Tech Talk Live Notes for December 11, 2012

Chris Coleman, TechSideline.com, on December 12, 2012
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Jim Weaver

There have been a number of rumors about many of the ACC’s schools leaving for other conferences, so the ACC presidents decided to issue a message of solidarity. Weaver thinks the $52 million buyout will stick, and that will deter other teams from leaving.

Weaver doesn’t know if realignment is over. Part of him wants it to be over. Part of him believes that we are going to end up with four 16-team conferences. A lot of people in his business felt that way a few short years ago.

Weaver believes that the seven basketball playing schools in the Big East will break away, and they’ll retain the Big East name. That will be a basketball league.

Weaver believes that Mike Tranghese is one of the all time great commissioners in college athletics. He had a way about him that bred consensus during meetings.

If the Big East basketball-only schools had broken away from the football schools back before ACC expansion, Weaver still doesn’t believe that the Big East football schools would have stayed together.

The new postseason deal will take Virginia Tech from about $1.5 million a year to around $6.5 million per year. Weaver is relieved, because the president of the NCAA wants to increase the scholarship payout to all scholarship athletes by $2,000 per year. You have to have money to run the programs. That new money will help Tech tremendously. Scholarship costs have gone up a lot in each of the last four years. They have to find new revenue streams.

Bowl ticket sales are slow. Tech has sold less than 3,000 tickets. They have a responsibility to sell 13,500 tickets. (Editor’s Note: Per the Washington Post, VT is fully responsible financially for the first 6,000 tickets; they are partially responsible for the next 2,000 tickets after that; the ACC covers the cost of any unsold tickets after the first 8,000 tickets are sold.)

The deal with ODU is done. In 2014, they will debut as a 1-A team in Conference USA. Tech will host ODU in 2016 and 2019, and will visit ODU in 2018. It gives the Hokies a chance to take their team to play in the Tidewater, which is very important to Tech’s recruiting efforts.

Weaver had an agreement to play Louisville in 2018 and 2019. That goes by the wayside now that Louisville is coming into the ACC. Tech is still working on a Big Ten school for 2020 and 2021. It got put on the backburner because of the recent round of expansion, but it will be revisited after the Holidays. (Editor’s Note: Everything we know about future football schedules can be seen here.)

Tech is working on a new arrangement with IMG. They are hoping to have a new scoreboard in Lane Stadium next year. They will also have new boards in Cassell Coliseum if they can get the deal done. That will help the entertainment value.

Tech held their football single-game ticket prices at $48 for several years in a row because the economy was down. However, they have a business to run. This year the price increased to $50. Weaver has to bring more money in than he spends. That’s his job.

Bud Foster

Foster has been on the road recruiting since the end of the season. He’s been battling for players, and keeping up with guys who have already committed.

The fact that Tech is 6-6 this season hasn’t impacted how the coaches have been received on the recruiting trail. Guys still look at Tech as a team that wins a lot of games. All great programs across the country have dipped at some point, and this year it happened to Tech.

Foster and Torrian Gray split Northern Virginia in half in recruiting. Foster has south of I-66, and Gray has north of I-66. Foster gets down to Stafford and Fredericksburg, and that area is really growing in prospects.

From a personnel standpoint, the Rutgers offense is very talented. They haven’t been good statistically, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. They have really big receivers, a productive running back, and they like to throw it deep. They are more of a pro style football team. They remind Foster of how UVA likes to play offense.

Foster really liked the way the defense finished the season. They went through a rough stretch, but they kept fighting. They fought hard to get bowl eligible. In today’s era, it’s pretty special to go to 20 straight bowl games.

What bugged Foster the most this season was the big plays they gave up early. The changes they made before the season were for the best, but it took the secondary a while to get adjusted. Those changes will really pay off next season.

Foster is very excited about Ronnny Vandyke. They need a playmaker at that whip position, and he can make plays. Foster likes his size, speed and coverage ability. He needs to perform more consistently. We’ll see a better football player next year because he has a year of experience under his belt.

Even if Jayron Hosley had returned, Virginia Tech still would have moved Antone Exum to corner. That was the best move for him and the team. Kyle Fuller would have played a lot of nickel if Hosley had come back. Fuller really played corner for the first time this season, and he played well at times and not so well other times. You can gamble a little more at the nickel spot than you can at corner.

