Tech Talk Live Notes: Virginia Tech’s Backups vs. East Carolina and the Upcoming Schedule

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Virginia Tech Talk Live

Tech Talk Live returned on Monday night, with Virginia Tech head coach Justin Fuente as the show’s only guest. Here are the highlights from Monday’s show.

Justin Fuente

Thoughts when opposing team takes early lead and how Virginia Tech responded to East Carolina

“Well, I always fall back to, when you’re a coordinator, and we’ve talked about this a bunch, but whether you’re an offensive coordinator or a defensive coordinator, or a special teams (coordinator) — there are a lot of great schemes out there. They key is, what do you do when people give you problems. Can you find the answers, and I think we’ve shown over the last couple of years, and Bud for many, many years here at Virginia Tech, that we understand our scheme well enough to tweak things, so whenever somebody is giving us a problem, we’ve got an answer. Now we may not always pull it off, but we’ve got an answer. So when we gave up the fullback kind of pop pass down the middle defensively, because we were in halves coverage into the boundary, that’s a quick, easy adjustment that we could handle. Then they threw a hole shot for a really, really big play. We didn’t get over the top. So, they’re all fixable things or things that can easily be adjusted. The thing I felt good about was they were not running the football, and they did not run the football all game, so that always makes you feel good. It’s one thing when they’re handing it off and guys are running down the middle of the field, that’s a little scary, and it certainly wasn’t happening. I felt good that we’d get things tweaked around to fit what they were giving us, and I liked that our kids, they just didn’t panic, they kept playing. We knew it was going to be an interesting game playing there. They were going to be excited to play, they have good athletes. I know they’re struggling. I’m not sure I can pinpoint why, but they have good athletes out there and we knew it was going to be a good environment, and our guys just kept plugging away.”

Getting extra playing time for backup defensive linemen

“It was good to get some more defensive linemen in there. It was kind of ironic. We had our backups in there, and our two linebackers were seniors. I mean, how nice is that? To have two guys that have played a lot in there with those other young guys, to kind of direct a little bit of traffic and make sure we’re lined up and in the right spot. It was nice to have those guys kind of settle everybody down up front, but it was good to get reps for those young guys.”

Coleman Fox’s touchdown run and the team’s reaction

“I’ll tell you, the two plays that stand out are Coleman’s touchdown and the fumble forced by Khalil Ladler. What I thought was really cool was not just the guys on the field and how excited they were for those two guys, but the guys on the sideline. How excited they were for Khalil, how excited they were for Coleman to get in the endzone, for Khalil to force the fumble. I think it really speaks volumes to those kids and how they work every single day, and that’s recognized by their teammates, and when they were out there, they made plays. That was kind of a fun deal.”

Getting AJ Bush playing time vs. East Carolina

“He did. He ran the ball very effectively. We got him out on the perimeter there early, it might have been his first play, I don’t remember, but we got him out on the perimeter, made a guy miss and got down the sideline, and he really executed pretty well. We didn’t have any issues. It’s a little bit stressful, when you’re trying to milk the clock but still operate, and you’ve got the whole fourth quarter left to play too. So you’re trying to be respectful and play that way, but you’re also trying to get the thing over with, but you’re also trying to get reps for your guys. I was really proud of AJ and how he handled that, because a lot of times we’d hold the call for 25 seconds and he had to operate everything, and then snap it in five seconds or less on the clock, and he did a really good job of that.”

Virginia Tech football
AJ Bush made several impact plays in garbage time vs. East Carolina. (Photo by Ivan Morozov)

Is team where Fuente wants them to be through three games?

“Well, yeah I think so. I’m happy that we’ve won three games. I don’t think we’ve been perfect by any stretch of the imagination. I like the way that we’re working. I like the way the schedule is set up. If you look at it long term, you have four non-conference games. In my mind, you play non-conference games for postseason recognition. You play conference games for a championship. So, we’ve got one more non-conference game and if we can play well, and we’re fortunate enough, we can kind of put that part aside. Then we have two conference games, and then a bye week. So right there in the middle, we get a bye, then we have six straight conference games, which is going to be really tough. But, I like where we’re at emotionally and mentally, I think we’re continuing to bring young people along. I don’t know what we’re going to look like week eight or nine, just with some of the young guys that are continuing to develop and see how their roles expand or contract, but hopefully they continue to expand. But I like the development, yeah.”

Value in having zero road games until Oct. 7 vs. Boston College

“I think that is the biggest thing, getting into a little bit of a rhythm. The previous week can bleed into the next week if you’re not careful, both emotionally and rest-wise. We had a little bit of that from week one which was West Virginia, to the short week with Delaware. That’s just part of it. I’m certainly not complaining, it’s just part of the deal, and we have to adapt, adjust and make it work. It’s nice now that we’re in a little bit of a rhythm here. We’re going to have a little bit of some semblance of keeping things kind of steady and on the same schedule. We won’t have a long drive and/or flight back late at night. We’ll play the games and go home, and get ready for the next one.”

Recruiting benefit for playing night games on prime-time television

“I’m probably not sharp enough or well-versed in all of that stuff to be able to accurately quantify it. I do think it’s big, and I think it’s more than just football, quite honestly. I think it’s Virginia Tech, I think it’s Blacksburg, and one of the things we talk about as a football program is not just playing on TV, but understanding that people are forming an opinion, good or bad, when they see you, on a daily, hourly, minute-by-minute, second-by-second basis, and all of our opportunities, we should take advantage of it. When you play on a national stage, it’s not just about winning the game, although we do want to do that, we do want to do that, don’t get me wrong, it’s an awesome example or opportunity for Virginia Tech to be on stage and our student-athletes to be on stage for the pride we all have for Virginia Tech to be on display, which I think makes it a place for people that have never been there — I know I have been one at home sitting in the living room before watching, saying, ‘Man, that is neat. That’s something I would like to be a part of one day.’ I don’t think you can put a price tag on that.”

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7 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Interesting Tech Talk without much talk about the starters. Two All ACC performers in that game.

    Love the national stage comments.

    1. me too, we have a great coach

      “……understanding that people are forming an opinion, good or bad, when they see you, on a daily, hourly, minute-by-minute, second-by-second basis, and all of our opportunities, we should take advantage of it….”

    1. Always some Nimrod holding the ball out like a loaf of bread and dropping it before crossing the goal line.

      See also Leon Lett.

      GO HOKIES!!!

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