the big play.  They really prepared hard.  That was their main focus.  When GT has scored against the Hokies in the past, it’s usually been because of a big play.  If you eliminate those plays, it’s tough for them to score.  It worked out.

Tyler thinks Georgia Tech is the most difficult team to defend.  On any play, three guys could get the ball.  You really have to be good with your key reads and fundamentals.  The coaching staff did an amazing job getting the defense ready to play.  The players were actually joking around on the sideline about how well everything Foster came up with was working.

Getting out of bed on Tuesday was tough.  Tech scaled back a little bit last week, and did fewer hitting drills.  Even with that, it was tough.  His shoulders didn’t feel too hot, and his legs were sore.  But that’s football.

The feeling after the Georgia Tech game was one that Tyler can’t put into words.  With the crazy turn of events at the end of the game, it really brought everybody together.

Tyler grew up a Tech fan, so he remembers all the matchups with Larry Fitzgerald.  It’s fun to play in games like this when you remember where the rivalry came from.  Pitt will be a hungry team.  They are 0-2, so they will do whatever it takes to win.  Tech will get everybody’s best shot.

Ray Graham is a really good tailback.  They have good players on offense.  Pitt hasn’t shown their best yet.

Frank Beamer

It was a tough week.  The players and coaches handled it well, and the Hokies were very organized.  They cut back their practices, but they tried to practice enough.  Beamer felt like it went well.

You play such a physical ball game on a Monday night, and then you only have a few days to get ready for your next game, it takes a toll.

Beamer said that if he ever had to open in Atlanta for a Monday night game, he would want the next Saturday off.  It’s even tougher to have to travel after you play a Monday night game.  VT found that out the hard way in 2010.

A lot of players made big plays when it counted against Georgia Tech.  Looking back, it’s a great way to start the season.  It wasn’t so much fun to go through it at the time, however.

Michael Holmes and J.C. Coleman have really done well.  Those guys are playing for the first time.  J.C. Coleman really has something … he gives the offense something.  Get him out in space, and he’s tough.  Tony Gregory played with great speed on Saturday.  Beamer is proud of him.  Martin Scales brings a toughness that is kind of a changeup to the other guys.

Corey Fuller has really improved.  He’s turned into a heck of a player.  He’s always been fast, but he’s positioning his body well and breaking tackles.  He’s been a guy who has really helped the team and played very well.  Demitri Knowles will get more involved as the time goes by.  He’s got great speed and hands.  He just hasn’t played a lot of football.

D.J. Coles practiced some on Monday, though he’s still out for the year.  The staff just wants to keep him involved with the team.

The staff feels like Joshua Stanford will factor in soon.  He’s a mature guy, and he’s going to get better each week.

Tech played a lot of freshmen against Austin Peay.  Beamer likes the way the Hokies are recruiting right now.  At one point they had 10 freshmen on the field on defense.

Tech has to keep working on the kicking game.  All the punt returners are new.  Offensively, Beamer was happy with the way Tech played in the second half.  They got into a flow and they mixed some things up.  They have to get going quicker in the game.

Beamer would like to see Tech play a little tougher up front.  They are athletic and moving in the right direction.  They dropped a couple of passes that killed drives.  Overall, the offense just has to play more consistently.

Tariq Edwards is coming along, but he needs a little more time. He’s a terrific player.  They would like to get him back ASAP.

A.J. Hughes kicked the ball very well, and they had a good day in punt coverage.  If you make plays in the kicking game, you will rarely lose.  The Hokies had a great punt return and a punt block on Saturday.

Tech will keep working their new punt returns, such as Kyshoen Jarrett, Michael Holmes, and perhaps Willie Byrn.

It’s in the best interest of Trey Edmunds to redshirt.  There is no question about his ability or how good he’s going to be, but right now he’s behind the other guys, and there aren’t enough reps to go around.

Beamer thinks Demitri Knowles and J.C. Coleman really bring something to the table on kickoff returns.  They are both fast and shifty.

Pitt has good players.  They lack stability because they have had so many coaches recently.  It’s hard to adjust to a new staff every year.  But they have tough players, and good players.

Beamer thinks the rivalry with Pitt will rekindle when they join the ACC.  The schools are pretty close to each other, and Beamer sees some good games down the line.

Ray Graham was a terrific player last year, and then hurt his knee.  He came back this season, and he is getting better each and every week.  He’s got some quickness.  He can stop on a dime.  He’s a fantastic ball player.

Pitt missed scoring opportunities against Cincinnati.  That game was closer than the score indicated.  They drove the length of the field twice, but didn’t score either time.  Tech has great respect for Pitt.

Pitt does a lot of I-formation, and playaction off of that.  They want to feature their tailback, and their quarterback is a senior.  Their receivers are big guys.  Their offensive line is full of tough guys.

Pitt is in the middle of a great recruiting area.  That program will get a lot of good players as they get into the ACC.  They are going to be really good really quick.

Pitt played last Thursday night, so they’ve had a couple of extra days to prepare for the Hokies.  Beamer expects a tough and physical battle.

Tech will keep on working with tempo.  It helps to change tempo during the course of the game.

Tech is just about done with recruiting for 2013.  They are just waiting on a couple of guys to decide.  Beamer is very pleased with recruiting this year.

Beamer is proud that Tech only had four penalties against Georgia Tech.  He thought the team played very disciplined for the first game.  Tech also has just one turnover through two games, and that’s a good mark.

Monday was Day 2,845 of Virginia Tech’s continuous possession of the Commonwealth Cup.

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