Tech Talk Live Notes: Justin Fuente Recaps Loss to Tennessee, Previews Boston College

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Virginia Tech Head Coach Justin Fuente recapped the Battle at Bristol loss to Tennessee and previewed the Hokies’ preparation for Boston College on Tech Talk Live Monday night. Here are the highlights from his appearance.

Justin Fuente

Thoughts on first quarter field goal attempt

“Obviously, we didn’t make the field goal so I wish we would have gone for it. I’m not above saying that. I do believe in a little bit of feel. Joey’s got a big leg and a good chance to make the field goal. There wasn’t an issue there. A little later in the game maybe, when their D-line wasn’t as fresh, I might have felt a little better about going for it. That was a pretty tough matchup for us, their defensive line. Our offensive line held their own against a very good defensive line. We’d already gone for it in short yardage on that drive on third down, we already had a third down conversion. At the time, I just felt like going to get points on the board with a kicker that was well within his range.”

Response to missed field goal

“We really captured some momentum back after missing that field goal. The defense came out and held and Ken Ekanem played a great game. He did a fantastic job, really played his tail off. Then we were able to put together a little drive together and get the ball in the endzone. Their original plan was to play us a little two-high safety stuff and we were able to run the ball. We got them out of that pretty quick. Then they made some adjustments and we made some adjustments. We got off to a pretty good start.”

Carries for RBs depending on defensive scheme

“Until you get to the point where you’re so good, it doesn’t matter what the other team lines up in, you still just run it down their throat, which there’s really only one team in America that can do that, until that point, you got to take what they give you. You’ve got to try and put your guys in the best situations to have success. At times, that means guys get a lot of carries. Sometimes that means they don’t. Sometimes it means Isaiah (Ford) gets a lot of balls and other times it means the ball goes to the field. Our job as offensive guys is to put our guys in the best situation to have success based on the looks that they’re getting. The quarterback has to figure out who should get the ball in that look. He’s nothing more than the point guard on the basketball team. He’s the distributor. If it looks like this, the ball should go to Isaiah (Ford). If it looks like this, we should hand it off. If it looks like this, it should go to Bucky (Hodges). That’s how we try to build plays together so we have a better chance of being right more often. There’s options in there and ultimately the quarterback decides who gets the ball but the defense dictates who that should be.”

Halftime speech

“We were up 14-0 and I was really worried, because we were out of our mind. In my opinion, we should play with great emotion, but we should also be in control and expect success. We shouldn’t be surprised by success. We should expect success. We also shouldn’t be surprised when the other team makes a play. We’re playing another really talented team, they’re going to make plays. We can still play with great emotion. I thought our peak was way too high and I was a little worried about that and sure enough, we had a big mistake and all of a sudden it cratered out. We’re trying to get everybody back up and to me that’s the maturity we’ve got to get. That was kind of the message at halftime.”

Decision to start Chung over Gallo

“Eric’s played quite a bit, Kyle’s dealt with a lot of injuries and battled back. He’s extremely athletic, his dad was a great player here. Really, he had made huge strides this fall and he’s someone we’re very excited about. I think what we’re going to see moving forward is that both of those guys play. Eric’s dealing with a little bit of a health deal that’s held him back a little bit, but it’s probably going to be those inside guys, that’s probably what’s going to happen. Those guys are going to move around a little bit and share some reps.”

Kyle Chung (61) started at center over Eric Gallo last Saturday night.

Concern with penalties

“It reminds me of when I started at Memphis, when we had no real self-confidence. Guys with real self-confidence don’t need to tell everybody the play they just made. Everybody knows the play they just made and they can go play the football game and compete their tail off without saying anything or doing anything. We didn’t do that. I’m disappointed and I take responsibility for it. It’s something that if we’re going to have a chance for success, that’s going to have to come to an end. You’re going to have something, you’re going to have a holding penalty, you’re going to have a pass interference, the way we play in the back end, we’re occasionally going to get pass interference penalties, those things are going to happen. But we can’t have unforced penalties. Those are just selfish. We had a pretty frank meeting about that and it’s going to have to come to an end abruptly.”

“When we do those things, and I don’t just mean Wyatt, whether it’s a coach that gets a 15-yard penalty, or a player, we’re putting our own selfish endeavor in front of the team. Whether it’s a personal vendetta against the guy you’re playing against, you’re upset about a call, whatever it is, when you do those things, you hurt everybody. We’ve got to understand it’s not about ‘I’, it’s about us. When we act on those selfish impulses, we hurt everybody and the ultimate playing card I have is playing time.”

