Tech Talk Live Notes: Justin Fuente Talks Performance vs. Liberty, Prep for Tennessee

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Virginia Tech Head Coach Justin Fuente and wide receiver Isaiah Ford were the guests on Monday night’s Tech Talk Live, hosted by Jon Laaser and Mike Burnop at Frank Theatre’s Cinebowl and Grille. Ford appeared first, with Fuente following.

Isaiah Ford

Playing against Greg Stroman and defensive backs in practice

“I owe everything to them. Just competing and going against them every day. Past stars like Kendall Fuller and now it’s Brandon Facyson, Greg Stroman and Adonis Alexander, they make my job easy on Saturdays.”

Recent successes

“Coming in, that was my mindset coming here as a freshman. I didn’t know it would be as hard as it was, I do now, but just taking new things every year and trying to add something to my game.”

Rapport and being on the field with Jerod Evans

“It was a lot of fun. We spent a lot of time in the summer, just me and him, just working on timing patterns and it was fun to go out on the field and see those things.”

Obsession with uniforms

“Anything I like to do, I like to look good. Especially when it comes to playing football. I’ve always been a firm believer of if you look good, you play good. I’m excited to wear them.”

Virginia Tech Battle at Bristol Uniforms

Thought on Tennessee defense

“They’re big, they’re fast, they’re physical. They fly around on defense. They do a lot of different things, as far as disguising some things. We’ll have to be alert and be technically sound on offense.”

Balancing wanting to be on the field with getting rest

“Just realizing that if I was to take a play off, how much it’s going to hurt the team. I swallow my pride and just do what’s best for the team.”

Blocking by wide receivers

“We’ve got some work to do, me especially. I feel like for the first game, there’s a few things we’ve got to clean up. It’s only the first game and we have another game next week, so we have to take a big step.”

Justin Fuente

On extra effort from special teams

“James Shibest is our special teams coordinator and I’m just telling you, he’s as good as anybody in America and has completely embraced the tradition of Virginia Tech special teams. He is a very passionate person. The guys that have been in his Friday night special teams meetings know he gets rolling and he’s incredibly passionate. Part of that comes through in kickoff coverage. We want to finish through the line every time and kind of get people excited and create some energy with the defense coming onto the field. The kids really embraced it. James kind of asked them to do that and the kids have embraced it and played well.”

Thoughts on offensive line and running game

“Going in, we thought they would play us a little bit different. The looks weren’t that different, but we thought maybe that they would play a little more cushion on the outside and maybe mix in some two-deep stuff, and they did not. They sold out to stop the run game and that’s why we had to end up throwing the ball a little bit. Finally, we hurt them a few times and it kind of loosened things up a little bit. “

“We rotated several guys through and we felt like going into the game, we’ve made a big deal about creating some depth here, so if we had any opportunity, we were going to err on the side of playing more people in this game. Obviously we needed to create that opportunity. We rotated guys in, particularly on the offensive line, before the game was decided. Some of the guys that came in played well. I’m kind of excited about that as a group. I think they were disappointed in how they played, they think they should’ve played better. Our tackle position played pretty well. We weren’t as good inside as we’d like to be, but those guys acknowledged it and are working hard to get better.”

On Wyatt Teller’s performance

“He did some things. It will be interesting to see how practice goes this week. I think we’re going to have to shuffle some guys through those three spots, the center and the two guards There’s going to be multiple guys playing to keep those guys fresh and ready to play, and not switch the tackles out as much. We’ll go through the week of preparation and see how that goes and continue to rotate them through.”

Performance of wide receivers vs. Liberty

“Isaiah obviously is a good player, highly intelligent, you can move him all over the field. Cam, another steady guy that didn’t have his best game but made some plays. I like the way CJ (Carroll) continues to get better. I like him with the ball in his hands. He’s quick and elusive, a good, skilled runner with the ball. We like to share those carries and get the ball on the perimeter as another way to run the football. Maybe our most efficient way we ran it was on the perimeter.”

