The Hokie Hotline (football and basketball season)
When: every Monday from 7:00-9:00 during football season, 7:00-8:00 during basketball season.
Click here for a list of radio stations, and to find the link for listening to the show on the Internet (look to the right on the hokiesports.com page that loads when you click the link). You can also watch the archive on hokietv.com.
Monday night’s Hokie Hotline featured athletic director Jim Weaver, defensive line coach Charley Wiles and head coach Frank Beamer. Men’s soccer coach Oliver Weiss also joined the show briefly via phone. Conversation ranged from the UVA game to the soccer team’s upcoming NCAA Tournament appearance.
Roth began the show by discussing the men’s soccer team and their upcoming NCAA Tournament appearance. The Hokies are seeded 12th in the field of 48 and will receive a first round bye. In the second round they will face the winner of the James Madison-UNC Greensboro match. Weaver said they are all very proud of the job Oliver Weiss has done. They are very deserving of the bid, with victories over UNC, Virginia and NC State on the season.
Weaver said the soccer stadium has been expanded and a restroom facility has been added. Both of those additions will be ready for the NCAA Tournament game next Tuesday. The soccer game will likely begin at 6pm because Tech has a women’s basketball game against ODU that night in Cassell Coliseum.
Weaver said he thinks the football team will be ready to play on Saturday. He thinks they will prepare well this week and will play to the best of their abilities against UVA. They don’t want to be known as a team that didn’t respond to a tough loss like previous Tech teams are known for.
Weaver said Tech can get an at-large bid to the BCS, but some things have to happen. First and foremost, the Hokies have to win out. There will also be some shakeups in the SEC this weekend that will play a factor. The Fiesta Bowl will likely take two at-large teams. The Big 12 is the host of the Fiesta Bowl, but Texas is likely headed to the Rose Bowl, meaning the Fiesta would get the first BCS selection after the Rose. In that scenario they would take Notre Dame.
Weaver said Oregon will certainly play a role in the BCS picture. They would be an attractive team to the Fiesta because they are on the west coast. But Virginia Tech is attractive as well, and things just have to play themselves out.
Weaver was asked by a fan if Virginia Tech could turn down a bid to the Gator Bowl and go to the Peach Bowl if Louisville was also selected for the Gator. Weaver said he didn’t have any control over that, and Tech would not decline an invitation to the Gator Bowl. The Tech administration and the Louisville administration are on good terms.
Weaver was asked why Notre Dame would get an at-large bid over teams that are ranked higher than the Irish. Weaver said it was just because they are Notre Dame. They have an alumni base spread across the country, and they will draw extremely high television ratings.
Roth commented that the defensive line has been playing very well for Tech all season. Wiles said that goes back to having some very good seniors who always play well and who lift up the players around them. It would have been disappointing if the line didn’t play well this year with Darryl Tapp and Jonathan Lewis returning for their senior seasons. Tim Sandidge has played very well this season as well.
Wiles said the team is fine mentally following the Miami loss. He said this is a resilient group that has probably bounced back quicker than the coaches or fans. They put a lot of emotion into the Miami game, but they have to put it behind them. It was probably a good time for the Hokies to have a bye week. Wiles said Tech has a quality group of seniors that have done a good job of getting the team focused on getting ready for Virginia. They have a chance to win ten games in the regular season and still have a chance to go to a BCS bowl.
Wiles said UVA is healthier now than they have been all season. Their offensive line is over their injuries and will present a challenge to Tech’s defensive line. Lundy is back running the ball well also. They are playing well offensively and it will be a big time game on Saturday.
Wiles said the scariest thing about UVA’s offense is the fact that they are very balanced. Hagans is a very good quarterback who can throw and run, and Lundy is healthy for the first time this season and has been running very well. They are not designing a lot of runs for Hagans, but a lot of times he decides to run on his own. UVA will throw the ball and run the ball on first down. The key for Tech is to stop the run and make them one dimensional.
Roth noted that Jonathan Lewis will make his 39th consecutive start against UVA on Saturday. Wiles said Lewis is having a great year. He had a great junior season as well. He really played well against Miami. He did a great job of leading the team past the Miami loss. He has turned into an effort player, and it has been a great pleasure for Wiles to see him fulfill his potential.
Wiles said Barry Booker and Kory Robertson will be ready to step into the playing rotation next season. Booker is still a year away from a strength standpoint, but he brings a lot of athleticism to the position. He is a good pass rusher at defensive tackle and he always plays hard. Carlton Powell has a work ethic “through the roof.” He has a lot of heart.
Wiles said the Hokies will play very well against UVA. The players realize that they played hard against Miami, but they didn’t play their best. They are ready to get back on the football field again. The team had one of their best Monday practices of the season this week. The VT team that is going to Charlottesville this year is better defensively than the 2003 team at just about every position. The Hokies will have to play well because UVA is good, but Tech will be ready to play.
Wiles closed by saying Tech will have to win the line of scrimmage against UVA on Saturday. Their offensive line is back healthy, and they will be difficult to beat. The keys for the Hokies will be to stop the run, make them one dimensional and contain Marques Hagans. He will make some plays, but Tech must limit those plays. Hagans must be kept in the pocket.
