Tech Talk Live Notes: Buzz Williams Recaps Ole Miss Win, Improving Against Zone Defense

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Tech Talk Live

Tech Talk Live was basketball-centric on Monday night as Virginia Tech men’s basketball Head Coach Buzz Williams and senior Matt Galloway appeared on the weekly show with Jon Laaser and Mike Burnop. Here are the highlights from the show.

Matt Galloway

Emotions after Ole Miss win, importance of victory

“It was definitely a very big win. Come March, that might be a resume builder. Coach instills a very good work ethic and it’s rubbed off on all of us. Everyone has the same drive to get better every day and his message was to basically dig every day. When he came here, Virginia Tech was kind of in a hole and he wanted everyone in the program to help dig us out. Every day, regardless of the time or if we’re off, just come and dig.”

Process of getting to Virginia Tech

“It’s the best thing that’s happened in my life. Out of high school, I went to a Division III school and played two years there and kind of realized I wasn’t playing anywhere professionally. My best way of staying in basketball is coaching. Coach Buzz is one of the best coaches in the country and I wanted to come work as a manager so I could gain experience for later in my career. Coach Buzz just asked and he blessed me with the opportunity to be able to walk on. It’s been one of the best things to happen in my life.”

Chance for extended playing time later in the season

“Coach Jamie (McNeilly) especially is always telling me to just be ready. Coach puts our team in the best position to win so I’m fine with not playing in the majority of games, but there’s always going to be games where people get in foul trouble or things just don’t go the way we want them to. In New Mexico, I had to step up and play a couple minutes. I’m always ready.”

Academic progress

“I graduated from Tech last year with degree in history and right now I’m taking a graduate program called instructional technology. It’s basically teaching. I want to coach and if I can’t coach, I’ll teach and coach, but I want to coach in college and that’s the goal.”

Buzz Williams

On postgame radio speech about team being above .500 in his tenure for the first time

“I was too emotional. I try not to reveal that sort of thing. I think it comes across egotistical. Among all the things I want to make sure that I’m not, it’s that. I think the intent of my heart was right, relative to the work of the staff and the kids and their stories and paths that led them here. I don’t feel bad that I said it, I don’t think my tone of voice was necessarily the right way. A game makes me emotional and I’m bankrupt at the end of a game, but I knew all of those numbers, a portion of what I mentioned to you. I went through all of those things with our guys. You could feel it in the locker room. Many were crying, including me, as I went through a snippet of per person, like I told you not just the players, but per person, ‘Do you remember this? You remember how you got here and do you remember what happened? You remember this story?’ Just rehashing all of that. I probably should’ve let (assistant Steve Roccaforte) do postgame because I knew that I wasn’t in the right frame of mind. I think the intent of my heart was right.”

Relationship with Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy

“I don’t know what Coach said. I have the utmost respect for him. He’s older than me but I’ve known him since I was a kid. I’m a fan of coaches, but I’m particularly a fan of coaches that have never been given anything and have had to try and figure it out on their own. I cheer for guys that have had to do it on their own, particularly at a place where most people think that you can’t do it. I think when you have an opportunity to visit with guys like that, their lens on how to go about things is much different than the guys who do all the coaching clinics and that write all the books. Those are the kind of guys that I like to learn from.

“He’s texted me several times today, I’ve texted with him today on just different thoughts. I want him to do great and I think he will do great. He’s the dean of the SEC, he’s the all-time winningest coach there but specific to what he said, and I’m not saying he didn’t expound on it, you can’t do it at Ole Miss and in my opinion, you can’t do it at Virginia Tech with ‘one-and-done’ guys. That doesn’t mean you can’t have one. I don’t think you can do it exclusively with high school guys, doesn’t mean you can’t have a couple or a few. Doesn’t mean you have to do it with all JUCO guys, but you probably need to have one or two. Doesn’t mean you have to do it with all transfers, but you probably need one or two.

