Tech Talk Live Notes: Buzz Williams Recaps Maine, Justin Fuente Talks GT Loss

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Tech Talk Live

Virginia Tech’s Buzz Williams and Justin Fuente were the guests on Monday night’s Tech Talk Live. Here are the highlights from the show.

Buzz Williams

Takeaways from season-opening win vs. Maine

“I liked some of it. I thought some of it didn’t flow as much as I thought it would have. I think the whole thing when you’re trying to figure out multiple options and what I’ve been telling our guys is there has to be some consistency relative to them. It’s hard. It sounds cute, like ‘They can do a lot of different things,’ and you can play a lot of different ways, and I do believe that, but that’s difficult to do. To be able to do multiple things, you have to be able to think and execute on multiple levels. In some ways, I thought we did Friday at times, but in order for that to get a lot better, they’re going to have to be more consistent and through that consistency, then we’ll be able to figure out what the best groupings are.”

How advanced statistics team keeps looked after Maine win

“Those numbers were good. I wasn’t pleased with free throw makes, that’s one of our special teams. We need to make 18 free throws, we only made 13. That’s a low number. Our paint touches a lot of times, our free throw makes are a byproduct of paint touches. Our paint touches were good. All of things that we track, we call those white board stats, they change a little bit, they ebb and flow a little bit, based on what we study that summer. All of those numbers come from the 68 teams that make the NCAA Tournament the year before. That’s where we start the study. We study each of those 68 teams and it’s kind of evolved over the last several years in my career as far as specifically how we get to those numbers, but another piece to that and the second layer is those teams that consistently get to the NCAA Tournament and win, because that’s what we want to get to. That’s what we aspire to become. So what is it that they’re doing on both ends of the floor relative to what our team is going to be, that’s how we arrive at those specific numbers. But the numbers were good, particularly for a game one they were good. We only scored four points on out of bounds, we’d like to be a little better than that, but I don’t want to come across as I’ve got it all figured out, but to answer your question, they were good.”

Level of maturity of team

“Well we’ve only practiced once since postgame, we were off Saturday. That’ll be the last Saturday that they’re off hopefully until after Spring Break. I think we’re off the Saturday of finals so I shouldn’t have said that. I think it’s just a process and if I knew the answer, I would speed it up. We constantly talk about it, we constantly practice it. Getting (Ahmed Hill) back is good. Having Ty (Outlaw) is good. Chris (Clarke) hopefully plays his first full season, (Khadim Sy) is playing his first full season. The guys that are in uniform that are eligible to play that are on scholarship, the total years of experience tomorrow night when we take the floor is eight, and so I’m not justifying our lack of maturity at times, but in defense of those guys, when your entire roster for whatever reason have a combined total of eight years of experience here, that’s not a lot.

“You’re only as good as your returning players. We do have some good returning players but we also have some guys that… Chris (Clarke) played 17 total games. (Sy)’s never played, (Hill) didn’t play, etc. etc. etc. Bibbs is a junior on our team, he’s played 54 regular season games as of today. That’s not a lot. We just need to keep adding to that total and as we accumulate more games, hopefully our maturity rises and hopefully we can mature faster than the games can collect. Because I think that’s going to be the telltale sign for our team. Normally there’s a swing vote in my opinion as a coach on ‘We need that guy, that guy and that guy to be better than they should be.’ I think the swing vote for this team, particularly this early, is the maturity of all of them combined. I don’t think it’s a particular guy. Bibbs will play better than he did on Friday, I thought (Justin Robinson) played really good, I thought (Sy) was really good, I thought Zach (LeDay) was incredibly good. Seth (Allen) wasn’t good at all defensively. We’ll get all of that better, but we need all of that to be better consistently because that’s what maturity is.”

Khadim Sy
Virginia Tech’s Khadim Sy will be an important player for the Hokies this season in their thin frontcourt.

Thoughts on Khadim Sy

“Yeah, I thought he got through his first wind even quicker than I had anticipated. He was excited. Of all of the guys we’ve recruited and or signed/coached since we’ve been here, I think he embodies being a Hokie as well as any of them. He just absolutely loves Virginia Tech. He’s a beautiful human being. He has very deep spiritual beliefs, part of which helps him be the person that he is. He wants to be coached. He says thank you when you coach him, even if there are some words that shouldn’t go in that sentence. I think he’s got a really bright future and as far as a prospect, I think he has the brightest future. When you look at him, he’s played one game. I wanted to play him a little bit more, but he was kind of running on fumes a little quicker than I had anticipated because he was so excited. In the 15 minutes that he played, I thought he was very effective.”

