Tech Talk Live Notes for November 5, 2012

Chris Coleman, TechSideline.com, on November 6, 2012
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • RSS

Jim Weaver

Weaver was disappointed on Thursday night, as was the team, coaches and fans. They just have to hang in there, keep playing, and something good will happen.

The women’s soccer team received their fifth straight NCAA Tournament bid. They host Georgetown on Sunday at 5pm. The ACC is so good in women’s soccer that Tech didn’t qualify for the ACC tournament, but they are hosting a game in the national tournament.

James Johnson will coach his first career game as a head coach this weekend. Weaver would tell him to prepare his players as best he can, and to come out and be aggressive from the opening tip.

This football team and coaching staff wants to win worse than the fans do. That’s their business and profession, and the players don’t work hard all year just to lose. If they hang in there, something good will happen.

Weaver thinks this season is an anomaly, but there’s no way you can make a concrete statement right now.

Weaver answered an email and said he’s glad they did reseating last year instead of this year. It wouldn’t have gone as well following a down season.

The new fieldhouse is temporarily on hold. They have to find a location that works suitably. They don’t have too many options.

The goal of the women’s basketball team is to have a winning season. Dennis Wolff has done a good job recruiting so far.

Weaver doesn’t know whether or not Miami will self impose a bowl ban this season. It’s a difficult issue.

Tech will have fireworks for Thursday night’s game.

Weaver would prefer to play just one non-weekend game per year. Labor Day Monday night games and Thursday night games are part of the ACC television package, however. It becomes a conference decision.

Mike Gentry

Tech is close. They have a lot of guys who are still competing and playing hard. The offensive line has had some tough injuries. The hand grenade went off there, with Andrew Miller, Caleb Farris and David Wang suffering injuries. Wang has done a great job of playing through some tough injuries.

The Hokies have to hold themselves accountable. Gentry has to hold the standard during conditioning sessions.

Gentry likes the current group of redshirts. Specifically, he mentioned Augie Conte (tough, hard working, great potential), Trey Edmunds (explosive running back, great potential) and Joel Caleb (big, has a good future). There are a lot of young guys that are on the right path.

The Hokies have upgraded their Olympic sports facilities. It has improved their recruiting. The weight room is outstanding.

Tech is going to refit their football weight room. It will have a new floor, with new equipment. They want everything to look great and be more functional.

Former Tech football player Brandon Dillard is helping David Jackson with strength and conditioning in basketball. He was an outstanding basketball player in high school. He has fit that role very well.

Former Tech center Ryan Shuman is helping out with the Olympic sports in strength and conditioning. He’s an outstanding teacher.

Tech has had to back off their summer workouts a bit because of NCAA regulations. They aren’t quite as tough as they used to be. However, they are still plenty tough. They have had to make a few changes to play within the rules. They have to take more time off than they are used to. That makes it more difficult to get an edge. It’s tougher to outwork people. There has been some de-emphasis of strength and conditioning by the NCAA. They are afraid from a liability standpoint. That makes it tough, because the further you get away from hard work, the tougher things are going to get.

Gentry singled out walk-on tight end Fuller Hoepner as being a standout in the strength and conditioning department.

Former VT athletes who are at other schools include Danny Wheel, who heads up the strength and conditioning department at UNC-Greensboro. Jimmy Witten has been a very good strength coach at VMI. Scott Bennett is at Radford, and he’ll do a great job.

Billy Hite

The staff is disappointed, the fans are disappointed, and the players are hurting. It’s a real shame. It’s one of those things that happens.

The lack of success isn’t from a lack of effort. They work hard in practice, and you can see them playing hard for 60 minutes during games.

When Tech was undefeated in 1999, they were good, and Hite thinks Tech is good now. But the ball has to go your way, and you have to be a little bit lucky. The ball hasn’t bounced their way one time this year and they haven’t been lucky.

Hite has been at Tech for 35 years, and he’s dedicated his life to Tech. He tries to stay calm as an example for the younger coaches. If Tech can win on Thursday night, they can still finish with a winning record and go to a bowl game. Being positive is the most important thing right now.

Tech’s running backs are very young. Hite thinks they are going to be “special” before it’s over with. They need all the reps they can get. They have a chance to be good players.

Hite doesn’t have a mic on his headset, so he can’t join the conversation of all the coaches, though he can hear what they are saying.

J.C. Coleman has very good speed. Once he adds some strength, he’s going to be very difficult to take. He reminds Hite of Ray Rice.

