Babcock's Thoughts On New "Let's Go Hokies" Chant

Aaron McFarling chatted with Whit Babcock about the new "Let's Go Hokies" chant prior to the fourth quarter. From all accounts I've read, the execution and impact was lacking and fell flat, respectively. At this point, Babcock is willing to give it a couple of years to settle into Virginia Tech's game day flow.

"I'll say this: You can't, quote, 'make a new tradition,'" said Babcock, who was kind enough to spend part of his Sunday morning answering questions about something of so little national significance. "I don't believe anybody in 2000-whenever-it-was when we played Enter Sandman said, 'Today we're starting a new tradition.' It just took off.

"But we started with the president. We want to engage the cheerleaders. We didn't have a full practice run at it. If we have a Sam Rogers do it or a Corey Moore or a, I don't know, Hoda [Kotb] from 'The Today Show,' shoot, we're just going to stick with it and try it for a couple years and go from there. The Hokie Pokey can still be a part of the day.

"Yesterday, I was down on the field. I actually didn't think it was THAT bad. I would give it a B all around. I thought the president did great. There's no preseason, and it'll get better as we go along. I appreciate people caring about it."


Couple thoughts:
1) it wasn't bad. Just wasn't great.
2) It is hard to lead cheers like that. Dr. Sands' cadence was a little off. You kinda need to draw out the "gooooo".
3) I think it would be better if the celebrity/person would do the "Let's go" and the WHOLE stadium responds with "HOKIES". It's hard for the person to synch with half the stadium and that's what made it not work great yesterday.

Once he got the mike, didn't Sanderson actually say this was going to be a new tradition? well, hell... never had an instant tradition before!

My thoughts about your thoughts:

#1 disagree, it was pretty bad where I was sitting.

#2 It seemed like there was a delay in what *he* was hearing, which caused him to be out of step. I think this because he made no effort to get *in* step.

#3 1000000% agree with this, this change is needed.


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My wife took my two older kids to the game while I stayed with the 2 younger ones. She said it wasn't very good as the "Let's Go" cadence was definitely off as there was no pause between "Let's" and "Go". Hopefully, they get that squared away at the next one. Not to rehash everything when this change was announced, but she had missed the earlier announcement and was sad to see it was gone from its usual slot. Personally, I think this will be a change for the better, but will take a few games to get it figured out.

The problem with 3) is the West Stands won't know how to say "Hokies".

I for one was not a fan of it. First he was carted out and got into the middle of what appeared to be a "sectioned off" area of the field (the cheerleaders megaphones looked more like traffic cones set up to keep people out). Then all he did was to say that we were starting a new "tradition" (with no more explanation than that) and led a few Let's Go Hokies. That was it. I think that it fell completely flat. I heard many people in my section say things like "That was it?" or "What was that supposed to be?". I think that should be a one and done "tradition".

And there is no comparison to Enter Sandman. I was there for the first game that it was played (and many since). When it started you knew that it was something special, you knew right away what was happening and that they had hit on something.

We didn't know that it would grow into what it is now, but it was an awesome experience, it was a home run. What we had this weekend was a total whiff. I'd rather they try something different for the next game rather than trying to ram this down our throats for the next several years. Do something long enough and eventually it should catch on, but a true tradition shouldn't be forced, it needs to be natural.

There is nothing in the world like Thursday night in Blacksburg!

Traditions are organic- you don't just say 'we're starting a new tradition' and expect it to take off. Just like how jumping to Enter Sandman was spontaneous and I'm sure the Hokie Pokie had more humble beginnings. Also I would call the locker room walk with Johnny Cash in the background a new tradition, it grew organically and now fits really well.

The 'let's go hokies' chant, though, didn't work by the looks of it, and forcing it as a tradition is pretty cringeworthy IMO.

I agree completely that locker room walk with "gods gonna cut you down" playing is badass! It should make our guys feel 10 feet tall and the other team feel like they are gonna get destroyed!

He said give to me Roscoe

I got goosebumps reading your impressions on the birth of Enter Sandman as a tradition. I have very little faith that a "Let's Go Hokies" chant led by a bunch of "important" people is going to give me goosebumps.

It was absolutely awful. The cringiest thing I've seen in a while.

