Tech Talk Live Notes for 1/1/11

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Tech Talk Live (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 Bull & Bones Brewhaus & Grill in Blacksburg.


Bill Roth and Mike Burnop hosted Saturday night’s Tech Talk Live from Rivals Waterfront Grille, and defensive coordinator Bud Foster was the special guest.

David Wilson and Antone Exum will be suspended for the first quarter of the Orange Bowl for missing curfew on Friday night. Burnop thinks it was the right decision by the coaching staff. You can’t let guys do whatever they want. If Ryan Williams starts the game, the suspension of Wilson might not matter in the tailback rotation, because Wilson doesn’t come in the game until the third series. The loss of Exum could also change Bud Foster’s defensive gameplan for the first quarter.

Despite the suspensions and injuries, it has been a productive week of practice. Ryan Williams was able to practice on Friday and Saturday. He’s not quite 100%, but it looks like he is going to play according to Mike Burnop. Tech should be close to full strength on Monday night.

Bud Foster thinks Tech has had a great week of practice. It has been a normal game week. Tech has basically had two weeks of practices with their gameplan installed. He feels as good about the bowl preparation before this game as he has with any other bowl Tech has played. Foster knows Tech is playing a very good football team, but the Hokies are very good in their own right.

Foster is very disappointed for his players than Antone Exum would get himself suspended for the first quarter. This is a very special game, and it’s been a very special season. It was a selfish act. Kyle Fuller will be Tech’s nickelback for the first quarter. If he plays well in the first quarter, then he might have that position for the remainder of the game.

You aren’t going to be the #1 defense in the country every year. Foster feels like this is probably the best coaching job that his group of assistants has ever done. They have to replace a lot of critical players in the offseason. Even all the backups were very young players. The defense had to grow up a lot as the season went along. Foster is proud that this defense was very resilient. They always played hard for 60 minutes.

Foster will start r-freshman Jack Tyler at mike. Bruce Taylor will slide over and start at backer. Tariq Edwards will also see action at backer, and Taylor will play both inside positions. Barquell Rivers could probably play in 4-5 play spurts. He could give the Hokies another option. The plan right now is to go with a three-man rotation: Taylor, Tyler and Edwards.

Stanford is a very talented football team, and one of the best offensive teams the Hokies have played in a number of years. In some ways they remind Foster of the Kansas team Tech faced a few years ago, except they have a better NFL prospect at quarterback. Stanford runs the ball extremely well. They have three backs who are sort of like Darren Evans. The Hokies have to stop the run. Foster thinks it is going to be a great matchup, but the Hokies have to play for 60 minutes.

Tech has played a lot of great quarterbacks through the years, but Foster thinks Andrew Luck is right up there with them all. He reminds Foster of Aaron Rodgers. He’s big, he can move, he’s got a great football IQ, etc. He has all the tools. Mike Burnop noted that Luck rarely gets sacked, and that he’s got great pocket presence.

Foster took a moment to point on that the Hokies have great kids in the program. He specifically noted Chris Drager, who was probably Tech’s best overall tight end going into 2009. He made the move to defensive end for the benefit of the team. Right now he is one of Foster’s best football players.

Foster is also very proud of Davon Morgan and how he has improved and matured as a player and a person throughout his career. He has had a number of setbacks in his life, and he’s responded positively to all of them. He has stepped up and been one of Tech’s best leaders. He is a very vocal guy in the secondary.

Foster noted that in the future the Hokies might look to playing three linebackers against the Georgia Tech triple option. Tech could also look to recruit more cornerback type players because of the way offenses are spreading the field these days. The nickelback role became a very important part of the Tech defense this season.

Foster noted that Tech is able to attract the elite athletes moreso than ever, but sometimes you have to be careful with those guys. Some have big heads and think they are better than they are. In the end, Tech has to focus on getting good football players who are the right fit for the family atmosphere in Blacksburg.

Jayron Hosley had a special year at cornerback. Foster said the coaching staff new that Hosley was a talent when they recruited him. They have to thank Brandon Flowers for doing a lot in Hosley’s recruitment as well. Hosley was offered by Ohio State and a lot of major programs, but Flowers recommended Virginia Tech to him. Hosley is a very coachable guy who wants to be successful.

Foster noted that it’s a bittersweet time for the seniors and the coaches. You’ve had a chance to spend four or five years with these guys, and to help develop them as players and people. Foster always puts together a senior highlight film for his players, and it’s going to be sad to see these guys go.

John Graves is the type of guy who you’d like to see your son grow up to be like, Foster said. Any father would like to have a guy like that. He graduated in three years. He’s a very good football player, and a better person. He will be successful at whatever he does. Foster would give him a high recommendation for anyone interested in hiring Graves. He’s as good as they get.

The last few years, Tech has given the lunch pail to the leader of the defense. The guy who gets them through the offseason and shows the best work ethic. Darryl Tapp sort of set the tone for that. He took the lunch pail, and nobody could take it away from him. John Graves was the appropriate guy to hold the lunch pail this season.

There is always concern about being rusty after a long layoff. The Hokies have done a lot of first string vs. first string practices, and that helps create a high tempo of football. Tech has a lot to play for. They can win 12 games for the first time in the history of the program., and they can win three straight bowls. There’s a lot to play for. The team can still accomplish a lot more. The players should be extremely motivated.

Even in some of Tech’s bowl losses, the defense has prepared well and played well. Tech played very well defensively against Kansas, and against Auburn. They just couldn’t quite win the game in the end. The staff decided to do some things to limit distractions on their bowl trips over the last couple of years, and that has proved to be a good strategy. Burnop noted that he doesn’t see any players violating curfew this week after what happened with Wilson and Exum.

Foster is very happy for Tyrod Taylor. He’s a complete quarterback. From the Nebraska game last year to where he is now, Foster doesn’t know if there is a better quarterback in college football. He can do so much on the football field. It’s been a long time since the Hokies had a player who meant so much to the program. Tech wouldn’t be in the Orange Bowl this year without him. Foster thinks he has a good future in the NFL.

Foster believes this is one of the best matchups for one of the best bowls in the country. Stanford and Virginia Tech are very similar football teams. This should be a great football game.

Foster has been preparing the defense with extra tackling drills. Sometimes tackling can get rusty after taking a month off, and the Hokies have to tackle well to beat Stanford. The defense has practiced against the starting offense quite a bit, and that has helped to keep them sharp.

Most football players don’t get a chance to play in one Orange Bowl, much less three. Foster stressed to the players that they have a great opportunity in front of them.

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