Tech Talk Live Notes for October 8, 2012

Chris Coleman, TechSideline.com, on October 9, 2012
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Jim Weaver

Saturday was a tough loss. Weaver was very optimistic that the Hokies would win the game. Things looked good after the first drive, but the momentum shifted after UNC’s kickoff return for a touchdown.

Weaver asked the fans to stick with the team. Things like this happen in athletics to all programs at some point. There’s no reason to give up on this team yet. This can – and has – happened to everybody. There are so many personalities involved. The Hokies just have to move on from here.

Georgia Tech fired defensive coordinator Al Groh on Monday. Weaver would never take that kind of action during the middle of the season.

Weaver hopes that a losing season would not hurt season ticket sales and fan support for next season. This program has been tied with Florida for most wins since the 1995 season, through 2011. Obviously something good was happening during that time period. But the Hokies can’t live on yesterday’s laurels. They understand that as administrators, and the coaches understand that as well.

The women’s basketball team has already started practice, and the men’s team will begin on Friday. Weaver is excited to see both teams play this year.

James Johnson has terrific charisma and a work ethic that won’t stop. He has hired an outstanding staff to help him.

The Clemson game will kick off at noon. It will be on ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC. The noon start will not change.

Torrian Gray

This is Gray’s seventh season at Tech. It’s been a long time since Virginia Tech had a season like this. Their theme now is “One Win”. They are going to focus on the next game. They are starting the season over, and start from a clean slate. That was their approach in practice on Monday.

The players are still responsive and dedicated to getting things turned around. Monday’s practice was very lively.

The Hokies have to get back to using better technique. They lost leverage in run fits and didn’t cover their gaps on the inside. It all gets back to fundamentals.

When Torrian Gray came to Tech, he and his teammates weren’t highly recruited. They had a chip on their shoulder. He doesn’t think the current players feel entitled, but they also don’t understand how things used to be, so the coaches have to impress upon them how things have always been done in the past.

You never know when Desmond Frye ‘s opportunity will come. He’s still learning the defense in practice. Gray feels like he’s a very good prospect.

Alonzo Tweedy is a great special teams player. He’s a dynamic guy who can tackle in space. He hasn’t responded as well defensively, unfortunately. The haven’t been able to find a spot for his skillset. He’s a true whip, but he hasn’t been able to function and do everything properly on defense.

Gray certainly never saw teams like Pitt, Cincinnati and UNC putting up 500 yards of total offense against the Hokies. They are starting over this week and trying to do the little things correctly. It’s like opening day, part 2. Tech wants to beat Duke, and then go from there.

The Tech coaches have to get over losses quickly. They see the players very early on Monday morning, and at that point they have to start getting them prepared for the next game. It hurts, but you have to bounce back. For the players to bounce back, the coaches have to bounce back.

Tech was much better against the pass this past weekend, but they weren’t good with their run fits or tackling.

Tech has been asking Bonner to do different things, such as playing free safety and nickel. Gray is going to do a better job of letting him play free safety and settle in there.

Tech is limited in their nickel packages. They can’t put Kyle Fuller at nickel because they are limited at corner. It’s tough to fit the pieces together.

If the Hokies play more base defense against Duke, it would be to get all of Tech’s players back to their natural positions. Bonner will play better if he’s a free safety all the time. If Kyshoen Jarrett can play a pure rover position all the time, he’ll be very good.

David Cutcliffe’s teams have always been able to throw the ball. He has done a great job at Duke. They are 5-1. They are very good at what they do. The Hokies have to put a great plan together.

Sean Renfree is a very cerebral quarterback. He knows where to go with the football. When he’s pressured, he knows what to do. He understands what defenses are doing.

Tech has had some guys transfer, such as Boye Aromire, who could be helping them right now. As a result, Tech is very young in the secondary. They’ll be better next year.

There have been players-only meetings. Bruce Taylor is really trying to get things together.

Gray really feels good about the way Coach Beamer is leading the team right now. They are going to win on Saturday, and it’s going to be a clean-the-slate win.

Gray has never had to recruit with Virginia Tech being 3-3. It’s different. Tech is about 95% finished with recruiting for the 2013 class.

Demitri Knowles

Knowles hasn’t played that many snaps in a football game since high school, so Saturday was different. It was fun, but it was tiring. The heat didn’t get to him, because he’s from the Bahamas.

When Dyrell Roberts got hurt, Knowles knew he was going to get heavy playing time. As soon as he saw the open field on the kickoff return, he knew he had the touchdown.

Knowles told his parents that he wanted to play football, and there was no football in the Bahamas. He was a swimmer and ran track. To take football to the next level, he had to come to America, and his dad found Lynchburg Christian Academy.

Lynchburg is a little bit different than the Bahamas. They have plenty of lakes, but the lake isn’t like the ocean. Knowles considers himself to be like a chameleon. He can fit in anywhere.

Knowles had a one-on-one with Coach Stinespring during his recruitment, and Stinespring asked him his #1 factor in his recruitment. Knowles said he just wanted to feel comfortable at the school. Stinespring asked Knowles if he felt comfortable while they were talking, and Knowles said yes. It wasn’t a hard sell.

The first time Knowles watched a Virginia Tech game was when he came to Blacksburg on a visit. He had no preconceived notions.

Football is totally different from track. Football is a complete team sport. Whatever you do affects the team.

Kevin Sherman does a good job of keeping Knowles grounded. There’s always something to work on.

Knowles felt like the tempo in practice was good last week, so he thought the offense would get off to a good start against UNC, and it did.

