Tech Talk Live Notes: Buzz Williams Talks About Dealing With the Media

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Tech Talk Live

Virginia Tech men’s basketball coach Buzz Williams made his first appearance on Tech Talk Live of the year on Monday night, and discussed a breadth of topics. Football head coach Justin Fuente also was on for his usual segment. Here are the highlights.

Buzz Williams

Status of program approaching third year

“I’m excited. I’m thankful, humble. We’ve had 20 practices so far. Obviously we’ve had training camp, boot camp, we’ve had individual workouts, we’ll have early bird in the morning. We were off today. We’ve had two scrimmages, one at home, one on the road. Just got back from the road scrimmage late last night, so today was our day off, and I tried to, as much as possible, flush through all of the things I know I won’t get to until after Spring Break. I think our guys are excited. It’s a new year, a new team, all the coach clichés everyone is supposed to say.”

Last scrimmage 

“We got beat, I thought it was great. We got beat. I didn’t call a timeout, I wanted to see if they could figure it out on their own, and we had Alabama State yesterday on the road. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.”

Guys dressed for scrimmage: Justin Robinson, Ahmed Hill, Justin Bibbs, Chris Clarke, Khadim Sy, Johnny Hamilton, Matt Galloway, Ty Outlaw, Zach LeDay

“Zach was at the point he was allowed six or seven minutes, so Zach played, I think he ended up playing six of the allotted seven. That’s the group that we’ve played since we scrimmaged South Carolina. Every practice, every rep, we haven’t been able to play 5-on-5 since South Carolina and in so many ways, I think it’s been really good, because it’s made those guys carry a burden, probably that they’re not quite ready to carry, but in some ways you’re forced to carry it. Hopefully long-term, it’s healthy for us.”

Update on Kerry Blackshear Jr.’s injury

“I don’t know what the answer is. I feel, in my heart, the same way I felt this time last year with (Ahmed Hill). Really close with (Blackshear)’s parents, (Blackshear) is as good of a kid as there is. Very bright. Obviously, we know as a player, he’s a legitimate, high-major winner. I just want to always make decisions that are right long-term. Long-term for his career as a player, long-term for his life as a person, as a student, so I don’t have peace. He’s progressing. He’s not in practice. He’s practiced zero, but he’s to the point where he can do like 12-15 minutes on the floor by himself, no contact, etc., etc. When will I have to make a decision? I don’t know. I’ve been praying a lot about it. I talked to (Blackshear)’s dad a lot about it. I want to do whats right. My responsibility, I believe, is number one, always do what’s right for the program and one-b, is to always do what’s right for the kid. On decisions like that, sometimes it gets blurred, and I always have to remove my emotion from it because as a coach, I want (Blackshear) on the team. He’s a really good player, but that’s not what his parents entrusted me to do. They entrusted me to take care of their son, and so I don’t want him to give away a year where he’s not prepared, or he can’t be the best that he can be because we’re like ‘Oh, we have to limit him, is he going to get hurt, he’s always sore, he doesn’t need to practice today,’ and now it’s something where we thought what’s best for him now is inflicted on our team, and we’ve got to manage all of that, so I don’t have an answer. He’s going back to the doctor on Wednesday, they’ll take another picture of it. The picture will be improved, the doctor is going to… doctors are like lawyers, they’re going to say a lot of words and it means nothing, and they’re not going to certify or sign off on anything. That’s what will happen Wednesday afternoon, and then Earnest will let me know on Thursday morning, then I’m consumed with Maine, and he’s not going to play, so… I want as much evidence as possible, as why to play him, I want as much evidence as possible on not to play him, I want the kid to see it, I want the parents to see it. It was a little different with (Hill). It’s (Hill) and Ms. Donna. Not that I love (Blackshear) more, I love them both the same. I don’t have an answer, you know? The media, not you guys, but the media last year, they we’re like ‘Oh, (Hill) said he’s fine,’ and I’m like ‘Yeah, (Hill) is 19. You don’t have to text him, I could’ve told you what he was going to say.’ It’s like this. I’ve got to get a better attitude, and I’m going to, but these guys are texting me like, ‘What’s going on with Zach?’ Well if I wanted to tell you what was going on with Zach, I would tell you what was going on with Zach, but in our program, just because we had ACC Media Day, and Zach got hurt that day, if we weren’t having ACC Media Day, the media would have never known, right? So they’re like leeches, and that’s what they’re supposed to be, but that doesn’t mean that I have to give in and go, Oh, we’re just going to broadcast, not only to our opponents, but to also personnel that Zach may have a chance to play for next year, what happened. I’m not going to do that. I’m not trying to be Bill Belichick, but I kind of am. Like, it’s none of your business.”

Media relations

“I used to be really good at it. I used to embrace it, and now I shun it. I don’t know, I guess I’m just getting old. Like, I don’t want to give my time to guys that ask kindergarten questions.”

Getting better on and off the floor

“I hope that our program, I hope that I’m an example of what I want our program to be about. It’s not my program, it’s our program. It’s the Hokie program, but I hope those that are represented in year three of our program are consumed with it. One of the things I use a lot with our guys, and most of them can spell it now, is I want them to have an insatiable desire to get better. We’re getting closer to that. It’s not consistent yet across the board, but we have more guys, particularly the guys that have been here the longest, they have matured to the point where it’s not about this goal or that goal, it’s about this day and how to maximize this day and not just this basketball portion of the day, but the entire day.”

