Tech Tidbits: Media Day Reveals Some Trouble on the Defensive Line

Vinny Mihota talks injury issues, while the staff won't let Trevon Hill talk at all.

[Mark Umansky]

Justin Fuente did not mince words when asked Sunday about how he feels about Tech's unusual opening night matchup with a fellow ACC opponent.

"It would not be my first choice, quite honestly," Fuente told reporters at the team's annual "Media Day." "But I'm not going to pout about it."

It's interesting that he'd be so blunt about it, particularly because I've vacillated recently in my own feelings about opening with the Seminoles, as the start of the season finally nears.

I certainly can see the positives of getting a team adjusting to a new head coach early on, when they still might be working out the kinks. That goes doubly so given FSU's at least mild uncertainty at quarterback, as Willie Taggart mulls his preference for Deondre Francois or James Blackman.

Of course, there's Tech's notorious troubles with top teams in season openers to consider (though the West Virginia win was a nice disruption of that streak). Not to mention the fact that FSU is one of the most talented teams in the country, and will hardly provide the easiest way for the Hokies to start sorting out their new-look defense.

On balance, I think it's a net positive overall. It never hurts to get on ESPN in primetime, after all.

But, interestingly, it seems it's a dilemma the Hokies may confront more and more over the years. As ACC whisperer extraordinaire David Teel points out, the advent of the ACC Network means that the Hokies will only deal with this problem more, not less, as the years go on.

Mihota's Recovery Hits a Snag

Ok, I hate to say I told you so, but it seems like all is not quite well with Vinny Mihota these days.

This is basically just as I'd feared, given his mix of putting on weight to move to DT with his spring knee injury, with Foster adding that the newly minted DT will be limited to as few as 10 to 15 snaps in the opener.

I don't think this is the end of the world, as after FSU, Mihota will have several weeks of games against substantially less fearsome opponents to work his way back into shape.

But it also isn't terribly good news for Tech's chances against the Seminoles, where they already faced an uphill battle in containing star RB Cam Akers.

Suffice it to say that we'll get a heck of a chance to see if the Jarrod Hewitt hype the coaches have been hawking this offseason is justified.

The Curious Case of Trevon Hill

For weeks now, rumors have swirled about Trevon Hill's status for the first few weeks of the season.

As those have remained just rumors, with little to substantiate them, I won't speculate on what the future might hold. But I will say that this development doesn't bode particularly well.

Barber added in a subsequent tweet that reporters had asked to talk to Hill last week as well, only to be told he was off-limits once more.

I understand completely why Fuente wouldn't want to tip his hand on this just yet — I'm sure that, from his perspective, it's not worth filling in fans if it means the Noles can stop prepping to face Hill.

But the reporter in me gets really irked by this sort of thing. If Hill is suspended and you don't want him talking to the press, then just say so.

Or, let him talk to reporters, and if he's asked, let him give a "no comment" if he wants to. Then we'd be playing the same guessing game we are now, but the press has the chance to get his thoughts on the upcoming season — not an unreasonable request considering that he's a legit star on defense this year.

The situation makes me think of how the team handled the Dadi Nicolas situation back before he became a star.

His troubles with the law made the team really secretive at first, repeatedly denying reporters the chance to talk to him, even as his role on the team expanded. Eventually, the staff relented.

And, sure, it was a bit of a circus at first. Back in those days, the team still let reporters ask players questions individually, without the press conference format that so irks the media these days. A huge crowd assembled around him, eager to figure out his status, and what exactly happened with that bike incident.

But he answered a few questions, declined to talk about it in a ton of detail, and reporters moved on. He even told a story about his family in Haiti and showed off his endearing personality, giving fans a chance to get to know him as more than just a football player who was in legal trouble once upon a time.

That's all to say that there is something to be gained with a little transparency. This staff has shown no inclination whatsoever to embrace that sort of ethos, but it's worth pointing out that it doesn't have to be this way.

Instead, it means that Hill's teammates are going to be peppered with questions until we get a straight answer one way or another. At least, that produced some optimism here.

The RB Rotation Expands

The broad consensus on Tech's running back rotation is that Deshawn McClease and Jalen Holston are the guys set to see the most time, given the promise they showed at times last season.

But Fuente today hinted at a slightly larger rotation, which doesn't invalidate that interpretation, but adds some interesting wrinkles.

It does not surprise me in the slightest to see Steven Peoples listed first here. Fuente loves talking him up, and much like the last staff, loves highlighting his work ethic.

But, sort of in the same vein as Sam Rogers back in the day, pretty much everyone involved knows that Peoples' role is fundamentally a bit limited, at least compared to McClease.

The bigger surprise, to me, is the inclusion of Terius Wheatley at the end there.

