Tech Talk Live Notes for 8/16/10

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Tech Talk Live is back on the air, and this year’s opening show featured AD
Jim Weaver, offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring, John Graves, Tyrod Taylor,
and head coach Frank Beamer. They all talked about what a great summer of
preparation the Hokies have had, and how Boise State is going to be a big

Jim Weaver

(Note: Part of Jim Weaver’s segment was lost due to operator error. Apologies
for that.)

  • Weaver had another back surgery on June 29, but everything is going well
    now. He’s working 5-6 hours three days per week.
  • The last academic year was the best overall year for Virginia Tech
    athletics. The Olympic Sports have come a long way.
  • The new TV deal is very important for the ACC. It will mean a lot more
    money, and it will be easier for athletic directors to balance the budget
    and run the department in the black. It also helps with public perception.
    It’s a 12 year deal worth $1.86 billion.
  • Weaver noted that about 64,000 tickets have been sold for the Boise State
    game. That’s a somewhat disappointing figure. FEDEX Field seats 88,000.
  • The Chick-fil-A Bowl is toying with the idea of adding another preseason
    game. One game would be played on Thursday night, and the other on Saturday
    night. Jim Weaver would be very open to taking the Hokies back to Atlanta in
    2011, as long as it’s for the Saturday night game. With the Boise State game
    on a Monday night, he doesn’t want to make Hokie fans attend weeknight
    season openers two years in a row.
  • The Chick-fil-A Bowl is trying to get the USC Trojans for a preseason
    kickoff game in 2011. Weaver would welcome another chance to play USC and
    head coach Lane Kiffin.

Bryan Stinespring

  • Stinespring likes where the offense is. He likes the players that are
    returning, and he likes the nucleus up front.
  • He obviously likes the backfield combination of Ryan Williams and Darren
    Evans, and having Tyrod Taylor at quarterback is a luxury.
  • Stinespring is concerned about tight end depth, and he’s concerned that
    offensive linemen Nick Becton and Michael Via won’t get enough reps in the
    preseason thanks to their injuries.
  • Andrew Miller is holding up well at center as Beau Warren’s backup. That
    could give the coaching staff the luxury of moving some players around when
    Via comes back. Miller could potentially move to guard, or Via could move to
    another position.
  • Miller was a great high school wrestler who understands balance and
    leverage. He has good footwork.
  • There is no set timetable for Nick Becton’s return. They hope to get him
    back in the next week or so. They have to be careful, because they don’t
    want it to turn into a nagging injury. Turf toe can easily do that.
  • The coaching staff felt more comfortable with Logan Thomas and Ju-Ju
    Clayton this August. They both made progress. They love the upside of
    Thomas, and he’s a big presence in the pocket.
  • Stinespring has known Logan Thomas since he was a high school sophomore.
    He knows what Thomas is capable of. He got an introduction to tight end last
    week, but first and foremost he’s going to continue to develop at
    quarterback. To put it in college terms, Thomas is going to major in
    quarterbacking and take a minor at tight end. Either way, he needs to be on
    the field a bit this year.
  • Darren Evans was impressive in the scrimmage on Saturday. They ran him
    more than anyone else, and that was by design. It’s important to get him
    back in the swing of things.
  • There is still no plan for David Wilson. He’s getting plenty of reps in
    practice, and he’s working and running hard. They haven’t had a discussion
    with Wilson about redshirting so far this August.
  • Tyrod Taylor and David Wilson both called Stinespring on Saturday night
    after the coaching staff graded the film. They both didn’t want to wait
    until Sunday to know how they graded out.
  • Depth is the major concern at tight end. Andre Smith is a terrific person.
    He goes fishing with Stinespring’s kids. He’s also a terrific football
    player. He’s got a future in football. He’s an outstanding blocker and he’s
    worked hard to be a better receiver. Depth is a legitimate issue.
  • Pass protection has been an issue, but it hasn’t all been the offensive
    line. It’s a team game. Sometimes the quarterback needs to release the ball
    quicker. Sometimes the receivers run the wrong route, etc. Curt Newsome has
    done a great job with the line since he arrived.
  • Over the summer, the Ohio State coaching staff visited the Tech offensive
    coaches in Blacksburg. Stinespring and staff traveled to Morgantown to
    consult with the West Virginia offensive coaches. Stinespring joked that it
    was the first time he ever went to Morgantown and didn’t have to duck.
  • Kevin Rogers and Bryan Stinespring are still good friends, and Rogers came
    to Blacksburg this summer and met with Stiney. It was a very productive
    three days of meetings.
  • There are always subtle changes each year in the offense. It depends on
    the personnel each year. Tech is a multiple set offense and a multiple
    personnel grouping offense. Tech will probably rely on a couple of different
    personnel groupings this year than they have in the past. In the past, they
    have done more two tight end sets.
  • The staff started looking at Boise State film in February. They went back
    to it again after Spring Practice, and they put in a preliminary game plan
    over the summer. They have their basic thoughts already formulated.
  • Boise State is a terrific team and a relentless team. They return a lot of
    good players. They are a very physical defense. They approach defense the
    way Virginia Tech approaches defense.

