Tech Talk Live Notes: Fuente Talks Georgia Tech and Boston College

Share on your favorite social network:
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail to someoneGoogle+share on TumblrShare on Reddit
Justin Fuente was Monday night’s guest. (Photo by Ivan Morozov)

On what he saw against Georgia Tech and what he hopes to see in the future…

It’s such a unique opponent. On one side of the ball, it’s a one-off game. You play the triple option, so there is very little carryover from the week before or for the next week. So, trying to get that side of the ball back, first off, all feeling good and confident in going to defend a more traditional-style offense is the first thing we’ve got to do, continuing to focus on our execution, and our ability to execute on a consistent basis on the other side of the ball, and working through a few things on special teams. Obviously, the game didn’t go the way we wanted it to go. It was disappointing. I’ve had a pretty darn good meeting with our team and had some things to share with our defense in terms of, we’re not going to make any excuses for performance, and we’ve stayed away from the word ‘youth’ the entire season.

We can stay away from it all we want, but the bottom line is we have six guys from our defense last year that are currently playing in the NFL, and we’re trying to handle that attrition rate right now. We went out and got beat up by a triple option team. Now we have a chance to go out and reset and get ready to play again. The lunch pail defense, I kind of shared with them that moniker or that tradition certainly was earned on Saturdays, but maybe even more so was earned on a daily basis in how we work, and how we have attention to detail, and the discipline in which we prepare. I used Bud as an example. I’m sure there are a lot of nights in the last twenty years that Bud would have rather been at home, but he was at the office at eleven or twelve o’clock at night on a Wednesday preparing for an opponent. That’s lunch pail defense too, and we need to make sure, statistics aside, that we are doing everything in our power with our current situation to live up to that standard on a daily basis to give us the best chance to go out there and perform and get ready for Boston College, which is going to be another tremendous challenge.

On getting the message of sticking together across…

I don’t sense that that is an issue for us right now. We have a long way to go, we’ve got a lot in front of us to prepare for and try to play and try to improve on.  I said weeks ago that our mission should be trying to improve. Let’s put all of this other talk away and let’s focus on us getting better and being the best that we can be and that shouldn’t change, and that hasn’t changed. There’s no reason for us to deviate off of that course. We’ve still got a lot of football for us to play and a lot of opportunities for us to improve.  I likened it to when you play on the road and you’re playing in a tight ballgame and the other team scores. It sounds like you’re down by twenty points, but you’re really not, you’re right in the middle of the game.

That’s where we’re at right now in our season, it sounds like we’re down by forty points, but we’re right in the middle of the game, it’s the third quarter, and we’re in a bare-knuckled brawl. It’s hard, and it’s tough, we’re going to have to have an extra dose of discipline and toughness and dedication to get through it, but there’s so much left for this team and this program. My message to the coaches is you’re setting the standard for which these guys are going to play with for years to come. There’s six guys out there who won’t be with us next year, so we’re setting the standard of preparation and workload for years down the road as well. Not to say that we’re not playing for now, we absolutely 100% are, I mean I want Ricky Walker to get everything that he deserves. We should all feel like that.

On how he keeps the same determination in practice after a tough game…

Well, I’ve been through this before. I’ve been through this as an assistant, I’ve been through this as a head coach. It’s just not a steady ascent, it’s not a consistent ascent. If you looked at, I’m not an expert at this, but if you looked at the stock market over the last hundred years, it goes up, but if you focus in on one particular day, it’s all over the place. That’s where we’re at as a program. Our job is to make sure we have a steady incline, but on the micro, there certainly will be fluctuations in how we go. That has to be a continuing focus point for us.

On the effect of Khalil Ladler missing the first half on Saturday due to his targeting penalty…

We’ll miss Khalil for the first half of this next game because of the targeting penalty. Again, it will force us to shuffle some guys around in the secondary for the first half of the game. Khalil has played a big role on special teams as well, he’s really been a productive player for us, so it’s not just the fact that he won’t be out there, but the fact that some other people will have to shuffle around a little bit. That will cause a little bit of strain on us for the first half of that game.

