Tech has a great new video board. It will help improve the fan experience in Lane Stadium. The PA system is also improved. Weaver thought it was pretty good when they tested it recently.
Tech also has new video boards in Cassell Coliseum. It gives the venue a different look, and the fan experience should be enhanced there as well.
Weaver is cautiously optimistic that Tech won’t have a lot of unsold tickets this year, but he believes they will have “a few”. He’s concerned that season tickets aren’t sold out yet, but he’s happy with the work the marketing department has done. They’ve worked hard to make tickets available to incoming freshmen, as well as parents of new students. It’s happening all across the country. People are staying at home to watch on TV.
Bigger stadiums can have a negative effect on ticket sales. It can also have a negative effect on donations, because if you have a bigger stadium, you might not have to donate to the Hokie Club to get tickets. From that regard, he feels like the current stadium size is ideal.
Cellphone reception will also be better in Lane Stadium this year. That was a University project, not an athletic department project.
Weaver is happy to finally get a deal done with Penn State, his alma mater. Dave Joyner, the PSU AD, played for Weaver at Penn State.
Weaver would like to share a couple of other things regarding future scheduling, but the negotiations aren’t quite far enough along yet. He noted that there won’t be anyone who will be complaining about it when the news gets announced.
Weaver generally deals with ADs, but Dave Brown of ESPN came to Tech and asked them to push back the Wisconsin series. He wanted to do a Wisconsin-LSU neutral site game. Tech agreed. Weaver said there are signed contract with Wisconsin, and a “pretty good chunk of change” would be lost if the schools don’t play. He thinks the series will eventually get played.
A number of big schools haven’t been willing to come to an environment where “it’s not going to be in their favor”. That causes Tech to have to play neutral site games to play good opponents sometimes.
Weaver said the home game with Ohio State in 2015 will be played on Labor Day Night. It will be Monday Night Football from Lane Stadium.
Weaver is cautiously optimistic that Tech will have the indoor practice facility issue resolved in the near future.
Tech had wanted to add women’s golf for a few years, but first they wanted to get coaching salaries and operational budgets for the other Olympic Sports where they needed to be first. They have made progress there, so they decided it was the right time to start up a women’s golf program.
Over the last 121 games, Tech has allowed an average of 290 yards per game. That ranks third nationally over that span. Foster is proud that his group has been able to be so consistent over the years.
Foster likes the first team defense. They have good senior leadership and experience. They’ve had a great camp. His concerns are the freshmen at field corner. Kendall Fuller and Brandon Facyson have been playmakers in camp.
Kendall Fuller might have the sharpest IQ for a freshman as anyone they’ve had in the program. He likes Brandon Facyson’s ability to be a playmaker. With that being said, they’ve never played a snap in a game. Some backups are in the same position. Foster likes the talent level of the depth, but there’s not a lot of experience there.
Fuller and Facyson will be tested. They are field corners, and Foster can do some things to protect them a little bit. But at the same time, they are both talented. Tech isn’t going to be “bashful” and hide them all night. The Hokies have to play their defense, too. They are competitive guys, they are good players, and they are going to be learning on the job.
Kendall Fuller will start at field corner, and he’ll slide inside to the nickel spot against passing formations. One of them will be in the game all the time. Fuller has been the most consistent so far, but Facyson is going to be a great player.
Foster likes Josh Trimble and Derek DiNardo. They are solid, dependable players. They can’t try to do too much and end up playing for the other team. They have to play their assignments. Foster thinks they can play that position by committee.
Tech was going to run some nickel this year, with or without the Ronny Vandyke injury. From day one, they’ve had Kendall Fuller in that spot. Kyle Fuller is probably the backup at nickel, since he’s played that position before. You’ll still see Trimble or DiNardo in the game against running formations.
Tech broke down the 2009 Alabama game film on Monday. The Hokies had some guys who didn’t execute well that game, including a freshman linebacker (editor’s note: he’s referring to Jake Johnson). Alabama had a couple of big third down plays, which ended up really hurting Tech.
A.J. McCarron is an outstanding player. He has great experienced. He’s a pro-style guy with a live arm and a good head on his shoulders. He is a great field general. He’s a very accurate passer who only threw three interceptions all of last season. He’s well-coached, and he doesn’t take sacks.
You have to mix up your calls, coverages and blitzes against Alabama. They have to find a way to get some pressure to make McCarron uncomfortable.
Jack Tyler is having a great camp. Tariq Edwards is playing really well. He has a banged shoulder right now, but Foster feels good about him.
Chase Williams is backing up at mike. He’s played well for Tech. Behind Williams is Devin Vandyke, and Foster believes he has a great future.
Foster feels like there is a battle brewing between Deon Clarke and Dahman McKinnon behind Edwards at backer. Both of those guys can run, and they are athletic. He really likes the future of all the young linebackers. Andrew Motuapuaka and Jamieon Moss will redshirt, and Foster likes them, too.
