August Camp Presser 8/15/19: Justin Fuente, Ryan Willis, Quincy Patterson and Hendon Hooker

The head Hokie and the Virginia Tech quarterbacks discuss fall camp.

Justin Fuente

OPENING STATEMENT

"Alright, thanks to everybody who came out to Fan Day on Sunday. It was a good time. It's fun to see our kids interact with our fans. It's great to get a chance to meet many of them. We're back on the practice field today after our second scrimmage and then a recovery day. We've got another shorter block here. We'll go three days and then have another scrimmage which will be our last one before we open up at Boston College. Lots to work on, I mean, on both sides of the ball and the kicking game. We'll start to move this week into some crossover work in the kicking game, which will be good for us. We've got a tremendous amount of ground to cover here before we're game ready but I'm excited about the way things are progressing. I don't have any update on Brock [Hoffman] either, just off the top. I don't know if you asked Vance [Vice] already but I don't have anything."

QUARTERBACK SITUATION IS STILL STATUS QUO? ARE YOU READY TO NAME A STARTER? WHAT ELSE DO YOU NEED AFTER YOU'VE SCRIMMAGED TWICE FROM THE QUARTERBACKS?

"Well, I think Ryan and Hendon are the two guys right now taking most of the reps with the ones. We'll continue to evaluate that and see how it goes. I will say this. I've been really imposed by Hendon [Hooker] and the work he put in this summer. He continues to improve. Ryan [Willis'] had a good camp as well. We'll continue to look at it and get to the last scrimmage and see where we're at."

HOW PROUD OF YOU TO SEE THIS TEAM COME TOGETHER AND BUILD THIS FAMILY THAT WE HEAR SO MUCH ABOUT?

"I really enjoy watching them interact. I'm proud of, of course we've got vested relationship with these guys and are enjoying coaching them. I think they've been through adversity and that can do one of two things. When you go through hard times it either separates you or brings you closer together. I think it's definitely brought those kids closer together. It happened not to us but for us and it's been fun to watch how they've responded throughout the offseason and now into fall camp."

KIND OF ON THAT TOPIC, THERE WAS A SPORTS ILLUSTRATED ARTICLE THAT JUST CAME OUT DETAILING HOW SOME OF THOSE GUYS FOUGHT THROUGH THAT ADVERSITY. I WANTED TO ASK A COUPLE THINGS ABOUT THAT. FIRST OFF, PLAYERS COMPLAINING ABOUT EXCESSIVE WORKOUTS. THE ARTICLE INDICATED THAT YOU'VE TAILORED OFFSEASON WORKOUTS. WHAT DID YOU SEE?

"Well, I haven't read the article. I have no idea what you're talking about. We did the same offseason that we've done for the last however many years. I haven't read the article. I have no idea what you're talking about."

SO NO OFFSEASON WORKOUTS WERE TEMPERED AFTER YOU MET AND TALKED?

"No, we did the same calendar that we've done. We change it every year based on the calendar."

AND THEN THE HEADLINE OF THE ARTICLE IS THAT SOME PLAYERS ON THE TEAM, PROBABLY WERE GONE, WANTED TO LOSE

"This year. Let's go to this year. I haven't read the article. I don't want to talk about it. I'm sure it's great. I'm sure it's well written. I'm sure it's fantastic. But this year. We're moving to this year."

IN THE TWO WEEKS SINCE BUD HAS ANNOUNCED HIS INTENTIONS, HAVE YOU SEEN A CHANGE IN HIS APPROACH? IS HE MORE OF A HARDASS? IS HE SOFTER, KINDLER, GENTLER, BUD? DOES HE JOKE ABOUT IT AT ALL? DO PEOPLE COME UP AND RIB HIM ABOUT BEING AN OLD MAN? OR IS IT JUST FULL SPEED AHEAD BUD?

"I have not seen one iota of difference. I haven't seen one reference, I'm talking about within our .. we're in a pretty sheltered part of our lives right now. You get up early and go work on football. I haven't heard or seen anything. I haven't heard a joke. I haven't seen anything different. I don't know if he feels better about it. I don't know. I don't want to put words in his mouth. I haven't seen anything."

THAT SEEMS LIKE A SURPRISE TO YOU, LIKE SOMEBODY WAS GOING TO COME UP AND RIB HIM FOR RETIRING

"Well, I don't know. I go back to the very first thing Bud said in the press conference. He wants it to be about the football team and I think we're all trying to respect those wishes. There'll be a time as we move through but I think there's a general focus on what we're trying to accomplish right now. I just haven't. I'll be interested to hear what Bud says, to be honest with you, because I haven't brought it up. It hasn't been a topic of discussion."

I'M SURE AS WE GET CLOSE TO THE GAME, WE'LL TALK MORE ABOUT AJ DILLON AND ALL THE CHALLENGES HE POSES. BUT JUST IN GENERAL, HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE RUN DEFENSE COMPARED TO LAST YEAR'S RUN DEFENSE? WHAT NEEDS TO BE BETTER WITH IT? WHAT DO YOU THINK WILL BE BETTER WITH IT?

"First of all, defense in general, talking about heading into a season last year where – at every position – you know you're going to play people with little or no experience. It doesn't mean you don't have Ricky Walker. You do. But at really every – defensive line, linebacker, safety, corner – we're going to play people with little or no experience. Well, this year, just heading into the year before we even practice, we know that heading into it, we know it's really only one spot that we know we're going to have to play some young or inexperienced people – at defensive tackle. That makes you feel better already, right off the top. I do think there's a feeling of comfort. We've got to stay healthy and we've got to continue to develop our second and third teams. But a comfort with scheme, we're not doing things for the first time. There's a bunch of guys doing things for the first time 365 days ago on that defense. You can see some overall understanding and it's letting them play faster and with more savvy and with more in-depth knowledge of what's going on as opposed to just trying to be right. I don't know if that makes sense but we feel much better."

