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.
Greenberg said everyone is doing fine after the FSU loss, and they are trying to get ready for a very talented UNC team. He told the players on Monday that if you can’t get excited for the ACC schedule then you don’t love the game. Last year they had players sleeping in the locker room the night before the UNC game, which was the first ACC game for Virginia Tech. They need to be excited to play UNC, but they also need to remember that it is just one game. The season is a marathon, not a sprint.
The ACC is all about who you play, when you play and where you play them. Boston College is a very good team, but they are 0-2 in the league because they began ACC play on the road at Maryland and Georgia Tech.
Greenberg said the FSU game was disappointing because of the way the Hokies handled the ball. They had 12 turnovers in the first half, and that is about how many they average per game. They were foolish turnovers, bad plays that Tech usually doesn’t make. On most occasions the Seminoles didn’t force the turnover, it was just a bad play by Tech. This led to a lot of easy baskets by FSU. Greenberg said if you eliminated the run outs that FSU had after turnovers, they would have only had about 12 field goals for the game, which is good defense. But it’s tough to stop a team on a fast break.
Greenberg said it is disappointing to get off to such a bad start on the road, but he does know the team played well at James Madison and Duke. When they traveled to ODU, both teams were horrible. Greenberg said that if you told him before the game that ODU would shoot 30% from the field, he would have said the Hokies definitely would have won the game.
Greenberg said the decisions on Wynton Witherspoon haven’t been his decisions. He leaves things like that up to the training staff and the player. There is no way a coach can tell how much a player is hurting. Greenberg said he has had that philosophy his entire career. After speaking with his family over the weekend, Witherspoon has decided to play rather than redshirt.
Witherspoon will have some good days and bad days. That’s just how it is when you are coming off a tough injury. But he understands that and wants to play through it. His foot was x-rayed over the weekend, and the training staff was very comfortable with what they saw. Witherspoon really wants to play, and Greenberg said he thinks it’s a good decision. He will start against UNC on Tuesday night. That will give the Hokies a capable backup in Markus Sailes at all three perimeter positions. Shawn Harris will be used exclusively in the frontcourt from now on. They are trying to build some depth.
Roth mentioned that the Hokies have a redesigned locker room in Cassell Coliseum. Greenberg said it’s not quite done yet, but it is close. Both flat screens are in place and all the lockers are finished. They also have some murals up, and it’s going to be really nice with it is finished. It will also feature pictures of former great Hokies like Dell Curry, Bimbo Coles and Bryant Matthews. It’s a good start to the facility improvement for the basketball team at Virginia Tech.
A caller asked about UNC and the difference between this year’s team and last year’s team. Greenberg said Carolina is Carolina. They are always good and they are always going to have good players. They lost Jordon, they lost Wallace, and they lost May, but they’ve always come back. They will bring McDonald’s All-Americans off the bench. They aren’t as good as they were last year, but that’s because they aren’t as experienced. They have a few players coming back who didn’t play much last year, but the only reason they didn’t is because they were behind lottery picks in the NBA Draft.
When you play UNC, you don’t just play the players, you play the system. You have to play the motions, you have to play the back cuts, you have to play the transitions and you have to play the blitzes. They have a lot of talented players on their team. Greenberg said he bets that Roy Williams is having a great time coaching this group and that he has their attention more than any other team he’s coached since he’s been at Carolina.
North Carolina has amazing team speed. They convert from defense to offense quicker than any team in the country. They do not take a play off when they change ends of the floor. They get from point A to point B quicker than any team in the country. Point guard Bobby Frasor will really push it at you. Their inside players really run the floor well. That is what makes them so difficult.
Roth and Greenberg spent time talking about conference play. Greenberg said it is very tough to play 16 ACC games in a season, and he couldn’t imagine what it would be like if the ACC played a full round robin schedule with 22 games. The Big East has so many teams that some aren’t even playing each other this season. Greenberg said the Big East is driven by their television contract, and they are trying to create compelling matchups.
Greenberg was asked about UVA, who Tech will play Sunday. He said he thinks they are probably more structured this year and they run more sets. Pete Gillen left them with a very good backcourt. Their starters are very talented, but they are still developing depth on the bench.
Greenberg said the great thing about the ACC is that the games are events. Virginia Tech fans grew up in the geographic footprint of the ACC, so this is very big for them. The Hokies spent time in the Big East, which is a tremendous conference, but it just didn’t mean as much to the people of Virginia Tech. There wasn’t as much hype surrounding the games.
The biggest emphasis Greenberg made in practice was telling the team that they needed to meet UNC’s speed. They can’t stand back and just react to it, they have to go out and take it to them. Tech’s perimeter must do a good job on the cross screens. The offense must make screens, cut hard and meet passes. This is the direction the ACC is moving. Teams are recruiting more players who can get into the lane rather than just jump shooters.
Greenberg said the Hokies must take care of the ball against UNC. They are too good and they don’t need Virginia Tech’s help. They have to get back and set their defense and play with speed. They need to do a good job rebounding the basketball and not give the Tar Heels second chance points. Greenberg said Tyler Hansbrough is just about the best young inside player he has seen. He knows how to create space on the inside.
- Monday was day 409 Virginia Tech’s continuous possession of the Commonwealth Cup and day 465 of Virginia Tech’s continuous possession of the Black Diamond Trophy.