Hite is a little bit surprised that one back hasn’t emerged, but he’s seen a lot of improvement from all the backs.

There are too many good players and coaches on this team for things not to turn around. They can get a lot of things right on Thursday night if they play the way they are capable of playing.

James Johnson

Johnson is ready to hoop it up. He’s been ready to go for awhile.

The Tip-Off Banquet went great on Sunday night. It was a great event, and there was a lot of enthusiasm for the program.

All the players were in coats and ties shaking hands with fans as they entered the building on Sunday night. Johnson wanted them to talk and mingle with the people who support the program.

Bobby Cremins did a great job as the guest speaker for the banquet. He had a lot of good ACC stories, and he talked about a lot of different people around the league.

The transition to head coach has been very smooth. Johnson already knew a lot about these players, because he coached them and recruited most of them. They also know his personality on and off the floor. He had already dealt with admissions, administration, etc., and that also made the process smooth.

Tech had a good trip to South Carolina for Saturday’s scrimmage. It was a situational scrimmage. The Hokies think they’ll see some zone from ETSU, so Johnson got Frank Martin to play some zone so Tech could work against it. It was a very good scrimmage, and very different from the Ohio scrimmage. Frank Martin’s teams are always tough and physical.

Erick Green stood out in Saturday’s scrimmage. He had a lot of assists and only one turnover in 36 minutes of play. He’s trusting his teammates. He won’t have to shoulder the load all season.

After watching two scrimmages, Johnson likes the fact that his players are playing very hard, and they are very coachable. They’ve gotten better every day. He likes that they are getting up and down the floor and buying into Johnson’s style of play. At the same time, he’s concerned with depth. He would like to see a walk-on step up. He is very concerned about foul trouble.

As time goes, Johnson will learn which players he can trust to play with two fouls, and which players he can trust in certain situations. That can’t happen until he starts coaching these guys in actual games.

Tech will go with Erick Green at point guard, Robert Brown at shooting guard and Jarell Eddie at small forward. At power forward, there is a good competition. C.J. Barksdale is probably in the lead right now, but Marshall Wood is pushing him. Cadarian Raines will start at center.

Johnson had a talk with his players recently and told them that they shouldn’t assume they will play just because the Hokies don’t have many scholarship players. They have to prove they can execute offensively and defensively, otherwise they won’t play.

With five games in 13 days to start the season, Johnson won’t change the way Tech plays, but he will change the way they practice. They practiced for an hour on Sunday, the day after Saturday’s scrimmage. They had two good hours of practice on Monday. The team will be off on Tuesday, and then start practicing again on Wednesday. Their first game will be on Saturday against ETSU.

Johnson has heard from a lot of his coaching friends who are wishing him luck. Jeff Capel, who is now an assistant with the 76ers, left him a message on Monday. Jim Larranaga, who Johnson coached under at George Mason, also called him. He’s had a lot of calls like that.

ETSU is a well-coached basketball team. They will play some zone to try and slow the Tech offense down. He will probably zone press Tech and then drop back into a 2-3 zone to try and slow the game down. ETSU had a very good recruiting class, including some JUCO players.

Rhode Island will come to Cassell next Monday. Danny Hurley is the new coach there, and Bobby Hurley is his top assistant. They are very different from last season.

Detrick Bonner

Bonner was born in Miami and he lived there until he was 15. It was wonderful to go back and play in front of a lot of people he knew, including friends and family.

Things just didn’t go Tech’s way. The defense played well. The offense had great drives, but they couldn’t get it going in the red zone.

Practice every week has been good. There is still great effort in practice. But at the same time, you still feel like you let former players down. Bonner doesn’t feel like Tech is playing as hard as they used to when former players were around. He feels like they have to prove a point on Thursday night.

Tech is a young team. Bonner himself has two years left. He feels like they will be fine. They just have to hang in there.

Moving from corner to safety has been crazy. Reading different things and having different concepts has been a challenge, but he has gotten better. He feels comfortable with it right now. He just has to focus on maintaining his weight.

Tech needed to stop the run to stop Miami, and for the most part they did. That was the big part of Tech’s defensive success, particularly in the third quarter.

Thursday will be a big time game. Tech has to play hard. The main focus is to stop FSU’s running game, because they will try to pound it. The offensive line is the most impressive part of the offense. It’s sad that Chris Thompson won’t be able to play, but they have other really good backs.