How Ty Outlaw played after sitting out all of last season

“I didn’t think he was very good, he didn’t think he was very good. I didn’t necessarily think he would be great, there’s just so much buildup when you’re 18, 20 years old to play and I think when you’ve had to press pause and not get to play for a year, I think the anxiousness and the internal buildup, no matter what you say or do as a coach, I think it’s hard to bust through. I spend a lot of my days in our film room and that’s connected to our locker room, so I see our guys a lot, and Ty came in there yesterday and said, ‘Coach, I know now how much you love me,’ and I said, ‘Why is that?’ He said, ‘Because you never screamed at me.’ And I go, ‘No, I kind of wanted to hug you. I felt bad for you. It’s going to be okay, you’re going to figure it out, but you need to figure it out sooner rather than later.’

— Follow Ricky LaBlue on Twitter —

“He’s a great kid, he’s very intelligent. He knows he’s a step behind, he knows that he needs to figure it out, but sometimes because he’s so intelligent, he’s putting more undue pressure on himself to figure it out, and it kind of is a counter to what we need it to be. Sometimes, I don’t holler and scream at (Hill) very often unless I feel like that’s exactly what he needs because the standard he sets for himself is so high, and I think with (Outlaw) right now, I don’t need to holler and scream at him just yet, because all that does is add noise and he doesn’t have to wear Beats, he’s got enough voices in his head right now.”

Having late practices

“Just studying a lot of that stuff, I have a very difficult time sleeping. When I was young, I thought it was cool and felt in some sort of way it made me macho and as I’ve gotten older, it’s something I’ve really struggled with. I tell our team, they can function on no sleep or they can function on ‘I slept all day,’ and I can’t. So as soon as we can get our body clock and our routine on the itinerary of gameday, that’s what we do. If it’s three days before a game, this is what we do, if it’s two days before, if it’s one day before, if it’s the day of, so the reason we didn’t start practice (Monday) at 7 p.m. since the game tomorrow night is at 7 p.m. is because of the radio show. So as soon as I get done, we’ll go straight to practice and this afternoon, instead of having practice when we typically would have had, we had film and scouting report, because tomorrow afternoon, that’s when we’ll have shootaround. We just try to change it up to get on the day of the game itinerary as soon as possible.”

Challenge of playing in John Wooden Classic in California

“We’ll leave on Monday, the following Monday, we’ll leave at 10 a.m. California time and arrive in Michigan at 5:30 p.m. It’s a 4 hour and 40 minute flight and a three hour time change. Yeah, it’ll be hard. Obviously it’ll be the first time we’ve played in back to back days. We’ll have a day off and play on Sunday, so we’ll be tested not only from the talent we play, we’ll be tested from a maturity standpoint to see if we’re tough enough to do that on our own.”

Justin Fuente

How team has responded after loss to Georgia Tech

“We’ll have a great response. I’m supremely confident in our kids and their character and their toughness. Nobody was happy about the way we played. The kids battled hard, but the bottom line was we didn’t deserve to win a championship that day, but because of the hard work they’d done earlier in the year, they haven’t lost that opportunity either. The kids were good (Sunday), we had a good, spirited workout last night, they’re off (Monday) and I know we’ll have a good one (Tuesday).”

Justin Fuente Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech had four turnovers vs. Georgia Tech last week, which might have given Justin Fuente a headache.

Turnovers being a problem once again

“Sure. We had a special teams turnover on the opening kickoff return, and we really had a good return too. We hit a little crease there and it wasn’t a good way to start it. We had a couple of interceptions and then (Hodges) had that fumble when he was fighting for extra yards. We made that point pretty clear. There’s no statistic other than the final score that indicates who wins the game more than turnovers. When we’ve done a great job of that, boy it’s been really good. We’ve given ourselves a chance to win and when we haven’t, it’s been really tough.”