I KNOW WE ASKED ABOUT PUNT RETURN EARLIER, I DON'T THINK WE'VE ASKED ABOUT KICK RETURNER AT ALL. WHO'S BEEN WORKING THERE AND WHAT DO YOU SEE AT THAT POSITION?

"Lemme see here. We have worked Caleb [Steward] and Terius [Wheatley]. Deshawn [McClease] has taken reps back there. I think Nadir Thompson has taken some. Jaden Payoute has taken some. Tayvion Robinson has taken some. We've repped several guys through there. We do have some guys that I think we're pretty productive. Terius was productive when he was healthy at kick returner last year at kickoff returner. Caleb had some opportunities for some big plays. I don't know how it's all going to shake out until one separates themselves in a game. I don't know exactly... Keshawn's [King] been back there a little bit. That's the other one. There may be another guy or two that have taken reps. We will have a kicking scrimmage here in a few days and hopefully get a couple specific reps for a couple guys and maybe have that paired down a little more."

IT SOUNDS LIKE COLE BECK HAD SOMETHING WITH THIS SHOULDER?

"Collarbone. I don't know how long exactly but certainly for the immediate future."

YOU TALKED LAST YEAR ABOUT THE REDSHIRT RULE AND HOW YOU HAD A WHOLE SEASON LONG PROCESS OF EVALUATING THAT AS YOU GO BY WEEK BY WEEK. YOU'VE GOT A YEAR UNDER YOUR BELT WITH THAT NEW RULE. IS THAT STAYING THE SAME, OR HAVE YOU TWEAKED SOME THINGS WHEN IT COMES TO LOOKING AT FRESHMAN WHO MAY OR MAY NOT REDSHIRT?

"I do think it's a good rule. It does ... you do have to put some thought into what you're doing. You can't put it on autopilot. As the season goes along, you have to continue to have those conversations, especially with special teams. It helped us last year, quite honestly, with as thin as we were, to be able to play guys like Armani Chatman, to still get to redshirt, that was huge for us and for Armani. Same thing happened with Nadir. Even though he got hurt, he was playing. So it's a good rule. We'll continue to evaluate how we're using it. it seems to me in general terms, like, assuming you don't have a disaster where you lose several guys at one position, but just the general maintenance of your team, it's mostly surrounded around the quarterback position and then all those guys that cover kicks and play on special teams, the defensive backs, the linebackers, some of your wide receivers, which I think is going to be good in the long run, for those guys."

WE'VE HEARD QUITE A BIT ABOUT TAYVION AND WE'VE TALKED SOME ABOUT ELIJAH [BOWICK] AND SOME OF THOSE RECEIVERS. TALKED ABOUT DOUG NESTOR TODAY, I KNOW THERE ARE SOME GUYS ON THE DEFENSIVE SIDE, J.R. WALKER HAS GOTTEN SOME LOOKS. I KNOW THAT YOU'RE ONLY TWO WEEKS INTO CAMP. IS THERE ANYBODY OUT OF THE TRUE FRESHMAN THAT YOU'VE LOOKED AT, OR BRAD [CORNELSON] HAS LOOKED AT, OR BUD [FOSTER] HAS LOOKED AT AND SAID "THAT DUDE HAS TO GET ON THE FIELD IN SOME CAPACITY THIS YEAR"?

"I mean, it's a little more ... you know I'm always a little hesitant because I don't want to leave someone out. You know what I mean? I think Bud is going to talk about Alan Tisdale a little bit today. Alan is not a true freshman, and I'm going to answer your question, but I've been really impressed with him. He's come on strong and is doing a really, really, good job for us. And I'm excited about what he can be. But certainly, those three freshman defensive tackles have shown flashes of what we'd hoped and need, quite honestly, to be. I'm not sure how that's going to shake out with all three of them, you know? But they've all shown to be capable and they cause you to get excited about that. In the same way that Doug and Hudson are kind of advanced for their age, so to speak. It's not very often that you talk about that on the offensive and defensive linemen. But those five guys are pretty far along. I don't know how it'll all work out, but in some shape or form in those five guys, I would anticipate seeing some of them. Tayvion, certainly. Nick Gallo is another one that seems to just pick things up incredibly easily. He's really smart. He has been slowed a little bit during camp, but he's making his way back and I anticipate that development to continue. Keshawn, I'm sure we've talked about a little bit. J.R., you mentioned. He's a guy that continues to do good things. And I think has a chance to really help this football team in some way."

Ryan Willis

YOU PROBABLY HAVEN'T SEEN IT, BUT THERE WAS A SPORTS ILLUSTRATED ARTICLE THAT CAME OUT TODAY WHERE SOME OF YOUR TEAMMATES SAID THAT THERE WERE PLAYERS ON THE TEAM LAST YEAR THAT WANTED TO LOSE THE REGULAR SEASON GAME, THEY WERE TIRED OF THE REGULAR SEASON. WE KNOW HOW MUCH YOU WANT TO WIN GAMES. WERE YOU AWARE OF THAT? DID YOU HEAR ANY OF THAT? DID IT BOTHER YOU?

"Man, I don't know. That's in the past. That was 2018. It's 2019 now. We're moving forward."

