The Tennessee game was 17 years in the making. When he first came to Virginia Tech, it was already in the rumor mill. Tennessee didn’t have any interest in doing the game at the time. It didn’t go anywhere. Talks heated up again this past summer, and Jerry Caldwell of the Bristol Motor Speedway visited with the AD’s of both schools. Things started to take off from there.
The game will produce the largest crowd in the history of football. That was the main pitch put forth by Jerry Caldwell. Weaver was mostly listening at the first meeting, and then they kept talking about things such as guarantees, finances, insurance policies, etc.
Tech is guaranteed $4 million, and each school can earn up to $4.5 million with certain ticket sale stipulations. There will be tickets available as low as $40. There could be cheaper tickets for students as well. They would like to create a large contingent of students, and both VT and UT would like to create bus transportation from Blacksburg and Knoxville to the game.
The Bristol Motor Speedway people really know what they are doing from a marketing standpoint.
Weaver believes there are 120,000 to 125,000 “good” seats in the speedway. He thinks the seats are sloped so much that you can see over the people in front of you.
Weaver is proud that a Tech team, particularly a Frank Beamer led team, will represent the school in this game.
Coolers of your own beverages will probably not be allowed into Bristol Motor Speedway. The speedway wants to capitalize on concession sales.
Tech will go forward with ticket sales for the Battle at Bristol sooner rather than later.
Jerry Caldwell, GM of Bristol Motor Speedway
Bristol Motor Speedway is proud to host such a big event. Caldwell sold Jim Weaver and UT AD Dave Hart over the summer, and it was an effort by a lot of people. Jim Weaver was big in the process, and Frank Beamer was very supportive as well.
Bristol has a great team at Bristol with great engineers. There will be a race at Bristol just two weeks before the VT-UT game. They’ll be able to turn Bristol into a football field in just eight days. Thankfully they have three years to prepare.
They aren’t sure of the exact number of people that can possibly fit into the Speedway for a football game at this point. It will be well in excess of 150,000 people.
Caldwell is very pleased with the exposure this game is getting so far. It’s great for Bristol, and it’s great for both programs. It should help both schools on the recruiting trail.
Caldwell thinks they can get a blimp over the speedway for the game. Bruton Smith owns over 150 car dealerships, and he can probably reach out to Goodyear and get the blimp.
The starting Tech defensive line has been around for awhile. It’s been tough to get Dadi Nicolas a lot of reps, but he had a huge game on Saturday.
Bud Foster had a great gameplan for Pitt. He is a very innovative coach. UVA had a similar scheme with a young outside linebacker against Pitt, and it worked. Dadi Nicolas was the perfect player for that role.
Derrick Hopkins was very good again on Saturday. He’s been through it all, and he has good knowledge of the game. The whole defensive line is like that. They have a great understanding of the game.
This Tech defense wants to be known like the great Tech defenses of the past. The seniors want to go out on a high note.
The #1 thing in the bye week is to get the players buckled down on their academics. It also allows them to get healthy. They’ve been playing since the first week of August with no break to heal up.
Everybody is excited about the Bristol game. Tech’s young players will get to play in it. It will be huge for the school.
Duke is a good team. David Cutcliffe has done a great job there. They play well as a team. The Hokies will have to be at their best.
Brown was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame over the summer. It was a very humbling experience. All things football wise have been very humbling for Brown. Football has given him a lot of opportunities. He played it because he enjoyed it, but he never expected this much to come out of it.
Brown has been very impressed with Kendall Fuller this year. It was expected of him to be a good player, but it wasn’t a given. He really worked hard at it. He came from good stock, and that really helps.
Brown is heading to Hampton to do some recruiting this week. Recruiting is going well so far this year.
Byrn is getting used to hearing his own voice on interviews. It’s new. Sports broadcasting would be pretty good one day. Bill Roth is his favorite sports broadcaster.
Byrn was recruited by Tech, UVA and Kentucky as a walk-on. His dad went to Kentucky. Frank Beamer came to First Colonial High School to recruit him, so he chose Tech.
The Hokies definitely have a lot of hard workers. The coaches don’t play any favorites. They see who works hard and makes the most plays, and they play those guys.
The wide receivers have come a long way. Coach Moorehead told them that he was proud of them for getting better each week. They are starting to get a feel for Logan Thomas, what Scot Loeffler is going to call, and where they need to be in certain situations.
This offense is really about timing in the passing game. It’s about knowing where to be on the field and who they have to influence. For example, if he’s not the #1 read, he has to know which defender to try and pull away from Joshua Stanford or Demitri Knowles.
After the Alabama game, the receivers realized that they stopped themselves against the Tide because of so many dropped passes. They knew that they could get better.
Byrn admitted that he gets a little chippy on the field. He has to play with a chip on his shoulder because he’s not the biggest guy in the world. The DB’s like to talk back a little bit as well.