The Hokies need a big crowd and a lot of noise on Thursday night. “I think we’ve got a chance. I know we’ve got a chance,” Bonner said.

Bonner is majoring in Sociology. He wanted to major in Criminal Justice, but Tech doesn’t have it as a major. He wants to do something in the law field.

Ryan Malleck

Malleck is from Point Pleasant, NJ. His town was hit pretty bad by Hurricane Sandy, but his house and family are fine. They were without power for a week. The rest of the town is under water. A lot of canals overflowed into the town.

It was hard being here while all that was going on in New Jersey, especially when he couldn’t get in touch with his parents for awhile.

Malleck didn’t realize he was going to be a big part of the game plan against Miami. He just found windows and Logan Thomas got him the ball.

Malleck was a wide receiver and safety in high school, but he did play a little bit of tight end. He originally committed to Maryland, but he decommitted when Ralph Friedgen was fired. Coach Beamer called him and he took a visit to Blacksburg, and he loved it.

Malleck is studying business right now. He will probably do business management. He sees himself going back to New Jersey at some point.

He didn’t go to Rutgers because he didn’t like how the campus was “all spread out”. He also wasn’t a big fan of Greg Schiano.

Offensively, Tech drove the ball against Miami. They didn’t capitalize on their red zone opportunities. The defense played well.

Tech has had a great week of practice so far. Coach Beamer has told them to have faith that they are going to win this game.

To get open as a tight end, you have to find the windows and run the route hard. If you come out of your routes hard and get open, Logan will find you.

Frank Beamer

There’s nothing Tech can do about the past. They just have to look forward to Florida State. They are tough, fast and aggressive. They are quite a challenge, but that’s what makes it exciting. They are a good team. The Hokies are a good team too, they just haven’t always played well.

Tech is practicing hard. They moved the football well against Miami. There were about eight things that happened in that game that he went over with the team. The Hokies could have changed all of them, but they did things to beat themselves. They have to correct those mistakes and play better.

It’s not one thing that is going wrong for Tech. It’s one thing here, and one thing there. They are practicing hard, and except for maybe one or two guys, they are playing hard. It just hasn’t quite clicked.

On the first interception, Logan Thomas never saw the second defender. He was trying to hit the wheel route, it’s just one of those things. He plays very hard, and he doesn’t need to put it all on his shoulders. Good things happen when you let it happen. He made a great throw for a touchdown, but the wide receiver didn’t make a play. The center flinched on the exchange at the goal line. There are some things that just aren’t happening for the team right now.

Tech has packages for each running back. J.C. Coleman didn’t get as many carries against Miami simply because his personnel grouping or his play package wasn’t called for as much. Coleman really ran the ball hard and well against Miami. Tony Gregory did as well.

Beamer was waiting for the officials to measure or signal a first down right before halftime, but the clock just kept ticking and they didn’t do it, so he called a timeout. Then, the officials called for a measurement. The refs never came over and told the Tech coaches that they were getting the timeout back. Maybe Beamer didn’t hear it because of his headset, but Billy Hite didn’t remember it happening either. It’s just a shame they lost all that time. It was miscommunication. He never knew the clock was going to be running after that measurement. It was a bad deal.

Tech is doing more things offensively now than they have in the past, but Beamer knows they are ultimately judged on how well they do them. He thinks counter action is important, and they’ve had good playaction off of that. They’ve had more explosive plays this year than they have in a long time, but they haven’t consistently been good.

Tech has had some miscues on special teams. Tech lost leverage on the big kickoff return, and they had some issues with their punt team. Miami has good athletes on their special teams. Tech doesn’t spend any less time on special teams than they ever did, but they’ve had some miscues that they have to improve on.

Tech moves the pocket some, but when you do that, you cut the field in half. When you move, you cut down the throwing areas.

Beamer doesn’t think you have to scream and yell to be a true leader. Tyrod Taylor was a quiet guy, but he was a leader, and he would say things at the right times. Different people handle things different ways.

Florida State looks like an old Bobby Bowden team. They have a very athletic offensive line and playmakers all over the field. E.J. Manuel is a very good quarterback. They look the part and they play the part in total defense. They have impressive talent all over the field, and they have good depth.

Zack McCray moving to tight end is a good move for him and the football team. He wasn’t playing much on defense, so they wanted to go ahead and move him. Beamer feels like he will help out next season.

Monday was Day 2,901 of Virginia Tech’s continuous possession of the Commonwealth Cup.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • RSS