On questionable penalties last week…

I have stopped sending them in because it doesn’t do any good. We won the North Carolina game and there were numerous calls. I have a good relationship with the director of officiating, buy and large I think our league is officiated very well. They do let them play, so I’m fine with that, not that anybody has ever asked whether I’m fine with that or not, but I’m good with that. We play within those rules pretty well, and have been a pretty disciplined team.

There was a facemask penalty on Ricky Walker where he has his arms wrapped around the guy and his helmet came off. That penalty on Eric, every pass play in this league is a wrestling match, they don’t call pass interference, which is fine. I don’t ever complain about it because I know that we’re going to play aggressive, tight coverage as well. So, I had an issue with a couple of those calls. Khalil’s call is unfortunate, the targeting penalty. It certainly wasn’t malicious or anything, but I think the way the rule is written, we had this two years ago with Terrell Edmunds in the Duke game, there are going to be plays that get flagged for targeting where the defender has no option to do anything else other than hit the guy in the shoelaces.

The problem with that rule in my opinion, and I have a good understanding of what targeting is, basically, it’s very misunderstood in the general population. Targeting is basically, you can boil it down to two things, if a person is not looking you can’t hit them in the head or neck, that’s basically it. That can be a wide receiver, a quarterback, a defenseless player is essentially a player who is not looking. That is a crack back block on a punt return or an interception, you cannot hit them in the neck or head, that’s the rule. The other part of it is, you cannot hit somebody with the crown of your head. You can’t tackle them with the top of your helmet. That’s essentially targeting.

The problem that I see is, not just in our league, but across the country, the inconsistency in which that rule is enforced, not the defenseless player. We all see that, and I think we all know what we’re trying to litigate out of the game. The hit that makes your stomach hurt when you see it. We don’t want that, and I get that part of it. The part about the crown of the helmet to me has been inconsistently officiated across the country, I’m certainly not picking on our league. It’s very difficult, there is a lot of stuff going on, those guys have a tough job. To me that’s one of those deals where I wish we would look at flagrant one and flagrant two, just like basketball. We’ve all been saying that for years, but no one wants to backtrack on player safety, which I understand too. I think it would be better if we went flagrant one/flagrant two, and good kids that are trying to do right don’t miss a whole ballgame.

On the way the offense played last Thursday…

You can go back to the film and pull it up and show the first three series, three touchdowns and a couple third down conversions. Then you go to the next series, and we drop a snap, go to the next series, we drop a pass, go to the next series, we miss one block. We’re not good enough to overcome those things against good people. You can get away with it against some people, and I think the kids understand that, they’re not deliberately doing it.

I think our message is that these are routine things. I’m not asking you to pull off a miracle here. You guys are all good enough to occasionally make great plays, I’m just asking you to do make the routine plays on a very, very consistent basis. We did that at times, and when we didn’t do it, we couldn’t overcome that. Some teams are so talented that they can overcome those, and we’re not there yet. I think it hurt them, quite honestly to see those things because they knew there was plenty of opportunity out there to keep us in the game. I don’t know how it would have all turned out, but I would have liked to have seen if we could have executed like we did the first three series.

On Steven Peoples…

First of all, Steven is playing at a high level, he’s probably the best player out there for us right now. I’m really proud of him and happy to see him having success. He’s good out of the backfield catching the ball, he obviously runs hard, he’s really playing well. We do want to continue to get him the ball in a multitude of ways, continue to throw him the football, he has receiver skills. The game as it went on, there was less opportunity for him to run the ball up inside, but the important message to Steven is, here’s one play we could have executed a little bit better too. It’s shared across the position groups, there’s no one person, it’s not Ryan, it’s not just the receivers or the tight ends, it’s shared across the groups. They’ve got to understand how to get to that point, and the way you do that is you make yourself do it in practice every single time, you can’t have those lulls. Getting to that point and that discipline that they can go do that on a consistent basis is coming. Quite honestly, I feel good about the progress, looking back and watching us play last year on that side of the ball, I feel good about the progress we’re making.

On the punt return situation…

We’re going to continue to shuffle guys through there until we can find a guy who can do what we’re asking him to do. I’m not picking on Sean (Savoy) or Damon (Hazelton) or anyone else who has been back there. CJ (Carroll) is not coming back, so we’ve got to find somebody. We’ll continue to move through and we’ll move through it again this week and continue to put somebody back there that can both communicate and handle the football in order to give our team success.

