Advance Auto Parts Hokie Hotline Notes for 12/5/05

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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.


Seth Greenberg

Greenberg said he and the team are doing fine after the heartbreaking loss to
Duke on Sunday night. He said he always tells the team that winning and losing
is a product of playing hard and being competitive. You must be poised and show
toughness. The Hokies did a lot of that on Sunday night, but you’ve got to
finish the game. Duke just made a play.

He also said they can build on their experiences of Sunday night. Greenberg
said the team must continue to play hard and show toughness. He told the team
before the game that they shouldn’t compete just because they are playing
Duke, but because they are playing for Virginia Tech. If the Hokies have that
mindset, then they have a chance to keep growing and get better.

Greenberg said the one thing that he takes away from the game is the fact
that the Hokies acted like a team. If you looked at the team huddles, you saw a
team. If you looked at the bench, you saw a team. Becoming a cohesive team now
means they have a chance to keep improving through January and February.

Roth mentioned that the Duke game was the best Virginia Tech basketball game
he has ever seen. Greenberg joked that anytime you end up with more points than
the opponent, it’s a better game. He said he emphasized to the players that
they can’t celebrate a loss. They were there to win the basketball game, and
they came up a little bit short. A group of students
met the team
at Cassell at 2 am following the game, and Greenberg told them
to come out to the North Carolina A&T game on Wednesday to support the team.

Greenberg said the coaching staff decided to put the ball in Jamon Gordon’s
hands more often in the Duke game. He did a great job of driving to the basket,
making passes and setting up the offense. He put a lot of pressure on the Duke
defense in transition. Zabian Dowdell played his most aggressive game of the
year. Gordon and Collins helped Coleman Collins tremendously. They had to be
double teamed when they came down the lane, which gave Collins a lot of room to
maneuver.

Roth asked if Gordon and Dowdell should be called point guards or combo
guards. Greenberg said they are going to play Gordon more on the ball in
transition so they can get Dowdell up the court and ready to find an open shot.
It really depends on the opponent and the play list they have for that game.
Opponents are focusing more on Dowdell, and it is difficult for him to get
involved in the offense when running the point.

Greenberg said the team did what they wanted to do defensively on the
inbounds pass to Dockery on the last play of the game. He said Duke just made a
shot from halfcourt. Chris Tucker eliminated Shelden Williams on the play, and
J.J. Redick couldn’t get open. Greenberg said he would have liked to have seen
the team meet Dockery a little tighter on the catch, but he still threw it in
from halfcourt. Dockery was Duke’s third option on the play, the first two
being Williams and Redick. Josh McRoberts made a great decision and a great
pass.

Greenberg said he thinks the team will grow from this loss. He heard all
positive things in the locker room after the game. They have to come out fast on
Wednesday night and take it to North Carolina A&T. They will be shooting a
lot of three-pointers and they can hang with the Hokies if they make some. Tech
had a very good week of practice leading up to the Duke game, and Greenberg
hopes that his team understands that was the main reason that they played the
Blue Devils so close.

Greenberg said he is great friends with Michigan State coach Tom Izzo. They
are scouting each other’s games as favors, and Izzo scouted the Tech-Duke
game. They are trading notes and taking an objective look at their teams. He
called Greenberg and said he couldn’t finish the scouting report on the Duke
game because the ending made him too sick. Greenberg said in a game like that,
you question everything you do. But in the end, the guy just made a shot from
halfcourt.

Greenberg said he thinks the program is making tremendous progress. The
community, alumni and students have been great. The students have been very
special. Their support has helped the program continue to move forward. Roth
pointed out that despite all the off court problems the team has had, they are
two last-second shots away from being ranked in the top 25.

Greenberg said he really likes the team. He saw a lot of leadership from some
of his players on Sunday night, and they really looked like a cohesive
basketball team. A.D. Vassallo came to Greenberg’s office on Monday and told
him he had never been so involved in a game that he only played four minutes. He
never had that much fun at a game in which he didn’t play very much. That is a
great sign that the team is coming together.

