Last night the Northern Virginia Hokie Club organized the first ever Bud Foster's "Chalk Talk". Coach Foster sat down and spoke candidly with host Chris Colston (who's 2010 Hokie Football Annual goes on sale July 1st [buy it]) for over an hour on a wide variety of football topics. I was in attendance and did my best to summarize the more important points. The format of the conversation was question and answer, first asked by Chris and then by the audience. Below are my notes.
Hypothetically Speaking, VT and the SEC...
- It's nothing more than a rumor.
- The ACC is a great league.
- The Big XII disintegrating would be bad for college football.
- We've had great success in the ACC, which surprised a lot of people.
Meeting with Iowa's Coaches
- Discussed philosophies with Iowa's defensive coaches on how to stop Paul Johnson's Spread Option.
- Took loss to GT personally.
- The most difficult part in preparing for GT is having the scout offense simulate their option at game speed.
- Ends – Chris Drager and Steven Friday have solidified the starting spots. Drager had big games last year against Maryland and Tennessee. Friday could be 2010's Cody Grimm. The backups are all young, but can run and are as big as we've ever had.
- Tackles – John Graves is the leader of the defense, the "bell cow". He exhibits trust, loyalty and accountability. Kwamaine Battle is penciled in as the other starter and has a high motor. Antoine Hopkins has the potential to push Battle for snaps, but he needs to consistently play hard. Bud's concerned about the depth behind them. Isiah Hamlete and Joe Jones were both moved from end to tackle to bolster depth. Jones reminds Bud of former Hokie Barry Boker. Dwight Tucker along with incoming freshman Nick Acree and Derrick Hopkins will all be in the mix to earn PT. Acree and Hopkins are physically ahead of the game. Describing Acree, "He pretty."
- Whip – Committee of Jeron Gouveia-Winslow, Alonzo Tweedy and Lorenzo Williams will share time. Right now Winslow would play 40-45/60 snaps. Tweedy is a special teams demon. He runs like a "scalded dog", just not always in the right direction.
- Mike – It will be a close call whether or not Barquell Rivers has recovered from his torn quadriceps tendon by the start of camp. He worked hard to get lean. Bud's never had a kid as big as Bruce Taylor playing the Mike and he has the feet plus awareness too. He has a great, not good spring. He could also play backer. Quillie Odom had his best spring ever.
- Backer – Lyndell Gibson reminds Bud of Vince Hall. He's got the vision, "heavy shoulder", IQ and has matured. Chase Williams has the potential to be a special football player. He's tough with a high IQ, suffered a setback with a knee injury in high school playoffs. Tariq Edwards could eventually move to end.
- Secondary – Eddie Whitley is the first string free safety right. Don't be surprised if he turns out to be better than Kam. Rashad Carmichael and Jayron Hosley are the starting corners. Hosley is that next dynamic guy corner. Chris Hill is the 3rd corner. More than any other position, Bud has to trust the player to play corner, because a missed tackle or assignment means the game. Antone Exum had a great spring, but needs to be more consistent. However, he could just be a "gamer".
- Youth is an issue now, but based on work ethic Bud's encouraged for the future.
- Would much rather play them first than sandwiched between two ACC games.
- A big time opponent at the beginning of the year forces a great off season.
- Excited about the challenge.
- There'll be a lot of hoopla, but it comes down to whoever had the better people. They have good talent and so do we.
- We'll only end up signing 8-10 kids.
- Bud's excited about the offense and he wants to do his part in pairing a great defense with a great offense like in '99.
- One of the biggest positive statements about our program is how we recruit brothers. The younger, 2nd and 3rd brothers could play anywhere, but they choose Tech because they see how well the coaches treat and develop their older brothers. We're a family program.
- We don't want anyone to just be a part of the program, we want to carry on the tradition.
- After disappointing 2003 season he met with Les Miles at Oklahoma State which helped morph the defense into what it is today.
- "Blitzed comin' off the bus."
- Visited with Saints coaches, discussed 30 defense. Hard enough to find 4 good defensive backs, let alone 5 or 6. It's a pressure package.
- The goal is to pressure the quarterback into throwing the ball under 3 seconds.
- Always try to have one more hitter than the offense has blocker.
- "Sometimes it's through a loss that you make changes."
It was the first time I've heard Bud speak and as you'd expect he's: intense, genuine, captivating and intelligent. And it might come as a surprise, it did to me, but he's a raconteur. The anecdotes he told were relevant to his points and quite funny. All in all it was great event and hopefully there will be more like it in the future.