It was immediately apparent that a mic'ed up voice cannot work with the Let's Go chant, the two sounds clash and kills what makes the whole thing effective. The whole thing would actually have been great if they left out the leader and just allowed the crowd to do the cheer we do best.
Quoting my tkp reply on twitter:
Beyond words awful. If they get rid of the guest it has potential, but having a "leader" absolutely kills what makes that chant great. Let's Go...avalanches down the stands in unison, power in the wave of sound. Adding a single voice ruins the effect

Stick it in grew organically too, maybe the new one just needs a lil blue pill...

That sounds like a good idea. I'd like to see this.

There is nothing in the world like Thursday night in Blacksburg!

My thoughts:

We already do DJ Kool's "Let Me Clear My Throat" (during time outs, etc.)- why not add some VT specific video to it and have that lead into the 4th quarter? The song by itself already gets everyone amped up.

any video of this...

"Take care of the little things and the big things will come." was on espn app /s

We put the K in Kwality

So...I didn't get any commercials on the Roku. Given that the event wasn't televised...where would I have seen them?


-What we do is, if we need that extra push, you know what we do? -Put it up to fully dipped? -Fully dipped. Exactly. It's dork magic.

That's what my dad and I were talking about during the game. If there's no commercials, how is ESPN making any money off of this broadcast?

Only commercials I saw were around halftime.

I wonder if ESPN is contractually obligated to televise, but has no sponsors for that specific medium. I know I have seen ads on bigger games on WatchESPN.

If you're reading the above post and thinking, "is this guy serious?!?," you can safely assume I'm not.

I watched the OSU-OU game on the WatchESPN app on my Roku and saw no commercials there either. I'm guessing that for some reason their advertising contracts apply only to the televised content and they haven't finalized a way to monetize the streaming telecasts. Maybe they're still trying to gather enough data on online viewership to place a price tag on the ad spots there?

“You got one guy going boom, one guy going whack, and one guy not getting in the endzone.”
― John Madden (describing VT's offense?)

OSU-OU was an ABC game, so it wasn't a strict streaming simulcast like the ESPN/2/U/NEWS games are.

Tonight, for some reason FIOS wasn't showing the picture for ESPN during the Monday Night pregame, so I switched over to the Amazon box and streamed it. I was getting every commercial that was on the main ESPN channel.

I'm pretty sure every time I've streamed one of the main ESPN channels recently, I've been getting most (if not all) of the ads that air on TV.

It's funny because I hate commercials but I would rather them fill that air time with something... there has to be a reason why they don't show any commercials. Even when they do show a commercial it is usually always just an ESPN commercial. Shoot, it would be better just to point the ESPN camera to the HokieVision board during timeouts.

The lack of commercials is actually perfect for short naps. I was up at 7 to watch a premier league game and I had just finished brewing when the game started, so I was tired. During those breaks you get complete silence for 3-5 minutes and then the broadcast comes back on and it's LOUD. It snaps you right awake and you're back into the game.

"That move was slicker than a peeled onion in a bowl of snot." -Mike Burnop

This is true. However, after finally getting this stream to work thru my Apple TV - I never knew if it was still actually a commercial break, or if my stream froze again.

During most breaks I would panic and pull it up on the laptop to double check.

Invent the future and all, but I found this whole streaming process a very stressful way to watch a game.

"It's always great to beat UVA, that makes us all smarter and better looking for a couple days".

At the very least, add some background music, like the overflow channels for the regional sports channels. Just something to let me know the stream hasn't stalled.

Heck, they could run all of the "This is Sportscenter" ads mixed in with promos for upcoming games.

The team also wasn't playing well. What happens down the road if we are losing before the 4th quarter?

Your fears are confirmed, because that's about what Sands' "Let's Go" cadence was....

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Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

She will be the Celebrity guest at Scott stadium this year when UVA inevitably copies this from us.

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I can't imagine why that didn't work. /s

That might be one of the funniest things I've ever seen. Legs for days.

"They got us field position and then the offense stuck it in." - Frank Beamer

It felt very very forced. No one in my section thought it was a good idea. Just not sure having someone lead that cheer is going to go well.