Roth asked Greenberg about the officiating. Greenberg said he thought they
got a good crew and that the crew wanted to be fair. Obviously each coach thinks
a few calls should go his team’s way, but the officials really did a good job
on Sunday night. Greenberg said it looks like ACC games are going to fairly
officiated. He was very pleased with the officiating.

A caller asked Greenberg if he knew of a venue that was more intimidating
than Cameron Indoor Stadium. Greenberg said they have a great venue and a great
atmosphere. It’s such a crazy environment because the students can actually
reach on the court and literally almost touch a player. They have created a
great game atmosphere.

Roth pointed out that in the past two games against Duke, the Hokies have
played the Blue Devils toe-to-toe for 80 minutes. They beat Duke by two at home
last season, and lost by two on the road this year. Greenberg said they can’t
get caught up in the last 40 minutes of basketball. It’s the next 40 minutes
that are important.

Greenberg said his team believes they can play with anybody if they play 40
minutes like they did on Sunday night. They understand they must come to play
and they know what they have to do. They have to bottle up their Sunday night
performance and break it out every game.

Greenberg said they wanted to forced Dockery to go backwards to catch the
ball so he would have to turn and shoot. They would have liked for Shawn Harris
to be a little closer when he caught the ball. Greenberg said in the back of
Shawn’s mind he didn’t want to foul. In the end, the guy just made a great
shot.

Roth announced that the 1995 NIT Championship team will be honored at the St.
John’s game on Saturday. Greenberg said it is exciting to bring that team back
to Blacksburg. Coach Foster, Coach Hussey and the famous Jackson twins will be
in town. A number of other players will be on hand as well.

A caller asked about Jamon Gordon and Zabian Dowdell being on the bench when
the game started. They were not allowed to start because they missed a class
last Tuesday. Greenberg said it is no reflection on their character. They are
both great guys and great representatives of the basketball program. Jamon is
pretty close to being an honor roll student this semester. They just made a
mistake. Both players are in great shape academically.

Greenberg was asked what Coach K said to him and the players following the
game. Greenberg said Coach K told him Tech deserved to win the game. He had some
empathy for the way the Hokies lost the game.

Billy Hite

Hite said the Hokies didn’t play their game on Saturday night.

“We could never get into a rhythm,” Hite said. “It seemed like every
time we made a play there was a flag on it. We return a kickoff to the 50 yard
line and there’s a block in the back that brings it back to the ten yard line.
We complete a pass to the 50 yard line and there’s a lineman down field. I can
tell you right now it was my fullback downfield. It was frustrating all night
long.”

“To have 17 penalties in a ball game, we just don’t do that. It was just
one of those things that happens. Things just snowballed. I think the big play of the
game is when they returned the punt in the third quarter. It took us awhile to
get back. All of a sudden in the fourth quarter we started playing like we were
capable of. We struggled all night running the football.”

Hite mentioned that Florida State knowing well in advance that they were
going to be in the championship game could have played a factor.

“These guys knew four weeks ago…that they were in the championship game.
I think the pressure week after week after week was on us. I think our kids
prepared hard, our coaching staff prepared hard and worked like heck to get
everybody ready to play in this game. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it
doesn’t. I think the big thing was not getting into a rhythm all night long
until the fourth quarter, and then it was too late.”

Hite offered some comments on why the running game didn’t work.

“You have to have 11 people all on the same page. We’ve been through this
before where all of a sudden a fullback misses a block, a center misses a block,
you stay on a double team too long and you can’t get to the mike linebacker
that’s scraping off. That happened several times. And when you get behind, you
have to throw the football.”

Hite said he felt good about the game at halftime.

“I felt good about it the whole time. We didn’t win the football game,
but we were the better team. It’s the same thing that happened to Seth in
basketball last night. They were the better team last night, they just didn’t
win it. And that happens to you in this game. We have a chance to win one more
game than we did last year. Last year at this time everybody was happy as heck.
People are down a little bit now, but we’ve got one more game to play. We are
playing in our 13th straight bowl game. There are only three other teams in the
country that can say that.”

