Tech Talk Live Notes: Virginia Tech Facing First Road Trip vs. East Carolina

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Virginia Tech Talk Live

Tech Talk Live returned for another episode on Monday night, as Virginia Tech head coach Justin Fuente addressed his Hokies’ performance vs. Delaware, and the early season struggles of East Carolina. Here are the highlights.

Justin Fuente 

Two or three things that are key points of emphasis

“We have not been good, just the first thing that comes to my mind, offensively, is on third down. We weren’t good the first week, we certainly weren’t good the second. Part of that is we weren’t in third and very short. We were just in really difficult situations last week, and not very efficient, poor overall. So, continuing to develop our plan of attack, figure out ways to attack people on third down, I think continuing to do that defensively — defensively we played really well last week. We played good in the redzone and we had a couple times where we gave up plays there, but we swarmed to the ball and overwhelmed Delaware a little bit there.

Special teams-wise, We’re going into our third week and we’ve yet to cover a kick. I want Joey (Slye) to continue to kick it out, but there’s still an unknown there. We haven’t actually covered a live kick since our kicking scrimmage, which was a month ago. So, there’s a little bit of an unknown there. I was really pleased with our punt return unit, because we really challenged them to finish. We felt like they had been doing a good job, but there was another step we could take and obviously, we did that with Greg (Stroman).  We need to get our field goal kicking, our field goal unit to be a little more consistent.”

Thoughts on Jalen Holston vs. Delaware (eight carries, team-high 32 yards)

“Well, I’ve been pleased with Jalen’s development, and I think he has a very good chance of being a good player for us. I hope that he continues to improve. That’ll be the challenge for him, as he continues through the season, continues to feel comfortable. But, he’s got some size, some explosiveness and I think he’s going to have a chance to be a very good player. He’s a smart, willing learner that wants to pick up the nuances of what we’re trying to accomplish, and he looked pretty good in there at the end of the game.”

Progression of Sean Savoy and other young wide receivers, especially in terms of blocking

“Well, I think we’re getting better. That’s a big part of what we try and do offensively, is run the ball on the outside. I really believe in that, I believe getting the ball to the edge helps you run the ball on the inside. A perfect example of that is the game against West Virginia, with the jet motion. We had handed it off once or twice and gotten about five yards, and it was a good, efficient play, and all of a sudden we run the same action and Josh (Jackson) threads it right through the middle of the defense for a 60-yard run. I think those things go hand-in-hand. It’s been a big part of it, so those guys learn early that if they’re going to play, they’re going to have to hold up out there on the edge. They’re continuing to get better.  Last week, it was pretty difficult to get the ball to the perimeter, but we’re making progress. Sean is lucky, because often times he’s the recipient of the play, instead of the actual blocker. He has done a good job, and is an aggressive player. Like, he’s not afraid to go in there. Sometimes, he needs to be a little more under control, like he’s an unguided missile sometimes out there, and he needs to kind of get his feet underneath him. But our tight ends do a good job out there, Dalton (Keene) and Chris (Cunningham), have been out there and are doing a much better job as this thing moves forward.”

Virginia Tech football
Sean Savoy (15) is making plays this season, but needs to be more consistent. (Photo by Ivan Morozov)

Differences in the East Carolina defense with a new defensive coordinator

“Well, it leaves some guesswork in there, quite honestly. I mean, I’m not really sure exactly what Scottie (Montgomery) means by that. I’ve listened to his press conference and all that sort of stuff. One thing I will tell you, when we were at Memphis, (Robert) Prunty was at Cincinnati. So, we played and had success against what they were doing schematically. It is a little bit different in what they’ve done last year at East Carolina and the first two games this year. We’ll have to have a good plan going in, we’ll prepare, and then we’ll have some good conversations about ‘What if this,’ and ‘What if that, so that when we get into the game, we see it with our own eyes, we can adjust things.”

Chance of facing two quarterbacks, with East Carolina’s Thomas Sirk in concussion protocol

”My understanding is they’re going to go with Sirk if he’s available, and I would anticipate he would be available. There are a lot of different levels of that protocol, and all that sort of stuff which we don’t need to get into, but I think that’s where we’ll go, in terms of preparing. They have played both guys, and I’ve watched both of those games, and there’s not a remarkable difference between what they’re doing between the two players. So, I don’t think that’s going to be a huge hindrance to our preparation. I’m not saying they aren’t good players, they are good players who can make plays, but to me, it’s not like one of them is like the kid they had last year and a couple of years ago (James Summers), that was a big, bruising guy that could run the ball. They are fairly similar skill sets.”

Takeaways from film, regarding East Carolina’s defensive struggles

“Yeah, James Madison hit them on three or four long runs. They got a guy out of the gap, and the ball was going north and south on them immediately, and it’s out the gate. And they were all in the second half. You look at West Virginia, to me, East Carolina made the conscious decision to load the box a little bit more, and West Virginia made them pay over the top, with big plays in the passing game. They, quite honestly, turned a guy loose twice, running down the sideline on a little combo coverage deal, where they ran a bubble screen and both guys jumped the bubble screen, and there was a guy running down the sideline all by himself. I know they’re addressing all of those issues, but they’ve kind of gotten it from both edges of the sword. They’ve gotten it from the run game, they’ve made a conscious effort to try and get that taken care of and all of a sudden, they got it through the air.”

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4 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. good article and narrative of the expectations for this game based on previous games. we are still struggling in the run game and 3 rd down efficiency like the coach said. we were out of sync last week. ……………hangover from WVU.

  2. May sound like coach speak but it’s execution that will help us win comfortably or lack of execution offensively that will keep ECU in it. WVU hit the big plays that were available vs ECU, we missed those vs Delaware.

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