Long time listener...first time poster

I was there and I thought it was awful. Granted, the entire atmosphere of the game seemed flat from the word go - I just never felt any energy in the stadium after Enter Sandman; you can say the play on the field is a result of that, but Lane just didn't seem 'into it' even on the opening possession. No one seemed to be having their "A" game Saturday, from the team to the fans to even the MVs and the production crew.

* The band and video board seemed to be playing longer than they should have been, up to the point of either team snapping the ball in some cases or just as it was being kicked off in others.
* The 1st Quarter break, including whichever celebration was going on (I forget which it was now), felt off and even ran longer than the break itself -- the ball was ready for play and the TV/radio time out was over (red jacket was on the sideline) yet the refs couldn't start the quarter because the ceremony was still going on and people were slow getting off of the field.
* From kick-off itself through the end of the game I had several groups carrying on conversations about anything but the game and it was distracting.
* There was a young kid who really didn't want to be at the game from what I could tell, and he seemed to be a distraction to his parents and was definitely a distraction to me. Don't get me wrong, he was well behaved, he just didn't want to be there from what I could tell and was probably ready to leave before the first quarter ended.
* When "Shout" was originally played in the 4th quarter, it was video only so was replayed.

Airplanes. It was raining airplanes before each team finished their first offensive series.

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I saw them flying during pregame.

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Arkansas blew a 24-0 lead in the Belk Bowl.

GF got called a party-pooper because she would not give the people behind us their paper airplane back.

I tore one in half without making much of a fuss and got a little cheer from someone behind me somewhere.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

I heckled and gave an extended thumbs down to the idiots in west side section 2 trying to start the wave in the 3rd quarter. I got downright testy.


Every time they tried to start the wave in the section right next to me, I screamed let it die as loud as I could to everyone lol I hate that shit.

"...When we step on that field, they bleed like we bleed and we're gonna show the world."
-Corey Marshall

I watched the state troopers haul off 3 different people for throwing them. The loudest cheer I heard in the first half outside of the punt return was when a plane landed on the VT at the 50

"They got us field position and then the offense stuck it in." - Frank Beamer

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

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I know this was said, but if they modify it so that the stadium says HOKIES after the "Celebrity" says LETS GO, it will go alot better and make it more fluid. The mic noise over the crowd noise just didn't work.

On another note, I personally feel that the Hokie Pokie during halftime is not only better, but just makes more sense.

If you're from California you're not a Yankee. You're not really anything.

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if they modify it so that the stadium says HOKIES after the "Celebrity" says LETS GO, it will go alot better and make it more fluid

I would guess that's really the way to go. A lot easier than what they're trying to do.

The thing about this is that we already do it before Sandman, and you can feel that one build up as people anticipate the music starting. If they want a new tradition for after the third quarter, it shouldn't be the same tradition that we already have before Sandman.

They should focus on getting the crowd to stay and sing with the band/team after a win. That one also seems undercooked as 99% of the stadium was empty when they put the lyrics up on the jumbotron

If you're reading the above post and thinking, "is this guy serious?!?," you can safely assume I'm not.

I would be all for some crowd interactive cheer, followed by an intense video/pump up/highlight tape that concludes with the crowd yelling "Welcome to the Terrordome!" followed by some music. Similar to "Unleash the Fury" at Caps games.


This is actually a really good comparison and got me thinking as to the origins of that tradition:

I think the 'Shout' video is the best candidate but it doesn't really have the crescendo effect. I'm not really sure "Welcome to the Terrordome" rolls off the tongue that well but I do like doing something other than the 'Lets Go Hokies' cheer again. Maybe they could incorporate part of the Ol' Hokie or the "GO TECH GOOOO"?

I have long thought that Metallica's 'Don't Tread on Me' could make a nice bookend to Sandman if done right. No peak/crescendo per se, but definitely a pump-up type tune.

I was there. It was beyond bad. But that was on par with most of the game experience through hokie vision. The delay was terrible.

Through the whole game, they were playing music at volumes that were more than the speakers could handle. They popped and cracked the entire time. Music was running over into when plays should have been starting. Why is it even necessary? We don't need a soundtrack. It's a football game.

