Advance Auto Parts Hokie Hotline Notes for 12/26/05

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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 confirmed that everyone got back on time after their break.
Practices haven’t been that great because there are a lot of bumps and bruises
on the team right now. Robert Krabbendam has been back practicing, but suffered
yet another setback when he came down with the flu after getting back from Las
Vegas. The team has a good attitude and they understand the importance of each
game. They have won enough games in the first 11 to have a chance.

The backcourt has been tremendous thus far. Jamon Gordon and Zabian Dowdell
have been showing a lot of maturity. Deron Washington has provided the team with
a great spark, and Greenberg has been using recent practices to try and get him
to be more aggressive offensively. He needs to look for his shot more. The team
just needs to stay healthy.

Robert Krabbendam hasn’t been able to practice much because of his illness.
He has lost ten pounds as a result of being sick, and Greenberg will have four
games to evaluate him to see if he will redshirt or not. He was able to practice
on Monday and his knee has been swelling up slightly.

Wynton Witherspoon’s foot is bothering him as well. It was very swollen at
halftime of the Stanford game, and he was in a lot of pain. That is why he did
not play in the second half. He is still nervous about pushing off his injured
foot. They need Witherspoon on the court because he has such a good floor game
and he adds a lot to the team, but they don’t need him if he is limited a lot
by an injury.

Greenberg said that true freshman Terrance Vinson is definitely going to
redshirt. He is having back problems and they just won’t go away. This is a
team that the coaching staff thought was going to be pretty deep, but injuries
are taking their toll. Shawn Harris is going to have to respond because he will
likely be getting more minutes. A.D. Vassallo is improving and they know what
they’ll be getting out of Chris Tucker. It’s just another thing the Hokies
will have to deal with.

Roth mentioned that three of Tech’s next four games will be on the road.
That will be difficult for the team, but they have played at Ohio State, at Duke
and in Las Vegas, so they will know how to respond. Greenberg said playing on
the road is tough, but you have to respond by playing even tougher and blocking
out all the distractions. You have to play defense and rebound the basketball.
The team has to be aggressive and take care of the ball.

Roth asked Greenberg if the ten day break came at a bad time, considering
that the team was starting to play very well. Greenberg said he thinks the team
needed the break. They were starting to play better and some chemistry roles
were being developed. The team was playing very well defensively. But the
biggest thing that concerns Greenberg is the fact that the entire basketball
team hasn’t had a lot of practice time together because of all the injuries.

Greenberg said the core unit of the basketball team is very good, especially
defensively. Everyone knows what Jamon Gordon brings to the table. Zabian
Dowdell is a very good defender when he applies himself. Coleman Collins does a
decent job of keeping the ball from the post, and Deron Washington does a lot of
things to help the team, such as drawing charges and playing great help defense.

William & Mary likes to push the ball up the court. They are very
aggressive. Calvin Baker is their freshman point guard. He is aggressive and
handles the ball well. He is fearless on the court. Adam Payton is a transfer
from Vanderbilt who is extremely athletic. They are going to be very aggressive
offensively. Their core defense is an aggressive man-to-man with help, but
Greenberg wouldn’t be shocked to see them play some triangle and two and some
point zone. The point zone is a Dean Smith type of defense that will resemble
the 1-3-1 to the average fan.

Greenberg said the Tribe will try to slow the game down defensively by making
Tech react to them, but they will not try to slow it down offensively. They will
try to trap a little. They will have some trickeration in their defense. They
run a very good offense and have very good flow. They have good shooters as
well.

Roth asked Greenberg about playing three Colonial Conference teams in a row.
Greenberg joked that he knows it will never happen again, especially two of them
on the road. If you look at the history of the ACC, ACC schools don’t go on
the road to play CAA schools. Tech should be playing equity conference opponents
on the road on national television, not CAA teams in regionally televised games.
They need to be playing in events, such as playing Stanford in Las Vegas.
College basketball is a business, and Tech needs to run their business with
their own best interests at heart. They need to follow the model of the ACC.

Greenberg was asked about recruiting. He said Tech has signed three players
already and will sign a fourth. Lewis Witcher might be the best player in
Virginia and he is definitely the best prospect in Virginia. Nigel Munson comes
from a winning program at DeMatha. Jeff Allen also comes from DeMatha, but is
playing at Oak Hill this season. Allen may have to prep for a year, but he is a
Top 50 player nationally. Tech will sign one more player, probably a combination
guard who attacks the basket, and Tech fans could hear news of a commitment “pretty
soon.”