Foster is a very detail-oriented coach because all of his high school coaches were the same way. Frank Beamer was his defensive coordinator in college, and he was that way as well. Ron Zook was his position coach. Ralph Friedgen was offensive coordinator when Foster first started coaching. Friedgen always impressed Foster. He’s one of the outstanding coaches in all of sports.

Foster is impressed with Alabama’s defense. They have really good personnel, and every good defensive team needs good players. Nick Saban coaches very hard, and the game demands that. Foster probably watches the coaches more than the schemes. He likes to study their mannerisms. He likes Kirby Smart at Alabama, and Will Muschamp as Florida’s head coach.

Antoine Hopkins will make his 46th appearance as a Hokie in the Russell Athletic Bowl. He’s had a great career. He’s helped the Hokies a lot. He’s got his degree, and he’s got a great foundation. He was a big part of Tech’s success down the stretch this year.

Ramon Williams, Assistant Basketball Coach

James Johnson flew to Phoenix on Monday to watch a high school basketball game. That’s a long one-day trip for recruiting. That’s the life of a basketball coach. Johnson is watching Maurice Kirby, who signed with Tech in February. Kirby is going up against a guy Tech is recruiting, but they can’t mention his name on air.

The players have been very coachable this year. It helps that James Johnson was here before, so the transition has been smooth.

It’s been fun to be around James Johnson in his first year as head coach. They have known each other since around 1993. To see him grow as a coach has been fun. He’s trying to form his own niche.

Williams is from Virginia, and he played at VMI. He was an assistant at Illinois when James Johnson called him, he talked about it with his family, and he quickly decided that he wanted to come back home.

Williams’ first true experience being a Hokie fan was when he came to a football game. At the time, he was a pee-wee player, and they were allowed to get behind the goal posts and catch field goals during games. That’s his first recollection of being a Tech fan. That was in the late 70s or early 80s.

Williams played at VMI, so it was interesting to coach against his old team. He had to do the scouting report for the game. It turned out to be a lot of fun.

His brother Damon played with him at VMI. They are still very close. He’s living in Roanoke, and he comes to most of the home games. He’s an official that does some A-10, Southern Conference and CAA games.

Williams thought the WVU player traveled on their final inbounds, but as it turns out you can take a step or two in either direction on the inbounds before throwing it in. You can’t run the baseline (unless it’s after a made shot), but you can move up and back, and take a step or two to each side. (Editor’s Note: We thought the same, but learned differently in a blog post Sunday.)

Williams thought the team was still feeling some of the effects of the WVU loss on Monday night. It was a quick turnaround. The team got Tuesday off. They rested up, and now they are getting ready for Georgia Southern.

60 former Tech players will be in town on Saturday for the game. It’s alumni weekend.

Antoine Hopkins

Hopkins is enjoying his time off and trying to get his body ready for the bowl game. It will be his last game at Virginia Tech. It’s doing well with it. He’s just going to play the best he can and then see where life takes him.

Both Hopkins brothers were named Honorable Mention All-ACC, and that’s very exciting. They’ve been playing together their entire lives.

Hopkins has started his own business called Repair and Restore. He doesn’t have a website yet because of all the NCAA rules, but once he’s finished his career he’s going to go full-fledged into his business. He’s been into computers for awhile. That’s what his father does. He always liked breaking things down and fixing them. He works on campus right now doing virus work, working on hard drives, etc.

This wasn’t the storybook ending to his career that Hopkins had in mind, but everything happens for a reason. Hopkins feels that God broke the team down this year, and that gives the coaching staff a chance to build it back together and make it stronger.

The defense started to click in the second half of the season. They still had some inconsistencies, but on the whole they were good.

Hopkins didn’t know a lot about Virginia Tech. He started meeting with Coach Cavanaugh when Macho Harris was playing for Tech. It’s been a very fast five years.

When Hopkins tore his ACL, it didn’t hurt. He started walking, and he could tell there was something wrong with it. The hardest part was getting back to playing football after taking sixth months off.

Hopkins has watched about 30 minutes of Rutgers tape. He’s excited about his last bowl game at Tech. Orlando is a nice destination.

David Wang

Wang and his brother don’t talk about football and school very much. They just play Xbox Live together.