And how bad was the whole name presidents thing? I thought it was embarrassing. Those videos, along with the new one naming things about your roommate, are mood killers. At least the hokie pokie has crowd participation.
All these game experience things they are trying are about as hip as a fanny pack.

That name the presidents thing never should have aired. So awkward and embarrasing.

VERY embarrassed. The roommate thing was fun though.

Agreed - the roommate one was funny. I love that Tyrell Smith and CJ Carroll are basically BFFs on the team.

The presidents one was awkward, though someone got credit for "Andrew Ford" which was hilarious.

He actually got double credit, scoring Andrew Jackson and Gerald Ford for the "Andrew Ford" answer.


I never met a project that couldn't justify a new tool.

Do we even have to have anyone?

Personally I never felt that the hokie pokey needed to transition us to the 4th Q, especially if we want to come off as "a tough place to play" The Hokie pokey can live on during half time which feels like the perfect home for it and you can keep it for the long time fans

I also believe finding a celebrity lead the chant is more hassle than it's worth, why not just have an intense hype video and get the crowd amped back up

One man's thoughts I'm open to see what others think

Keep calm, Gobble on


Outspoken team cake advocate. Hates terrapins. Resident Macho Man Gif Poster. Distant cousin to Dork Magic. Frequently misspells words.

I would much rather see them move "Shout" to the 3Q stretch.

It's fun and engaging.

We put the K in Kwality

Full disclosure: Former MV drummer, so I'm gonna be biased.

In writing before the season, the idea sounded stupid. From all descriptions from those who were there, I'm not moved from that opinion. I probably won't be at a game until the UNC game, so, to be fair, I should wait until then to render a final judgment.

....... screw that. This "new tradition" stinks.

Look, I fully admit the "Hokie Pokie" isn't the most intimidating way to open the 4th quarter. And, again in the interest of full disclosure, I don't believe I've ever played the written part correctly, ever, either as an undergrad or in Alumni Band. But the whole reason I prefer college FB MASSIVELY over The Shield is because ..... it's fun. This was fun. Maybe the "civilians" don't think so, but I just think it's an enjoyable, goofy way to kill the 2:25 commercial break, and lets us own our .... unique school nickname.

Damn it...I'm with you!

"Take care of the little things and the big things will come."

I wasn't there but from comments I've heard. Sounds like president sands was the problem.

If sam rogers yells 'LETS GO!' -you yell "Hokies"...frank does it and the whole stadium will crumble.

The biggest problem with this is that you're going to get guests like President Sands way more often than you're going to get guests like Sam Rogers.

Sands was the main issue IMHO. His cadence was completely off. It was like the man had never heard the cheer before.

"How the ass pocket will be used, I do not know. Alls I know is, the ass pocket will be used."
- The BoD

Let's be honest... Who starts a countdown with "Four!"?

I love the smell of bourbon in the morning... smells like... Football!

I had the same thought! 4...3...2..1? Um, no, bro.

And even on this his timing was a bit off. The pause between each number seemed so long. We were joking that someone was telling him they were not ready for skipper or something.

The whole thing was really rough.

Your options are 10, 5 or 3.

2 things

1 - This was a mid afternoon game against Delaware, Of course it was going to be lame. If its still lame after Frank Beamer is the honorary guy in the Clemson game, then it might not be here long.

2 - I never thought I would say this, but I actually prefer commercials over the splash screen that ESPN puts up on their streaming services during breaks. If anything, just give me a live look at the stadium. Just something to make me confident that the broadcast is going to return. With the scrambling to get the stream to work at the start, I dreaded each commercial break because I was sure that would be the time we lost our signal.

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

Just something to make me confident that the broadcast is going to return

It got me every time...I would sit and at some point would quietly panic and think "this is going on too long, did I lose the feed? why is this taking so long? Im missing something! I know it!"

and then id just get caught watching the 'sheen' slide over the ESPN logo and wonder "Why didnt they just make the sheen go away completely on the left side like they did the right?"...and then the game would come back and Id be happy again.

that break screen has been in use for years. It's pretty common for me whenever we play low tier opponents so have seen a good deal of them. I always wondered why they don't just show the stadium, just thought there was a reason somewhere. there have been a handfull of times where the break screen would be on but the sound still on. Nothing salacious ever came from those though unfortunately

As far as I was concerned the "new tradition" was a flop and doesn't ever have to be repeated. Bring back the Hokie Pokie and Tuba line review. It might have been Hokie, but it got most of the crowd into it or at least standing and stretching.

