Virginia Tech head coach Justin Fuente, defensive end Ken Ekanem, and fullback Sam Rogers represented the Hokies at ACC Kickoff. Although the major news in Charlotte on Thursday was the announcement of the ACC Network, Fuente, Ekanem, and Rogers provided a bit of insight into Virginia Tech's upcoming season. And "a bit" might be too generous. Tech's tapped Ekanem and Rogers as its player representatives at almost every major recent media engagement I can remember. The pair are plenty seasoned in deflecting questions, and that jives with Fuente's glimpse-behind-the-curtain, first-year media management philosophy. At the very least, Frank Beamer's legacy of coach-speak will live on this season.
Tech's envoy answered questions from the podium. Fuente's response to the three traits a quarterback has to have to be successful (6:26), yielded the most substance. If you've TKPed hard enough, most of the rest of the Q&A will sound familiar — common questions, mundane answers. (If you're waking up from an offseason hibernation, it's worth your time to watch all three.)
Teel delivers more information on the ACC Network. Teel's been all over the ACC Network story, and his latest dispatch includes some financial details courtesy of ACC commissioner John Swofford.
"The time frame of 2019 takes into account a variety of factors," Skipper said, "including the content we have currently licensed. ... We wanted to provide ourselves a runway to plan the network, to get the distribution deals done and figure out the staffing."
"A little delayed gratification I think was good strategy," Babcock said.
And lest you think waiting on ACC Network revenue until 2019 will compromise the league financially: Say hello to what Swofford calls "the channel clause."
Written into the ACC's previous agreement with ESPN, signed after the additions of Pitt, Syracuse and Notre Dame, the clause guaranteed the league additional rights fees absent a channel.
"There will be a (rights fees) bump in these next years until we get to the linear channel," Swofford said during an exclusive interview hours after the formal announcement.
Also during that one-on-one, Swofford said that Notre Dame, an ACC member for sports other than football, will receive a full share of ACC Network revenue. The Fighting Irish receive one-fifth of a full share of the conference's guaranteed rights fees from ESPN.
Sam Rogers picked up some dance moves from Frank.
Bigger, healthier Ken Ekanem embraces unsung role (via Daily Press).
As a sophomore starter two seasons ago, he was second in the ACC with 9 1/2 sacks. He had surgery on a bum shoulder after the '14 season, struggled to get back to 100 percent in the early portion of last season and finished the season with just 4 1/2 sacks.
Now, with his shoulder fully healed and with 15 extra pounds on his 6-foot-3, 255-pound frame, he's setting his sights this season on what he admits is a lofty goal of 16 sacks, which would give him 30 for his career. He's also expected to mentor young defensive ends Vinny Mihota, Trevon Hill, Houshun Gaines, Darius Fullwood and Jimmie Taylor.
After struggling to get sacks last season, Ekanem has gotten comfortable with being unheralded heading into this fall.
"I kind of like the under-the-radar feel to it," Ekanem said. "I remember when I first started back in 2014, no one was really talking about me. I liked it. In interviews, I talked about Dadi (Nicolas) and Luther (Maddy) and Corey (Marshall). I was completely fine with it. I was like, 'All right, this is cool. I'll just throw out things like, yeah, Dadi can do this really well and Corey does this really well, they'll get double-teamed and I'll get left one-on-one.' That was cool about it. Now, I get a little bit more attention than I usually get, so it should be interesting going into the fall."
Decline in sack production considered, Ekenam was Tech's best defensive end last season. There are two endings to the offseason weight gain narrative: 1) Player X added good weight for his frame, and 2) Player X got fat. If it's the latter, the Hokies' depth at defensive end is even more worrisome. If it's the former, Ekanem will be an All-ACC performer.
Time to go hard on my embed Tweet game.
Carson Lydon transfer speculation, and go! No, please don't do that.
In any event, Williams is not letting any opportunity for motivation pass him by.
Hate to be a tease, but both Koma and French have much more coming regarding Tech's zone schemes.
The Key Players Club march to 1,000 members continues. Triple digits! Thank you for your support of TKP, I still owe y'all stats on the initial guests in the club. Soon... For those of you wondering what the hell a The Key Players Club is: more information.