Tech Talk Live Notes for November 13, 2012

Chris Coleman, TechSideline.com, on November 14, 2012
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Jim Weaver

Weaver thought the Hokies played as well as they’ve played all year against Florida State. It was a tough loss. One or two plays were the difference. He’s not sure that could be said for all the losses this year, but it could be for Thursday’s loss.

Weaver thinks Tech will play well the last two games. They have to take them one at a time.

Weaver complimented the Tech fanbase and their dedication. He wants that dedication to keep going. He knows people are disappointed, but people need to realize that the Hokies are working hard to turn it around.

Weaver hasn’t seen the video on Marcus Davis, and he doesn’t read internet blogs. He feels badly for Marcus or any other player who is taking shots from fans. He asked fans to not create that kind of environment for the coaches or players.

Weaver thinks Tech will be ready and the Hokies will give their best effort against Alabama next season. There is no reason to try and get out of the game.

The women’s soccer team hosted the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday night, and it was a tough loss. However, the team had a great season.

Charles Steger did a great job helping to put together the new football postseason. The ACC will have a contract bowl, the Orange Bowl. There will be six big bowl games. The Big East wanted a seventh big game, but the commissioners voted that down.

The men’s basketball team is playing well. Weaver thinks the staff is doing a good job of trying to create some depth. The players are enthusiastic, and they are playing hard.

Mike O’Cain

This season has been very frustrating for everyone involved. O’Cain doesn’t think he’s been around a team that has played as hard yet hasn’t been able to find success. They just aren’t getting it done in critical situations. You can blame it on offense, defense and special teams. All have messed up at critical times.

Early in the year, the Hokies had some inexperience. Some guys, for whatever reason, haven’t been mentally aware of what’s around them. It’s hard to explain to non-football people, but there are certain people who have a great feel for the game, and others who don’t. For those that don’t, if things aren’t drawn up exactly like you practice it, they can’t adapt. Tech has a little bit of that on both sides of the ball. They can be great athletes, but sometimes they just aren’t football players.

Logan Thomas hasn’t met his preseason expectations. He hasn’t played as well as he wanted to play, or as well as the coaches wanted him to play at times. But O’Cain wants everyone to understand that Thomas does a lot of things in the course of a game that people can’t see. He gets the offense set, he gets the right play called, etc. Tech packages two or three different plays, and Thomas has to get the Hokies into the right play at the line of scrimmage depending on how the defense is aligned. He does a great job with that.

Thomas made some great throws on Thursday, but people only want to talk about the bad throws. However, that comes with the territory of being a college quarterback. Usually they don’t deserve all the credit, but they don’t deserve al the blame either.

Lots of things have contributed to Logan’s accuracy issues. There are new receivers, a new line, etc. But Thomas will be the first to tell you that he needs to throw the ball better. He’s easy to coach. He’s a positive person, and as good a person as O’Cain has ever coached. O’Cain could probably count on two fingers the number of people that he’s coached who are as special as Thomas.

O’Cain has no idea if Thomas will be back next season. They haven’t talked about it since the end of Spring Practice. O’Cain told him to just play this season, and then make the decision that’s best for him.

Mark Leal is doing very well. O’Cain has a lot of confidence in Leal. He goes about his business every day. He hasn’t indicated that he’s frustrated by the lack of opportunity to play.

The Hokies have players who want to be good. Sometimes they don’t know how to be good, but lack of effort isn’t the problem. Sometimes they just aren’t getting it done from a mental standpoint.

As long as the Hokies continue to have good people with good character, they’ll reverse the current trend of losing. It might be next week, it might be next year, but they will come out of this slump.

Nobody is happy and everybody is frustrated, but the team still has something to play for. Perhaps this season will give the program and fans a greater appreciation for all of those 10-win seasons.

James Johnson

Tech’s players are working hard and playing with energy. Each time they’ve gone on the court they have taken a step forward.

Johnson’s expectations for his team this year: play hard, have fun, carry out the game plan as a team, and the result will take care of itself. That’s what the players have done so far, and he’s been pleased.

Johnson is concerned about rebounding. The Hokies improved from the ETSU game to the Rhode Island game, but they still have a lot of work to do. Also, they need to be able to defend without fouling because of their small bench. Robert Brown had four fouls on Monday, and that can’t happen.

Tech will have to play some zone this year at some point. They’ve been working on it in practice.

Will Johnston has shown that he is a hard worker and that he can do the things Johnson wants his players to be able to do. He’s good for a three-pointer a game right now, and that certainly helps.