John Graves

  • John Graves is now going for his third degree, this one in Human
    Development. He would like to do something with the FBI sometime in the
  • The team has been working really hard this summer. Coach Gentry really
    pushed them in the weight room, and Coach Foster is pushing them on the
    field. Everything is coming together as planned and they are right on
  • Tech has plenty of good talent on the defensive line. The coaches do a
    great job with recruiting.
  • The #6 ranking is Tech’s highest preseason ranking ever. It’s a credit to
    the program. They’ve been working hard for many years. Virginia Tech is used
    to winning. The team is excited, but they’ve got a lot of work to do.
  • The younger defensive tackles are accepting coaching really well. Kwamaine
    Battle is a guy to look out for. He keeps getting better.
  • The hardest thing for a young defensive tackle to learn is patience. You
    aren’t going to be as dominant as you were in high school, and you’ve got to
    just keep working hard and get better.
  • When Graves was a young player, he looked up to Carlton Powell and Barry
    Booker. They taught Graves a lot.
  • With great preparation comes great confidence. The team has sacrificed a
    lot since the end of last season.
  • The offensive line is doing a great job. They’ve improved a lot. They are
    getting a lot more aggressive. They seem to get better each day.
  • Graves loves the new locker room. It’s everything you could want as a
    college player.
  • Opening with Boise State puts a lot of pressure on Tech, but great teams
    respond when under pressure.

Tyrod Taylor

  • Taylor just about lost his voice after the scrimmage on Saturday. He yells
    pretty loud in the huddle, even though he’s soft spoken everywhere else.
  • He’s very excited about the season. This is the most talented team that
    he’s been on at Virginia Tech. Everyone is on the same page.
  • Early in his career, he was more of a runner. He’s developed into a much
    more polished quarterback over the last couple of years. It’s night and day
    between now and when he stepped onto the field at LSU in 2007.
  • Being the senior quarterback, a lot of people are going to look up to
    Taylor. It’s important to lead by example, and that’s what he’s tried to do
    over the offseason and into preseason practice.
  • Overall, the offense played pretty well in Saturday’s scrimmage. The
    defense played well too. There is plenty to learn from film work, but it was
    a good start.
  • Taylor thinks this team will have even more big plays than last year’s
    team. They want to have five plays of 20 or more yards per game.
  • His favorite big play from last year was the 80 yard pass to Danny Coale
    against Nebraska, but the winner to Dyrell Roberts was a big one as well.
  • Taylor goes in the new locker room every day, even though it isn’t open
    yet. As a senior, he wants to get as much time in it as possible. The team
    will probably move in after the JMU game.
  • Playing a team like Boise State is a great opportunity to see exactly how
    good the Hokies are. It provides great motivation for offseason workouts.
    Coach Beamer believes in opening against top competition.
  • The Tech offense has to keep improving over the next several weeks. They
    have to continue to get on the same page and progress as a group.

