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.
Tuesday night’s Advance Auto Parts Hokie Hotline featured athletics director Jim Weaver, head basketball coach Seth Greenberg and head football coach Frank Beamer. Weaver talked about ticket allocation for the ACC Championship game, Greenberg answered questions about his developing team, while Beamer spoke on the UVA game, recruiting and the North Carolina Tar Heels.
Weaver said the Hokies control their own destiny. If they beat UNC on Saturday, they will play in the ACC Championship Game on December 3. If they win the ACC Championship Game, they will represent in the ACC in the Orange Bowl. Weaver said the Fiesta Bowl faces some very difficult decisions on who to invite. He thinks it will be Notre Dame and Ohio State, but that is just a guess.
Roth asked Weaver what he thought Tech’s chances would have been of getting an at-large bid to the BCS, if Miami had beaten Georgia Tech this past weekend. Weaver said he would have put the Hokies’ chances at 50-50 to be taken by the Fiesta Bowl over Ohio State.
Weaver said the ticket office sold out their allotment of 8,000 ACC Championship Game tickets earlier in the season, but have since received 2,000 more tickets. They will be taken by Hokie Club members based on priority rank. Weaver said they have allotted 800 tickets for students for the ACC Championship Game. That process will begin next week if Tech beats UNC on Saturday.
A caller asked about a possible matchup with Penn State in the bowl game. Weaver, a PSU grad, said he would love to see that game. From what he understands, the ACC Champion will likely play Penn State in the Orange Bowl. That will be determined on December 4 when the picks are made, but that seems to be the way things are lining up. They are similar schools with the second and third winningest coaches in the country.
A caller informed Weaver and Roth that tickets for the ACC Championship are still available on Ticketmaster. He also stated that TechSideline.com will link you to the Miami website, where fans can probably buy tickets from Cane fans who are no longer in need of them.
Roth asked Weaver if he had heard anything about the field painting incident at Scott Stadium on Saturday. Weaver joked that he thought it was Mike Burnop, but then admitted he hasn’t heard anything else. He thinks it’s 50-50 as to whether it was either a Hokie or a Hoo.
A caller commented on the poor attendance at men’s basketball games. He said the team deserved more support, especially after last season. Weaver said every game is sold out in Cassell Coliseum, but not everyone shows up because many live too far away to get to week night games. It is difficult to get to games unless you live in the New River Valley.
Weaver said Tech officials have discussed a program that would allow fans to turn tickets back in if they are not attending. The tickets would then be resold by the athletic department. They are trying to find a system that works well with the auditors. They haven’t been able to concentrate on this issue because of stadium expansion, but it is their primary winter project for next year.
Greenberg said he is very pleased with how the team played against Marshall on Monday night. He is happy that they stuck together and he has noticed that they are starting to develop more trust in each other when on the court. A.D. Vassallo and Cheick Diakite are starting to get the support of their teammates on the court. Greenberg mentioned that he would like to see Zabian Dowdell score in the first half.
Roth noted that Jamon Gordon played his best game of the season against Marshall, scoring 15 points with seven assists. Greenberg said that was an important game for Jamon. It doesn’t matter how many points Gordon scores because he does so many other things. He plays great defense, gets steals and passes the ball well. If Gordon plays well in those parts of the game, scoring is just a bonus.
Greenberg said Coleman Collins’ father is extremely ill right now, and everyone believed that it would be best if Collins spent some time at home with his family. Everyone in the program supported the decision. It has been great for Coleman and great for the rest of his family, especially his dad. There are certain things that are bigger than basketball and this is one of them. Right now the plan is for Collins to return for the Morgan State game on Friday night.
Roth asked Greenberg about participating in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. Greenberg said it will be fun to be a part of the event and they hope to represent the ACC well. The Hokies will play in the opening game and they must set the tone for the remainder of the conference. It’s a great opportunity for the basketball program to take a step forward on national television.
A caller asked Greenberg about the ending of the Bowling Green game. He said the actual rule stated that a defensive player can’t score a basket. So by the rules, the shot should not have counted. So the officials just made a mistake. It’s one of those things that just happens. It was a very good officiating crew, but they just made a mistake. Tech can’t put themselves in that position anymore.
Greenberg talked about recruiting and said that it must get progressively better each season. They can’t go out and beat Duke for a player today, but if they keep winning and increasing the profile of the program, they can do that someday. Right now they are focused on getting better players each year and creating more depth. Greenberg said recruiting has changed so much through the years. They have already offered a high school freshman a scholarship.
Greenberg said the biggest difference in recruiting is that Virginia Tech is actually an option for recruits now. The Hokies probably would not have landed Lewis Witcher if not for the ACC. Witcher chose the Hokies over Wake Forest. He wanted to play in the ACC, and if Tech had still been in the Big East he would be a Demon Deacon. It also says a lot about the program that they were able to go into DeMatha High School and land Nigel Munson and Jeff Allen.
Greenberg said the basketball program has to ride the success of the football program. Coach Beamer and his staff have been very helpful to the basketball program. They have helped the basketball staff get into some recruiting circles in Virginia. Football carries the athletic department at Virginia Tech and other programs are foolish if they don’t try to take advantage of it.
Greenberg was asked about Deron Washington. He said he is very pleased with Washington. He is playing at a very high level right now. He is really a small forward playing power forward, but he is doing a very good job. He plays very hard and he has drawn 14 charges in just five games. He is shooting the ball well from the corner. He will be a very good player at Virginia Tech because he has an unbelievable work ethic.
