Tech Talk Live Notes: Justin Fuente on Pitt and UVA

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Justin Fuente, Virginia Tech
Justin Fuente was this week’s guest on Tech Talk Live. (Ivan Morozov)

Note: Justin Fuente comments were recorded postgame after the victory over Pitt, and re-run on Tech Talk Live in a special Sunday edition.  Mike Young also spoke, but since his comments came before the Michigan State game, we didn’t include them.  

Justin Fuente

On the win against Pitt…

I’m really proud of our kids and happy for our coaches. Obviously, it’s Coach Foster’s last game in Lane Stadium and we’re really happy to win and get a shutout. I do want to thank everybody who braved the weather. It was cold and rainy, but our fans were loud and involved and played a big role in it. They took the challenge.

I guess Pat [Narduzzi] said that they wouldn’t jump offsides this week. When I see him in the offseason, I’m going to talk to him about it. I’ll give him a hard time. I’m just really proud of everybody involved with what we’re doing here. We still have work to do, and have a big game next week obviously, but I’m glad we got back on the right side of the ledger against these guys.

On the rushing offense…

I’m happy we won the game and we could scratch out a little bit of a living. You’re going to have to be creative to run the ball because they will just not let the ball outside. It’s definitely a difficult deal. We got the one big play on the reverse that got us a chunk play and that was able to set up a few big plays in the play action game. We knew it was going to be difficult, and then you get the weather on top of it and that makes it even more difficult.

I will say this, and I’m not afraid to give credit where credit is due, Pittsburgh plays really good defense. We played better defense today, but they have very good people and their scheme will make it difficult. They made it hard on us.

On Tayvion Robinson’s big play…

I was really proud of Hendon [Hooker] on that play. We usually throw that ball to the tight end mostly. They covered him late and turned Tayvion loose. Then, Tayvion just made a long run and broke a tackle or two to get the ball all the way down there so we could punch it in.

On the scoop and score from Rayshard Ashby and Norell Pollard…

That was big-time. In a game where points and yards were limited, we both knew that going into the game, both teams. We knew that it would be hard to score. To get a big play and then a touchdown on defense to get 14 points, that’s pretty big in a game like that.

On the drive at the end of the first half…

That was a huge deal. The reverse to Tayvion was called into a great look, and then we got it punched in with the ball to Tre. To go in up 21 was pretty big.

On staying out of third down…

The third and long package was difficult to say the least. We actually got them out of that a little bit. That’s just not a place that you want to be against a team that leads the nation in sacks. When you can stay ahead of the chains, you’ve at least got a shot.

On controlling the ball…

Once you’re up, you’re trying to get it over with and find a way to shorten the game a little bit. Part of that was because they wanted to throw the ball and our defense was really playing well. They didn’t have the ball very much. I don’t know how many total possessions we had, but it seems like a lot because we were getting the ball back really quickly.

On Tayvion Robinson…

I think he’s going to be fine. I don’t know because I haven’t gotten the final report. I saw him after the game, and he said he feels okay. He’s been big for us in the punt return game and has added another dimension there. He just continues to get better in the slot.

On special teams…

They’re a well-coached team and have a good scheme. We were a little concerned about block and return on our punt unit. Oscar did hit a couple of knuckleballs down there, but he did pin them inside the ten two times in a row when we had the penalty. I thought that was a big momentum play that they took the penalty and made us do it again and then came for the block and didn’t put a returner back and we still downed it.

On Hendon Hooker…

He was really solid. He made good decisions and took care of the football. He helped us win the game in obvious fashion. He had to run the ball some, maybe a little more than I wanted him to, and didn’t have huge plays but ran tough into some tough looks. I was proud of him and really everybody, but he continues to improve.

On Norell Pollard…

He’s really a talented freshman. He’s really quick; he’s a little undersized right now, but by the time he’s a senior, he won’t be undersized. He’s got the body and he’s going to continue to get bigger and stronger. He’s got a really quick first step, and he’s one of those guys that is learning how to play the game. He’s always had talent, but now he’s learning how to play the game and reaping some of the benefits.