Defensive performance against Tennessee

“I thought they played well at times. If you just take out the terrible situations they were put in and look at how they played, I thought they played pretty well at times. We were playing some pretty impressive individuals. They didn’t throw the ball particularly well, they had a couple of big plays, that was about it. That tailback is a big time player. The quarterback is incredibly athletic and we more than held our own and I thought played really well at times.”

Defensive prowess of Boston College

“We spent all day yesterday watching the film. They’ve lost like six games by three points or less, I mean just heart breaking fashion. The games have all been incredibly close, kind of ugly football games, like low scoring, tough, hard-nosed, their defense has a bunch of starters back that led the country in defense last year. They play man coverage all over the place and they’re improving offensively. They’re getting better. I would say, in talking to Bud (Foster) today, that they’re already better than they were last year offensively. It’s going to be a tremendous challenge, we’re going to need everybody to turn out.”

Preparing against former offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler

“It should be an interesting dynamic. In today’s day and age, with video the way it is, there are very few secrets in college football. It used to be, you could keep your film hidden from everybody else, but that doesn’t work that way anymore. It is another added level of familiarity. Bud (Foster) is familiar with (Loeffler), and (Loeffler) is familiar with Bud (Foster) and the thing Scot (Loeffler) also has is familiarity with our offensive personnel, to kind of clue in their defensive coordinator about guys’ strengths and weaknesses. There is a little bit extra there that we’ll have to deal with.”

Scot Loeffler (center) was the offensive coordinator for Virginia Tech from 2013-2015.

Thoughts on Boston College quarterback

“He’s a transfer from Kentucky. He’s played well. He played at Kentucky, I think that’s important. Those guys that transfer who have never played, you kind of pay different attention to rather than transfers who did play and have some experience at the previous school. He’s played well the first two weeks. They lost over in Ireland to Georgia Tech in heart breaking fashion, then went and beat UMass last week. I think he’s getting better. I’m not familiar with what they’ve had in the past, but just from what I’ve seen from him in the past few games, he’s getting more comfortable and getting better.”

What needs to change this week for Virginia Tech

“First of all, we’ve got to have a fantastic practice tomorrow. We’re obviously going to have a huge emphasis in taking care of the football and making good decisions. Then, our discipline level has to increase. I want to see us do things better. I want to see us have more attention to detail on the punt return team in drill work. I want to see us understand these things are carrying over into the game and affecting, some good and some bad, how we play the game. We need to treat them like they’re a game in practice. At times, I’ve seen us do that and it looks great. At times, I’ve seen us punching the time clock and trying to get done. That’s where my ire comes out. That’s not how this works. We wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t important.”

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15 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. I was so impressed with his halftime interview. Telling team to “Just calm down” hit the nail on the head as things were turning south.

  2. I like the discussion about how offensive coaches are supposed to put players in positions to succeed. Know the other teams weaknesses and your teams strengths and exploit them. That’s coaching.

  3. After all of the bad news, let’s give BMS a great big thank you. They did a masterful job of preparing the field and the stadium as well as design the wonderful half-time show. I’ve never been to a better organized venue.

  4. Very impressed with the coach’s responses. Direct and to the point. I stopped listening to the Monday night radio show several years because it was boring with no real feedback. Very pleased at the new approach.

  5. I love Coach Fu’s comment “we should play with great emotion, but we should also be in control and expect success”. A team that expects success is not worried when they are down, and not surprised when they are winning. We expect success.

    1. Sounds like the way saban approaches football. We may dislike saban, but he coaches college football at the pro level. (with pro players)

  6. Love this quote. “Guys with real self-confidence don’t need to tell everybody the play they just made. Everybody knows the play”

    And how true it is. Sam Rogers being a case in point.

  7. While watching the game I was more complaining about players executing vs coaching and play calling. When is honestly the last time you could say that. Fuentes so far gets big thumbs up.

    1. The jet sweep called by the coaches at the beginning of the second Q was a disaster. Backed up to our 15, leading by 14-0, and we try the most difficult ball-handling and timing play with a new center, a new QB, and new slot receiver.

      1. I feel differently – Chung had a hang-up on snapping for whatever reason but that play is clearly a big part of the offense as we had run it several times prior to the mis-timed snap. You can’t just scratch out a play that is that much of your offense… Chung just needs to get his head together with the snap. We had success on that same play several times and I expect we will keep seeing it.

  8. This is the right guy to lead this program. I didn’t like everything about our game plan last week, but I like that he’s talking about maturity and accountability without throwing his players under the bus. Well, except maybe Teller. ;-}

    1. I think he mentioned Wyatt simply because he’d been asked about him getting 2 fouls..and said not JUST Wyatt to emphasize he’s talking about everyone

  9. I really like this coach. Let’s give him some time and our full support. I’m very confident going forward. We are in good hands.

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