Tech Talk Live Notes: Justin Fuente Talks Duke, Sideline Demeanor

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Now that Virginia Tech is on a normal week, Tech Talk Live returned to its normal spot on Mondays at 7 p.m. As always, Justin Fuente made an appearance and he was joined by Cam Phillips. Here are the highlights of this Halloween edition of Tech Talk Live Notes.

Cam Phillips

Mood of locker room after Pittsburgh win

“It was a great feeling. Everyone was excited around the locker room that we pulled out a tough win against a good Pittsburgh team. The coaches stressed to us all week they we’re going to play us tough and we just had to keep fighting, and we did, and we got the win.”

Confidence after win on the road

“It’s a big confidence builder, just understanding that we had to trust each other and when you have that, you just keep fighting with your teammates and just trusting what the coaches are telling us to do, it’s very confidence-building.”

Team going to Motley to finish the game on the ground

“I think the thing that makes us really good is the senior leadership that we have. (Motley) did a great job displaying that leadership and even though he’s not the starting guy, when we called on him and needed him to step up, he did that. That’s very important moving forward.”

Growth and progress of the offense

“I think that is a bright spot in our offense, that we do have those weapons. One moment, you can go to me or you can go to Bucky (Hodges) or Isaiah (Ford), or even throw it to Chris (Cunningham) like we’ve been doing. We just really take pride in trusting each other and being confident that when the opportunities come to make those plays, we’re going to make them.”

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Cam Phillips (5) was actually the Hokies’ leading rusher on Thursday vs. Pittsburgh.

Favorite Halloween costume

“I would say, of course, it would be being a football player before I could play, but, I’m going to have to say, I think I was a pirate one year. I just wanted to be something different than a football player so I looked around, asked everyone and I think I found an eye patch, so I went with that.”

Expectations moving forward

“It’s just staying focused, really. I don’t want to say the Syracuse loss was needed, but there was some good that came from it. We understood that if we didn’t come to play and didn’t focus on the next opponent and the next game, that could happen, even when we’re favored to win or expected to win. I think Coach Fuente and the staff, and even other players, have done a good job just stressing how important each game and each day and each opportunity is for us.”

Justin Fuente

How team reacted to adversity in Pittsburgh game

“I felt like we kind of watched our team grow up in that game. We finally played in a tough [game], against a good team, a really tough game that went back and forth, ups and downs. I finally got to see that steady mentality, ‘keep chipping away and find a way to win the ballgame’ mentality that we’re trying to get. We played with emotion, we played with toughness, we played with intelligence, we played a smart football game, but also, we didn’t get too high or too low. You’re going to go play good people, they’re going to make plays, there’s going to be things that happen, you’ve got to respond and make the next play better than the other team and our kids did a great job of that.”

Calm, cool demeanor on sidelines

“Whit and I talk about this a lot and we have the same vision of what the head coach at Virginia Tech should look like. That doesn’t mean that I’ll never get upset about anything and that doesn’t mean that I’m not boiling inside, but I’ve worked very hard over the years to kind of regulate that a little bit, and I do believe Virginia Tech deserves a coach that acts, in my estimation, of what the right way is. It doesn’t mean we can’t have conversations with officials, it doesn’t mean we can’t demand that our players do things the right way, it doesn’t mean we can’t show emotion, that’s not what I’m saying. To me, there’s a level of decorum that I’m trying on a daily, and during the game, a moment by moment basis, to live up to and make sure we represent the university and the community in the right way. I appreciate the kinds words. I’m not saying I’ll never blow my top, but hopefully we’ll do it in the right way.”

Holiday traditions with the family while being a coach

“That’s part of being in a head coach’s family. You’ve got to be able to adjust a little bit. That’s why (Fuente’s daughters) were a little bit late today, they got to squeeze in a little bit of trick-or-treating. They went by (Mike) Burnop’s house and picked up some toilet paper and toilet papered the front yard. Then they walked across the street to Coach (Frank) Beamer’s house and saw Cheryl and went trick-or-treating over there, which I think is just another added dimension to Virginia Tech and community and all that other neat stuff.”

Jet sweep call on third and short vs. Pittsburgh

“Yeah, it was a weird game. I had never really been in a game like that, where the looks didn’t change, no matter what you did to hurt those looks offensively. We hurt them for playing coverage the way they played it and it never changed. Then you find yourself with the ball, with five minutes left to go in the game, really you’d just like to hand it off, but that’s really a difficult task. You don’t want to go in a shell, but we hand off the jet sweep with Cam and get 10 or 12 yards for a first down, then have a couple of incompletions because we’re trying to stay aggressive. We punt to them, then they go score and we get the ball back, and it’s definitely, you got to run the clock out. Let’s end the ballgame, lets take away any doubt, we got to get 10 yards. Brenden came in and ran the ball well on the inside and it’s third and one, they’re taking their timeout, we just felt like that was the best way to go get one yard. Credit to Cam (Phillips) and the guys blocking on the edge, and we found a way to get that one yard.”