Erick Green missed two free throws that would have given him a career high in points on Monday night. Green is playing very good basketball, not only with his scoring, but all the way around. He’s taken a step forward with his leadership.

Cadarian Raines and Joey van Zegeren were much better on the boards against Rhode Island. Raines has to rebound well if the Hokies want to continue to get better.

On and off the floor, this team is always together. You can’t go too many places without seeing three or four players together. They enjoy each other and have a good time together. That’s very important.

Marcus Patrick is a walk-on who played high school ball with Marshall Wood. Johnson saw him play a lot, and decided to take him as a walk-on. Patrick didn’t know what he wanted to do, but when Johnson took the job at Tech, Patrick decided to come to Blacksburg. Johnson is happy to have him. He’s a little guy but he’s got a lot of heart.

Depth will be an issue all year long. Johnson is pleased with their conditioning. Foul trouble will be an issue at times. Johnson has to be smart with the way he runs practices to make sure the team stays fresh.

Marquis Rankin is back with the team now, and he could play on Thursday night. He is another body to add to the mix.

Johnson has been here long enough to know that the Hokies support the team well. He decided to make the team walk around Cassell and shake hands with fans following the game. It’s a good way to make the fans feel a part of things.

Tech has good ball movement, and that comes from the chemistry of the players. They’ve been together from the beginning. It’s an unselfish group.

It’s been good as a head coach so far. Being the decision maker has been the biggest difference. Now the assistant coaches are in his ear trying to get him to do certain things, and he has to be the ultimate decision maker.

The Hokies had a 10-point lead in their scrimmage with Ohio, but the Bobcats came back and cut it to two points after an 8-0 run, and ultimately went on to win the scrimmage. When Rhode Island came back and cut the lead to four points late in the first half, Johnson talked to his team about that scrimmage and responding to adversity. This time the Hokies responded with an 8-0 run and were never threatened again.

VMI plays at a very past face. They have led the nation in scoring probably five out of the last six years. They press, they get up and down the floor. The Hokies want to play fast, but Johnson told the team that he doesn’t want to make this a scoring contest. He wants his players to defend from the opening tip. The whole offense starts with their defense. The Hokies want to get rebounds so they can run quickly.

Johnson is excited about Signing Day (November 14). The Hokies will sign four guys. They got some size and a couple of guards who should be able to help right away. They will hopefully bring in one more player in the spring.

Vinston Painter

The mood around the locker room is still pretty upbeat. He hasn’t really seen anybody down. Everybody wants to win these last two games and make it to a bowl game.

When you play for Virginia Tech, you never expect a season to go with this way. The Hokies have made a lot of mistakes. Multiple things have gone wrong: penalties, execution, mental errors, etc. You can’t point your finger at one particular thing. They just have to get it fixed for the last two games.

If the Hokies played the whole season with the same intensity that they showed on Thursday night, then they wouldn’t be 4-6. It was a very intense game. That’s the most emotion Painter has seen on the Tech sideline in a long time. They truly believed in their hearts that they were going to win that game. It’s really hard to put into words how they felt when FSU scored that last touchdown. Painter’s heart dropped to the bottom of his feet.

FSU was the best front seven the Hokies have seen this season, but the Hokies still moved the football. Everybody knew it was going to be a fight up front. Tech had been watching film on FSU for awhile. Even late in the Miami week, they watched a little bit of FSU film. It was clear they would have to elevate their game for FSU.

Being on the field on Thursday night was great. The weather made no difference, because the adrenaline was rushing so much.

You want to uphold the tradition for the guys that have been through the program, and the fans that are out there cheering. You don’t want to let those people down. That’s why making a bowl game is very important.

Painter still talks to some former teammates. He planned to call Kam Chancellor last night. Most of the time he talks to former linemen like Blake DeChristopher, Greg Nosal and Jaymes Brooks.

Andrew Miller’s injury was a blow. It hurt. Miller is the center, the guy. It sort of threw off the rotation on the interior line.

BC’s record doesn’t reflect the kind of team they have. Tech will have to go in and take the win, because BC will play hard. The Hokies have to go into it with the same mentality they had against FSU. They have to be more physical than BC.

Painter already graduated in May. He’s taking some elective classes to be eligible. He’s had a lot of great experiences in Blacksburg and in the program. He’s going to miss it.

Alonzo Tweedy

Tweedy was excited to get the start on Thursday night. He wanted to go out and compete and help the defense.

Everybody on defense was on the same page, and the momentum was on their side. They had a great defensive game.