1. It wasn't JUST awful, it was downright uncomfortable.

2. The idea that Babcock gave the experience a "B" either means he's just trying to put a positive spin on it, or he's really out of touch on how bad it was.

3. Someone said above that a celeb should lead everyone in the hokie pokie instead. That is a great idea

4. Also a great idea (which was mentioned above) was a hype video. O's do a great job with these, as well as "Unleash the Fury".

5. Please put this new "tradition" out of its misery

Whether or not this thing sticks, who knows?

I do think that if you: 1) Get someone who knows the cadence of the cheer. 2) Have them do the "Let's go" and the crowd do the "Hokies." ...everything will be fine.

I could be wrong, but it's at least worth a shot vs ODU before Clemson comes to town.

"How the ass pocket will be used, I do not know. Alls I know is, the ass pocket will be used."
- The BoD

You also have to imagine that Vick will be the one chosen for the ODU game since he should be there for the HOF induction and then I would guess Beamer for the Clemson game. If it doesn't work after Vick and Beamer then we should end it.

I think the idea might work, but Dr. Sands was the wrong person to lead it. I thought the problem was more than just his cadence. He lacked enthusiasm. It was kinda painful to watch, like when your dad tries to act cool in front of your friends, but just fails miserably. If you could get someone with more charisma and fan appeal out there (like Bruce Smith, or Tyrod Taylor) I think it could work.

“You got one guy going boom, one guy going whack, and one guy not getting in the endzone.”
― John Madden (describing VT's offense?)

I still can't get over the fact that Emperor Sands had a golf cart drive him to mid-field. I'm surprised he didn't get a group of over indebted students to hoist him up on a litter and carry him to and fro. Meanwhile the 80 year old who was honored for being a season ticket holder for 52 years managed to walk unassisted onto the field and back to his seat.

Hey, I'm gonna need everyone to be all the way mother f'ing committed on this, because Clemson does a similar chant to the "Let's Go --- Hokies" with "Clemson --- Tigers" and since middle school I've asserted it's way louder when we do it. There will be many Clemson fans coming up for the game and I need this atmosphere to be wild as all hell. I was at the Auburn game this past Saturday night and I'm telling you that crowd was pathetic once they went down 3-0 and then 6-0 they were quiet and pouty. They are spoiled as hell, they weren't even loud on important third downs at several parts of the game. They always start games wild as hell but they are so fairweather. Let's show them how loud and crazy Lane is throughout the whole game.

I agree. Our fan participation needs to be the best.

Basically every school in the country does a variation of this chant which is another reason why I think trying to force this into a "tradition" is extremely weak.

The "Let's Go...Hokies" chant is even less unique than the shoulder stripes.

I've been to games at a lot of stadiums, and that chant is something special, no one else does it like in lane

Great comments all!! Our game was less than scintillating. The crowd was sleep walking. We were all anticipating something we knew wasn't going to fly. Let's Go is perfect before Enter Sandman because we know we will be jumping!!! Let's Go works when we are involved in an ass kicking game. Saturday was not. It was not Dr. Sands fault, the fans were just not ready. I'm glad they re-played Shout. Most everyone loves to sing along whether you remember the words or not. Let's please not have a celeb lead the Hokie Pokie. If you think Let's Go failed in the 4th, celeb Hokie Pokie will drive everyone for a 5th.

US Navy Vet

I maintain that the cadence problem was a timing issue of what Sands was hearing. To him it sounded like he was in step. Distance from the speaker kind of thing.

I still think that we need 70k people singing Enter Sandman between 3-4 quarter. Acapella.


I never met a project that couldn't justify a new tool.

Everyone singing Enter Sandman at FedEx will be my lasting memory of the WVU game. It was like we all took the next step in adopting that as our unofficial theme song. I could definitely get on board with a new hype video that forgoes the opening of the song and gets more to the chorus for everyone to sing.

You put it better than me. As much as I like using Enter Sandman on the entrance, the singing was glorious.


