Tech finished boot camp a week ago today. An NCAA rule says that schools have to take 12 days off in the 42 days prior to their first game, so it’s tough to get into a good flow in the preseason. Tech took three days off between boot camp and training camp. Then they had 15 hours of practice out of a 52 hour span. At one point the team slept outside in a campground together.
Williams told his players that they should call whoever raised them and thank them, because they did a great job raising them. This team is a joy to be around and they are fun to coach. Their togetherness is as good as he has been around. All of that sounds good, but they haven’t played a game yet. However, there hasn’t been any bad body language, no disrespect from players, etc. He loves being around them. He wants them to play with an edge.
Changing or converting a culture is one of the toughest things to do in life. It’s like building a snowman. The bottom foundation has to be strong enough to support everything on top. He thinks Coach Beamer has done a great job of that. The “I am” of Virginia Tech football takes the personality of the head coach. Williams knew all about VT football before he ever knew where Blacksburg was. They have to develop the “I am” of Virginia Tech basketball. They have to figure out their identity, just like the football program has done.
It’s hard to say what the biggest different is between coaching at Tech and Marquette. He never envisioned that he would be blessed enough to be coaching at either place. He’s been welcomed in a way that is very hard to articulate. The teachers of his children have been almost angelic.
You have to play the right way defensively. He can’t speak to what happened before he arrived, but he is working for Tech now, and it’s everybody’s responsibility. As small as Tech is and with their lack of depth, they have to shrink the floor defensively. They have to make teams take contested shots, but they have to be careful not to get crushed on weakside rebounding. They have spent most of their time working on defense thus far.
Tech might be small, but they need to use their size to their advantage. Nobody came to Virginia Tech to get beat, whether they are small or not. They have to figure out a way to use it as a strength. The staff has spent a lot of time trying to figure out the best way to play, and it will be different from ways Buzz has coached in the past. He thinks that how they play will end up being pretty fun. They have to take good shots because they can’t have empty possessions.
Boo Williams and his program have been phenomenal to Buzz. He had a relationship with that group before he arrived at Tech. Buzz was at the Hall of Fame ceremony when Boo Williams was inducted. That is a great organization all the way around. You need to be able to recruit the Tidewater area because there are a lot of good players out there. It is a high population area.
Williams is going to try to do everything right for the program, and everything that is right for individuals in the program. However, if he has to choose one over the other, he will always choose the program first, and that includes himself. Tech isn’t going to sign anyone that they don’t believe fits their culture. This is a long-term investment. It’s not about what’s best for today, it’s about what’s best three years from today. He tells his players that it isn’t all about them. It’s not about them individually. There are other players and coaches and managers. It’s about “us.” It’s Buzz’s responsibility to figure out who fits “us.” Scholarships aren’t guaranteed to continue if Buzz doesn’t consider the player the right fit.
It is harder to get out and find players located in Blacksburg, but it’s important to sell to recruits that Virginia Tech is a real college experience. Going to college in New York is different, but Blacksburg is a real college experience. Tech isn’t recruiting kids who want to live in a metropolitan area. He recruits kids who want to graduate, who have good values, and who want to play basketball. The guys he recruits are the guys who want to be coached by Buzz.
Gameplanning is done for the week. They are through their tough practices of the week.
Marshawn Williams hasn’t been able to practice. He’s worked really hard in the training room. He got the swelling down, but it’s still very sore. He’s very doubtful for Pitt. Luther Maddy needs another week as well.
Tech is without their top three backs, but J.C. Coelman is a dependable guy, and Beamer has confidence in Sam Rogers. Beamer things he is a natural runner. Joel Caleb has had his best practices recently.
Pitt’s program is very solid, and it’s well-run. They are playing a lot of young guys, just like Tech, and that leads to inconsistent play. However, the toughness is there, and the talent is there. They have a lot of potential. They are very good at running the ball. They don’t trick you. The defense has to be ready to roll.
Tech needs to play the same way no matter where they play, what time the game starts, etc. If you do that, you have a chance to be a consistent football team. That’s where Tech is. They have to be a more consistent team. Beamer again talked about youth, and he hopes this is the time of year where everybody is going to get more consistent. He loves this football team and the players, and the #1 thing he wants to improve on in the second half is consistency.
James Conner is a great running back at Pitt, and he’s also getting reps at defensive end at this week. You probably don’t do that unless you have other good running backs. Beamer is impressed with all their backs.
With regards to players selling autographs, you have to coach them on what you can and can’t do, and then trust them to make the right decisions. You educate, and if you recruited the right kind of guys, you trust them to make the right decision.
— Commonwealth Cup (@CommonwlthCup) October 13, 2014