Beamer said he thinks the team in is fine mentally. The bye week probably helped the Hokies. Despite the week off, Mike Imoh will not be back for the UVA game. Both of his ankles are still bothering him. Eddie Royal will probably be back. Without Imoh, Tech will use Cedric Humes and Branden Ore at tailback. George Bell will be the third tailback.
Roth asked Beamer why he thought UVA was so good at home. Beamer said he didn’t really know, but he does know they have won 21 of their last 23 in Scott Stadium, which is pretty remarkable. The only two teams to beat UVA in Charlottesville have been Florida State and Miami.
Beamer was asked why Jeff King wasn’t a major target in the passing game against Miami. He said Marcus throws the ball wherever the coverage dictates, plus Miami did a really good job of staying with the Tech receivers on passing plays.
Roth brought up the fact that Marcus Vick hosted the #1 tailback prospect in the nation, who made his official visit to Virginia Tech for the Miami game. Despite playing a terrible game against the Hurricanes, Vick still did a great job as a host to the recruit, who left Blacksburg very impressed. A number of Tech players did a great job in recruiting following the Miami game despite the fact that they were very down after the loss.
Roth said Tech is to a point that any loss is a devastating loss just because the team is so used to winning. Beamer pointed out that his main goal at the beginning of the season was to make the Miami game a big game, which meant they had to beat teams like NC State, Georgia Tech, West Virginia and Boston College. The Hokies accomplished those goals, but couldn’t get it done against the Canes. But everyone should still feel very good about what they have accomplished this year. They also must get ready to play a great game against Virginia, otherwise everything they have accomplished will mean nothing.
Beamer said the Hokies will have to contain Marques Hagans if they want a chance to win on Saturday. Hagans has the ability to turn a bad play into a good play. He throws the ball very well on the run, which makes him even more dangerous. Containing Hagans is the key to the game. Wali Lundy is a very good back and a very strong runner. The Tech defense needs to swarm around him and wrap him up. The offensive line is healthy and back together, which makes the UVA offense even better.
Beamer said they want Branden Ore to practice well this week. He will get the opportunity to play more against UVA if he practices well this week. He is a very talented player and the coaching staff wants to get him some more carries. He is a good kid, he just needs to make sure he does everything right.
Roth asked about Elan Lewis, the talented tailback who is redshirting for the Hokies this year. Beamer said he looks like he is going to be a load to tackle. He is very thick. Adjusting to college life is a bit of an issue, but he’ll be ok. He is a very tough runner who breaks a lot of tackles. He is going to be a good running back for the Hokies.
Regarding whether or not Tech will get a BCS bid if they win out, Beamer said he thinks everyone is going to be satisfied with where the Hokies will play in a bowl if they can just manage to win the rest of their games. He believes if the Hokies can get through the season with just one loss, then they will be very deserving of a BCS invitation.
Beamer was asked if a recruit has ever chosen Virginia or Virginia Tech based on the outcome of the annual rivalry game. Beamer said he doesn’t think that has ever happened. Most recruits are either Tech guys or UVA guys. Both schools are different, and each recruit generally goes wherever they feel the most comfortable.
Beamer said Marcus Vick is fine. He will bounce back very well. He understands that it was just a bad game, and he needs to bounce back and play well. The Hokies need him to play well against UVA. Hagans is playing very well for UVA, and the game will feature a pair of exciting quarterbacks.
Beamer was asked about his best memory from a UVA game. He said the 1990 game was a great win because UVA had been ranked #1 at one point that year. The 1995 game was very special as well because it was such a great comeback. But overall, anytime you beat them is a good memory.
Beamer closed by saying that keeping Hagans contained is a huge key. Offensively the Hokies need to make some big plays. The kicking game needs to be very good, because in big games special teams could be the difference.
Men’s soccer coach Oliver Weiss joined the show briefly via phone. He said the team was thrilled when they heard the news that they get a first round bye in the NCAA Tournament. A home game was something the team was hoping for, but to get a first round bye is terrific. They will get a chance to sit back and see what happens between James Madison and UNC Greensboro, and then the winner of that game will come to Blacksburg.
Roth asked why Tech has had so much success beating ranked teams the past two years. Weiss said it is partly from being in the ACC and the team realizing that they must play hard every match. Eight of the nice ACC teams have a winning record, and all eight of those teams advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
Weiss said ACC Freshman of the Year Patrick Nyarko didn’t get to play at the beginning of the season because the NCAA Clearinghouse didn’t get all of his paperwork straightened away. His absence partially explains Tech’s slow start. Nyarko was able to get some clutch goals for the Hokies in big games this year, which helped put VT in the NCAA Tournament. He knows how to wait for the right moment and then strike. He has a “lethal touch” when he gets the ball around the goal.
The men’s soccer program is getting a lot of support from the athletic department. When Weiss first arrived at Tech, the training facilities were mediocre. However they now have a new practice field which has helped tremendously. The soccer stadium has also been expanded recently, and the expansion will be ready for the NCAA Tournament.
- Monday was day 353 of Virginia Tech’s continuous possession of the Commonwealth Cup, day 409 of Virginia Tech’s continuous possession of the Black Diamond Trophy, and day 346 of Virginia Tech’s continuous possession of the ACC football championship.