Tech Talk Live Notes: Kenny Brooks Recaps 6-0 Start, Fuente Talks All-ACC Selections

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Tech Talk Live

Tech Talk Live was jam-packed on Monday night, as women’s basketball Head Coach Kenny Brooks joined Sam Rogers and Justin Fuente as the guests. Here are the highlights from the show.

Kenny Brooks

Thoughts from upset win over Tennessee

“It was unbelievable. The first few minutes of the game, we were able to get off to a good start and we got the crowd into it. Somebody asked me about the crowd, they said, ‘Did you hear it?’ I said, ‘I didn’t hear it, because I have to focus on the game, but I felt it.’ I felt the vibration, I felt the excitement in there and it was good to be on the positive end of a Cassell Coliseum crowd. We needed every person in there and it helped us prevail. We didn’t always play pretty but it was a fantastic win for our kids.”

Talking about Sidney Cook’s double-double vs. Tennessee

“… We’re a little thin in the post right now. We’re going to get a little bit of help second semester. A lot of you guys know Tara Nahodil, she’ll be back with us second semester and we need all of her 6-foot-4 body, but right now, as we are thin right now, Sidney and Regan (Magarity) are doing a great job of manning the post. Even Sami Hill is going down there and playing out of position and that’s what I love about this team. We’re playing so many kids out of position and no one has griped or complained whatsoever. They’re just trying to go out and win a basketball game.”

Importance of returning players buying into new philosophy and coaching staff

“One of the reasons I was attracted to here was, a lot of different reasons, but I knew when they hired Coach Fuente, I knew his track record and what he was able to do at Memphis and it was great for me coming in on his heels. He was almost a veteran when I got here, and we spent a couple days together and just listening to him talk and talk about what he really needed to do in the beginning, it kind of laid the blueprint out for me. Obviously, this was my first time at a new school. I had been at James Madison for 14 years, this is my first time starting over. Immediately we went in and approached the seniors about buying in and we didn’t have to do a lot of convincing because they’re great kids. Sami Hill, Vanessa Panousis and Sidney Cook, they’re tremendous kids and they want to win. They’re willing to sacrifice and do whatever for the basketball team, so we really just laid the foundation with them and the others followed suit, and everything else is history and we’ve been doing a really good job so far.”

Establishing culture and changing conditioning program

“If you don’t know already, I have the best strength coach in the world for women’s basketball, Greg Werner. He does a fantastic job. He was with me for 14 years at James Madison. He was the big reason that we were in better shape than everyone else in February and March, when it really matters. When Whit (Babcock) approached me, I told Whit that was very important to me, that I needed to have him and I needed to have my trainer Erin Cash and Whit obliged and therefore, we knew we were able to come in and change the culture with them. What a lot of people don’t realize is that during the first few months of trying to establish the culture, I’m not really with the kids a lot. I’m recruiting, I’m out doing a lot of different things, but Greg Werner and Erin Cash, they’re with them every day, every day. What they did for us, to set the foundation and these kids knew it was going to be something different because they were really with them and laying down the foundation has helped us right now.”

Sam Rogers

Emotions coming out of the tunnel for Senior Day ceremonies

“It was hard. I was actually telling Coach Fuente the pictures of us aren’t too great because my face is all squished up and just crying all over the place, but it’s a lot of emotions that come over you, just thinking about how quickly your time has gone by at Virginia Tech and just how grateful I am to be a part of this community for the short time I have been. Just a lot of emotions come over you when you think about that.”

Sam Rogers
Maybe this is the type of picture Sam Rogers was referring to (photo: Ivan Morozov)

How he’s grown as a person during Virginia Tech career

“I’ve told people before, I feel like God has put a lot of different people in my life to help me grow as a person. A lot of people just want to credit me for the person I am, but I really think it’s all the people God has put in my life to shape me into who I am today. I think in that aspect, it’s just a credit to the people who have been around me.”

Reaction to being given No. 25 for Senior Day

“When Coach Fuente announces who’s going to wear it in our Thursday meetings, everybody just always gets really excited to hear who will wear it and a lot of weeks, people kept telling me, ‘Hey, your week’s coming up, your week’s coming up.’ I didn’t really think it was going to happen and then he told me that I was going to be number 25, and I just tried to keep a straight face and not think about it too much. I didn’t want to start crying there in the meeting, trying not to think about it too much until I actually put on the jersey.”

What he’ll miss the most about college football experience

“Honestly, Hokie Nation. It’s so fun playing in front of them every week. You can’t find a better fan base than this. It’s the best.”

Justin Fuente

General thoughts from Virginia win

“Yeah, I’m good at following directions. It was a really good performance. I was really proud of our kids. You guys and Sam talked about this, there was a lot of emotion for our kids and the seniors that we have and have meant so much to this program and worked through this transition better than I could have ever dreamed that they would’ve. For Senior Day, it was an emotional moment. It was so much so that when I was walking back in afterwards, I was a little concerned. I knew it was going to be like that but my first words to the team before we took the field were ‘Let’s take a deep breath. Let’s kind of get refocused. Those were powerful, heavy emotions that everybody was feeling, now let’s clear ourselves and get ready to go play football and they certainly did.”

Jerod Evans and the Hokies will hope to play better next week.
Justin Fuente thinks Jerod Evans took a major step as a passer vs. Virginia.