The offense has more confidence right now than they did a week ago. They started clicking in the passing game.

Knowles is undecided on his major. He’s thinking about the school of Business, and he might like to do something in marketing or advertising later in his life.

The best thing about the Bahamas: sun, sand and beach.

The Miami game will be like a homecoming game for Knowles. He has a lot of people coming up from the Bahamas to watch him play.

Josh Trimble

Trimble loves running down the field on kickoffs. Special teams is a lot of fun.

As much as Trimble loves special teams, he wants to step in and compete at the backer position in the spring.

Trimble has three older brothers who all played at Army. His father was a very successful coach at Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington, but he died last season. It was a tough thing to get through. Everybody in his family got closer after that happened.

Trimble’s oldest brother is stationed in Korea. His second brother is in Afghanistan. The third brother, Justin, currently plays linebacker for Army. It’s kind of crazy that all four brothers played 1-A football.

It was always hard being the son of a coach. Other players would always think that Coach Trimble showed favoritism towards his sons. If anything, it was actually harder on them than the other players.

When he talks to his brothers overseas, they always ask him about school and football. They always want to talk about him, rather than what’s going on with them.

Trimble decided to come to Virginia Tech. He loved West Point, he just didn’t think it was the place for him.

Coach Beamer told the team that they needed to forget about the first six games. They need to focus on beating Duke.

Bruce Taylor is stepping up and trying to do the right things to get the team to move in the right direction.

Trimble is a Detroit Lions fan because he was first a fan of Kevin Jones. He grew up a Tech fan, so he followed Kevin Jones when he went to the NFL.

If Trimble had not played in the Catholic League, he would have played for Stone Bridge High School.

Trimble is undecided on his major. He would like to get into the Business school.

Frank Beamer

Saturday’s game is like a second opening game. It’s been tough, but nobody is hurting more than the players. Everybody has to hang in there and work to get better.

Big plays killed Tech on Saturday. The kickoff return by UNC changed momentum. In the second half, Tech was moving the football, fumbled, and then UNC scored a few plays later. Tech had them stopped at one point, jumped offsides, and then UNC scored a touchdown. The Hokies just need to play better.

Everything that is happening defensively is certainly correctable. Teams like North Carolina stretch you, and if you aren’t exactly right with your fits and alignments, they will get you. That’s what happened on Saturday at times.

Tech needs to get a better push up front. UNC does get rid of the ball quickly, and they have a veteran offensive line. The offense they run fits their personnel.

On the fourth and inches play, the Hokies had a player looking inside, and the Tar Heels popped it outside. He didn’t secure his gap.

Maybe Tech is asking too much of their new guys on defense. They’ve had some miscommunications, so maybe things will get better if they simplify some things.

There is a very thin line between winning and losing. Tech has been on the good side of it for several years. But this season isn’t over. For people who want to quit, that’s the last thing Beamer is thinking about. He’s thinking about finishing strong. He’s counting on the team getting better down the stretch.

Riley Beiro will have shoulder surgery and miss the rest of the season. He’s a good player. He’s been battling that shoulder problem, and it’s just time to fix it.

Dyrell Roberts didn’t practice on Monday. His status will be determined later in the week. David Wang and Caleb Farris also didn’t practice on Monday.

Laurence Gibson is getting some reps at guard this week. He has been playing tackle since the beginning of the season. Brent Benedict has been playing a lot this year, so it’s time for the backups to step up.

Martin Scales has played so much at fullback in his career, and he can give the Hokies some reps there now that Beiro is out.

When Tech decided to decline the running into the kicker penalty, it was a mistake. They should have taken the penalty and rekicked. Beamer thought the ball was further down the field than it was. Beamer thought it should have been a 15 yard penalty rather than a 5 yard penalty, but it was Beamer’s mistake to decline the 5 yarder.

Tech was going to need a two-point conversion one way or another, so Beamer decided to go for two halfway through the third quarter to try and get it out of the way early.

UNC is the most skilled team the Hokies have faced thus far. They have a special tailback, and their backup tailbacks are very good. They have big guys at receiver who run well. They have an experienced offensive line and quarterback.

It wasn’t really the spread offense that got the Hokies on Saturday. It was a power running game, and the Hokies had players not hitting the right gaps and not tackling.

Tech practices tackling every week. They don’t tackle to the ground, but if you can master the initial form, you can do it during games.

Demitri Knowles came through for Tech on Saturday. Beamer thinks Kevin Asante has been improving and could get the job done. Christian Reeves has been doing a good job, and they probably need to get him in there some. Willie Byrn is a guy Beamer has a lot of faith in as well.

Michael Cole has to work on his tackling. He’s a smart guy, and he’s a r-freshman who has played in just six games. He’ll be fine.

Beamer told the team that they know what the issues are, and he knows they can be fixed. They are fortunate because a lot of other teams out there have issues that aren’t fixable. They’ll keep fighting to make sure they are going in the right direction. There is no reason to make excuses or point fingers. They just need to work to fix the problems.

Tech needs to run the ball better. A good team is a balanced team, and the Hokies couldn’t run it against UNC. The Hokies had some explosive plays against UNC, but they need to be more balanced. They need to be more consistent everywhere.

Duke is a good team. Their backup quarterback, Anthony Boone, is playing well. Sean Renfree is the starter and he’s very good. Both guys have won for Duke. Boone threw four touchdown passes against UVA. Renfree has been around and put up big numbers.

David Cutcliffe has done an excellent job at Duke. Their offensive line has improved, and their passing game is very good.

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