HOW PROUD OR IMPRESSED ARE YOU WITH THIS GROUP, ASSUMING SOME OF THIS STUFF IS TRUE AND SOME OF THE STUFF YOU WENT THROUGH, THE WAY THIS GROUP HAS MOVED PAST THAT?

"I'm very proud of how this group has moved forward. I think we've got the right guys in the locker room. And I think we're ready to move forward and have a good 2019 season."

COACH FUENTE SAID THAT YOU AND HENDON [HOOKER] ARE TAKING MOST OF THE REPS WITH THE ONES. WHAT DO YOU FEEL LEFT, WITH YOUR BODY OF WORK THAT YOU HAVE SHOWN THE COACHES, THROUGH LAST YEAR AND NOW FALL CAMP, WHAT DO YOU HAVE LEFT TO DO HERE IN THE NEXT WEEK AND A HALF TO HAVE THEM SAY YOU'RE GOING TO BE THE STARTER?

"I don't think we need to worry about that. I think we need to worry about getting better every day so we can help this team win ball games this upcoming fall. The season is 16 days away and we need to prepare every day. We have less fall practices this year than ever and we need to make the most of each one."

AS YOU REVIEW FILM FROM LAST YEAR AND LOOK AT WHAT YOU DID IN SOME SITUATIONS LAST YEAR, WERE THERE TIMES WHEN YOU REFLECTED ON THINGS AND THOUGHT "MAN, IF THIS WAS 2017, BACK IN KANSAS, I WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN ABLE TO RESPOND THE WAY I DID." OR "IT WOULD HAVE TURNED OUT DIFFERENTLY"? WERE THERE SOME SPECIFIC TIMES THAT YOU WERE PROUD OF YOURSELF FOR THE WAY THINGS TURNED OUT? DRIVES, GAMES, OR ANYTHING?

"Yeah. Looking back on it, I've kind of matured and grown up as a quarterback. The way I looked at things my freshman and sophomore year, I don't look at football the same way. I don't come up to the line of scrimmage and look at the secondary the same way. Just kind of matured and grown up and that's kind of the process of college football. We watch film every day, we practice year round, and you're going to get better. You're going to grow up. You're going to approach things differently. I think the way I approached things last year, kind of showed and benefited me more than it did at the University of Kansas."

IT'S BEEN DOCUMENTED THAT YOU HAVE SOME PRETTY GOOD WIDE RECEIVERS THAT YOU CAN THROW TO. HAVE THERE BEEN ANY MOMENTS THESE LAST COUPLE WEEKS WHERE THEY'VE MADE SOME SORT OF PLAY OR THEY'VE DONE SOMETHING THAT YOU'VE JUST KIND OF SITTING BACK THERE AFTER THROWING THE BALL AND SAID "YEAH, I COULD WORK WITH THIS."

"Yeah, Phil Patterson is the master of wild catches. He'll go and just have a one handed catch or something. I'm proud of the whole group. They're really coming together, we've got a really deep group, a lot of the guys are going to step on the field and contribute for us. And that's good. It's good to have depth at any position, especially the wide receiver position."

YOU MIGHT HAVE TALKED ABOUT THIS BEFORE, YOU WORK OUT WITH PATRICK MAHOMES THIS SUMMER? WHAT WAS THAT LIKE?

"It was a cool experience. Pat's a very normal guy, he's down to earth. It's cool to see how he goes about things and how he approaches every day. He's like any one of us, just wants to get better and be the best player he can be."

DID YOU TAKE ANYTHING FROM WATCHING HIM?

"Yeah, I mean, not so much throwing or how he drops back, but more so his demeanour and how he interacts with other people. And how he holds himself. He's very composed person and I mean, he's got the biggest, meanest spotlight in football right now. He's handling it really well, being really mature about it. I think he's going to have another really good season."

SO YOU HAVEN'T PICKED UP HIS NO LOOK PASSSES?

"No, I don't think Coach Fuente would really appreciate that."

WHAT HAVE YOU SEEN FROM THE RUN GAME? IT'S A SIMILAR COMPETITION THAT IS WIDE OPEN. WHAT DO YOU SEE FROM THEM?

"The running back group as a whole has really improved this fall. They're attacking every day, they're getting better in pass protection, our O-Line has improved every day. That's part of the run game. The boys up front, as they go, we go. But, our run game has definitely improved."

TRE TURNER THAT OPENED A LOT OF EYES LAST YEAR WITH HIS ABILITIES. WHEN I TALKED TO HIM, HE SAYS HE WATCHES HIS VIDEO OF LAST YEAR AND FEELS LIKE HE MADE A LOT OF MISTAKES. WHAT IS HIS CEILING, HOW MUCH POTENTIAL DOES HE HAVE?

"His ceiling is limitless. Tre is a very special player, and he can do things most people can't. That's why we call him Big Play Tre. I get the feeling every time the ball is in his hands, he's got the ability to score. He can shake someone and bust 70 yards. That kid just seem to keep working and bring his lunch pail every day basically. And just keep getting better. I think he can do great things."

AS A QUARTERBACK, YOU'RE IN THE OFFENSE, RUNNING A PLAY, DOING YOUR PROGRESSIONS. BUT I KNOW YOU'VE ALSO SAID THAT YOU LIKE TO TAKE CHANCES. DOES IT HELP TO KNOW THAT YOU HAVE A GUY LIKE TRE WHO CAN MAKE YOU LOOK GOOD?

"Definitely. That kid can run. Just throw it up there, and he'll go catch it. It's pretty cool to have guys like that."