Particular play where Fuente felt Jerod Evans showed progression as a passer

“I was talking to Jerod after the game and we had a lot of big plays in that game, and Jerod made a lot of big plays and so did a lot of other guys, Bucky (Hodges) and Isaiah (Ford) and obviously Sam (Rogers), but there was one play in particular where an 8-yard completion where I was just most pleased about with Jerod, in terms of his progress. It was a play-action pass, we had four guys going out on a route and he made his progression all the way back to the third guy, while sliding in the pocket to avoid a little bit of pressure and he made a really accurate throw. That’s playing quarterback in two sentences that sounds really simple, but is very difficult to do and to get through and I have seen glimpses of that, but have yet to really see it progress its way onto the field. I took that as a sign of progress for him and as he continues to master what we’re trying to do on a weekly basis and understand, because he does have this added dimension of running the football and we don’t want to quell that, we want to continue to encourage that because he’s made so many big plays doing that, and finding that balance of hanging in there and going through your progression versus breaking out and trying make a play on your own is always kind of a tightrope walk for an athletic quarterback. He seems to continue to get better figuring that out.”

Thoughts on All-ACC selections, including Evans not being selected

“I was a little surprised at that. I don’t even know how those people or how those things are determined, if they go purely off statistics or exactly the criteria to make all of those things. I know this, we have a group of people on our football team that are much more concerned with the team awards than they are the individual awards, which is exactly how you want it to be, but also as a coach, you want people to be recognized for their hard work. I know how much hard work Woody Baron has put into this season and deservedly so was recognized for that. I also know how much Jerod has put in and there’s not a spot for Sam Rogers. There’s no column that says what Sam Rogers does for Virginia Tech football. You always want those guys to get recognized, but you also take great pride in the fact that they can always rest on being division champs and winning the rivalry game and having a chance to win the ACC.”

Do similarities between Evans and Deshaun Watson help in practice and gameplanning

“I think it may help some. All fall, all spring we worked against a similar type skill set at quarterback. The thing about Clemson on offense is that it doesn’t stop with their quarterback. They’ve got a wide receiver that’s as good as I’ve seen and a tailback and a tight end. They’ve got a bunch of good players there, but all that being said, we’ll have a good week of prep and we’ll put together a good scheme in all three phases of the game and get our guys ready to play and get out there and get after it.”

What getting to ACC Championship means to program for the present and future

“Well the first thing I think it means is reaffirmation to our kids that the things we’re doing on a daily basis will give us an opportunity to have success. Our kids have done all of this work without a promise of anything. The only thing we set in front of them is, ‘We have to do these things, we have to be selfless, we have to be hard-working, we have to be coachable, we have to do all these things in order to just give ourselves a chance. This doesn’t guarantee success but if we don’t do these things, we have no chance at having success,’ and they’ve bought into that and in turn, got to see the success. To me, internally, amongst our team with the younger players and older players, that they have some reference point of, ‘Yes, this does work. This does give us that opportunity.’ I think it’s a great rewarding opportunity for our older players that have been through so much, a chance to go play on a national stage in a ballgame they came here to play in when they started this thing against a great opponent that we’ll have a chance at.”

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12 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. I love Sam Rogers and I would never want to take anything away from him and what he has done … BUT, there are a number of other seniors on this team that deserve a lot of credit. I think Fuente and Sam himself would agree with that. We as fans need to try to show as much appreciation as we can to them as well. Clark, Baron, McLaughlin, Ekanem, Williams, Motley, Greene, Conte. That is a SOLID group of heavy contributors this year. They all deserve credit and praise. How much is this line going to miss Conte and McLaughlin next year? What’s the D-Line going to be without Baron, Williams, and Ekanem? Who is going to hit like a mac-truck next year they way Chuck Clark has? Anyway, you get my point. I just don’t want that to be lost in all the praise for Sam Rogers … as much as we all love what he represents to this team.

    1. +1. If Ken Ekanem hadn’t of injured his shoulder he’d be the sack leader. Clark is a big hitter. Motley kept us in or won games for us. Nigel wasn’t always called, but he could wreak havoc in the backfield every so often. Solid players, solid contributors, and great Hokies.

  2. Been very impressed with this young man since he stepped on campus. Sam is a football player, my highest complement to someone who plays the game. With that being said from what I have heard he is a better person. If we are choosing up teams, I want Sam.

    1. I think I remember reading somewhere that CFB gave CJF a few words of advice regarding the UVa game in particular. Something to the effect that rather than fire the team up for UVa, he’d only have to prep a good game plan and let them run…. I’m sure the coach meant it as a remark to CFB that he got that one right.

      1. I agree. NOBODY on this team wants to be on the team that breaks The Streak. All Coach has to do is make sure they practice right and the game will take of itself.

  3. I don’t know if we’ll ever have a better representative of Va. Tech football than Sam Rogers. What a great young man! If he doesn’t have a career in football, Tech should hire him to work in the Hokie Club fundraising.

    1. Wow..Totally agree. Sam is such a great credit to VT..Hokies everywhere are wishing him great success in his future endeavors.

    2. I don’t know either. Sam Rogers is the most recent in a pretty good line of VT and VPI&SU football players. Don’t forget Bruce Smith. He’s been on the sidelines for many, many games. A surprising lot of former Tech football players still bleed maroon and orange, and you may not have been there when they gave their all.

      Sam is the most recent credit to VT, but please don’t forget your history. If you do, you’d be in danger of leaving out another great who wore 25 for his last VT game, too.

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