Bernie Olivas (Sun Bowl Executive Director)
Olivas is excited to have VT back in El Paso. The Hokies played their first bowl game ever at the Sun Bowl in 1947, and it took a long time to get them back.
The Sun Bowl has been looking at Virginia Tech for half the season. He met Frank Beamer about four years ago, and ever since then he’s wanted to take the Hokies. Fortunately they were lucky enough to be able to do so this year. It should be one of the best matchups of this year’s bowl season.
El Paso is actually closer to Los Angeles than it is to Houston. That’s how big Texas is. From his office, Olivas can see the state of New Mexico and the country of Mexico.
It might be difficult to get from Blacksburg to El Paso, but it’s worth the trip. It is the Sun Bowl’s 80th anniversary, which makes it the second oldest bowl. It would be a trip that Tech fans won’t forget. El Paso is one of the friendliest cities in the country.
If you like Mexican food, El Paso is the place to be. You can’t leave El Paso hungry. One of the oldest missions in the world is in El Paso. El Paso has a twin-culture, being so close to Mexico.
El Paso has been rated the safest city in America of cities with 500,000 or more people. It’s a great place to live and to visit.
The Sun Bowl likes the ACC a lot. They had 11 bowl eligible teams this year. There is always an attractive team to pick. They’ve taken Georgia Tech and Miami recently, and now they get Virginia Tech. They are always looking for the best possible matchups.
Tech only had about “half of Adam Smith” on Sunday. He wasn’t 100%. Johnson found out the day before the game that C.J. Barksdale wouldn’t be able to play. Getting Ben Emelogu back was huge.
Tech had a great practice in Miami, but they got off to a slow start in the game. Miami started the game in a zone, which Jim Larranaga has never done. It took Tech awhile to adjust. The Hokies took too many three-pointers in the first half.
The Hokies still haven’t played the way they are capable of playing. They are still getting better. Eventually in the Miami game they got stops, and then they got the ball in the right guy’s hands at the end of the game. Their defense kept them in the game.
Tech has had two big comeback wins against West Virginia and Miami. Johnson has learned that his players have no quit in them. They are going to fight until the end. The Hokies have some young guys who came from winning programs who know how to win, and they have some older players who have a lot of experience.
Having a pass-first point guard helps team chemistry. Team chemistry is strong right now, and that’s big. A lot of it starts with Devin Wilson. Everybody knows they are going to get the basketball.
Johnson was hoping for more time at the end of regulation, but the officials didn’t add any time to the clock. Ben Emelogu made a great pass to Joey van Zegeren, but unfortunately the Hokies didn’t have enough time to finish the play.
Johnson isn’t sure Marquis Rankin will play for the Hokies this year. He’s still going through his personal issues. Things are in a holding pattern.
If Johnson had a vote for the Heisman Trophy, he would vote for Jameis Winston.
Johnson thought Devin Wilson was a winner coming in. He won in football and basketball in high school. He’s been big. He’s leading the team in minutes, and he has been doing a great job of running the team. He’s doing a good job of adjusting to the scouting reports of the opposition.
Jarell Eddie had a great week. He was named ACC Player of the Week for a good reason. He even had to fill in at point guard for part of the Winthrop game, and he made big shots against Miami.
The coaches have been working with Eddie on the shot fake from the corner, and it paid off in the Miami game.
Joey van Zegeren played at a high level against Miami. He has a high confidence level right now. He’s grown up a lot. His coast-to-coast block was a pure hustle play.
Monday was Day 3,300 of Virginia Tech’s continuous possession of The Commonwealth Cup.