I DON'T KNOW IF WERE TOLD OR YOU NOTICE THESE KINDS OF THINGS, BUT THERE WAS A STORY THAT CAME OUT YESTERDAY THAT RANKED QUARTERBACKS IN FBS. AND YOU WERE RANKED 73RD.

"Hm."

HOW DO YOU RESPOND TO THAT? IT WASN'T BASED ON PRO POTENTIAL OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT, JUST CURRENT ABILITIES AND TOOLS LIKE THAT. I DIDN'T KNOW IF YOU HAD A RESPONSE TO THAT AT ALL.

"Eh. Whatever. I don't care. It's not going to affect how I play on the field or the outcomes of the season. It's a ranking, and I don't even know who made it."

Quincy Patterson

AS YOU GO THROUGH YOUR SECOND CAMP NOW, WHAT'S THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE THAT YOU'VE SEEN FROM LAST YEAR TO THIS YEAR? YOU'VE KIND OF LOOKED AT WHAT HAS IMPROVED THE MOST FOR YOU SPECIFICALLY, BUT ALSO WITHIN THE QUARTERBACK ROOM AS YOU KIND OF ALL STARTED TO GEL TOGETHER?

"I would say the speed of the game is slowing down a lot more. And the conversation in the quarterback room, in general, is more complex and it seems like everybody in that room is getting a lot more than we did last year. It also seems like everybody is more mature than we were last year. Knowing that the position that we're in, anybody can step up and be that guy, so I just feel like everybody in the room is more mature."

COMING FROM YOUR BACKGROUND, WHERE YOU DIDN'T THROW THE BALL A LOT IN HIGH SCHOOL COMPARED TO QUARTERBACKS THESE DAYS, HOW HAS THIS TRANSITION BEEN COMING TO AN OFFENSE THAT IS A LOT MORE ADVANCED OBVIOUSLY THAN THE ONE YOU WERE USED TO AT THE HIGH SCHOOL LEVEL?

"Well, we have a great coaches and they kind of make that transition a lot more easy for me. Granted, the fall camp last year was my first real practice. So, it was kind of tough last fall camp, but coming into the spring and this fall camp, everything has been coming together. And it's almost like that was never really an issue. But last fall camp, I could've benefited from being in a more complex offense in high school."

HOW HAS THE ACCOUNTABILITY BEEN WITHIN THE LOCKER ROOM AND OUT ON THE FIELD?

"I mean, to a certain extent, you kind of have to hold yourself accountable. You can't really look too much towards others. Everybody is their own person, you know, and we're all grown in a sense. You kind of just have to handle your own business, but at the same time, if you see somebody slacking, you have to let him know. But at the same time, everybody has to be accountable for themselves for the most part."

YOU'VE GOT A LOT OF BRACELETS THERE, QUINCY. ARE THERE ANY SPECIFIC MEANINGS?

"At a track meet, I met this random guy who gave me this one. It says 'Hope'. Hope is hope. This bracelet says 'Believe you can and you will'. I bought this off, I can't remember the website, but I felt like that was one thing that in the spring I really needed. I was really down on myself because of the injury and things seemed to not be going my way. Kind of bought that bracelet for that reason. 'Never give up' is a kids with cancer organization that I was a part of at The Opening in high school. I kind of always stuck with that. And then 'Gift of Hope' is a kidney organization that my dad is involved in and that's just an organ donor organization."

Hendon Hooker

COACH FUENTE MENTIONED EARLIER TODAY THAT HE THINK YOU'VE BEEN MAKING A LOT OF STRIDES THIS FALL CAMP. HAS THERE BEEN ANYTHING SPECIFIC THAT YOU'VE BEEN FOCUSING ON THAT HAS DRAWN HIS ATTENTION? OR HAS IT JUST BEEN OVERALL IMPROVEMENT?

"I think it's overall improvement. Just being consistent and working on the little things of my game to elevate me to the next level."

I SAW AN INTERESTING QUOTE FROM MIKE LEACH ABOUT HOW HE LOOKS AT HIS QB ROOM HE TRIES TO THINK OF ONE THING THAT ONE QUARTERBACK HAS SKILL WISE, THAT HE WISHES ANOTHER QUARTERBACK COULD HAVE. IS THERE ONE SKILL THAT YOU WANT TO HAVE FROM RYAN OR QUINCY?

"I wish that I could have their arm strength. They both have rockets for arms. That's one thing I do wish I had."

WHEN YOU GO INTO THE OFFSEASON, WHAT IS YOUR MINDSET ON WHAT YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH? IS THERE A FOCUS OF WHAT YOU WANT MOST OUT OF THAT TIME, OR SOMETHING LAST YEAR THAT YOU FELT WAS KIND OF A SHORTCOMING?

"Every year, I approach the offseason with the same mindset of just getting better overall and fine tuning in my technique. As well as, you know, the offense you can never not learn about the offense or about a defense. So every offseason, I go home with the same mindset of getting better overall."

WAS THERE A SPECIFIC AREA THAT YOU FELT LIKE YOU MADE LARGE STRIDES IN?

"Not really, just fine tuning like I said earlier."

IS THERE ANY QUARTERBACKS THAT YOU ADMIRE? OR LIKE TO WATCH, EITHER PAST OR PRESENT?

"My favorite quarterback is Randall Cunningham. He was just very explosive, which I think is something that I bring to the game. I watch film on him all the time, just trying to get a little moves from him."

YOU STILL WATCH FILM ON HIM?

"Yes sir."