Ty Outlaw Virginia Tech Tech Talk Live
Ty Outlaw sat out the entirety of the 2015-2016 season, but is ready to contribute for Virginia Tech this season.

Progression of Ty Outlaw since being cleared

“He’s easily the most coachable guy on our team. He’s way smarter than he comes across, not only as a player, just as a student, as a person. I don’t know how to articulate it in the right way… you can’t call Hokie football games for a year. Maybe that would be fun for you for five days, but then come Saturday, you’d be like, ‘I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do.’ I think to be told that by people you don’t know, at 20 years old, ‘Hey, you can’t sweat.’ Not you can’t play this year, you have to redshirt, you can’t sweat, I think it changes your lens, rightfully so, and Ty has handled it with incredible wisdom. Way more than I would’ve been able to handle it at that age and even way more than I handled it initially. He was, in my opinion, the best junior college player in the country in our first year here. He’s a JUCO Texas guy, that’s what (inaudible) is, that’s what Jimmy Butler was, that’s what Jae Crowder was, that’s what I was, so a lot of those guys down there have been very helpful and for it not to have worked out, he handled it great. He’s behind, because it wasn’t a true redshirt year for him, because it wasn’t like he got to go through practice, he just sat over there. In his defense, he wasn’t always emotionally or mentally engaged in what was going on on the floor, because he wasn’t sure if he was ever going to be able to play again. He’s done a near perfect job since the doctors released him in May, relative to his body. His body fat has changed completely. He’s committed, he was in my office just before I came over here. He has an old soul and he’s constantly thinking and every day, he comes to the office, they have to sign in, and he always, he’s very calculated in what he asks me. It’s never for selfish gain, it’s ‘Hey coach, I was thinking about this, and remember you said this 12 days ago, and this is why you said it, and I’ve been thinking about, you think I should do this?’ I’m like, ‘You’re going to have to rewind man. You’re going to have to repeat that all again.’ Everybody on the team loves him and I think as time goes, he’s really going to help us. He needs every single rep he can get — in the film room, on the practice floor, in the weight room, in a game, because he’s making up for lost time and I think his story will end up being great in the end.”

On Outlaw’s injury

“I never said what it was, for the same reason I never talked about (Ahmed Hill). I’m not going to talk about (Blackshear). I didn’t talk about Ty. I think somehow, some way, people leak what it is, it never comes from me and it never comes from my staff, I have an idea where it comes from, that’s another category of discussion, but at Virginia Tech Media Day, they asked Ty and Ty just told them the truth.”

Justin Fuente

Efficiency needed offensively vs. Georgia Tech

“They can certainly put pressure on your entire team, when you talk about a ball control offense, and I always think back to my experiences through the years, you just look back at last week in the Notre Dame-Navy game, Navy runs the same offense. Notre Dame on offense had six possessions the entire game and they scored on five of them, they had three touchdowns and two field goals, and they lost. They were incredibly efficient, those field goals ultimately cost them the game. They kicked a field goal to go down by one with seven and a half minutes to go in the fourth quarter and never got the ball back. The pressure that creates, obviously you want your defense to get off the field and stop them, the pressure to be efficient that it creates for the offense is twofold — you’ve got to be incredibly efficient offensively, defensively you have to win first down. They’re going to take four downs to get a first down. If it’s fourth and one, it doesn’t matter where the ball is on the field, they’re going for it. They feel like they can get one or two yards anywhere on the field, they’re going to get it done. You cannot give up three and a half yards on every first down or you’ll never see the ball again.”

Georgia Tech one of the top teams in ACC in passing efficiency

“It really stresses you in all areas of your defensive fundamentals, where your eyes are at. You have to make sure you are continuing to read your keys, but you have to react so fast in order to stop them, that sometimes you get ahead of yourself and skip a step and miss your read key in order to run the alley to be there for the pitch, and your read key is running down the middle of the field. You see it week in and week out in triple option teams, and people always wonder, ‘How in the heck can that happen,’ but the bottom line is, you’re stressed so far horizontally across the field, that your eyes in the wrong spot for half a second can lead to big pass plays, and they’ve done it all year.”

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10 Responses You are logged in as Test

    1. Totally agree, he is not a people person. I don’t follow basketball that much so really don’t care, but I think VT could do better.

      1. I would love for my kid to play for Buzz. I think he is sincere about doing what’s best for the kids that play for him, but not in any way that is detrimental to VT basketball. I think he works really hard to motivate and it alot of work and mental energy to do so and keep it fresh. From motivating to recruiting to coaching, Buzz probably doesn’t have alot left for media and fans and that probably rubs alot of people the wrong way.

  1. Whew. I am worn out from just reading Buzz comments. Think it is safe to say he is one extremely passionate guy.

  2. I am still trying to interpret half of what Buzz said, it was kind of meandering. I love Buzz but he definitely an original.

  3. Before anyone asks, no we didn’t literally lose to Alabama State in the scrimmage, it was a road scrimmage locally vs a perennial power Big East team

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