Wang’s ankle got hurt early against Pitt, and he’s been in the training room at 6:45am every morning since. It’s feeling better now, because he’s had a lot of down time since the UVA game.

He has to get his ankle taped every day for practice, and because of that it probably takes him around 25 minutes just to get dressed for practice. He’s become an expert on sprained ankles. He takes Mike Goforth’s athletic injury class, and Goforth used Wang as the prime example when teaching about sprained ankles.

Everybody is big on the defensive line. Wang is the shortest player on Tech’s offense, except for the tailbacks. The guys he faces are bigger than him. That’s the toughest part of playing offensive line.

Wang’s parents were Chinese Olympians in 1984. His dad did the high jump, and his mom did the 110 hurdles. It’s pretty amazing to have parents like that. His dad came to America in late 1984 or early 1985, and his mom came over in 1986.

David actually took care of his brother Ed while they were growing up. When he was in the fifth grade, he was already cooking him grilled cheese sandwiches and things like that.

David was around Tech since Ed started getting recruited. He had so much exposure to Virginia Tech. He fell in love with the program during the process.

It was a tough year, but the team stuck together. They knew they could win the final two games, and they got it done. Clearly playing UVA helped them, because nobody wants to lose to that team.

Everybody is focused on Rutgers. After this weekend and exams are over, they are going to start preparing very hard.

Wang has a degree in Business Management. He’s also going for a degree in Marketing.

One of his key hobbies is playing video games. He’s very good at them. His parents weren’t big on him going out on Fridays and Saturdays, because they said nothing good happens at night. They are completely right, Wang noted. Since he stayed home so much, he started playing a lot of video games and got really good at them.

Wang’s favorite game series is Call of Duty. In the previous Call of Duty, he was the 34th ranked player in the world. He’s actually never played a full game of Madden or NCAA Football.

Frank Beamer

They’ve been doing a lot of recruiting since the end of the regular season. He’ll go on a recruiting trip on Wednesday, then meet later in the day with his staff to plan Thursday’s practice.

Tech had a big recruiting weekend this past weekend. In January, Beamer will go out and do some in-home visits. Most of Tech’s recruiting is done, and he’ll be visiting guys who have already committed. They are only involved with a couple of uncommitted guys.

There hasn’t been any negative feedback from recruits about Tech’s 6-6 record. When you recruit close to home, and you get the parents on your side, then you just don’t see a lot of guys changing their minds.

Beamer was asked what it will take to get back to smashmouth football. He said he remembers when people used to ask him why the Hokies didn’t throw the ball more. He believes in balance. You’ve got to be able to do both. Tech does need to improve their running game. It has to get better. That’s going to be a priority during the bowl preparation, and a priority for next year’s team.

The ideal number of scholarship offensive linemen in the program is 16. That’s based on the 85-man scholarship limit. They have an ideal number for each position.

David Wang has had a tough time staying healthy. It hasn’t been because of a lack of desire. It’s just been one of those seasons.

Beamer has a lot of confidence in Mark Leal. All the games were close this year, so they weren’t able to get him into games unfortunately.

Notre Dame has a quarterback who can make things happen. Combine him with a good defense, some good players on offense, and they are a good team. Beamer thinks Alabama will win the game, but it should be a great game.

Beamer is happy to see David Wilson break out this past weekend. He stopped by last week to watch a practice.

Tech is just the sixth program in the history of college football to go to 20 consecutive bowl games. Texas has a great history, and their longest bowl streak is nine. Notre Dame has a great history, and their longest bowl streak is 12. That’s something that Beamer is very proud of.

If Beamer were starting an NFL team, and he could pick any quarterback to run his team, it would be Michael Vick. He’d have to make sure that Vick had an offensive line in front of him. He can run it, he can throw it, and he’s got such a quick delivery. He’s also very competitive.

The team will practice on Thursday, and exams begin on Friday. They will have practices on Saturday and Sunday early in the day. They will start practicing for Rutgers on December 19. They will head to Orlando on December 23. The bowl practices are important to get a quick look at some of the younger players.

Beamer will try to keep the practices shorter, but up-tempo. That’s the way to go.

Tuesday was Day 2,937 of Virginia Tech’s continuous possession of the Commonwealth Cup.

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