Tech Talk Live Notes for 10-24-11

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 page that loads when you click the link). You can see the show in person Bull & Bones Brewhaus & Grill in Blacksburg.

Mike Gentry

The development of Logan Thomas has impressed Gentry. He was also impressed
by the way the offensive line has come together, particularly against Miami. To
have so many young players contributing, especially at defensive tackle, is also

Gentry isn’t surprised that the Hokies are winning yet again. There are
enough seniors and character on this team to be good.

To be a really great player you have to have a mental toughness and a
physical resolve that is beyond the training. You get to see that in the summer
in the strength and conditioning program.

Gentry has tried to develop a concept called Athletic Performance. It takes
into account strength and conditioning, nutrition and sports psychology, and
puts them all under one umbrella.

Gentry is very happy about Tech’s facilities. They are close to renovating
one of the back gyms in Cassell Coliseum to a strength and conditioning gym for
the Olympic sports.

Gentry always likes to hire people who have been in the program. He likes to
hire former athletes like Keith Short and Jarrett Ferguson, because Gentry knows
a lot about them because he worked so closely with them when they were players.
David Jackson and Terrance Vinson take care of things on the basketball side.

Pound for pound, David Wilson is one of their strongest and explosive players
in the program currently.

Gentry didn’t know much about Lisfranc injuries. It’s outside his domain, but
generally what happens is a player gets his foot stepped on, and he gets hurt
when trying to pull his foot back.

Mike Gentry has been with Frank Beamer since 1987, his first year at Tech.
The first team he always thinks of was the 1993 Independence Bowl team. That
group worked their way into being a good team. They weren’t highly-recruited,
and they had no sense of entitlement.

It’s easier for Gentry to coach a lower rated recruit than a higher rated
recruit. They are easier to identify with for Gentry.

Michael Cole, Jake Goins, Michael Holmes: those are guys from the scout team
that Mike Gentry specifically mentioned as having bright futures, based on his
time with them.

Corey Marshall has a great work ethic. He might be special before it’s all
over, simply because that’s what he wants to be.

Gentry remembers the winter of 1997, when the power was out thanks to a
blizzard. They had a slogan that said "Rain, snow or sleet, the Hokies
always meet." All they had was the light from the windows and Lester
Karlin’s flashlight, yet the team showed up and got their lift in.

Bryan Stinespring

Tech has moved the ball well pretty much all season. They have been
inconsistent at times, but for the last few weeks they have gotten past that.
There have been fewer self inflicted mistakes. When you take care of the little
things, the big things occur.

Any time a team has two weeks to prepare, they get a little bit of a mental
edge. That helped BC on Saturday. They were able to do a few things differently
on defense. They came out in a personnel grouping on defense that they hadn’t
done all season, and they also brought a few new blitzes that they hadn’t shown
thus far. It took Tech awhile to adjust to it, but they solved the problem.

At halftime, they made some adjustments. They used Chris Drager more in pass
protection, and they kept seven blockers in on playactions. They got better on
first down. They got some passes out to the outside receivers and picked up some
good yardage. Obviously they got David Wilson more involved as well.

The option is all about handling the ball and making the right reads. Logan
Thomas has always had a ball in his hands. That goes back to his basketball
background. He’s very good at handling the ball in the option game.

Thomas is still in his first season as a starter, so he’s still young. He’s
spreading the ball around, and he’s taking what the defense gives him. He’s
checking down to his running backs, but he’s also smart about knowing when to
take his shots down the field. He had at least seven checks at the line of
scrimmage in the second half, and he did a great job.

Mike O’Cain has done a great job with Logan Thomas. He has also done a great
job installing Tech’s two-minute offense, which has worked very well this
season. Thomas has very good game management skills, and he knows what he’s

Stinespring loves being on the sideline this year. He has always loved being
around the players. He likes being able to look them in the face and make
adjustments with them.

Tech hasn’t been in many situations where they could get Mark Leal a lot of
snaps. They’ve had leads, but not huge leads. They would definitely like to get
him some more work. Right now Tech is in a battle for the ACC Coastal Division.
That’s what they are focused on.

Tech loses four senior offensive lineman, but backups like Michael Via and
Nick Becton are playing a lot. They have been very pleased with Caleb Farris,
and they like Matt Arkema a lot. The Hokies have a strong nucleus returning.

Chris Drager will create a void at tight end. If Eric Martin can get healthy,
he can do a good job. Stinespring needs to play Randall Dunn more, because he is
earning more playing time. George George understands his role and does a nice
job. Stinespring is really pleased with the development of Ryan Malleck. He’s
going to be in the mix for the starting job next season.

This team has a good personality. Each of the positions seems to have a
different personality. They all love to play football. Stinespring told the
offense after the Clemson game that they wouldn’t be defined by the Clemson
game. They would be defined by their character and heart.

Brent Benedict is a transfer offensive lineman from Georgia who is sitting
out this season. Tech isn’t quite sure if he’s a tackle or a guard yet. They
will give that a further look in the spring. He’s going to be in the mix for
playing time. He blew his knee out at Georgia, but he’s much better now.

Duke will be a difficult game. They have some good players. They are very
well-coached by David Cutcliffe. They will battle you. Defensively, they will
give you a lot of looks and try to bait you into a lot of mistakes. They are
very aggressive.

Stinespring has been very happy with the way Tech has been able to move the
football. Even if they are forced to punt, if they can at least pick up a couple
of first downs, that will improve field position.

