Tech Talk Live Notes: Justin Fuente Talks Playing Up-Tempo Offense, Dialing Back Practice

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Linebacker Andrew Motupuaka and Head Coach Justin Fuente were the guests on Monday night’s Tech Talk Live, hosted by Jon Laaser and Mike Burnop. Here are the highlights.

Andrew Motuapuaka

On seeing hundreds of Virginia Tech fans at the North Carolina game

“It was awesome, just seeing all the fans there, not caring what the weather looked like. Just their support, and after the game was amazing. There was probably one or two UNC fans left, all we heard was ‘Let’s go Hokies!’ and I just love hearing that.”

Preparation for North Carolina

“We treat every game, well we try to treat every game as just a big game, because it’s the next game and it just happened to be UNC, and they’re a ranked team.”

Slowing down North Carolina offense

“I think it just starts from our coaching staff and the gameplan that they came up with, and just executing and playing hard for each other. I think that just played a big role in our win.”

Relationship with Tremaine Edmunds, growth of Motuapuaka and Edmunds

“I think he’s getting a good grip of the game and his position. It’s cool just to go out there and work hard with him every day, just seeing how he’s growing, just our communication on and off the field. We just had some Hokie House wings yesterday.”

Andrew Motuapuaka
Andrew Motuapuaka (54) has made big strides in his second season as a starter.

Preference of playing running teams or passing teams

“I like playing passing teams because you have the potential of catching a pick.”

How interception vs. North Carolina happened

“I was the short-drop guy, just kind of reading the quarterback and surprisingly the ball was kind of dry. That’s kind of how it stuck.”

Getting through tough road stretch of the season

“We continue just to grind it out. We know it’s going to be hard, but in the end, it’s going to pay off, with school and football.”

Game slowing down in second season starting at mike linebacker

“It’s slowed down a lot, just me understanding more and more of the defense. I definitely can learn more, but there’s a difference. I feel a lot more comfortable out there. I think the chemistry with our defense as a whole is really good too.”

Justin Fuente

People noticing performance vs. North Carolina

“I think that’s important. Whether we would have won or lost, it really didn’t matter, those external factors. The facts were — the game was to be played on that day, at that time in those weather conditions. Win or lose, you’ve got to accept that and make the most out of it. I thought our kids did and obviously, defensively, for our kids to take that high-powered offense and really shut it down, completely, was a phenomenal effort and definitely led the charge.”

Injuries from North Carolina

“Yeah, it was a physical football game, but we came out in good shape. Mike Goforth, our trainer, does a fantastic job and his staff will get guys up and running and we’ll be ready to go this week.”

Getting good field position against North Carolina

“Yeah, no question and I was thinking about this during the game too. We went for it one time on fourth and one on the one and really there’s no fear in going for it when your defense is playing like that. If you don’t get it, and you don’t like that, they’re going to get the ball on the minus-one and your defense is playing so well and the conditions are what they are. You’ve got a chance of something really good happening for you. There really weren’t a lot of drives. We drove the ball down there once and Jerod fumbled, that really was the longest drive of the game and really didn’t end up with any points. When you’re battling field position, I thought Greg Stroman coming in and punting two times out of the offensive formation was huge for us, in terms of field position and being able to operate. We had kind of gone into that trying to keep it away from Switzer, and it also ended up being an efficient way of doing it in those conditions. You don’t have to snap the ball as far, you’ve got a guy with good hands back there. There were a few little things that kind of helped us control the field position game. Obviously, the number one thing was how our defense played.”

Thoughts on Syracuse offense

“Yeah, these guys, they wrote the book on going fast. I had a chance to coach against Coach Babers when he was at Bowling Green last year and I was at Memphis. I’m telling you, it’s the definition of up-tempo.”

Thoughts on Syracuse passing attack and quarterback Eric Dungey

“They obviously aren’t afraid to put that sucker in the air, and the quarterback has made some really nice throws, shown some good composure. He knows he’s going to get another chance, they’re not afraid to push the ball down the field. If you get too dialed in on that, they’re running the one-back power up inside and causing you more problems.”

Channeling emotion and keeping guys’ heads from getting too big

“It is a challenge. Handling success is every bit the challenge of handling failure. This is going to be a big challenge for us, going to play on the road against a very explosive offense, a team where the game will never be over. There’s multiple possessions, it’ll be a long game, just one of those deals where you’ve got to be ready to play. For us, we’re trying to paint the picture of, ‘The reason you’ve had the success is because of these two or three factors — because of the way we’ve worked, the way we’ve prepared, the way we’ve paid attention to detail and then ultimately, the way we’ve played on Saturdays.’ Those things don’t change with success. It’s 12 one-game seasons.”

Virginia Tech
After Virginia Tech’s win over North Carolina, the team celebrated with the fans who made the trip to Chapel Hill, NC.

Possibly dialing back practices with three games in 13 days

“We’re going to go normal prep this week, next week with the short week, we won’t even put pads on. I’m lucky, because I’ve had a lot of experience… At TCU, it seemed like we played two Thursday night games a year and at Memphis we played some. In my time with Gary (Patterson), we changed halfway through, we changed how we did things and we started winning on Thursdays. I think it’s the best way to do it. I like our plan. After that Thursday game, for the rest of the year, we’ll start to taper back practice a little bit as we move forward for this stretch run.”

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12 Responses You are logged in as Test

    1. Long enough that:

      1.) the Freshmen who would have been last able to see it on the UVa campus are now beginning their 30s.

      2.) if you had a child on the last day UVa retained possession of the Cup, they’d currently be in the 7th grade.

      3.) most, if not all, current UVa athletes and students probably only know about the Commonwealth Cup if an Ancient History course was a requirement for their degree.

    2. The number of days is impressive. But I like this: It was 2003 (and I was there). How long ago was 2003? A looooooooooooooooong time ago. Barack Obama was a relatively unknown member of the Illinois state senate. The Red Sox were cursed. Facebook didn’t exist.

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