Roth talked more about Washington drawing charges. Greenberg said the only problem is there will be one certain coach down in the state of North Carolina that will complain to the officials that he is flopping. In reality he is getting great floor position. Plus he’s only about 190, so if a big guy hits him he is going to fall.
Greenberg said Morgan State is coached by Butch Beard, who is probably a Hall of Fame coach. He is a former head coach in the NBA and is extremely knowledgeable. Morgan State has changed their defensive style to create points because they struggle in a set offense. Wynton Witherspoon should return for the Ohio State game. He won’t play a lot in that game because he has to get back into playing shape, but he is going to have a good year.
Beamer said to give the seniors a lot of credit for the performance at UVA. They did a great job of getting the team ready mentally. They made sure the team had a good week of practices. They had a team meeting on Friday night that brought the team together, and they went out and really played well on Saturday.
They showed the team a highlight video of the season on Friday nigh to remind the players that they are a good football team, despite what happened against Miami. They also talked about the 1998 season when the team lost three tough games on the final play, but came back strong in the next game each time. Certain players talked to the team, Cornell Brown spoke to the team, and overall it was a great team moment.
Roth brought up Michael Johnson’s muffed punt inside the UVA ten yard line, and said it was a great play by Roland Minor to be there to recover the kick. Beamer said Tech headhunters have done a great job this season. Minor and D.J. Parker have made some big plays at that position. Parker’s fumble recovery at West Virginia was huge.
Beamer said he was proud of how the Hokies played in the running game. The offensive line was physical and they didn’t allow the defenders to get off blocks. The running backs read the hole well and ran the ball with power. That is how Virginia Tech football is played. The offensive line has improved throughout the season, and Duane Brown has made a big difference up front.
Roth mentioned that when Chan Gailey showed up at his office on Monday, he had to deal with a lot of thank you notes from Hokie fans. One Tech fan even sent in a fruit basket to the entire Georgia Tech coaching staff. Beamer said that after the Hokies played Georgia Tech, he was very impressed with the toughness that Reggie Ball showed in playing with meningitis. He sent Ball a card, but didn’t get around to sending it until this past week, before the Georgia Tech-Miami game.
Beamer noted that college football is a mental game. He talked to the team about it today. The Hokies felt like they were going to beat Miami, and it didn’t happen. Miami felt like they were going to beat Georgia Tech, and it didn’t happen. That serves as a lesson that the team can learn from, starting with the UNC game this weekend.
Beamer said the team began this week with some good practices. If a team practices well, then generally they play well. If you concentrate on your assignments in practice, then it just becomes reaction during the game. You don’t have to think.
Roth said that Jimmy Williams has been named a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award. Beamer said guys as big as Williams who have cornerback skills are rare. He has become a very good football player that does the right things on and off the field. He has been a good team player and a good leader during his senior season.
Beamer said he was at home with his wife when he was watching the Georgia Tech game on Saturday night. He said he was very nervous while watching the game. He said it is a lot easier to coach in a big game that it is to watch one, because you have no control over the one you are watching. Roth asked Beamer if he could imagine just watching a Tech game as a fan. Beamer said it would be tough.
Roth pointed out that UNC will be playing their Super Bowl on Saturday. Even if they win and go to a bowl game, the bowl game would be minor and would not mean as much as beating Virginia Tech. Beamer agreed and said he is confident that the Tar Heels will be ready to play. The Hokies can’t worry about what UNC does, they just have to worry about themselves.
Roth said Ronnie McGill is a great tailback. Beamer agreed, saying that McGill ran all over the Miami defense in the first half. Barrington Edwards is a good back as well, and Matt Baker has thrown just one interception in his last 126 attempts. He has developed as the season has gone along. Their offensive line is experienced with four senior starters. Beamer believes this UNC team is a better team than last season when they took the Hokies down to the wire.
Roth pointed out that Virginia Tech is one of just four teams in the country to go to 14 consecutive bowl games. Beamer said that is probably the thing he is most proud of. Not every season has ended the way the team wanted, but to be in a bowl for 14 straight years says a lot about the state of the program.
Beamer said the staff feels like they are going to have a great recruiting year. They are excited about the commitments that they already have, but the names remaining on the board have never been better at this point in the season. They just have to finish it off. Beamer said he is a little concerned that they might not have enough scholarships available for this class. There will be some tough decisions at the very end.
Beamer said he is happy the way Virginia Tech is received in the state of Virginia, but he is very happy and a little surprised at how well they are received outside of the state. Tech’s recruiting has improved in the Carolinas as well as up north into New Jersey. That is a testament to being in the ACC and having good recruiters on the staff.
Beamer said he called on the seniors again this week to get the team ready for the UNC game. From what he has seen in practice, they will respond well. They know the challenge that awaits them and are very grateful to have a second chance to win the ACC. The Hokies will be ready on Saturday.
Roth noted that Marcus Vick played very well against Virginia. Beamer agreed, saying that is just in Vick’s makeup. He has a lot of talent, he works hard, and is always getting better.
- Monday was day 361 of Virginia Tech’s continuous possession of the Commonwealth Cup, day 417 of Virginia Tech’s continuous possession of the Black Diamond Trophy, and day 354 of Virginia Tech’s continuous possession of the ACC football championship.