I never met a project that couldn't justify a new tool.

We did it against NC State in 2015 as well. Almost everyone missed Enter sandman at kickoff because of a delayed start so they did it at halftime before kickoff and people continued singing. It was great.

This "new tradition" gives me flashbacks of middle school. Socially awkward and driven into the ground. Maybe it's a scheme to help us all overcome awkward situations (due to the high number of engineers - no offense as I am a CPA and we are just as meep meep).

Regardless, it would be much better if 1) the "celebrity" only starts the chant and 2) if the chant is prefaced with a "Hokies Respect" type speech. I remember some of those speeches gave me goosebumps when they did it prior to the entrance.

Transitioning this into a pep-talk turned chant would be much more appealing/intimidating. I can see David Wilson standing up there now screaming "IMMA BUST EM AGAIN TIL I CANT BUST NO MO, AND IMMA KEEP GETTING UP" as we enter the 4th quarter of the Clemson game leading by 45 points.

Former MV Pix (piccolo section) here with another biased hot take, but redo-ing the "Let's Go Hokies" chant between quarters is setting yourself up for failure. It's never going to reach the levels of the pre-game chant, so it's starting as 2nd best already. Also, we tend to do it if needed late in the 4th quarter in a tight game, and that also will easily eclipse it in intensity because of the situation. Even worse, by doing it so much you risk watering down the other ones already in existence.

For obvious reasons I hate that we're removing the Hokie Pokie (more on that later), but if you're going to replace it, at least do something that isn't doomed to fail. I'm with everybody else, use the Shout video or something like - if it's not in there already, use the "a little bit softer now" section to give it the needed build up and crescendo.

Also I'm calling it now, look for the Hokie Pokie to die out within the next couple years to only appear once or twice a year at best. You just can't "move it to halftime" because you can't put it in every halftime show.

Pretty much agree with everyone's responses and reports here. It fell really flat live. I hope they learned some lessons for whomever they have trying this again.

1. No Countdown!! (I hope this was only for the 1st time to get people to pay attention/let the cadets know when to fire Skipper)
2. No Skipper - That's for when we score!!
3. Chant Leader must know that they ONLY SAY "LET'S GO" and never, never, never say "HOKIES"
4. To get the cadence right the chant leader MUST FOLLOW THE SIGNS. The chearleaders know the timing to get the "LET'S GO" and "HOKIES" echoing through the stadium just right.

Run to Win. Pass To Score

Did they actually fire skipper after the scores? I only remember it firing at pre game and the let's go badly tradition.

I didn't see any of this because it wasn't shown on TV. But it sounds like...

Celeb at halftime with Hokie Pokie, not whenever they moved it to for whatever reason they did it.
Let's Go Hokies should be lead by the cheerleaders. Because, you know, leading cheers is kind of a thing they do.
No more paper tickets because paper airplanes
and Enter Sandman only twice, once before the game and once on the game-deciding defensive play, if available.

Sound right? @Sandsman

So, what I'm hearing is that this "tradition" will only take hold if during the Clemson game, Frank Beamer rides out on a horse (on a treadmill) that shoots off orange and maroon fireworks, while towing James Hetfield behind it who is rocking out live.

Then do that every week.

Would that about do it?

If ever there was a moment deserving of a great artist and/or Photoshop....

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

If they don't want the Hokie Pokie, they should just play "God's gonna cut you down" again between the third and fourth. Set it to some highlights from the first three quarters and get the crowd going with the rhythmic clapping/stomping.

A well done video and song would be far better than the chant in that format.

That is the best idea yet!

Throw in a Terrordome vid starring the shocked an awed faces of Al Golden and Mike London, and a Corey Moore cameo and Id be ready to yell through bronchitis.

Or X Ambassador's "Into the Jungle." They tried to use that in the spot where "God's gonna cut you down," a couple times when they were testing that out. They made the right choice, but "Into the Jungle" could fit in there.

Well Tim Sands was well aware of how flat it fell... was at a event Sunday where he gave opening remarks and he walked to the podium and said "Good evening folks, I'm Tim Sands and I'm here to do the Hokie Pokie". Well delivered and got a good laugh.

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