After the William & Mary game, Tech will face ODU. Tom Izzo of Michigan
State told Greenberg that except for Kentucky, ODU was the best team they faced
last year in the road to the Final Four. They are a good team and a veteran
team. Alex Loughton is back and he is a very good player. Isaiah Hunter can
shoot very well and Drew Williamson has a good handle on the ball. They have
lost some big road games and won some big home games. They beat DePaul at home
by 43 points just a few days after DePaul beat Wake Forest. They are a very good
and very capable team.

Jim Weaver

Weaver said he stands on his prediction that 15-17,000 Virginia Tech fans
will attend the Gator Bowl on January 2. He isn’t sure how many Louisville
fans will be there, but they will likely travel very well also. The Gator Bowl
is a very prestigious bowl and both teams are happy to be playing there. They
have always treated Virginia Tech very well in Jacksonville.

Roth asked Weaver about the recently released graduation rates. Weaver said
Virginia Tech stacked up very well against the other ACC schools in football and
basketball. Virginia Tech has spent a lot of money recently on academic services
and support to student athletes, and this investment is worth it when you look
at Tech’s graduation rates. The new West Side expansion has over 18,500 square
feet of academic support space for all 21 sports. That will help Tech from a
graduation rate standpoint and from a recruiting standpoint.

Weaver said it will be important to play as many home basketball games as
possible in the future. Virginia Tech sells out every game, and it doesn’t
make sense to keep going on the road to places like James Madison and Old
Dominion. There is also no reason to rent out facilities to play a neutral site
game. Tech used to spend $19,000 to $20,000 to rent the Roanoke Civic Center
when they played UVA. That doesn’t make financial sense when both teams could
just play in their on-campus arenas.

Roth asked Weaver about his thoughts on Louisville. Weaver said he thought
Louisville would be a very motivated football team. It will be important for
Tech’s defense to get the Cardinals’ offense into a one-dimensional game.
The Hokies need to shut down the running game and force Louisville to win the
game through the air. The defensive ends need to be able to pin their ears back
and rush the passer. They are a very talented team with great athleticism.

Roth asked Weaver what he thought about comments that said Tech “needs”
to win the Gator Bowl. Weaver said the Hokies obviously have a challenge on
their hands and they need to attack that challenge. Weaver said they need to win
the bowl to win 11 games in a season for the third time in school history. That
would be a great accomplishment. It would establish momentum into next season.
Tech has a chance to have a very solid team again next year, and taking momentum
into the offseason would help a lot. If Tech manages to beat Louisville, Weaver
pointed out that all three 11-win seasons would have had a Vick at quarterback.

Weaver said he is very optimistic that Tech will have eight home games next
year. That would be very good for the athletic department and very good for the
fans as well. It will be great for the fans who spent so much money on suites
and club seats in 2005 and were unable to use them.

Roth pointed out that Virginia Tech is 20-5 since losing to Cal in the
Insight Bowl in 2003. Very few schools can say that they have a better record
than the Hokies the last two years. Weaver said that it is ironic that Tech is
still undefeated in ACC road games, and their only two losses in regular season
play have come to Miami and NC State in Blacksburg. The fact that the Hokies are
undefeated on the road says a lot about the state of the football program.

Weaver said there has been correspondence with Army and Navy about a future
football series. They are also working through the same promoter that did the
BCA Classic against USC to see if they can get a game against one of the service
academies in FedEx Field. However Weaver said he isn’t in favor of serving
alcohol at games, and they would definitely serve alcohol at FedEx Field. That
is the main reason that he is not in favor of playing WVU at FedEx Field. Weaver
said WVU and Tech need to take some time off and heal the wounds that have been
created.

Weaver was asked about the plans to construct a new field house and
basketball practice facility. He said the new setup would allow one basketball
team to practice on the main gym at Cassell Coliseum, while the other would
practice in the new facility. The locker rooms would remain in the same place.
The wrestling team would occupy the back gyms that the basketball teams
currently use. The cheerleaders, the High Techs and the volleyball team would
occupy the east practice gym on a permanent basis.