RANDALL CUNINGHMA RETIRED IN 2001. THAT SEEMS LIKE AN ODD CHOICE FOR A GUY LIKE TO WATCH SOMEBODY FROM A GUY WAY BACK THEN. HOW DID YOU GET TURNED ON TO HIS GAME? WAS THAT SOMETHING YOU HEARD FROM YOUR DAD? WHAT'S THE GENESIS OF THAT?

"Well, when you're a quarterback and you want to play at the next level, you have to do your research. So knowing the history of the game is a big part of that. And just watching all the older quarterbacks in years before me, you just pick up on things and say 'oh wow, I like this guy.' So that's pretty much how that happened."

IS THERE A GUY ON THIS OFFENSE THAT HAS OPENED YOUR EYES SO FAR?

"Tayvion Robinson. Freshman. He's definitely a baller. I'll say that.

YOUR DAD WAS AN NFL QUARTERBACK, SO HOW DID THAT HELP YOUR DEVELOPMENT? DID HE REALLY INTRODUCE YOU TO GUYS LIKE CUNNINGHAM?

"That's definitely a big factor. My family is very athletic-oriented, I'll say. My mom knows information about quarterbacks, she knows defenses. Many times in my high school games, or middle school, she'd yell out from the stands 'Take a 3 step drop!' So everything is always right there in my face. Even if my dad wasn't there. My dad definitely is a big influence on why I play quarterback and how I play the game."

I NEED TO KNOW MORE ABOUT YOUR MOM HERE. SO, COULD SHE STEP TO THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE AND BREAK DOWN COVERAGES AND THINGS LIKE THAT?

She knows the basics. One, two, three. She's definitely one of my biggest motivators and she critiques me.

WHAT KIND OF PLAYER IS TRE TURNER, AND AS QUARTERBACK, WHAT'S IT LIKE TO HAVE A TARGET LIKE THAT OUT THERE?

"He's a 100% effort giver. Hard worker. And naturally, he's just blessed with the speed and natural strong hands. So having someone on the field like that is special."

HE SAID THAT WHEN HE LOOKED BACK AT THE VIDEO, HE SAW LOTS OF PLAYS THAT HE LEFT. LOTS OF PLAYS THAT COULD HAVE BEEN LONGER OR COULD HAVE BEEN TOUCHDOWNS. DO YOU THINK HE'S BEING HARD ON HIMSELF OR IS THERE ANOTHER LEVEL FOR HIM TO GET TO?

"You know, we're all trying to get to a next level or game. He is definitely hard on himself. He was my roommate this past season, so he's always trying to find ways and nuances to take his game to the next level."

Comments

Great read, thx for sharing. Collectively, the team has made a point to move forward, reading their responses to the SI article. It's interesting that right off the bat, there is a contradiction in what was reported vs what Coach Fu said actually happened (in regards to conditioning). Possible that a few journalistic liberties were taken there.

As Coach Beams used to say, "never get to high, never get too low". Let's hope this team has seen the pits of despair, it's lowest of lows, and we are on nothing but an upward trajectory now. All eyes on the BC game, let's go boys.

I personally am most excited about what Robinson brings to the table along with King. We need playmakers, and those two can only help make this offense more dynamic. It should be a great year, team!

If it ain't orange, it better be maroon...and if it ain't maroon, it better be soon!

Fuente always comes across as hiding something. For me that makes it difficult to trust him...

Yeah he seems to have a certain anxiety when speaking to the media..having said that, i think he's gotten better since he's been here. I think the best press conference he's given is the one after the ODU loss..

Did you trust Beamer when he gave a five minute response on the kicking battle when the question was in fact about the running back or qb? Every coach has his own way to coachspeak. They know every comment has the ability to become a headline and they are guarded as hell about it. When going through media training, they even train you to answer any question with your own predetermined talking points.

The first rule of Fight Club is we don't talk about turkey leg votes

And his wee beady eyes!!

"That kid you're talking to right there, I think he played his nuts off! And you can quote me on that shit!" -Bud Foster

What are you talking about? I totally believe he had no knowledge about the SI article /s

I'm not sure which I preferred - Beamer's coach speak, or Fuente's hiding.

You don't really want to know how the sausage gets made, you just want to eat it...

I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction:
“I served in the United States Navy"

KCCO

"Well, I haven't read the article. I have no idea what you're talking about."

You were quoted multiple times in the article. I'd assume you have some idea.

Yeah, if Kyle Tucker was there, he would have brought that up, but it's fine. We're moving forward..

mmmm...in 25 years of being interviewed by news orgs ranging from major national news outlets to the most local of papers, I would never try to predict what info will be included, what will be omitted, and from what angle(s) it will be presented.

IF he was telling the truth and hadn't read it, he shouldn't comment on it.

Incorrect. The question was about changing conditioning. He was never quoted at all, let alone multiple times, about that.

You were quoted multiple times in the article. I'd assume you have some idea.

Being quoted in an article doesn't mean you read it.

Don't you guys ever watch interviews of Congress members? This is standard fare.

The only thing remarkable here is how uncomfortable Fuente looks doing it.

Thank you for posting this Henry. I really appreciate it. You are gentleman and a scholar sir!

I can appreciate that there is still some competition at the QB1 position. I think at the end of the day, it will come down to who turns the ball over less..

Great to hear from the quarterbacks. Glad that Coach Fu put them up there. Although it's been apparent for the past few weeks...I'm still somewhat surprised that HH has moved into the #2 spot. Last year at this time I thought QP would be in the #1 going into the BC game. Glad they are working together as a team.