“Then you probably need to make sure whatever it is you’re convicted by, on a daily basis, on how to develop people and how to develop players, you better believe it in your core. Wherever they come from, they’re all going to have to be a lot better than they were upon arrival if you’re going to have a chance to compete in the SEC or the ACC. I think how you mesh all of that together… can (Kerry Blackshear) play, is (Tyrie Jackson) going to be able to play and when is he going to be able to play, how’s that going to play out, what happened to (Ahmed Hill)? The doctor said he was going to be able to play. Why couldn’t Ty (Outlaw) pass a physical? You have to be able to endure all of that, relative to the mountain you’re trying to climb, but not just endure it and not just keep climbing, but make sure that everybody’s climbing together.

“I think that’s what coaching is. I think a lot of people think coaching is drawing up a play, I think coaching is teaching. I think coaching is education and I think the best educators educate more than just the subject they teach and learning how to work and learning how to be a team, and how to make the pieces of the puzzle fit, not just last year but this year and not just this year, but can the puzzle be better next year. There’s a lot of thoughts, prayers and decisions that have to go into that.”

Preparing to play against more zone defenses after success vs. man-to-man defense

“I think the thing you want to do, from an efficiency standpoint, in zone is what can you run that’s quick, that’s easy to run, that’s effective, regardless of the type of zone. Ole Miss yesterday was 1-3-1 and as soon as the ball got below the free throw line, it became a 2-3 zone. Texas A&M was 2-3, Coach Beilein is known as a 1-3-1 coach. There are only so many different types of zone but Louisville’s zone is unlike anything we’ve played up to this point. The zone that we have played three or four times this year is not any of the ones that I’ve mentioned. I think you have to get to the point where, ‘Guys, if they’re in an odd front, we do this. If they’re in an even front, we do this.’ Even Maryland Eastern Shore, they’re showing zone and then depending on where the ball went, depended on when they matched up man.

“You just want to have confidence. What makes it hard to practice, we practice it, it’s not as efficient as you want… we practiced Ole Miss being in a 1-3-1 but it’s not near as effective because we don’t teach a 1-3-1. We try to put them out there and go, ‘Hey, do this, do this,’ but you don’t want to spend a lot of time teaching somebody else’s defense so your offense can be efficient against it. It’s a part of what we do on a daily basis. It’s almost like in football — this period is zone offense, this period is zone defense. In the segment of zone defense, we’re playing the zone we play so our guys are accustomed to attacking that when they’re in that period and on offense. We’ve got to figure out how to be a little more efficient against a zone. Our numbers are pretty good, it’s not as aesthetically pleasing to watch in my opinion, because I think when we’re in man it looks pretty.”

What he’s looking for from his team before ACC play begins

“We just need to continue to progress. Hopefully the pace of which we’ve progressed can continue. I think that’s the key. There should be a crescendo in any business and in any organization that you’re continuing to rise. I think the pace that we’ve been on maybe has been as good as it’s ever been since we’ve been here. The stocks that you want to invest in are the ones that continue to prove on a daily basis that they’re trending in the right direction. I talked to our team about that. If we were a company, what is everybody saying when they’re trying to make an investment decision. We need to handle finals week. Every kid in America has to go through this, it’s not specific to Virginia Tech, but the week is scrambled eggs. There’s no rhyme or reason or routine that you can get in. We’ll get back in a routine on Friday, which is literally going to be 24 hours before we play the leading scoring team in the country. That style of play, relative to how we played (Sunday) is distinctly different and then turn around and play another ESPN game on Tuesday late night. We just need to not allow the schedule or the things that we can’t control to change the pace of our progression.”

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4 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. wow Buzz is truly amazing. There will be many more ups and downs, but he really is getting the program out of the hole. I think we are going to become relevant sooner than most people think.

  2. It is not part of our identity as a team. Some teams like Syracuse the zone defense they play is their identity. For Duke solid man to man defense and motion offense is their identity. Our identity is to drive the ball to the hoop on offense and get to the free throw line as much as we can or drive to the hoop and kick it back out for a 3. We still seem to be a work in progress on the defensive end.

  3. The part buzz mentioned about practicing against things you don’t do is a standard thing coaches deal with. we face a 2-3 zone a lot but we rarely use a 2-3 zone so you can’t dedicate too much time on something you don’t do but you have to learn to break it. Your version of the 2-3 isn’t good in practice because you don’t work at it. So when you face it, the other team’s 2-3 is better. you teach principles and approach and you know ways to attack. but they do have time before specific opponents to work. Just saying, it is an understandable point he made

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