Justin Fuente Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech Head Coach Justin Fuente has tried to give his team some extra rest this week after playing three games in 13 days.

How much rest team needed after playing three games in 13 days

“Just judging from our team, I felt like they needed a lot of it. The way I always approach it is, I go in with a set schedule of what we’re going to do, and then I go off of how I feel about our team, in terms of how healthy we are, how tired we are or how old we are and how mature we are. I really felt like at the end of the Pitt game, that we needed a little bit of time. That had been a strenuous three weeks, the kids had played incredibly hard, and I really felt like they needed a little bit of time. So on Friday, we got a good lift in and a run and did not practice. On Saturday we did not practice and Sunday we practiced a little bit over an hour. (Monday) they’re off from practice and then we’ll hit up full speed on Tuesday.”

Duke almost winning their last two games (Louisville, Georgia Tech) despite injuries, lack of talent

“First of all, David Cutcliffe has done as fine a job resurrecting Duke football as anybody in all of America. I really believe that he is a fantastic football coach. They are obviously well coached, very sound in their scheme and have good players as well. The adversity that they’ve battled through, in terms of guys going down, they’ve had three, if I’m not mistaken, three senior captains/leadership guys go out for the year. The Louisville game, they very easily could’ve won that at the end of the game. The game they had last week, the quarterback for Georgia Tech just absolutely had a game for the ages. He actually dropped back to pass twice and had two 50-yard runs just on scrambles. They have really been in those games with, down people and really done well.”

Breakdown of Chris Cunningham play often used in redzone

“Yeah, that’s something we’ve done for a long time that’s been pretty efficient for us. It’s a lot like the play you hear Jon Gruden talk about, “Spyder 2 Y Banana’, he talks about it all the time, it’s a lot like that but a little bit different. Chris’ deal is, he’s got to sell inside. If he outside releases, or doesn’t step hard inside, then sometimes it’s a little bit easier for them to see him and he’s got a pretty good feel for that, and then climbing, sifting through the linebackers and sometimes, Mike (Burnop) you know this playing tight end, you can get caught up in the trash on play action fakes. He’s does a good job kind of sliding through there and then catching it, just catch the sucker.”

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19 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Justin and Whit have it right about over-reactive sideline behavior, and proper leadership. Kudos to Justine for his sideline demeanor and class act in leading the HOKIES football team. In my opinion, PITT’s head coach Pat Narduzzi showed his rear-end running up and down the sidelines, and on the field all night arguing and belittling the ACC Refs, akin to a clown trying to be seen at all cost. The ACC fined Jimbo Fisher $20,000 for making reasonable comments about officiating, although he made them at the wrong venue. With that said, Narduzzi should have been fined $10,000 per Qtr. equaling $40,000 for the entire game.

  2. Looking forward to see what this offense will look like in a few years with “his” kids. We need to root for Bob Stoops to do well in Oklahoma … that’s one job that could entice Fu away from VT.

  3. Coach Fu continues to demonstrate that he was the ONLY suitable replacement for Coach Beamer! Just a class act all around!

  4. “I do believe Virginia Tech deserves a coach that acts, in my estimation, of what the right way is. … To me, there’s a level of decorum that I’m trying on a daily, and during the game, a moment by moment basis, to live up to and make sure we represent the university and the community in the right way.” That right there is the #1 reason this was the right coach for us. There is something special about being a Hokie and to me it’s almost unbelievable that someone from outside could get it, but Coach Fu sure seems to.

  5. THANK YOU WHIT BABCOCK FOR HIRING COACH FUENTE! WE GOT A JEWEL OF A COACH AND MORE IMPORTANTLY A JEWEL OF A HUMAN BEING. GREAT JOB!!!!

  6. What a great combination of inward fire and outward self-control. I’ve got to believe he’s the kind of coach that gets the most of out of his players, because they want to play for him and will follow him anywhere. The contrast with Nar-nut-job couldn’t be greater.

      1. What are we, 10 years old and name calling? Kind of an immature comment.
        Be thankful VT has Coach Fu and let Pittsburgh be responsible for their program.
        Go Hokies!

  7. There have been games in the past where our guys did not keep their composure when a few calls went against their way. I was very impresses that or guys weren’t repeatedly complaining to the refs about the way the Pitt dbs were playing. Definitely helps to act that way when your coach is sitting there cool as a cucumber.

  8. If Coach Fuente ever does “blow his top”, it will be due to an egregious event that’s beyond the pale. I will hate to see what that event would be.

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