Tech was “all over the place” in the secondary early last year. They had trouble with coverage and in run fits when they were breaking in four new players. All the trouble came early, for the most part. They got a lot better as they gained more experience.
Foster thinks James Gayle and J.R. Collins have had outstanding camps. Collins is a changed guy. He got his degree, and he now looks highly motivated. Defensive end is one of their strongest positions. Tyrel Wilson and Dadi Nicolas are backing up, and those guys are playmakers. Nicolas has to be consistent, but he has “loads of talent”.
Tech is taking Mondays off, and they are practicing on Sundays now. They’ve never done that before. The Tech staff will gameplan all day Monday, as long as they want to. Tech broke their defensive meetings at 6:15 on Monday. [note: the staff met again when Foster was done with his radio segement]. Foster feels less rushed with this new setup. It’s new to him, but he likes it so far.
Camp is finally over, and it was finally good to have a day off on Monday and recover. The new setup is interesting, but a lot of teams do it (he guesses).
Tyler thinks this preseason camp has been the best he’s ever been a part of. There was a lot of intensity and excitement, and the camaraderie built up. He thinks Tech is a much better team now than when camp started.
Tyler doesn’t sense any complacency out of the defense this year. Going through that last year, all the players know what it’s like. Nobody is going to roll down the red carpet for them. They have to execute.
Tyler couldn’t believe it when the ACC coaches named him First Team All-ACC linebacker last year. Only three players out of 12 teams get that honor. When he came to Tech, he said he would be very excited if he ever stepped on the field. It’s a dream come true.
Tyler admitted that he was a little annoyed by all the Alabama questions in the offseason. What really annoys him is that he doesn’t think the Hokies are getting enough credit. As good as the program has been through the years, it annoys him that they aren’t getting any respect.
Tyler thinks Tech has all the pieces of the puzzle. They have the coaching, the leadership, and the talent. It’s up to them to put the pieces together.
Tyler has watched a lot of Alabama film. He sees what everybody else sees. They are very talented, and they have superstars. A.J. McCarron is one of the best. But Tyler feels like Tech has one of the best defenses in the country, and one of the best quarterbacks as well.
Tyler’s father, “Tiny Tim”, played for East Carolina. He hasn’t been back to a game since he graduated. He’ll be going back this year when the Hokies play at ECU. That’s his own team reunion, and he’ll be watching his son play his former team. Tyler said a more accurate nickname for his dad would be “Not-So-Tiny Tim”.
Thomas is very anxious about this weekend and the entire season. Ever since he decided to come back, it’s been the only thing on his mind.
Thomas made his decision to return the day before the deadline. First, he didn’t want to be remembered for last season. Second, he didn’t see himself being able to win an NFL game at that time. So he decided to come back and play 14 more games.
Thomas and Loeffler are very close. Loeffler has “a mind like a genius for football.” Thomas is trying to soak up as much as he can. He has made Thomas think about the game of football differently. He has made him a better leader. Now he’s not afraid to say anything to anybody. He’s more vocal and demanding. He didn’t come back to have a subpar season.
Tech wants to do everything perfectly. If they do that, they’ll be tough to stop offensively. With the defense they have, they’ll be a tough team to beat.
Tech will have more looks, a little bit of spread, a little bit of everything. They’ll be able to run the ball, and they have offensive linemen who understand every aspect of football.
Thomas thinks it’s great that the offensive linemen played so many different positions. That will make it easier to plug somebody in if a starter gets hurt. They did a little bit of experimenting with that on Saturday, such as a guard playing tackle, or a tackle playing guard.
Jonathan McLaughlin has the type of personality that not a lot phases him. McLaughlin told him that he’s excited to play Alabama, but that he’s a little bit nervous, too. It’s a great opportunity for him.
Thomas was proud of D.J. Coles and happy for him for the way he played in the last scrimmage. He took a couple of hits, and he got right back up. He’s one of the best players on the team. You saw how explosive he was two years ago before he got hurt. Nobody wanted to tackle him. When he’s full speed, he’s a tough guy to stop.
Demitri Knowles has speed, but he has a little bit of competitive fire in him. He didn’t really bring that out until camp this year. Joshua Stanford probably runs the best routes on the team. He gets open. For him, it’s all about getting that first catch out of the way. Once he gets going, he’s a dangerous guy. This past weekend he made some plays that Thomas really didn’t expect him to make.
Charley Meyer, he’s having a hamstring problem, but he’s the motor of the receivers. He “doesn’t know how to shut his mouth, but that’s what keeps him going.”
It’s not scary to prepare to face Alabama. If you prepare well, no situation is going to be scary. Those guys have a great defense, they are 4-stars and 5-stars all across the board.