JP

It might be just me but Bud looked uncomfortable. I think he and the VT defense will be as good as they can be this year . I think he will poor himself into it as much as possible . At the end of the day though I think 30+ years
of coaching he is ready to move on . Just the body language and it could have been just having to do the press conference but his vibe to me shows he is pushing through this last one and it is not easy. Hope for health of him and his guys and he ends on a high note .

Coastal 1

I was really down on myself because of the injury and things seemed to not be going my way.

QP was injured last season? I don't remember that. Was this a known thing that I missed or blotted from my memory, or is this new info?

Take the shortest route to the ball and arrive in bad humor.

I wonder if he meant this spring. It was said that he had a hand injury and that is why he wasn't that accurate in the scrimmage.

THERE WAS A STORY THAT CAME OUT YESTERDAY THAT RANKED QUARTERBACKS IN FBS. AND YOU WERE RANKED 73RD.

"Hm."

Exactly how I would've responded

"That kid you're talking to right there, I think he played his nuts off! And you can quote me on that shit!" -Bud Foster

"Hm. I'm way better than that. Those douche bags that wrote that story don't know nothing."

JP

"Looks like there are going to be 72 disappointed quarterbacks in college football this year"

You're welcome

"Well, I haven't read the article. I have no idea what you're talking about. We did the same offseason that we've done for the last however many years. I haven't read the article. I have no idea what you're talking about."

"What kind of person would throw away a perfectly good dog?"

I had to read the quote multiple times. He's either oblivious or a politician. All he said was
- i haven't read the article
- I have no knowledge about that (referring to the off-season workout changes)

Never said he didn't know about the article or the contents therein, nor did he clearly articulate that he was just referencing the workout schedule. He just said he didn't read the published article.

All that said - it's a fairly long article and this is probably the worst time of the year for any head coach to be digging in for a long read that wasn't directly associated with winning the next football game.

Every coach does coach speak.

Even Beamer did coach speak.

But if he acknowledges he read it, he has to respond and then THAT becomes the news, and not the article.

It's all part of the game.

That coach speak will really get after ya.

Hokies United l Ut Prosim

I agree, you say you changed the practice and people are going to critique you for making the team soft. Those discussions are lose-lose for a coach. Ultimately I don't blame him at all for not wanting to comment on it.

What's a little perplexing is that the article wasn't scrubbed by someone before being released. I mean there's not a whole lot of major outlets publishing stories with actual player interviews, are there? Idk, maybe media access is actually a little more relaxed than we think, and the staff is basically like, let em write what they want, it's just noise and we're focused on improving the team. A little surprising, but he may genuinely have been unaware of the article.

What's a little perplexing is that the article wasn't scrubbed by someone before being released.

Any respectable outlet would not allow a piece to be scrubbed.

Always choose joy.

Exactly. Not reviewed at all prior to publication. Sources should never have a say in timing of release, reading in advance, approving copy. It just doesn't work that way, except under extreme circumstances - and in those cases, such conditions should be made transparent to the reader. Occasionally, a reporter or editor may agree to read quotes back to a source, but just to ensure accuracy if not recorded, that sort of thing.

There's no way VT allowed access for this article without having the ability to read first, approve and negotiate timing.

Wanna bet?

Sure. Show me definitive proof VT had nothing to do with this article and willing gave access to players and coaches with no perquisites.

Not saying you're wrong, no idea, but I think the burden of proof here is on you. You were the one who made the assertion.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Nah. I'm cool with differing opinions. The one challenging a bet needs to pony up to prove they're right IMO

Will happily prove it. But first, what are the stakes? 10 Schrute Bucks? Or something meaningful? Because I'm 100% certain, let's make it $100 in Hardees coupons. Deal?

Well.. Not sure about Hardees coupons as I have no way of getting those for you. But I'm good for something cool. If you've got the goods I'll give you my email and you can send me your name and address. I'll get you something nice of similar value. Good for you?

"read first, approve and negotiate timing."

That's not the same as "had nothing to do with it" and "no prerequisites."

Those would all be prerequisites no?

Very specific prerequisites.

And "approve" is usually a no go in journalism so you should have a basis for that.

Specific or not, still prerequisites.

And not saying SI doesn't do real journalism. But like most magazines they do PR pieces too. Those are usually an exchange or they are whenever my companies are involved.

My point is that to win the "bet" you would have to prove those specific prerequisites not just that were some or any prerequisites.

For example, timing. VT doesn't have to demand a specific prerequisite but they can affect it through the timing of the access they give. I would not be surprised if they did do that here.

I see where you're coming from... Ok, To win the bet Timbo's got to show my perquisites where not part of the deal. I'm not trying to win though. Happy if he does prove it.

Edit. Hit send before I finished correcting myself

Fair. Have a leg! Either way I win because it means someone provides some interesting insight into the VT Athletic Department operations!

yeah, same. at this point I am hoping he has something really good to show to make this turn of events really rewarding. leg back at ya

Those are usually an exchange or they are whenever my companies are involved.

Here's the thing. I get that many folks (not meaning to call you out here, fernley, but since it's our bet) do not understand the way good journalism works. This quid pro quo you're describing is NOT good journalism. The lack of understanding about this has gotten a lot worse the last few years, exacerbated by the explosion of not-really-news outlets, a degradation in news literacy, and the "fake news"/"enemy of the people" mantra.