On the kickoff return group…

I feel good about that unit. They kicked it all over the place. We knew going into the game that they weren’t going to let us just line up and tell us where they were going to kick the ball and let us go tee off on them. That group is getting better and is starting to scare people, but we didn’t know what they were going to do. It’s one thing to know that you’re going to get something different, it’s another to know what that is.  The first kick of the game, they kicked it all the way across the field, then the next kick they kicked it all the way to the other side. They kicked it all over the field, and we finally got a bead on determining where the ball was going to go, so you can see our guys trying to check it on the field as we’re trying to get it done. They handled it really well for a bunch of young guys.

I like our returners, we need to be a little more physical on the back end, I’m not thrilled with that, but our front line, which is really the hardest job, blocking people one-on-one in space and tackling in space are the two hardest things to do in space, are doing a really good job of that. I like that group, I hope Wheatley gets back, we haven’t had a chance to play with Terrius, and he’s been productive when he’s been in there. I’m hoping we can get him back in the flow this week, and we’ll see as we go through practice. I feel good about a couple guys between Wheatley and McClease and Caleb Farley, I feel better about that unit.

On Boston College…

They are a veteran football team. That’s the first thing you see when you look at their depth chart. They have six senior starters on defense, they have more seniors on the defensive side of the ball than we do on our entire team. They are physically developed and are playing at a really high level. They’re coming off maybe their best game, they played really well at home versus Miami. They played well on special teams, they kept Miami inside their own five yard-line multiple times. They played well defensively and offensively, they’ve got a big old tailback who has been really productive in his time at Boston College. Their quarterback is playing at a higher level. They’ve got a really good squad this year.

On the experience on BC’s defense and how the Hokies can have that soon…

That’s what you’re looking for. Part of the reason, we had a couple guys leave early that are NFL players, and they’ve got a couple guys that are developmental guys that are NFL players now as seniors. Everybody is different, but he’s done a really good job of developing those guys. Every program is different, but sometimes there are things that are beyond your control. We’ve made some decisions, I’ve made some decisions, that I believe are going to benefit us in the long run that may have quite possibly hindered things this season, but I believe that was what was best for our program, best for our team, and best for our young people. Again, there is a reason they are having success, they are very well-coached, they are a very disciplined, tough, hard-nosed program, but they are also very mature, they have some experience out there and some guys that have played a lot of snaps and played at a high level.

On the relationship between Bud Foster and some coaches on Boston College’s staff like Scot Loeffler…

I’m sure Loeffler has great familiarity with Bud and what he’s trying to do on that side of the ball, and vice versa. I have developed a little bit of a relationship with Lefty in the time that I’ve been here. They were preparing for Coach Beamer’s last game, the bowl game against Tulsa, and I was just kind of hanging around with Lefty a little bit, and I’m pleased that he is having success and doing well, and they’ve been through some rocky times as they were going through a youth movement up there.  I’m sure there is certainly familiarity with what the other side is trying to accomplish, now getting it accomplished is a whole other ball game.

On Boston College’s running back A.J. Dillon…

I think the first thing that stands out about A.J. Dillon is his size, he’s a 240-plus pound tailback that is quicker than you want him to be. When you see him in space, you hope he is a big lumbering guy, he’s certainly not, he’s light on his feet and he’s been productive there. That’s where they start, then they go out from there with every trick play in the book off the running game. Play action passes, getting the ball to the perimeter, every naked and bootleg pass play that’s ever been drawn on a board it seems like they’ve got because they run the ball so well with A.J.  This has led to their quarterback playing at a higher level, which has led to their defense playing well because they score some points and get up in games.

On the BC defense…

Certainly, a big, physical defensive front with some long defensive backs.  They look like we did last year in the defensive secondary in terms of some length and talent, guys that can really run that have got quite a few snaps under their belt. They will pressure when it comes down to it, they know their scheme inside and out and they game plan you a little bit and have a couple different calls. They’re going to run and they’re going to run it really well and they’re going to expect you to win the one-on-one matchup with another guy who’s experienced.