Not only is it surprising to me that he'd be described as actively battling with Holston, a guy who has a full season's worth of experience on him and showed some flashes last year, but that Wheatley would crack the rotation at all.

It seems like we haven't heard much about the redshirt freshman since he made it to Tech from Fork Union last year. And honestly, if the staff was going to work another guy into the rotation, I would've expected to see more of a role for Coleman Fox given his spring game performance, or for Cole Beck, the speedy freshman from Blacksburg.

But it seems Wheatley is getting his shot here, at least for now. I suppose his degree of success will tell us just how deep Tech is at running back.

I'll leave you tonight by observing that I don't know how anyone who didn't graduate from FSU could not be fed up with that stupid chant.


This seems like a lot of not great news. This off-season can't end fast enough.

There's always a lighthouse. There's always a man. There's always a city.

What tf does Coleman Fox have to do to make it past the Dustin Pickle phase

I just sit on my couch and b*tch. - HokieChemE2016

He mentioned moving to the slot when I talked to him today.

Dang then he's still just #8 wr and maybe the third slot guy at best right?

I just sit on my couch and b*tch. - HokieChemE2016


gain 25lb and keep his moves

Woahhhh let's slow our rolls before we start comparing people to Dustin Pickle. That man was a beautiful saint.

Gobble Till You Wobble

Found Dustin's TKP handle

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)..

Actually, no. Dustin Pickle is TKP@Dustin'sPickle. StineyDraw is a different former player.

To clarify - I'm not really Dustin Pickle, he just has an amazing name and it comes from an inside joke with friends from my time at VT. It was a toss-up between Dustin Pickle and Jahre Cheeseman for the handle.

Joke use examples:
"What do you want on your burger?" - " Just some lettuce, tomato, Dustin Pickle, and some Jahre Cheeseman"

"Did Katie find out about Stacy yet?" - "Not yet, I'm in a real Dustin Pickle."

"Line up for the picture! Everybody say JAHRE CHEESEMAN!"

All in all, more uses than one would expect.

"Dick to Hyman? DICK TO HYMAN!" - Guy in Lane Stadium crowd when Richard Johnson hit Josh Hyman on reverse pass in 2004.

Man, you had me fooled. There was a thread awhile back where someone else was saying you were the Dustin Pickle. Maybe it was sarcasm, I'm not good at detecting that in text. Or in any other way. I'm also very gullible.

Woahhhh let's slow our rolls claim our roles before...


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

He dated Miss Virginia in College. Who eventually became a case holder on Deal or No Deal. So he was winning off the field.

Craziest thing, he had tourette syndrome and would roll his neck all the time.

Real nice guy on top of all of it.


Lol made the comparison because I along with many others always thought he performed really well but all he got was scrub time and never anything more.

I just sit on my couch and b*tch. - HokieChemE2016

How dare you.

"Dick to Hyman? DICK TO HYMAN!" - Guy in Lane Stadium crowd when Richard Johnson hit Josh Hyman on reverse pass in 2004.

If healthy, I think Mihota will be fine at DT.

1-0 every week

"If healthy" is the elephant in the room though.

Let's home he's as good as the last elephant we had in the DT room

Image result for tim settle vt

"We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their behavior" Stephen M.R. Covey

“When life knocks you down plan to land on your back, because if you can look up, you can get up, if you fall flat on your face it can kill your spirit” David Wilson

I can't say enough times how much I love this picture

QB Josh Jackson said in addition to crowd noise, Tech has been playing FSU's Tomahawk Chop chant during practices. I asked if he's sick of it: "Not yet."

I think that's a good, if not weird, sign.

I bet he'll have a different answer by the end of the 1st quarter. I'm already sick of it and I haven't heard it in almost a year.

Hopefully we won't hear it much.

It's almost the only thing they play.


He's got more patience than I do then... My fiance played about 10 seconds of the damn warchant this morning before I cut it off and told her I couldnt listen to audio recorded from the short bus longer than that.

Warning- Filter lost.

"Look at this... This is just spectacular.... These people are losing their minds"

Taggart tagged Blackmon as the starter today which is probably the best option for our depleted D-line given his lack of mobility.

Me doing computer things like...

Using /s is for cowards.

This is a fake account. (@warchent, not @warchant)

Fake account, unfortunately. Francois is very likely the starter.

Sooo... I'm not exactly sure that this means but at 6'5" 181 lbs he should avoid getting hit. I don't think Blackman is one of the scarier QB's we'll face this year. Of course I say this and he'll end up winning the Heisman.

Why do I feel like we're getting Cardale Jones'd 2015 again?

Little Bobby Tables told me my signature was false

Fake account.