There are some, very rare, instances where a reputable news org may discuss timing with a source. At The NYT, for example, we would -- rarely -- discuss when a story would publish if national security interests are at stake. And even then, burden would be on, say, the NSA to say why it would be so detrimental to publish on a specific date. Again, extreme rarity. In this case, no one, outside of a very small bubble of us, gives two shits about the timing of this piece.

In terms of letting a source read or -- ugh! -- approve a piece in advance, that just doesn't happen. In this case, we're talking about Sports Illustrated, not some aggregator or random dude's blog. Think about it: If you were a sports reporter, and you allowed a coach or AD to approve a piece you wrote, why wouldn't every source going forward demand the same? You'd quickly be nothing more than a mouthpiece. Again, it doesn't work this way, unless we're talking about the actual mouthpiece (e.g. Jimmy Robertson at Tech... great dude, but his job is VT PR, not objective journalism.)

I know this because I'm a lifelong journalist (turned to finding ways to keep journalism sustainable) and a former sports reporter covering these here Hokies nationally back when that was a fun thing to do. Back to this issue: Ross Dellenger wrote this piece. I don't know him personally, but the guy has a long and stellar track record of ethical reporting and people who do know him think very highly of his work, his sense of trust and transparency. Anyway, as for your proof, I just asked him. His response: Virginia Tech "knew nothing of the timing. And I have never - ever - allowed the source of a story to read a story before it's published. Sounds like message board BS to me..."

You can keep the Hardees coupons. Instead, subscribe to something that does real journalism for me. :)

Here's a leg. I'm good with you knowing the guy but I wouldn't necessarily say you've cleared my doubts.

That's not meant to be disparagement to you or the article's author because I don't know either of you and willing to take you at your word. But personally I have been interviewed by major newspapers and magazines and have arranged interviews for my companies many times and have always requested advance notice of interview questions, publication date, etc. One of my companies was just interviewed last month by a major paper in the US and as it was a PR piece and not a investigative article they were happy to oblige because they got the article they wanted and we got the message we wanted. It's always been a 2-way street.

When I read this article it comes across as PR not journalism. Again not meant to be a disparagement. But if it was journalism then it makes me wonder why not interview any of the players that transferred or left for context, if even anonymously sourced? Or get some perspective from HS coaches as to how the exodus impacted Hokies perception outside the program? Or in the case of the "changed conditioning" provide what specifically was changed or source who told him that it was changed?

Another musing, Fuente is infamously wound tight about media so it seems abnormal for him to allow any reporter unfettered access. How was that level of access obtained? What would Fuente or the Hokies gain from that?

Anyway, not necessarily looking for answers to those. Let's meet in the middle. If I ever do get back to BBurg you're first on my list of free beers.

Wait. The guy who wrote the article cleared this up unless you either don't believe him, or you doubt the poster's veracity. Which is it? You make some good points, but from your experience and perspective. I know no more about you than I do those folks, but if all are being truthful and forthcoming, it sounds like you've been proven wrong. Not that I have any skin in the game, I'm just feeling feisty this morning. I promise, I'll shut up and buy you both a beer sometime.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

because I don't know either of you and willing to take you at your word

I'm good to believe Timbo and honor the bet, but it didn't make me think I was wrong due to my own experiences with media.

Not trying to be argumentative, but your experiences, as least as described here:

But personally I have been interviewed by major newspapers and magazines and have arranged interviews for my companies many times and have always requested advance notice of interview questions, publication date, etc.

... are very different from what you're suggesting happened in this case.

There's no way VT allowed access for this article without having the ability to read first, approve and negotiate timing.

Asking for questions in advance or asking about publication timing is very different than demanding to review a piece or requiring a story to run on your timing rather than the outlet's timing.

Then that's my bad by not specifically stating the myriad of what I mean by those 3 prerequisites.

As I said, I'm cool to honor the bet Timbo. And I do appreciate you providing insights that we otherwise didn't have but I still believe this was managed under prearranged agreements in which VT had a measure of control.

I got you a beer sometime in the future or you can send me some deets
nachapin@gmail.com

Ummm, wellll, ok? I guess I don't follow your logic here. If you believe them, you were wrong. If you don't think you're wrong, you don't believe them, it seems to me. Anyway, sorry to intrude, I'll check out on this one.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

I didn't say I believe him about VT's article. I said I would take him at his word. Meaning I still have my doubts and suspicions but I like to believe in people. If he says he knows and believes the author then I'm good to honor the bet, despite not being wholly convinced.

If that doesn't clear it up for you, then we're gonna have to leave it mysterious I think.

Your questions are very pertinent to this article Fernley. It seems totally out of character for Whit and Fuente to give this reporter access to such a volatile subject without having some form of control over the narrative. The net result was an article that sounded more like a redemption story worthy of a Hollywood treatment than a piece of hard-hitting Investigative journalism. Sure, it had its moments of negativity, but those serve simply as a foil to show the progress at building team unity and purpose for the coming season. I am not accusing the reporter of any form of compromise of his journalistic ethics, but I also strongly suspect that an understanding of some form was reached before VT athletics gave him access to Fuente and company. The obviously rehearsed and identical answers to questions about the article by Fuente, his coaches and players clearly proves that they knew beforehand about the article and had a predetermined strategy for addressing it. This doesn't prove a prearrangement, only good preparation, but it is undeniable that the reporter got a solid team story with a bombshell revelation, and the program got some positive spin moving forward from a major sports media outlet. Everybody wins, coincidence? Maybe.

