Publisher's Note: Nico Naha contributed to this transcription.
Alright let's skip all the needless small talk. Give me the questions. ODU this week, let's go. You guys don't care about the opening statements. Let's go.
Injury updates. Anything long term coming out of Saturday?
We will be without [Jalen] Holston for a little while.
[Zachariah] Hoyt too?
I don't know about all the rest.We will be without Jalen for a little while.
Coach you played a couple of your true freshman Keshawn King and Tayvion Robinson in prominent roles. What did you see from them and how do you think they adjusted from kind of going from playing in front of friends and family to 35-40,000 on national TV.
Well they were productive. There are a lot of things that we've gotta, just speaking about those two guys in particular they've gotta get better at. I think Tayvion got a little tired and at times didn't play as fast as he needs to play in order to be a productive every down player. Keshawn was not in there for as long of stretches. So that didn't happen to him quite as much, but I thought they handled the moment. Like I said, they were productive when they were in there. They, like the rest of us, have plenty of things to work on as we move forth.
The ODU game last year was actually a pretty big turning point in the season. How do you feel like your team, a year later, has responded to that or dealt with the adversity that came out of that game?
That was obviously a big event.The next week we came out and played the best game we had all year against a really good Duke team. How we've handled adversity. I think our guys have done a great job of that. I think we can continue to preach that. I'm not trying to get corny, but things don't always go your way in football, in life. You can't just sit around and complain about it. You gotta stand up and roll your sleeves up and go back to work. I think our guys understand that. I think they're anxious to go play again.
I think for us this week it's about all the things that we need to go improve on as a football team. In terms of, in all three phases of the game, preparation wise, there's kind of two phases of that game, and last week we battled, played hard, all those sorts of things which are good things and we can't lose that. But we've also got to obtain this level of consistent play from all of our guys. Not just our young guys, but some of our older guys. We've gotta play at a higher execution level while maintaining this level of effort and discipline and toughness. That'll be our focus this week as we move into the ODU game.
Have you reviewed some of the turnovers from this past Saturday? Were there any that were particularly galling to you or did you think that most of them were correctible issues for Ryan [Willis] in particular?
Well I think that they are correctable. I think that one, the screen was a little bit kind of in between, kind of a tough deal to be honest with ya. If we get it over his head, I think that we've got a big play. But there's some things in there that we've gotta do a better job teaching. A better job learning and executing. I think that we should be able to.
With the offensive line, how did you think they did in the run game specifically?
Well we've gotta run the football better. That falls on everybody. That falls on the quarterback, it falls on the coaches, it falls on the offensive line, and the running backs. We've all gotta do a better job. We get the ball to the unblocked hat a few times. We've gotta make him miss and get more yards. We've gotta get the ball to the unblocked hat on a more consistent basis as well. Plenty to work on there.
Do you think that with Holston out. You weren't sure if King, how much of a role in he'd have in the first couple weeks. Do you think that he's ready for a more increased role with [Deshawn] McClease.
It's kind of to the point where he'd better be. I mean the line is getting short.
Coach obviously the first home game of the season. Just talk about the excitement of that. It's gotta be a fun opportunity to get a home opener. Right?
Sure is. We're excited to play in front of our fans. These kids have worked incredibly hard. Looking forward to getting a chance to kind of show how hard we're going to go play for the Hokie Nation.
Coach going back to Keshawn. What about his game makes you think that he can step up into this more increased role.
It's a small sample size so far. I just know he's got, he's some explosiveness, some quickness. He's got some genuine toughness. Doesn't seem to be in awe of what he's being asked to do. He just kind of goes out there and plays ball. I think he genuinely enjoys the game, enjoys getting out there and competing. You like to see that from these young guys.
How do you feel about the pace of the offense you guys kind of had a few extended methodical drives. Would you prefer to be faster at times? What was your kind of thoughts on the pace of the offense.
To me the pace should be manipulated. At times you'd like to be able to push the pace a little bit, and at times you try to slow it down a little bit. I don't know, I'd like for it to be a mix. I've always said that I do not believe in, and some people do, in going as fast as you can all the time. I just don't think that's productive for your entire team. I think it's good for yards and stats and that sort of stuff, but I don't think it's good for your entire team. Some balance in between there of those two is kind of what we're shooting for.
You said you wanted to reserve comment on Brock's [Hoffman] situation until it was decided finally that came in last week. Can you now kind of share some impressions of kind of how the last couple weeks unfolded. What happened and kind of your take on it.
Yeah I'd be happy to if you'd like. I think there's a lot of different ways to look at it. At the risk of sounding like a guy that's just up here complaining. I'm gonna try not to do that. You look at Brock and his family and what they've been through and how they've handled the situation there in. I think its admirable. He's a kid that did not quit on his football team. He did not leave them in the middle of the year. He did not leave them right at the beginning of the year, when some people have. In my estimation, he went about this thing the right way and was penalized for it, and I think that's unfortunate.
When you look at the decision that's one thing and then you look at the process with which we got to this decision that's another thing. The process to say that it's disappointing would be an understatement. What we put that family through, or what the NCAA put that family through in terms of requesting information. Chasing their tail for lack of a better term constantly every time providing feedback, requesting new and different information every time the family, doing everything they can to provide that information, and then again requesting different subjects and different questions and then ultimately having it come down to the timing of his decision to leave. It's pretty disappointing. Like I said a young man that stuck with his team, that tried to make it work, that tried to go do things, that tried to commute, that tried to not leave his guys, and ultimately he was penalized for that. And I think it's disappointing, but I think we can learn a lot from Brock. I really do.