On the BC defensive ends…

They have put pressure on the quarterback, they’ve done a good job particularly if you’re behind the chains, it’s not a place you want to be. They have an exotic blitz package that makes life very difficult, guys come from all over the place, rolling coverages and zone blitzing. On first down, they’ve done a good job of getting pressure sometimes with only four or five people.

On the balance of the ACC…

I think everybody can agree that Clemson is, at least talent-wise, head and shoulders above everybody else. I think over the past several years, you saw a concerted effort from the schools in the ACC to devote resources to football. As a result, the level of play has certainly increased. You think about Louisville having a Heisman Trophy winner, you think about the good players who have come through here and the success across the league. It’s also a little bit of they’re just getting in there and beating each other up, there’s a little bit of parity and equality that has occurred here certainly in our division and the other side.

On recruiting over the weekend…

It went really well, we got some good evaluations and got to go to some high school games. The weather didn’t cooperate really well in Virginia, it was a little rainy, but we braved the weather and watched some games. I got a chance to travel to Richmond, to Northern Virginia, and the 757 all in the same day to visit some schools and reach out within our state. As always, we’ve been really well-received, and I think it was a very productive day.

On the effect of the early signing period on recruiting during the season…

That never stops, we’re working on the next class, the 2020 class, the 2021 class, while maintaining our 2019 class. There may be an addition or two to that class, but that’s essentially wrapped up, we don’t have much room, if any, in that class. We are, every day, spending some time on that and preparing for the future and trying to take care of the present.

On the redshirt list and how it has worked with the new rule…

It’s been interesting, it really has. We have a list, we talked about it earlier at five o’clock. We have a list of seven guys that are under the four games, but have played in one or two. There are one or two of them that we’re not even going to get to the four games with, and there are a couple we’re going to save them in case we need them. We’re one sprained ankle from some of those guys playing huge roles for us, so there’s a little bit of a management style there. There’s a couple of them that we feel good that we won’t exceed four games on, but we wouldn’t mind getting up to four games on. It’s been a fun addition with the freshmen. The unintended consequence has been the older guys who aren’t freshmen handling that part of the new rule. I think it’s been good and kind of enjoyable, we get to talk about it all the time.

On this week’s message of ‘Earn It’

I just don’t think we should expect different outcomes or results if we continue to do the same thing. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result. We’ve got to do more, young guys have to prepare better, you’ve got to either get more rest, or get in earlier, or be more dialed in, or practice better. We’ve got to earn this opportunity or earn these stripes by doing more. That’s what we talked about yesterday, you can’t continue with the status quo, this is what we’re pushing towards, this is what we’ve got to accomplish.

Share on your favorite social network:
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail to someoneGoogle+share on TumblrShare on Reddit

11 Responses You are logged in as Test

    1. Umm, from here at age seventy-six after many years of objectively supporting VT football, I thought he “shot straight” and that he’s a keeper. I’m with coach Fu..

      1. Totally agree. Gave some great answers. But IMHO, I thought that CFB did as well. Think we got a good coach.

  1. Too much “coach talk” very little information. I think cjf has been hanging out with buzz too much.

  2. #1 – if CJF says Peoples is his best player right now, why did he have SIX CARRIES!? insane.

    #2 – nobody should be allowed to carry the lunch pail until proven.

  3. Some fumbles are forced, you know? Most of the time GT wasn’t even running T O against us, it was QB sweep (which maybe was by design to cut down on turnovers). Didn’t matter, we weren’t stopping the QB sweep or the T O.

    Last time I checked we couldn’t stop GT with the 6 guys on defense who are playing on Sundays, to quote CJF comment on attrition.

    These guys own us.

  4. Wonder why it wasn’t hard for Duke to stop the Triple option? Not sure I understand the writing off of the loss based on the fact that one time a year we have to face the T O team. So does everybody else in the conference and yet GT does not rule the league- just VT within the league.

    1. In the GT-Duke game GT fumbled on 3 straight possessions in the 3rd quarter which Duke recovered. If GT had done that against us we would have been talking about a complete different game.

    2. Duke did not cause those turnovers, they were offensive blunders. Easily fixed by not running option plays.

Comments are closed.