VTCC '86 Delta Company, Hokie in Peru, Former Naval Aviator, Former FBISA, Forever married to my VT87 girl. Go VT!

yep, exactly

When I've been interviewed on a topic (I ran field ops for a US Gov agency for 25 years in significant chunks of FL and TX), I'd ask when they expected the story to run and they'd tell me...but I was interviewed almost exclusively on current events/controversies as opposed to longer term investigative pieces...so perhaps apples and oranges. Is this something I have to deal with over the weekend or can it wait til Monday. And I've been asked to review text from articles numerous times for accuracy of technical info, citations, etc. prior to publication.

I think there can be a relationship with the media that doesn't compromise anyone's professionalism. The reporter needs to get the best info they can as quick as they can, and on my end I benefit from accurate reporting. No one is asked not to write something and I don't worry if its a positive story or negative one, I can deal with it if it is truthful/accurate. They know I don't have to be forthcoming. They know I can hide behind the FOIA process. They know I know what would be good questions to ask and who they should really be talking to. And I know the potential gravity of misinformation.

As a lifelong journalist, you've surely had off-the-record discussions in putting together your stories. While that isn't letting someone determine what you write, there is some form of give and take involved.

Only a few coaches like Nick Saban can get away with saying whatever they want to say. The rest have to bullshit their way so they don't get called out by the media and fans

Nick Saban is full of as much BS as anyone.

As is every coach ever. This is all about the fact last year was a dud. Just win baby - this type of thing can be galvanizing for those there now.

Let's hope this is the case

When the reporter first mentioned the SI article, he should've opened with the question that's on all of our minds... who demanded turkey bacon?

In all seriousness, the article made it clear what was discussed in that meeting and some of the changes that were made based on players' input, including the conditioning. To me, Fuente's answer stated that last off season was no different than any other off season because changes are made to the approach to conditioning every year. I think what everybody wants to know is were the changes made because of players collectively wanting them to be made. Maybe he's hesitant to address that due to potential perception it suggests.

Personally, I think Fuente is an old school coach having to deal with a new school sense of entitlement that fans now have seemed to embraced, largely I believe, because of the intrusion of social media into what used to be a fairly closed system with controlled media access into the inner sanctum. While I'm betting that a large portion of TKP are part of that movement, I'm not so sure it is a good thing, myself. No, don't wanna go back to the dark ages or anything, and don't begrudge fans for thirsting for inside knowledge, but I believe it has gotten out of hand. Is there nothing that a coach can keep within the program without being castigated for "lack of transparency"? Just my old timer's opinion, but I'd hate for every word I uttered to be parsed and dissected for hidden meaning in a high stakes game that's more than a game to them.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

I agree to an extent. And I think when we're winning, fans "require" less access. But when we're not, the desire to know why and what is being done to correct any issues becomes a spotlight that is perhaps more difficult for some coaches to handle than others.

I may be wrong, but I think the solution to everything is "just win baby!"

We agree on that.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Wait who was needing to know more Hooker Mom? Did Hugh Freeze take a day trip from Lynchburg?

Those PFF QB rankings are a piece of work. Willis at #73 and Josh Jackson at #39. I can't decide it if it is more: 1) delusional or 2) bulletin board material.

Willis, IMO, has way more upside than Jackson. Jackson is pretty much just a game manager. Willis can make things happen; he just needs to learn how to protect the football better and I imagine he and the staff have been working on that.

He'll make even more happen this year with another season under his belt.

JP

Its more stats based and Jackson has more stats under his belt after his somewhat successful Freshman season. Willis was not spectacular last season. He left a lot of plays down the field (FrenchontheBench confirmed) and was terrible in making reads in the RPO. PFF looks at everything on paper, and Jackson was better at generating with is feet to offset the lack of prowess throwing, Willis hasn't shown that. With all of that being said, I think by the end of this year Willis will move up the boards and Jackson will likely move down.

Whatever. It was one bad year.

Seasonal Brew means High ABV for football season and standard the rest of the year.

Jackson was better at generating with is feet

I'm not sure this is accurate. JJ couldn't run away from my refrigerator.

Is it basketball season yet?

From PFF:

He enters the Terrapins lineup where he instantly upgrades the unit and will lean heavily on his dual-threat ability that saw him break 16 tackles on 128 carries while gaining 353 yards after contact

This is probably set by a few good runs, but averages out 2.75 yds/carry after contact, not shabby for a QB. We think of a QB as needing to be fast like Tyrod or MV7, but Jackson had an element of power run and clearly was a 3 yds and a cloud of dust rusher.

Whatever. It was one bad year.

Seasonal Brew means High ABV for football season and standard the rest of the year.

His first step when he would go to scramble looked like he had cinderblocks attached to his feet.

I like PFF's stats based approach, so for conversation sake, here is the Coastal (without their paywall context):

15. VIRGINIA: BRYCE PERKINS
73. VIRGINIA TECH: RYAN WILLIS
77. MIAMI (FLA.): JARREN WILLIAMS
84. PITTSBURGH: KENNY PICKETT
91. DUKE: QUENTIN HARRIS
99. NORTH CAROLINA: SAM HOWELL

Not exactly a murder's row of QBs and a somewhat high likelihood that Perkins is really nicked up by the time we finish them off at the end of the season.

Whatever. It was one bad year.

Seasonal Brew means High ABV for football season and standard the rest of the year.

"Kenny Pickett" is what i'm gonna ask about Divine Deablo every time the Pitt QB throws downfield

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

Everyone knows that it is pass interference every time the Pitt QB throws downfield

Everyone knows that

That and Fuck Pat Narduzzi

Whatever. It was one bad year.

Seasonal Brew means High ABV for football season and standard the rest of the year.