“I think we got frustrated early with some things that went on, the pushing
and the shoving. We couldn’t get into a rhythm. Sometimes I see those guys on
Sunday making 70 million dollars in five years dropping balls that are hitting
them right in the hands. Obviously we had that a couple of times. It’s just
one of those things. If I had all the answers to that, I’d be a head coach
somewhere.”

Hite offered some comments on the season.

“We fell just a little bit short of what our goals were. We won the ACC in
our first year. In our second year we played in the championship game. I think
that’s pretty special. We just didn’t win it and that’s the disappointing
part of it right there.”

A caller asked about Josh Morgan’s two-point conversion attempt that was
called incomplete.

“I understand on the TV copy, it is a catch. I did speak with Tommy Hunt
today and he told me that with all the equipment available for views, there were
only three angles that were available the other night. That’s why they couldn’t
tell whether it was a catch or not. It’s just unfortunate, it really is. You
hit a couple of those two point plays and you are really in great shape.
Obviously that was a big call in the ball game. They looked at it, and they just
couldn’t tell. One official said it was good and the other said it was no
good. One said his foot was inbounds but he was bobbling the ball as he came
down. That’s just the way the call was made.”

A caller asked Hite about the officiating and if he thought several pass
interference calls should have been made.

“We’re not allowed to talk about the officials or what they did in the
ballgame, but I will say that I went into the office on Sunday and looked at all
the different things and I spent time on the phone with the commissioner of the
ACC today and Coach Beamer spent time with him before he left for his trip to
New York. I will just say this: during a regular ballgame we might send in just
three calls that we want to have looked at. I sent in over 20 calls today for
them to look at.”

Hite talked about the two minute offense and why it took so long to snap the
ball.

“We were sitting there waiting for awhile because they wouldn’t line up.
Sometimes you have to go ahead and snap the ball and run the play or run the
pass. They were bringing people from all over the place with blitzes, and we
were just trying to get our front calls and our protections calls and that’s
why we waited a little bit.”

Bill Roth asked Hite about fan expectations.

“I never thought I would be sitting here with our record at 10-2 and
apologizing and feeling bad. But that’s the way it is. I know our players feel
that way, I know our coaches feel that way, I know Coach Beamer is sick to his
stomach about not winning this championship game. But it shouldn’t be that
way, it really shouldn’t. This is a great program. We have people calling us
that want to come by and try to model their programs after ours. There are so
many good things about this program. It’s just a game. It’s just like Mack
Brown. He’s playing in the national championship game, and did you know he has
never won a conference championship until this year?”

“I said it in 1999, the toughest thing I have ever been through in my life
is to go undefeated. And then obviously we got beat in that championship game.
Ten or 11 wins in a year is a great year, I don’t care what anybody says. I’m
not going to apologize to anybody for us winning ten football games in a year.”

A caller asked why the team didn’t appear as focused and mentally prepared
as they were in their de facto championship game against Miami last year.

“I think our kids were focused, I think they were excited about it. I think
it’s the way the whole game started. It’s probably going to get me in
trouble if I say what I really feel, but I think the control of the game the way
things started out had a big effect on us early.”

A caller asked how Tech could establish a rhythm when they play three
different tailbacks.

“All three of those guys deserved to be in that ballgame. You got Cedric
Humes, he’s going to pound you. You have Branden Ore will all the great speed
and quickness that he has. And then Imoh, he’s finally healthy again. I was
hoping he could hide behind those big linemen and find that little seam and be
able to squirt through it. Those guys add something to the game. And to me it
keeps the defense off balance.”

  • Monday was day 374 of Virginia Tech’s continuous possession of the Commonwealth Cup and day 430 of Virginia Tech’s continuous possession of the Black Diamond Trophy.
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