Things didn't go Brock's way and you know what he did? He showed up and he went down there and he ran the scout team. And he busted his tail doing that. And he had to lift with our developmental group. You know what he did? He led that freshman group in their developmental lift. This is a guy that doesn't let other people determine his attitude or his effort. And I think that's admirable. And I think we could all learn a lesson from Brock. And I'm certainly not lecturing to everyone else I'm just admiring the young man. We talked about when you're in a certain environment do you let that environment change you or do you try to change the environment, and Brock has done a fantastic job not allowing what he's been through to change him and who he is and what he's about. He's a fantastic student. Makes great grades. I'm disappointed for him because I've seen how he works and how he interacts and I also saw firsthand how he went about trying to do the right thing and it didn't work out.
Just one more question about it. I know during the season I know you're sort of removed from the process, but is that something you tell Whit [Babcock] or administration like look we should push to get, this should be on the rule change docket or this should be something that I want to see information?
We have those discussions as a group. And the ACC coaches have a discussion. And we have someone from the NCAA come in and they present it to us. It's interesting. And Whit is on one of those councils or boards, however you describe it, and we have those conversations about a myriad of things. And I appreciate Whit for listening on those things. But the key is, ya change, but what does that look like? It's like I tell our coaches all the time it doesn't take anyone to point out the problems. It takes somebody with some intelligence and some thought to create some solutions. Standing around and for a lack of a better term just bitching about the problems does us no good. Finding ways to try to create solutions is the answer. And there have been some good suggestions that I think merit conversation. And you all would probably be surprised to hear my thoughts. I'm not going to give them to you now, but you'd probably be surprised to hear my thoughts on the amateur models. Probably different that what you think it is. But I do think it would be wise for us to get people that are genuinely vested in the best interest of collegiate sports and these kids together to try to find an amicable solution to our model and transfer policy, waiver policy is just one of them. But that's easier said than done. Here I am again just pointing out the problems and not giving a solution.
Bud [Foster] said the defensive performance in the first half wasn't really what the group had shown all along. Was that your same impression, that they looked a little more like themselves the second half?
The third quarter I thought we were pretty good. We just weren't, I don't know what the word is, as sharp or as aggressive, as I really thought we'd be starting out the game. Played defense a little bit on our heels there. And it hurt us there in the first half, in the second half. We're playing a good offense. They're gonna have some success, but we buckled down and played much better in the second half.
Coach, not to harp on the Brock stuff, but —
The decision itself is disappointing, but you got a lot of national attention. Scott Van Pelt dedicated the whole segment to kind of talk about it. Does that kind of galvanize your group or is it at least cool to see the support you've gotten nationwide on that whole situation?
Certainly. Creating discussion on what we're dealing with I think is important. Again, I go back to meaningful discussion is important. Typing on your phone, complaining on your phone is not meaningful discussion. But finding solutions to what we're dealing with, how we're legislating these issues, I think if it creates that, if it creates more meaningful discussion. More intelligent people joining the conversation to try and find an amicable solution, then I think that's a positive.
You were headed to the game. You knew it was going to be hot. You're playing a team that plays two tight ends a lot and is big up front. Likes to run the ball so you knew you were going to have to rotate a lot of defensive linemen which you guys do anyway. You played, what, nine defensive linemen I think it was. How'd you think a lot of those young guys did especially considering everything they were facing in that game?
I think they played like we, like what they are, which is really talented young players. Certainly there's room for improvement. I think we saw flashes of them doing what we think they can do, particularly I'm talking about the inside guys. I'm excited about that. What they can be. We don't have time to put them on the shelf and let them marinate. They're going to have to get out there and get ready to go. They're part of, they're certainly not the only part of, this is all encompassing in our team, they're part of the improvement we got to make moving forward. Continue to teach and bring those guys forward. Now it's a whole different animal. That's the part that's hard for young players is we're playing a completely different offense now, completely different set of issues and completely different, and you only have, whatever it is, five days to get ready for them now. It's not two weeks. That's part of the challenge for us and those young guys.
[TyJuan] Garbutt was injured on the first series and Coach Foster said that play might've been a blind side block. I don't know if you've had a chance to look at it but he had complained about that rule, what a blindside block is. I was just curious if you had looked at it was it, did it fit that definition?
I did look at it and we turned it in and we'll see. My opinion doesn't matter. We'll turn it in. I'm anxious to get the interp from the league to see if we are all on the same page of what we're looking for and how the block is going to be officiated.
Is that hard to teach, what that rule is?
It's been a little bit challenging. Like a lot of things, I don't think the rule is bad. It's just all of the fringe plays out there trying to make sure you're teaching everything correctly to your players. Probably like everything else, you'll probably have some innocent guys get penalties that are trying to do it the right way in the name of safety I think that type of collateral damage is a good thing for our game. But we've drilled it and we've spent time with it because it affects everybody too. Affects the guys on defense as well. So we think we've done a good job teaching it. I'm anxious to see what the league thinks of that play and how it's going to be officiated.
So they'll tell you if they should have called a penalty?
We turn it in and say in my opinion this should be called. Give me the interp tell them to talk to me and they'll say either yes it should have been or no it shouldn't, this is why, and sometimes if you're not satisfied you just pick up the phone and call them saying coach me through this so we can coach our players. That's all we want.