“In addition to that, the young guys got in there and played a little bit. (Jaylen) Bradshaw played some, (Eric) Kumah got in and Divine (Deablo) played a little bit. Those guys just have to keep coming. We’re not where we need to be yet, but they’re young and they’re eager, intelligent and they work hard, so it gives them a chance.”

Holmon Wiggins, Virginia Tech wide receivers coach
Wide receivers coach Holmon Wiggins and his corps of pass catchers

Multiple guys carrying the football

“I think when you’re diverse and multiple guys carry the football, it makes you harder to defend. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t give it to a guy that can’t carry it, but within the framework of that, I think it’s important to. That’s why it’s so important to play without the football. That’s why at running back, to play in this offense, you have to play without the ball. To be a good football player, you have to play without the ball.”

Performance of Mook Reynolds and defense as a whole

“I thought they played well. Coach Foster in our meetings wasn’t happy with a few things and I understand that, it’s because he’s a perfectionist, he wants things to be done a certain way, but the bottom line is they did exactly what they were supposed to do vs. that opponent, which was to completely suffocate them. They dominated the football game, played with great emotion and great technique. They created turnovers, they applied pressure, they really caused the other team to be a non-factor offensively. I couldn’t be happier, but you’re right, Mook (Reynolds) did a great job at nickel. Stroman had a couple interceptions and played well on special teams.”

Having Adonis back and where he fits in lineup

“We’ll see. We’ll go evaluate it. We’ll rotate those three guys through, I’m not exactly positive who will start. They’ll evaluate it as we get through practice and have that discussion as we get through later in the week. It’s nice to have three guys who have game experience who have played, that you have confidence in. We’ll roll all three of those guys through.”

Schedule for this week

“We’ll have a good workout (Tuesday) in full pads, Wednesday we’ll put shells on, Thursday we’ll take the shoulder pads off and have a shorter, situational-type practice. Friday morning, we’ll get on the bus and drive out there. We’ll actually do our Friday walkthrough and workout at the stadium. Many of the road games on our schedule, we won’t do that, we’ll just do our workout here in Blacksburg and then go there, but for this one, obviously with the uniqueness of the setting, my desire is to make sure kids are comfortable with what the lockers are going to look like, the back drop. I want us to catch punts with the big sky above them and get a feel for what it’s going to be like. We’ll go workout at the stadium, come back and shower and have our Friday night meetings, then do quite a lot of nothing on Saturday. We’ll do some walkthrough stuff, we may have to make an appearance for College Gameday at 11 a.m. or something like that, so we’ll take care of those responsibilities.

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19 Responses You are logged in as Test


  2. Ugly is ugly.
    I seem to recall that every time we wear some off the wall, weird uniform, we lose more often than not. Kids might like them, but will they be a distraction to them?

    1. It would be interesting to know what our record is in games where we have played with the “special” uniforms. My guess is that it is not very good, especially among decent competition. We have been losing the recruiting wars more since the uniform craze took hold. The college programs that are most successful and have the strongest brands seem to play with their traditional uniforms. When we lose top level in-state recruits, they are typically going to these programs. We have to decide if we think we are a top-level, substantial, program who does not need “uniforms” to bring in recruits or are we a lower level program which needs superficial effects like non-traditional uniforms to attract high level talent.

      I believe the superficial uniform has run its course. Even Oregon is appearing unable to make the crazy uniform craze work!

  3. I believe that the right uniform colors can produce an advantage for teams…when the colors are very different it is easier to find your guy and theirs – for both teams. Now with the black and grey I hope that provides a boost from the players that have never had a chance to wear all black and thought it be cool and fun and ENERGIZING. I think it might be a little “dark” on TV – but Batman typically wins in the end!

