Hokie Hotline Notes for 10/20/08

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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.

Where: 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 see the show in person at Awful Arthur’s in Blacksburg.

Mike O’Cain

  • The Boston College game was lost as a result of a combination of things.
    The execution wasn’t good in any phase of offense. BC’s defensive front is
    very good as well.
  • Tyrod Taylor just had one of those days on Saturday. It’s like a pitcher
    who sometimes goes out and has no control. That happened to Tyrod on
    Saturday night.
  • There are a couple of mechanics issues that Taylor has to get cleaned up.
    They haven’t been able to work on them as of yet. You work on mechanics in a
    redshirt year, and during a spring practice. However, there was a major
    quarterback competition this past spring, and you don’t want to try to
    change a quarterback’s throwing motion during a quarterback competition. You
    run the risk of messing him up badly. You don’t want to run the risk of
    changing it during the middle of a season either.
  • Taylor is tending to throw high when he has a defender in his face. When
    the quarterback is 6-0 or 6-1, that’s normal. The throw that will aggravate
    you the most was when he missed Andre Smith. Taylor will make that throw
    nine out of 10 times.
  • Taylor has no issues reading a defense. He knows how to recognize
    coverage. Sometimes his height is causing him issues when the defensive line
    gets a good push back into his face.
  • There are ways to help that. He needs to take a deeper drop. Sometimes his
    drop is fine, but he’ll sort of hop back up towards the line when he needs
    to just sit there. Tech is going to look at spreading their offensive line
    out a bit to get Taylor some better passing windows.
  • Sean Glennon got sacked against Western Kentucky because there was no one
    open and he had no opportunity to throw the ball. It’s unfortunate. He’s
    taken a lot of criticism he doesn’t deserve over the last three years. He’s
    kind of used to it by now.
  • There was a brief thought during the BC game about giving Sean Glennon a
    chance. They had the same thought during the UNC game trailing 17-3, but as
    soon as they had that thought against UNC, Tyrod Taylor led them down the
    field on a touchdown drive.
  • Tech didn’t try to run against Ron Brace and B.J. Raji. They tried to run
    outside the tackles to avoid Raji and Brace and make them irrelevant.
    Obviously that didn’t work either.
  • O’Cain can’t answer whether or not Sean Glennon will play at some point.
    It will depend on Tyrod Taylor’s play and the offense as a whole. O’Cain
    figures at some point, they will need Sean Glennon to help them win a game.
  • O’Cain talks to Taylor for a minute or so after possessions. He’ll let him
    know about blitzes, what they are expecting from the defense on the next
    possession, etc. It happens quickly.
  • Practice on Monday was good. Practice hasn’t been a problem with this
    group. They are working very hard and they want to be good.
  • Ju-Ju Clayton is progressing well. O’Cain has been pleasantly surprised.
    VT didn’t start recruiting Clayton until pretty late. He was sort of a
    security blanket for the quarterback position. O’Cain has been very pleased
    with Clayton in the Monday scrimmages with the younger players. He moves
    around the pocket well, he has a strong arm and he’s accurate.
  • Right now, Clayton is the backup quarterback this coming spring. Tech
    would also like to sign another quarterback or two this year.
  • Not every single route can be run past the first down sticks. You can’t
    run every receiver to the same level of the defense. That leads to a
    quarterback forcing the ball and throwing interceptions.
  • Florida State is nowhere near as big as Boston College, but they are more
    gifted athletically. This will be the most talented team the Hokies play
    this season. They present some matchup problems. They will load up the box
    and man-up on the wide receivers, which obviously isn’t Tech’s strength
    right now.
  • Tech’s strength is Taylor’s scrambling, and that worked against FSU last
    year. Taylor isn’t able to scramble as well this year because teams are
    assigning a spy to him. There are different wrinkles each week.