On the game against UVA…

My initial reaction is that this is the way it should be. I think it’s great for the Commonwealth that both teams are playing well and that there’s more at stake than the Commonwealth Cup. We’re going to have to play very well on the road against a team that doesn’t like us very much, and we’ll have to have a great week of preparation. Hopefully, we made it out of this game healthy for a quick turnaround.

We’re going to have a huge challenge. That’s why you come to Virginia Tech. I told our guys this week, ‘You don’t come here to play in this game, you come here to win this game.  You didn’t come to Virginia Tech to play against a really good team at home on national television, you came to win the game.’ That’s what we’re going to do if we can follow things here. That’ll be the same thing here. We’re going to go play a really good football team, an up-and-coming team that’s playing with confidence, but so are we. We’re going to have to do a great job preparing to win the game.

On the team’s four goals at the beginning of the season…

You start with the two streaks. Continuing the streak against Virginia and continuing the bowl streak. Then, you look to win the Coastal and win the ACC. Right now, here we are 11 games into the year and we’ve only accomplished one of those goals, but all three are still up to be accomplished. That’s fantastic, and it’s a great opportunity for us, but it’s going to be a great challenge and it’s going to take everything we’ve got and more.

On playing A.D. (After Duke)…

Not many people believed in us, but that’s alright, there’s still room for them to jump back on the bandwagon and support our kids. That’s the way it goes, and that’s the way sports go. I know what we’ve got in that locker room. We have a great group of kids who are playing for each other and have been through hard times. They know that we still have work to do and they’ll be ready to go.

On what stands out with UVA…

I have seen much more of their offense than their defense right now. Perkins certainly makes it go. They’ve certainly made a concerted effort to run him more in the recent weeks against conference opponents. After the Notre Dame game, they realized that they need to run him more in order to win the game, and that’s what they’ve done. They’ve done it really well.

He makes it go. I don’t mean that they don’t have any other good players, but he was a catalyst for them. Defensively, Bronco [Mendenhall] has always done a good job of playing 50 defense, and I think they do have some guys out in the back end. I’m not well-versed in it yet, but I know they’ll be competent and ready to play.

On the short week…

It’s the same for both teams, it’s fine. I think the bigger thing is that we played Pitt and they played Liberty. That’s a big, physical football team. The schedule lined up the way it lined up. We’re going to have to be ready to go and go get ready. Nobody cares, there are no excuses. The bottom line is that on Friday afternoon, we’re going to have be ready to go.

On senior day…

I’m just so proud of them and happy for them. You think about Ryan Willis and his journey here and how it hasn’t gone the way that he wanted it to go, but he continues to show up every day and work and be a good teammate. I showed little highlight films on Friday for all of the guys about their contributions and what they’ve done for the team. Daniel Griffith continues to run down there on special teams, and he’s going to join the Marines after he graduates and wants to be a Navy Seal. We just talked about all of those things and how they always have a home. They are special people and we’re glad we could play well for them.

On getting shutouts in the last two games for Bud…

It’s worked out pretty well. We’ve got another thing we have to get done here, but we’re playing pretty well. We need to do a good job of preparing. I’ve made it abundantly clear; I could not be any happier for Bud and for him to coach his last game in Lane and get the shutout and get to go do what he wants to do after this season is over and relax a little bit. I’m really happy for him.

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6 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. “…still room to jump back on the bandwagon..” Love it, every team has its ups and downs eventually. Hope everyone has learned some lessons the past couple years, like Bud did not forget how to coach defense and Mike Young knows a little about the round ball. Not always going to be sunshine and roses but we have very good programs across the board that need our support full time.

  2. Great for Daniel. What a tremendous and patriotic goal. If I was him I would get in the pool as soon as the season ends and swim laps almost every day.

  3. glad we have CJF…he’s got class AND is super competitive, just like CFBeamer. Loved his opening comment “I guess Pat said that they wouldn’t jump offsides this week”.

  4. Fu gets IT! and our team has GOT IT!

    RELENTLESS on the boohoos this Friday at high Noon!

    Take their best shot and turn it on them 10X!

    GO HOKIES!

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