Derrick Hopkins

It’s disappointing that he’s not playing with his brother Antoine, but
injuries are a part of the game, and Derrick trusts the replacements.

Tech has solid depth on defense. If a player goes down, then the backup is
more than capable of stepping up and playing well.

Derrick is playing next to two true freshmen – Corey Marshall and Luther
Maddy. They are good players, and still adjusting to the speed of the college
game. Overall though, those guys just naturally know how to play.

It’s hard to play for Charley Wiles. It’s hard work throughout the entire
practice. He’s a good guy, but a demanding guy.

The best part of being a football player at Tech is the food. Hopkins got 18
wings and a full rack of ribs at Bull & Bones on Monday night. The worst and
hardest part is probably the conditioning.

Hopkins is a consumer studies major. He doesn’t know what he wants to do

Hopkins liked the orange jerseys with the white helmets. He didn’t know they
were wearing those until he walked into the locker room.

The best offensive line Hopkins has played against was the UNC line. They had
really good guards and a good center. He doesn’t know about offensive tackles
because he plays on the interior.

Andrew Lanier

The grading scale for Tech is a plus/minus system. If a player (like Lanier
against BC) gets a plus on 90% of his plays, then he grades out at 90%.

Wake and BC came out with a lot of different looks than they had shown on
film, so it has taken the Tech offense a few series to adjust. It has felt good
to march up and down the field and have a lot of success over the last few

Logan Thomas is stepping up and maturing. He’s taking a leadership role. He’s
improving each week. He’s really making the offense better. He’s a much better
player right now than he was in August. Lanier can see a huge difference in him.

Lanier is from South Carolina, about 90 minutes from the Clemson campus. He
would like to play them again. He likes to think it would be like the times Tech
lost to BC in the regular season, but came back to beat them in the ACC
Championship Game.

Lanier is engaged. He proposed after a nice dinner at Poor Billy’s in
downtown Blacksburg. The wedding will be on January 14, in Blacksburg.

Blocking for David Wilson makes the offensive line enthusiastic. They can’t
really see what’s going on all the time, but when they hear the crowd start
roaring they know what is happening … Wilson is breaking a long run.

The best part of being a Tech football player is the food, just like Derrick
Hopkins said.

Bud Foster was Lanier’s recruiter, and that sold Lanier on Tech. Foster made
him feel at home before he even visited the campus.

Lanier has already graduated with a sociology degree. He wants to do
something in law enforcement, perhaps the FBI.

Lanier liked the uniforms that Tech wore against Boston College.

Duke looks good on film. They are big up front. They give a lot of effort.
The Hokies will have to be ready to play. It will be a four quarter game.

Lanier is excited for the final part of the season. He wants to have even
more great experiences as his career winds down.

Frank Beamer

Beamer was proud of the team and the coaching staff for the adjustments they
made at halftime against BC. Everyone kept playing hard, and they played very
well in the second half.

Beamer hates to lose Bruce Taylor. It’s tough to lose so many good players to
injury. The coaching staff has confidence in Barquell Rivers and Jack Tyler.
They are experienced guys.

They’ll know more about the status of Alonzo Tweedy as the week goes along.
He sat out of practice on Monday, so Nick Dew got all the reps. He is a talented
guy, and with a good week of practice then he will be ready to play.

It’s been fun to watch the Tech offense put up big numbers over the last
three weeks. It all starts with the offensive line. You have to have good
protection for the offense to work, and they are blocking very well for Logan

Beamer is very happy with the receivers. Danny Coale is very reliable, and
Beamer is very pleased with D.J. Coles. He has been playing very well over the
last couple of weeks.

Logan Thomas is always in control, and he knows what’s going on. He gets
better each and every week. He has made some outstanding throws.

The pieces have been there for the offense, and right now they are putting
them together into a nice puzzle.

You have to give BC credit for Tech’s slow start on offense. The Eagles had
an extra week to prepare, and they played their best football game on Saturday.

Beamer thinks Josh Oglesby picked Virginia Tech’s uniform combination for the
BC game. The players like variety, and Beamer wants the players to be happy.
Beamer doesn’t know how much he liked the uniforms … he thinks they needed
more maroon. But if the players like them and they play hard, he’s going to be

Danny Coale has now punted and returned punts in the same season. He did a
really good job returning punts against Boston College. He turned the corner and
picked up extra yardage. Coale was really good all day long.

Eddie Whitley is now the personal protector on punts in place of Jeron
Gouveia-Winslow. Alonzo Tweedy plays a big role on special teams as well, so he
is a major loss in more than one way.

The injuries are bad luck. Beamer doesn’t think the injuries are an indicator
of how the Hokies do things in the weight room or in conditioning. It’s just one
of those years. Some of the injuries came on pretty freaky plays.

In response to a question about whether or not Tech should play West Virginia
again, Beamer said he doesn’t like it when Tech fans don’t feel safe going into
a stadium. That’s not the way college football is supposed to be. Beamer said
that he doesn’t see it (playing West Virginia) happening anytime soon.

Duke is a solid team. They beat Boston College, and they had Wake Forest on
the ropes. They are a very capable team. The Hokies have to show up and play a
good game. This is the best Duke team Beamer has seen.

Hosley had a limited workout at practice on Monday. James Gayle was also
limited. Hopefully those guys can play against Duke.

Monday was Day 2,522 of Virginia Tech’s continuous possession of the Commonwealth Cup.