Getting thrown out of gameplan and dealing with mistakes

“It was like the harder you tried, the worse it got. That’s not to say anything, our kids were out there playing their tails off, we just made too many mistakes. We dug ourselves a hole and absolutely responded. When we came out in the second half, the kids absolutely responded but we put ourselves in a situation where we had to play a perfect second half in order to win the game and we couldn’t quite do that. The other thing I’ll say is, and I’ve been saying this, I think people pay attention when we lose but don’t listen to me when we win. The talent level and the parity in the Coastal Division and really through the entire ACC is remarkable. On any given day, we saw that this week, that anybody can beat anyone. I’ve told our team many a times, we are absolutely capable of winning every game and/or losing every game, depending on how we handle things. The beautiful thing is we do have control over those things. There’s a bunch of good teams out there that when they’re hot, they’re really good and we’re one of those.”

Difficulty in preparing for spread offense after preparing for triple option

“It’s an interesting deal and I’ll be curious to hear what (Notre Dame) thinks. My first question would be — I’m not so sure they didn’t want it like that. If they were crafting the schedule, they’d want to play those two option teams back to back, I don’t know. It’s kind of an interesting thing. I’d be interested to hear if that’s what they wanted, but I’m sure they’re anxious to get out of that business and go play a little bit more conventional, or what’s not popular style of offense, but it’s an interesting deal. I’m sure they’re looking forward to getting back to their normal schedule or their normal practice routine and their normal skill, 7-on-7 drills and those sorts of things you don’t do when you’re playing an option attack.”

How well Woody Baron has played

“I’ve just been really impressed with him and we said this earlier after the Miami game — it’s just so nice to watch other people struggle to block him too. Through the spring I’m like, I’m talking to our offensive line coach, I’m like, ‘What is the deal? Why is that guy in the backfield all the time, why does he make every tackle, why can’t we block him? He’s not that big, he’s not this, he’s not this,’ but he is a really good football player. He’s highly intelligent, he understands leverage and blocks and he’s been in the scheme long enough and he works incredibly hard and is playing at a really high level.”

Comfort level with depth at defensive tackle

“I’m comfortable with our depth on the inside. When you take Ricky (Walker), Nigel (Williams), Woody (Baron) and Timmy (Settle) and put those four guys in there, we feel good about rotating those guys through like we do. They all have their own strengths but we feel really good about rotating those guys freely. Obviously, Woody is the guy who’s had probably the most productive year but we feel good about getting Woody out of there if we need to and letting those other guys play quite a bit.”

Dealing with the awe and “coolness” of Notre Dame stadium and campus

“Before the season, I wrote down that this may be a stop that we may need to go to the stadium the day before and give the guys a chance to, whether it’s to soak it in or take the picture or whatever. So, I went to a couple guys yesterday and said, ‘Hey guys, is something that you want, so you guys can soak in the experience?’ They said, ‘No, we just want to go win the game.’ So, we’ve skipped that and we’re just going to go straight into playing the ballgame and prepare to win, which I appreciate. I was going to respect their wishes whichever way they wanted to go, I understand it is a unique place and all that sort of stuff and wanted them to be able to take advantage of it, but no, they just want to play.”

On Sam Rogers being invited to play in Senior Bowl

“That came across my desk… I was telling a couple of the coaches this. This is certainly not a complaint, but these are the facts. There’s a lot of things as the head coach that you do that you either deal with that you don’t want to deal with or it’s not fun, like everybody’s job out there. You do the things that you don’t want to do so that you get to do the things that you love to do and let me tell you what — selfishly — handing Sam Rogers his Senior Bowl invitation was a very fun and memorable thing and to the see the look on his face and know how hard he’s worked to get that was a really cool, selfish moment for me, because I really enjoyed it and I think he deserves it.”

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7 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Sam Rogers is the epitome of excellence and never giving up, that’s what a Hokie is!!!

    Justin Fuente is doing a masterful job in year one at VT, and we diehard Hokies are very proud that he is our coach. Justin is even-keeled, hard working, smart, measured, considerate and we’re proud he is leading our football program to greater heights. I thought Coach Fuente made an outstanding decision to use Frank’s #25 for the special teams player each week. Go HOKIES, beat Notre Dame!

  2. “No, [we don’t want to sight-see at Notre Dame the day before,] we just want to go win the game.”

    Awesome stuff from the football team right there. I hope it pays off!

  3. Proud of the Hokies and our Coaches!
    Ricky – what is this? “How advanced statistics team keeps looked after Maine win”

    New Math meets New English 🙂

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