I'd just about bet a dollar that it will be Francios. Their passing game will be more dangerous. However, if Bud is willing for Francios to pop the occasional run, I think that move would allow an extra defender to help stop Akers, Patrick, and Laborn.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

QBs - even backups you have never heard of and "pocket" passers- break long runs on this defense without Bud "allowing" them to on purpose. That doesn't seem like a positive plan to me.

who said anything about "allowing them to on purpose" besides you?

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

"if Bud is willing"

That's how I interpreted it.

French did in the post I replied to, thanks.

Maybe Bud's willing to take the risk that Francois will "pop the occasional run" in order to prevent Cam Akers from popping many runs. But that's not the same thing as "allowing them to on purpose"... which French didn't say at all. You did.

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


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

Maybe you missed the quotes around "allowing"??

I'd just about bet a dollar that it will be Francios. Their passing game will be more dangerous. However, if Bud is willing for Francios to pop the occasional run, I think that move would allow an extra defender to help stop Akers, Patrick, and Laborn.

I don't believe that the quotes around "allowing" was meant in a tongue-in-cheek, sarcastic fingers-in-the-air quotation kind of way. I think it's pretty clear, given his subsequent follow-up, that dcwilson was quoting French's use of the word "allow". Also, I think it's pretty clear that he misapplied it to Francois running roughshod as a matter of defensive strategy (see his words "on purpose", which necessarily imply intent), whereas French actually used the word "allow" to refer to the defensive strategy of using an extra defender in the box to address FSU's running game.

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

I don't want to watch us lose either, but no defense can cover everything on every single play. Bud has to decide what facet of their offense being taken off the table impacts their ability to win the most. If a defender is spying the QB all game, he's not in position to support against the running backs or pass. Unfortunately, FSU doesn't make the choice easy by having tons of talent all over the field, but any plan that does not involve stopping the other teams best offensive weapon (in FSU's case, RB) is a much less positive plan. Even when it involves knowing you're going to open up the field somewhat for their second best weapon.

I think that move would allow an extra defender to

Allow was applied to the defender.

Remember that time VT played Ohio State and JT Barrett was their leading rusher with 24 carries for 70 yards while future NFL star Ezekiel Elliott had 8 carries for 32 yards? or were you griping about how that wasn't a "positive plan" too?

Joffrey, Cersei, Ilyn Payne, the Hound, Jeff Jagodzinski, Paul Johnson, Pat Narduzzi.

he gripes about pretty much everything soooooo

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

Yep, remember that game... nope never complained about it or posted about it on here. I was there in person, loved every minute of it. And nope, it has nothing to do with this thread.

It has everything to do with this thread, but you obviously don't see it, so... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

You're right. The defense should scheme to stop every possible offensive play all the time. What is Bud thinking?

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Jet Sweep

Yeah, because in one simple reply expanding on what French said, and even putting "allow" in quotes, THAT'S exactly what I was trying to say, yep. I said Bud should scheme to not allow a yard, stop every plan yep that's what I implied in that post, of course. And I'm the one that "stirs the pot" Jesus.

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Jet Sweep

Great article, but it's leaving me a bit uncomfortable. I'm praying Mihota is healthy, for the whole season, and, Hill is available. With all this uncertainty, the season is already looking shaky. Yeh, Bud can work magic, but I wish he didn't have to rely on that.

I have to wonder if Trevon Hill's silence has to do with his Twitter episode with Andy Bitter. I can only hope his status as off-limits to media is his punishment for that. If that's the case however, why wouldn't the coaches just come out and say that? If he is facing suspension for a game(s), then why would Walker (who should know the game plan for FSU better than anybody) show such confidence in Hill's participation? Are the coaches keeping their own players in the dark about a possible suspension in order to prevent the opponent from learning about it too? Do the players already know and are acting like they don't in order to achieve the same secrecy towards their opponent? The more I know, the less I understand...

Honestly if this is punishment for that incident with Andy Bitter, then I'd feel a lot better. Not talking to the media as punishment is way better than an academic or legal problem. Maybe keeping him in the dark is punishment as well. Regardless, I hope he plays and plays as well as he has been.

*Rumors* I've caught wind of indicate some sort of "knucklehead" behavior. Which clearly could include the spat with Bitter. But a problematic _pattern_ of behavior seems more likely.

Yeah, I agree. While the Bitter thing may have played some part in it, based on a few of his recent tweets, it seems like something else is going on.



Bleeding burnt orange and chicago maroon

in the same vein as Sam Rogers back in the day, pretty much everyone involved knows that Peoples' role is fundamentally a bit limited

Forget "nice" things, why can't we just have decent things?

What's the word on T. Hill? Not hearing good things.