Tech Talk Live returned on Monday, with Virginia Tech head coach Justin Fuente as the show’s only guest. Here are the highlights from Monday night’s show.
Oddness of Saturday’s game, with a lot of scoring coming from defense and special teams
“It certainly was. I’ll certainly take it, but it was certainly an odd deal. I don’t know that I’ve ever been a part of a game that got out of hand like that, in that manner, in terms of the big play turnovers. That wasn’t even a midfield punt return, that was 91 yards. The big huge interception return with Reggie, and just those big, huge plays, and then the offense found their way to contribute and kind of join the party there.”
Concerned with not having played a close game so far, outside of West Virginia?
“Well, I know that it’s coming. The bottom line is, people haven’t scored very much. We’ve been led by our defense, our veteran crew over there has played really well. Our younger offense has contributed and taken care of the ball, and when they’ve done that it’s given us a chance to win, and when we’ve made some big plays in special teams. So, I know that we’re prepared. The game we’re about to play, and we talked a little bit about it in the press conference today, if you combine the scores from the last four years, there’s a one-point difference between Duke and Virginia Tech, in the cumulative scores for the last four years. So, they’re coming and we know that. I certainly wouldn’t have circled that particular score for the North Carolina game before the season started. There have been some external factors there, but we certainly know they’re coming.”
What goes into decision to “calling off the dogs” when a game is out of hand
“Yeah, there is. It’s just kind of a ‘feel thing,’ quite honestly. I probably err on the side of putting guys in the game quicker than maybe some other people. The thing that makes it unique is when there’s so much of the game left to be played. It’s different when there are five minutes to go in the game, and you’ve scored a touchdown to go up by 40, and you’re just trying to run the clock out. But when you’ve got eight and a half minutes to go in the third quarter, and the game is for all intents and purposes over with, there’s just a lot of time there. So what we do is, we try and pull a handful of guys out, and still keep some other guys in there that need some work, and eventually try and get the clock down there. We try to run the ball a little bit more maybe, but we still try and throw it so we can keep possession and keep that clock going. Then eventually, you’ve just got to pull everybody out and kind of empty the benches.”
Happy with offensive production vs. North Carolina?
“No, not particularly, and I’ll tell you why. We know we’ve got young guys out there and all that sort of stuff, but there’s a level of toughness and intensity we expect on a daily basis. Whether you’re scoring points or getting yards, I mean I know that’s the object, but there’s a way of playing I guess is what I’m saying. In my estimation, we fell short in living up to that. So no, I was not happy with that aspect of it. I know there was points and that sort of stuff, but those are the things we have to get fixed. There has to be an expectation of that, as a football team, on a daily basis and on a game-by-game basis. It’s not always going to be touchdown passes and touchdown runs, you may run the ball better some weeks better than others, those sorts of things, that’s not what I’m talking about. What I’m talking about is, I have a level of expectation that I expect from the way we play the game. In my estimation, we fell short of that.”
Evaluation of the offensive line
“Well I would say the right side has far exceeded expectations. I’ve been really pleased with the way the right side has played. In general terms, I would say the left side has been underwhelming for me, and they know that, and I’m not speaking out of school and I’m not saying anything I wouldn’t say if they were sitting right here. I just expect more out of that. Now, I would also say that as a group, for me it’s not just those guys, it’s everybody. Our competitive spirit or our toughness level or our intensity level, in my estimation, should be exactly the same as the other side of the ball. You don’t coach offense different than you coach defense. You coach them exactly the same, and that’s how you get a full football team of tough guys, and that’s what we’ve had at every place I’ve ever been. When I worked for Gary (Patterson) at TCU, it took us two years for us to get it at Memphis, but that’s what we got, and that’s what we’ll have here. In my estimation, we were short as a group in that area on Saturday.”
Preference on day games vs. night games?
“Selfishly, when we play a night game, the whole day is spent waiting on the game. When we play an earlier game, an afternoon game, the time after the game — for us this weekend was spent recruiting — but when you don’t have those official visits, you get a little bit of time to relax. So selfishly, a little bit earlier, but I honestly like when we play in a couple different slots. I think it’s cool to play (at night). I’m certainly not for all night games at home, but I want one or two of them because I know the fans have more time to get loosened up or whatever, and really ready to be vocal, because we’re going to need them. Let me just tell you that. Now I’m sure that people sometimes think that I ‘poor mouth’ what we’re doing all the time, but I’m telling you. This is going to be a tough, hard-nosed, probably low scoring, physical, tough football game. An old-school football game. We are going to need our fans to show up and be loud and be active, because it’s going to come down to the wire.”
Status of Steven Peoples
“He was cleared to play in the North Carolina game, but I just didn’t — we were only going to use him in an emergency situation. So fortunately, we didn’t need to use him, so he’s getting healthier by the day. I would anticipate and I’m hopeful and optimistic that he’s going to be good to go. He won’t have any setbacks this week and he’ll be ready to play. But it made me feel good he was cleared to play and ready to go, and it made me feel even better that we didn’t have to play him.”
Virginia Tech has held the Commonwealth Cup for 4713 days. #Hokies
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It's been 702 days since we last beat Virginia Tech in football. #Hokies
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Virginia Tech has held the Black Diamond Trophy for 4769 days. #Hokies
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