  4. On uniforms …
    The Notre Dame-Texas game featured two marquis teams playing in their brilliant and bold school colors. Last night’s game between FSU and Ole Miss did the same. How do we end up playing in drab gray/black unis, which I suspect won’t exactly light up the TV screens. The Hokie stone motif might look OK on a graphic artist’s screen, but I suspect it will not work for TV.

    1. I was out running some errands during the first quarter of the FSU game and Gene Dekerhoff, the Voice of the Noles, commented about how good looking those Garnet Jerseys and Gold helmets with Gold pants looked…the uniform that millions of sports fans associate with the successful FSU program. I keep hearing that “the kids love them” but “the kids” don’t pay the bills. The alumni do. As a class of ’74 graduate I hate that we can’t stick with the colors that were associated with us when Beamer led us to national prominence in the 90’s and early 2000’s.

      1. I wonder if that’s how you treated your kids too?

        Geez man let the kids be happy if they’re happy and we can all worry about watching a good game

        1. The kids would be happy in classic uniforms and so would the alumni. Also importantly, it would help with the VT identity, which helps with recruiting, which helps with winning, which really makes the kids happy, and the alumni. I would rather look classic and win than look cool and lose.

          Go Hokies!

      2. “keep hearing that “the kids love them” but “the kids” don’t pay the bills. The alumni do. As a class of ’74 graduate I hate that we can’t stick with the colors that were associated with us when Beamer led us to national prominence in the 90’s and early 2000’s.”

        Yeah but if you don’t pay for what the kids want then you’re going to have talent level that was pre-Beamer.

        Face it, you pay for wins, not for how we go about the wins which includes uniform schemes. If Devon Hunter loves it and is the deciding factor then you won’t have a word to say against them.

      3. the “kids” make the plays NOT YOU. the “kids” get their a$$es hit, tackled, beat all to hell each game NOT YOU. let the “kids” enjoy the alternate unis. if they like them who cares.

        1. The university should care. According to the page listed below, black & gray were official school colors for 4-5 years, while orange & maroon have been the official colors for 120 years. Brand recognition/management is what it is all about, and I can sympathize with the large Hokie Nation population that feels that all of the crazy unis are watering down our brand/image. This is especially true in a time where our football program is no longer in the “successful” conversations. It begins to look more like we care about how we look aesthetically than how we look via our play. I personally would rather them make tweaks to the classic unis to “modernize” them, and then when the team starts playing consistently well, reward them with unis that diverge from the classic look.

    2. I had a coach switch our uni’s halfway through a season once in baseball where we beat every team in our league the first half. The new uni’s looked great, but they sucked if you had to wear them. We lost the first 4 games in them, but once we got use to them, we started winning again.

      As long as they fit well and the kids are comfortable while wearing them for performance sake, then why not? If it gives them a little boost of confidence, then I’m all for it. Now if they fit differently and are not comfortable, then put them in the garbage and raffle them away for someone’s wall.

    3. Couldn’t agree more. Our school colors aren’t black & gray. Maybe they were once, but they haven’t been for 100 years.

        1. Agreed. All these ol’ fogies who complain about it need to get with the Program.

          It’s not about you, it’s about the players and the team. You guys need to understand this. Period.

          1. B.S. It’s about the money…TV, new uniforms, new practice field, new coach…it’s all about the Benjamins.

            If it were just about the players, there would be better scheduling, few TV timeouts, fewer stupid rules on who can talk to whom, or who can transfer where, and recruiting wouldn’t be as slimey.

          2. I suspect you take such a strong stand for those new uniforms because YOU like them, not necessarily because the players like them – if I am wrong, I apologize.

            This “Old Fogey” suggest you might be a “Younger Inexperienced Fogey”, but don’t worry, as Ronald Reagan once said, I won’t hold your youth against you.

          3. Hey AXD, those old fogies you dismiss are paying for the program. Further, some of us know a little bit about branding. Notre Dame, Alabama, FSU, Clemson, etc don’t compromise their brand with special uniforms that don’t include school colors.

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