Byrn really likes Victor Cruz. He plays in the slot, and he’s really quick. Those are the things that Byrn does.
Byrn enjoys all parts of playing, including the blocking. If he had his choice, they would pass every single time, but he knows his job is to block as well.
Byrn has been doing some pushups because of Bruce Garnes. He’s a big Redskins fan, and Garnes is a big Cowboys fan. He lost a bet to Garnes, so he has to do 50 pushups whenever Barnes says so.
Byrn doesn’t have class on Mondays, so he didn’t know what to do with himself on Monday. They didn’t practice because of the bye week.
Byrn sprained his MCL against Georgia Tech. He was probably 80-85% against UNC, and probably 90-95% against Pitt. He should be 100% against Duke.
The spring was a big help for Brandon Facyson, and Kendall enrolled in the first week of June so he could get into the play book early. That has helped both true freshmen a lot.
Kyle Fuller got on Kendall very early about learning the playbook. Having his three older brothers in the program before him helped his transition. Learning the playbook was the hardest part for him. It’s a complicated defense.
Fuller did consider Clemson during the recruiting process. His top two schools were always Tech and Clemson, and also LSU. He really did fall in love with Clemson, but Tech was always the place for him.
Fuller was very nervous for the Alabama game. He was thinking about the worst things that could happen, such as giving up a touchdown. He was confused a little bit at times when he was on the field, but he’s gotten a lot better since then.
Playing with Kyle is great. If he makes a play, he can hear Kyle on the other side of the field. If he gets into a scruffle, Kyle is the first guy there to protect him. He’s the same big brother.
Fuller really liked the Hokie Stone helmets with the maroon jerseys.
Rakeem Cato is the toughest QB Tech has faced. Even if you were in a great position, he could still stick the ball in there to the receiver.
Devin Street said something to him before the game like “yeah little Fuller, we are coming after you today.” There is always a little bit of talk going on out there.
Tech’s players can’t be satisfied. They know they can always get better. There are always 2-3 plays a game that they the could do better.
Fuller is planning on getting a lot of rest this week. He only has one class per day. He plans on catching up on some sleep.
Fuller first heard about the VT-UT game from a Tennessee recruit. He’s looking forward to the game. It should be a great atmosphere against an SEC team.
Beamer was very impressed with the ceremony at Bristol on Monday. It was a big event and very well-planned. The game will be a very significant event.
It’s big for Virginia Tech to be in this game. It’s a selling point to recruits. They’ve played in Orange Bowls, Sugar Bowls, the National Championship Game, and now the Hokies will play in front of the largest crowd to ever see a football game.
Both programs are a great fit for this game. Both have great fan bases, and both are the perfect fit geographically.
Beamer has driven a race car at Bristol before. It was supposed to be Beamer vs. Lane Kiffin, but Kiffin dropped out of the race. Beamer drove anyway, and it was 15 laps. There were five of them in the race. David Akers, the NFL kicker, was in the race. Beamer was just trying not to hit the wall.
Beamer thinks the Hokies are getting better. They had some lulls offensively, but he thinks they learned from the video. Defensively, they are playing well. He’s very proud of where this team is, particularly with all the youth.
The inexperience at running back and other positions on offense is hurting the running game. Logan Thomas is doing a great job with an inexperienced cast around him. The young guys are talented, but they are young.
Tech has good kickers, a great defense and an offense that hasn’t turned over the ball recently. They’ve been able to play the field position game recently.
Pitt presented a great situation for Dadi Nicolas in that role. Beamer hopes they can build on that a little bit. Nicolas is very athletic. He’s a unique player. He really gains a lot of distance on his second stride.
Beamer thinks the Pitt staff is very good. They are doing some rebuilding, including the offensive line. This should be a good rivalry in the future.
Florida State might be a little better than Clemson, but the game is at Clemson so Beamer gives the Tigers the advantage. A battle of two top five teams should be great for the ACC.
The Hokies will spend a little extra time on kickoff returns on Tuesday.
Tech will practice on Tuesday and Wednesday. They’ll take off and do recruiting on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Duke preparation will begin on Sunday.
Every game has been a grind. Tech needs physical rest, but they also need mental rest. Hopefully they can get better and be a better team against Duke.
Beamer doesn’t know if Antone Exum will play against Duke. It will depend on how he looks in practice. He’s very proud of how Kendall Fuller and Brandon Facyson have played as true freshmen. They don’t play or act like freshmen.
Beamer is proud that Cody Journell made a good comeback against Pitt. He’s a good kicker.
Mitchell Ludwig has been doing well on kickoffs. The kickoff team has been doing well since the Alabama game. A.J. Hughes has been doing a great job with his punts as well.
Beamer is really happy that Nick Becton was promoted to the Chargers’ active roster. He is playing on Monday Night Football this week.
Monday was Day 3,244 of Virginia Tech’s continuous possession of The Commonwealth Cup.