Jim Weaver

  • Most of Tech’s problems right now are due to youth. Tech’s coaching staff
    has been talking about things to do to improve Tyrod Taylor’s vision and
    overcome some of his height difficulties.
  • The
    fact that Tech couldn’t run the ball shouldn’t be a surprise. The Hokies
    couldn’t run it on BC the last two years, and they had most of their
    starters back this years.
  • Boston College was doing lighting effects behind the field goal posts on
    Tech field goal attempts. Weaver will take that up with the ACC office,
    because it’s something that can be distracting to kickers.
  • Tech awarded about 1,800 student season tickets for basketball season.
    Those 1,800 had until last week to pay. 425 to be exact didn’t pay. 1,375
    actually paid. Tech will now go back and try to award those few season
    tickets to seniors who had tickets in the past.
  • According to ticket scanners, Tech actually has better student attendance
    from lottery winners than those with student season tickets. There were over
    5,000 applicants for student season tickets, and last year it was just over
    2,100. The bottom line is that Tech is trying to do the right thing for
    those students who want season tickets.
  • A.D. Vassallo missed Friday night’s "Late Night with the
    Hokies," but Roth was told he was going to practice on Monday. It was
    just a precautionary measure. He’ll be ready to go when the season starts.
    The ACC media will make their basketball picks this weekend.
  • Reviewing pass interference calls are not allowed right now. That would
    have to be a rule change by the NCAA.
  • On the punt where Macho Harris picked it up and started to return it on
    the hop, the whistle blew. He was waving his hands for people to get away
    from the ball. The refs made the right call in calling it a fair catch,
    because there is a new rule this year that states that any hand motion at
    all by the returner will result in a fair catch.

Frank Beamer

  • Saturday’s game was a game of big plays. There were some for the Hokies,
    and some for BC. They also had an uncharacteristic amount of penalties.
  • Beamer questions a couple of the penalties. We’ll have to see what the ACC
    office says about those. The BC was moving the ball forward before the snap,
    which put Tech’s defensive line in the neutral zone. Tech has to adjust to
    that, but the BC guy shouldn’t be allowed to do it.
  • On the partially blocked punt, Brent Bowden got too wide when he punted.
    That led to the block.
  • On the return for the touchdown, the Hokies had about five players miss
    tackles. Tech was also a little wide with their coverage to the left side.
  • Beamer isn’t planning any personnel changes on the punt team. They put so
    much work into it, some of the things would be difficult for new personnel
    to learn in the middle of the season.
  • The effort was very good, but Tech just needs to block people better and
    execute better. A couple of drops, a couple of bad throws, all those things
    contributed. Tech just needs to get those things done. You have to give BC
    credit because their defense is good, but Tech needs to get better.
  • Tech rallied after the BC loss in 2006, but they didn’t have to play at
    Florida State in the next game. The Hokies will have their work cut out for
    them this week.
  • Tech’s offensive line is better. Sometimes it’s not the offensive line.
    The perimeter blocking wasn’t very good on Saturday night. At times they
    didn’t get the strong safety blocked, and if they had there would have been
    a big play. That’s not on the offensive line.
  • Beamer doesn’t want go get back to switching quarterbacks again. You keep
    thinking and hoping that Taylor is going to break loose. They want to give
    him the chance to get it done. There is a possibility of Glennon helping
    them out, but they really want to avoid going back and forth again.
  • There are always plays you can look back on and say you wish you had done
    something differently. There are also plays you can look back on when you
    watch the tape and say we should have just blocked better.
  • BC played very well defensively, obviously. They also played well in spots
    on offense, though Tech’s defense played well for the most part. They also
    played well down the stretch on offense. They didn’t play well from the
    turnover standpoint.
  • The play down the right sideline before the half really hurt. Tech was
    back in it, but they gave up a big play and let BC get the momentum back.
  • Tyrod Taylor is a good thrower, and he’ll get better because he’s very
    competitive. He does have some things he needs to clean up. Sometimes people
    forget he’s a true sophomore. It’s not like he redshirted and he’s been in
    the system for a long time.
  • Everybody understands the offense needs to be better. They are working
    with all freshmen receivers. They are having trouble recognizing some
    things. That’s understandable at this point. It’s a learning process.
  • If Tech had just one senior receiver, that would help things quite a bit.
    The attrition of Zach Luckett and Brandon Dillard have hurt quite a bit as
    well. Tech’s main receivers from spring practice aren’t even here anymore.
  • Tech struggled to recruit receivers in the past because every recruit knew
    they were going to be sitting for a few years behind Eddie Royal, Josh
    Morgan, Justin Harper, David Clowney and Josh Hyman.
  • Tech looks at opposing teams each week to see if there are any players or
    schemes they can exploit for a fake field goal. At the same time, Dustin
    Keys is kicking the ball so well that you don’t want to take a chance on
    losing those three points.
  • Tech’s corners were okay against BC, but they certainly gave up a few
    plays as well.
  • Florida State is really coming along. They have 10 starters back on
    defense. They are athletic and experienced.
  • They play man-to-man defense. They believe their athletes can handle the
    wide receivers, which leaves extra guys to cover the box. They are
    aggressive by nature.
  • Christian Ponder is a good quarterback who is playing well for them. He is
    a talented quarterback who can make plays with his feet.

Monday was Day 1,423 of Virginia Tech’s continuous possession of the
Commonwealth Cup.

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