Frank Beamer

  • Cheryl Beamer is doing great after her fall. She’s shown a lot of
  • Boise State has a big advantage because they are bring back so many
    experienced players. Tech will be breaking in some new players, and that’s
    always difficult against a top notch opponent.
  • Beamer feels confidence in Logan Thomas and Ju-Ju Clayton. Over the long
    haul, Thomas has great potential. The more reps he gets, the better he’ll
    be. Being the #2 quarterback will be good for him.
  • All of Tech’s quarterbacks are high-character guys. The Hokies are very
    fortunate. Beamer also likes Ricardo Young and Mark Leal.
  • For the first scrimmage, you look for great effort on film. The third team
    gets more work than in the other scrimmages, so it’s a little more sloppy.
    Overall, Beamer was pleased. It was a good first scrimmage. They’ll now
    narrow it down to the two deep and work with those guys from now on.
  • Andrew Miller has a lot of toughness to him. He’s been impressive. Logan
    Thomas made some great throws on Saturday. David Wilson is also running the
    football well.
  • Defensively, Zack McCray showed some flashes in Saturday’s scrimmage.
    Jeron Gouveia-Winslow continues to get better. True freshman Derrick Hopkins
    had a good scrimmage. Telvion Clark has been good at mike linebacker. He’s
    very serious about getting playing time.
  • In the secondary, Beamer likes Kyle Fuller a lot. He’s got great speed and
    he’s very smart.
  • David Wilson has been impressive. Tony Gregory has been banged up a bit,
    but he got back to practice on Monday.
  • Lorenzo Williams got back to whip on Monday, and they are still waiting to
    get Alonzo Tweedy back. Beamer thinks Jeron Gouveia-Winslow is getting
    better with each practice. He’s also the personal protector on the punt
  • At this point, they don’t know when Tweedy will be back. It will probably
    be a few more days.
  • Boise State’s playbook of trick plays is probably two inches thick, Beamer
    joked. It’s a lot to prepare for, and it’s a concern, but Beamer thinks it
    will help the coaching staff keep the players more mentally sharp.
  • Boise State deserves to be ranked where they are. Every time they’ve had a
    big game over the past few years, they’ve answered the bell. They are very
    good. It’s no different than opening up against Alabama. The bottom line is
    that they win football games.
  • It’s a shame that Nick Becton is missing critical time. Andrew Lanier is
    doing a good job in his place. Becton is working as hard as he can to get
    back. Michael Via has had a pretty amazing recovery. He’ll be back soon.
  • Jayron Hosley hurt one hamstring, then hurt the other. Beamer hopes he’ll
    be back in a couple of days.
  • Tech is in a unique recruiting situation this year because they have
    limited scholarships. Beamer would have liked to have offered a few more
    kids in Virginia this year, but couldn’t because of the limited
    scholarships available.
  • The benefit of having a punter as the holder instead of a quarterback is
    that the punter works with special teams all day. The quarterback wouldn’t
    be able to get as many reps as the holder, because he has offensive
    responsibilities as well. They need that holder to be really good.
  • Chris Hazley has been really good this preseason. Beamer has confidence in
    him. He’s been in the program for a long time.
  • Zack McCray is athletic, smart and he’s got good feet. If he plays, Tech
    will want him to play a lot. They’ll decide in the next couple of weeks
    whether or not to redshirt him.
  • The new locker room is unbelievable. Some players don’t want to go home at
    the end of the day. It states the intentions of Virginia Tech football. They
    do things first class, and they want to be the best. Putting that new locker
    room next to the new basketball facility is very impressive. It’s impressive
    that people would donate that much money in times of economic difficulty.
  • Beamer also wants to build an indoor practice facility with a ceiling high
    enough to kick and punt. He wants it to be built on the hill behind the
    outdoor practice field. It’s inconvenient to move from the practice field
    all the way to Rector Field House if a storm is coming. If Tech can get that
    built, that would really make their facilities impressive.
  • Beamer is surprised that Tech was picked so high this year since they lost
    so many players off defense and special teams. That says something about how
    much the program is respected.
  • There are two major differences between playing in the Big East and the
    ACC. Travel is much easier in the ACC, and there are more good teams because
    there are more overall teams. Beamer sees a lot of ACC teams getting better
    right now.
  • This Saturday’s scrimmage at 2pm will be open to the fans. The team has a
    lot to get accomplished this week.

Monday was Day 2,089 of Virginia Tech’s continuous possession of the Commonwealth Cup.

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