Roth asked when Tech would begin to feel pressure to open a new basketball
facility, especially since UVA is opening the John Paul Jones Arena next season.
Weaver said he can’t predict that, but he believes Cassell Coliseum is one of
the finest facilities in the ACC. Seth Greenberg feels very good about it, and
it is a great home court advantage. There are no plans right now to do anything
with Cassell Coliseum.

Frank Beamer

Beamer said the team will depart for Jacksonville on Tuesday. It is really
important that the team have a great week of preparation and practice. They need
to be focused if they hope to beat Louisville. Beamer said he is going to depend
on the seniors to get the team ready for the Gator Bowl. After the Miami loss,
the seniors did a great job of getting the team ready for Virginia, and Coach
Beamer expects the same thing after losing to Florida State.

Beamer said Marcus Vick will be fine. He is a great competitor who will bring
his best against the Cardinals. Vick mentioned to Beamer after the FSU game that
he tried very hard, and Beamer agreed. He made a lot of plays in that game,
especially in the fourth quarter. He is a winner and Beamer said he feels very
good about having Vick at quarterback. He also said he wouldn’t mind seeing
him run more. He is a great threat running and passing, but at the same time,
Beamer doesn’t want to see him running unless it is natural for him.

Beamer said NCAA rules allow players to drive to bowl games on their own.
They can get paid for gas mileage, and most of Tech’s players are driving down
to Jacksonville. The whole team will be there by noon on Tuesday and they’ll
start getting ready for Louisville.

Roth asked Beamer who Louisville reminded him the most of offensively. Beamer
said they are not unlike Virginia Tech. They are missing their quarterback, but
their backup played very well against UConn. Their tailback is big and strong
and can run the ball on anyone. He is the leading scorer in Division I.
Louisville has won 29 games in the past three years, so they have been good for
awhile, and it will take a great effort for the Hokies to get the win.

Beamer said a big part of college football is how you bounce back. That’s
how life is…you have disappointment, you try your hardest and it doesn’t
work out. For Tech to come back and play great against Louisville is Beamer’s
main concern right now, and that will say a lot about this year’s Tech team.

Beamer said the most important part of the bowl week is treating it like a
regular week of practice. Their schedule will be the same, despite the fact that
they are in another city. But it is also important for the players to get out
and have some fun. They have worked hard and earned it. The bowl experience is
outstanding overall. Beamer plans tell them the Keith Short story as soon as
they all arrive in Jacksonville. As a coach, Beamer wants everyone to have fun
and enjoy their experience, but they must also understand that they are there to
win a football game, and a very important football game.

(Editor’s Note: Keith Short violated a team rule in New Orleans in 1995
and was sent home by himself on a bus, thereby missing the win over Texas)

A caller asked Beamer about coaches’ comments that perhaps Tech abandoned
the run too early against FSU. He pointed out that the Hokies ran the ball 18
times for five yards in the first half against Florida State, and that perhaps
Tech stuck with the running game for too long. Beamer said that game was a tough
one to evaluate. FSU’s biggest weakness was their secondary, so maybe they
should have thrown the ball more. It’s easy to second guess looking back on
it, but it was a tough call to make at the time, and it would be a tough call if
they had to make it again.

Beamer said he thinks it will be important to be balanced against Louisville.
Roth pointed out that this Tech team has been able to run the ball very well at
times. Beamer agreed, saying the FSU game just got a bit out of whack. Tech is
still a very good, balanced offensive football team, and they must play to their
strengths against the Cardinals.

Beamer said there is no doubt that Elvis Dumervil is a really good defensive
end. He also pointed out that Darryl Tapp is very good as well, and that there
will be two great defensive ends on the field during the Gator Bowl. It will be
interesting to watch that matchup. Dumervil reminds many of Dwight Freeney. He
isn’t very big, but he has a quick first step and he knows how to play the
game.

Beamer reiterated that Virginia Tech is a very good football team. They had a
couple of setbacks, but the Hokies are still very talented and very good. They
need to practice hard in Jacksonville and go into the game with the right
attitude and try to finish off the season with a great win.

  • Monday was day 395 of Virginia Tech’s continuous possession of the Commonwealth Cup and day 451 of Virginia Tech’s continuous possession of the Black Diamond Trophy.
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