The key on defense is playing your assignment and staying focused. Tech did a great job of that, except for the last drive of the game. It’s nothing that can’t be fixed.

It’s always tough to see an ambulance coming on the field to pick up a teammate. Tweedy is glad that Michael Cole is doing well.

Tech could have done better this year. They’ve gotten better, but they haven’t been on the same page at all times, and they haven’t made the plays they needed to make.

If you want it, you have to go out and practice hard every day. You can’t pick your spots for when you want to work hard. It has to be every day.

People don’t really see special teams as a job on the team, but Tweedy views special teams as a very important job. If you make a great tackle on special teams, then you help put the defense in a better position.

Tweedy wants everybody to be on the same page this Saturday. They need to be focused on this one. If they don’t win, then the bowl streak is over.

Tweedy has already graduated. He’s taking classes to be eligible. Hopefully he gets a chance to play football at the next level.

Frank Beamer

The fans were great on Thursday night. Beamer really appreciates the support.

It’s been one of those years. It’s disappointing to give up the lead late in games. The Hokies just have to fight through this thing and get it turned around.

The team was very concerned about Michael Cole. You just hope for the best in a situation like that. He’s doing well. Playing football at Virginia Tech means a lot to him. He won’t play this week against Boston College.

In response to the Marcus Davis blocking video, Beamer said the Hokies evaluate everyone’s consistency each week. On that evaluation, you determine who is going to be on the field the following week. Practice goes into that, and game performance goes into it as well. That’s how they’ve always done it. A lot of people have opinions, and they have a right to those opinions. It’s a sign of the times. This is a performance business, and as coaches they are responsible for getting the best people on the field.

Donaldven Manning has been having some personal issues and some [radio feed messes up here and Beamer is inaudible]. Beamer and Manning will meet on Wednesday and talk about things. He didn’t practice on Tuesday.

During times like this, you really get to find out what you are all about. That’s what Beamer tells his players and coaches. It’s easy to coach when things are going well, when you’ve got momentum. You really find out about yourself when things aren’t going well. How do you treat people? Do you treat people the same way or differently? This is when you find out what you are really all about.

The Hokies have a really good practice on Tuesday. Beamer thought they went through the motions a little bit on Monday, but they were very good on Tuesday.

The kickoff job is open again. They are charting hangtime and distance. Brooks Abbott has had his moments, but he has lost some consistency lately. The competition will continue this week.

Dadi Nicolas plays with great effort. He has a great motor. He goes until the whistle blows. He’s really taken a step forward. When he gets a little bit bigger and stronger, we’re really going to be proud that he’s playing for Virginia Tech. Luther Maddy, his high school teammate, is playing very well also. Tech signed both of them late, and Beamer is really glad they did.

Tech did so many things well against Florida State. They have averaged over 400 yards per game over the last three games, but they’ve just had too many turnovers. There were so many good things to look at on the FSU film. Tech punted well, they stopped the run, and they moved the football. It’s just one of those things.

The only thing Tech can do now is go play well at Boston College. That’s what they plan to do. If the Hokies can play a good game at Boston College on Saturday, then everybody will feel a lot better.

Tech has had some guys leave the program recently. That happens to every team for different reasons. Some guys want more playing time.

When you aren’t on the positive end of turnovers then you put yourself in a bad situation. It’s unusual that the Hokies have given up big plays late in the game for touchdowns. They had a blocked punt against Miami, they dropped a touchdown against Miami, etc. It has been a lot of different things. When it’s all said and done, they just haven’t made plays in critical situations. And you have to put the players in a position to make plays, so it’s coaches and players together.

Nick Acree set a Virginia Tech bench press record at 505-lbs this week. Even though he has a torn ACL, he hasn’t taken a day off from working his upper body. He’s always been a hard working guy, and he’s well-respected amongst his teammates. Beamer hopes Acree can compete for playing time at offensive tackle next season. The Hokies will have experienced guys on the inside, but they need to find some tackles.

Tech had a middle drill on Tuesday, and Beamer really likes what he saw from guys like Vinston Painter and Nick Becton. They have been very good in pass protection this season.

It’s been a tough year for Boston College. They’ve had a couple of injuries at tailback, and that has hurt their running game. If they get those running backs back this week, they’ll be the same old Boston College. They have weapons on the outside on offense. All games with BC are tough, physical football games, and Beamer is expecting this one to be the same way. Defensively, they make you earn everything. They are a well-coached team.

Monday was Day 2,909 of Virginia Tech’s continuous possession of the Commonwealth Cup.

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