In the past, if Thomas was trying to throw a pass dead ahead, he would step towards 10 o’clock, which would cause him to try and overcompensate with his arm. Now he’s stepping straight ahead, and his chest is facing the receiver. The pass is a lot more accurate, and thrown with more velocity.
Thomas feels like he’s throwing the ball harder because he’s putting his lower body into it now. He used to do it with just his arm, but with his lower body involved it comes out a lot faster and he’s able to guide it where he wants it to go.
Thomas is very high on fullback Sam Rogers. He walked on and earned a scholarship in just a few weeks with the team. He’s “definitely the hardest working guy I’ve ever been around.” The team calls him “Drago” from Rocky IV. He has a lot of energy. He can catch, he can run, and he can block. Tech is able to do different things with him. He’s not afraid to stick his nose in there, and he catches the ball very well. He’s versatile.
Playing behind the chains is pretty tough, and Tech did that too much last year. The running game helps tremendously, and Tech needs to run the ball this year. The running backs are starting to understand the blocking schemes, and Thomas doesn’t see the Hokies being in too many third and longs this year.
Thomas has tried to put the team on his shoulders as the leader. He doesn’t mind carrying that load. He thinks the players all respect him and understand him as a person.
Beamer is still getting used to not practicing on Mondays. He’s “not much for change”, but a couple of his coaches came to him and suggested it. He likes having all day long on Monday to gameplan. In the past they would practice, watch film, do team meetings, a little bit of this and that. He thinks having a complete day to just grind and get the gameplan in is a good thing.
In the NFL, teams practice on Monday (the day after games) and then get Tuesday off. It’s fairly common in college football as well. After Beamer gets adjusted to it, he thinks he’ll be fine.
Beamer likes the way the team worked in the preseason. They did more #1 offense vs. #1 defense than they ever have. “When things weren’t breaking out in fights and so forth, it was everybody trying to help each other get better.”
Beamer didn’t like losing a lot of guys to attrition. He wants the guys he recruits to succeed and get degrees. But, it happens in college football, and you move on.
Tech is taking 17 true freshmen and 17 r-freshmen to Atlanta. They are young team. Playing Alabama, the Hokies will find out where they are quickly. Seeing how they handle that environment will be telling.
Beamer likes the leadership on this team. There are a lot of guys who have worked to be good leaders.
J.C. Coleman will be listed as questionable for the Alabama game. It depends on how he responds this week. Charley Meyer came back from his first hamstring injury, and then he hurt the other hamstring. He’ll be a key guy for Tech. Injuries are a part of the game.
Sam Rogers is “a delight”. He was player of the year in his league. He walked on and quickly earned a scholarship. Everything he’s done has been good, and he does it with great effort. He has a lot of football sense. He does something to amaze Beamer “about every other day”.
Beamer likes his freshmen a lot. There are a lot of talented guys there. But, they are young and you have to live with it and get better.
Beamer thinks playing the #1 team is something that doesn’t happen very often. It’s an opportunity.
Alabama is probably the “best football team we’ve ever played”. That includes all the Miami teams, Southern Cal, etc. From top to bottom, they are the best team Tech has ever played. McCarron is mature and experienced, and he has playmakers. Amari Cooper reminds them of Sammy Watkins. TJ Yeldon is great back, and you never see one guy bring him down. They have so many good players on defense. They can all run.
Beamer never thought, in this day and age, that any team could be as dominant as Alabama has been the last few years. They do a great job of getting talent and they coach them up.
Beamer never knew Bear Bryant, but he played for Jerry Claiborne, who played for Bryant at Kentucky. Beamer has always been a great admirer of how he got the best out of his teams.
Beamer and Nick Saban have a good relationship. They played a golf tournament in the offseason, and they talked a lot. They’ve been to several functions together. They get along well.
Beamer wasn’t ready to do another book, but Jeff Snook (the author) came to him. He has a great reputation. Snook talked him into it. Beamer feels like it’s a very enjoyable book. (Note: to purchase a copy of “Let me be Frank”, click here to go to Campus Emporium)
When Beamer was hiring new coaches in the offseason, he had one one guy who played at the school he was coaching who was interested in the VT job. Beamer sent the plane down to pick him up, he called Beamer and apologized and said “I just can’t leave this place.” [editor’s note: Beamer is referring to Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo]. Beamer had a similar reaction when he almost left for UNC. He discusses that in his new book.
Beamer said he was disappointed that they “didn’t get to Marcus [Vick] a little bit better”. He wishes Marcus had gotten more out of his athletic ability. Beamer said: “We didn’t quite reach that guy the way we needed to.”
Atlanta can be important to Tech’s recruiting efforts. They’ve gotten some good players from that area, such as Detrick Bonner, Brandon Facyson and Joshua Stanford.
Monday was Day 3,195 of Virginia Tech’s continuous possession of The Commonwealth Cup.