Our team is preparing for a very talented and very good Virginia Tech football team. A typical Frank Beamer coached team. Virginia Tech is solid in all three phases of the game, and they've got some mojo going right now. They're really playing really well in all three phases. So we've got our work cut out for us this week."
Larry, I want to know, Virginia Tech's defense figures to be in their nickel package against you. What is the key to their run defense when they are in that nickel package?
"Well, they've got those -- they've got a really good front, and especially those two guys inside, Hopkins and Maddy are two -- they're playing extremely well inside right now. Then you take 58, Jack Tyler, the inside linebacker, who's playing really well as a redshirt senior.
"And that's really the key to stopping the run there with those guys. They've been able to do that. Having a lot of success because they're really good on the back end."
And what do you see from the secondary? Obviously, they've got some young guys there. They're getting Antone Exum back. What do you expect from the secondary?
"Well, I expect really good play. Both are playing really well. So is the Facyson kid. They've got two freshmen back there that are playing really good. And the Jarrett kid's really -- he's been back there. A lot of those guys have been back there. And then Exum's coming back. I don't know where they're putting him or what their plan is. They've got some really good players in that secondary."
It looks like at the end of this game both starting quarterbacks are somewhat banged up. How does that affect your preparation on both sides of the ball, or does it at all knowing that Logan Thomas and Bryn Renner aren't quite 100 percent?
"It really doesn't change what we do in preparation, either offensively or defensively, because you-- I mean, you prepare as a football team for guys to be beat up. Guys play when they're beat up. That's just part of it.
"So it really doesn't change what we do. Logan Thomas is-- he's a heck of a football player. I mean, he's-- he just continues to lead that football team and do a great job. So I anticipate him playing, I really do. So we're going full speed ahead as if Logan's ready to go."
Larry, as the previous caller noted, Bryn's a little banged up too, and we saw he was in a walking boot earlier this week. Just how banged up is he going into this game?
"Well, he wasn't in a boot in practice yesterday. So I mean, he seemed to be moving around pretty good. I think, as of right now, everything seems to be fine."
And in terms of your run game, it's obviously a concert with everything you do on offense, but have you seen more struggles with your offensive line or maybe with your backs trying to gain consistency and can find some holes?
"I think it's a combination of both, I really do. I don't think that we've had any real consistency at all, and some of that has been game situations that, you know, either we got out of our game plan or had to adjust our game plan, and some of it is continuity up front, some of it is backs.
"So it's a total combination of everything, and we are continuing to work hard at it to try to make it all come together."
I was just wondering if you could comment on how difficult it is to prepare for a Frank Beamer team and how impressive is it that he's been a head coach at the same school for more than a quarter century?
"That is -- that's unbelievable. I don't know if really people realize how hard that is and the success that Frank's had over there and what a great job he's done in Blacksburg.
"Just a tremendous person, tremendous coach. He's got a great staff that's been with him for a long time. Those guys-- I can promise you, Bud Foster's going to have that defense jacked up. They're going to play extremely hard, as they've been playing, and they're going to play really well.
"They are moving the ball on offense and doing the things that they feel like they can do with Logan and the talent level they have, and you know their reputation, special teams is always going to precede itself. They're always going to be solid in special teams and do a good job. "A Frank Beamer coached football team is always going to be extremely well coached. Kids are going to be put into position to play, and they've always got players."
What about Foster's defense? What makes him special? They change players all the time, but they still seem to be pretty good.
"I think a lot of it, you have to give credit to Bud Foster. He is the one constant on that defense for sure, and he's got guys on the staff that have been with him for a long time. So you've got to give them all credit. They do a great job of recruiting for their defense, and they basically base out of a 4-2-5 that I think is a great scheme, and I think the guys that they recruit fit those schemes very well, and I think they do a great job with it."
Larry, going back to Andrea's question about the running game for a second, how close is C.J. Logan to being ready? And at what point in the season do you kind of start to wonder if it's worth lifting a kid's redshirt just to get him some game action?
"Well, I think it's still early to make that decision. I mean, we look at pretty much at the halfway mark where we feel a guy is and how-- whether or not he can really help us be successful or not. T.J.'s getting much closer. I mean, he is-- he's getting reps in practice and doing some good things. And so it could be any time now."
Is there any chance we could see him Saturday?
"There is a chance."
In the run game or in the special teams return game?
Hey, Coach Larry, talk about playing down in Blacksburg. How difficult is that stadium for a visiting team to play against the Hokies?
"I've talked to a lot of people. I've actually never been there. But I know I've talked to a lot of people about it, coaches that have been there. They all talk about the fans that they have, the great support that they have. It's always -- it's going to be loud. It's a great game day setting.
"It's part of what makes college football such a great sport is the atmosphere that they create. And so we understand that going into the game, and hopefully our guys will be prepared for it."
How is the quarterback for you guys, Bryn? His father was a punter for Virginia Tech. What's his mindset going back to his dad's stadium?
"You know what, we haven't even talked about that. I'm not sure. I'm sure his dad -- you know, it brings back memories for his dad, but I don't know that that will affect the way Bryn thinks going into the game."
How difficult it is as a coach to maintain a high motivation for your team every game. I was referring to, I guess, some of the comments that one of your players made after the East Carolina game. Maybe the players weren't as pumped up as they should have been for that game. Is that a difficult thing for a coach?
"That part of it is a coach's nightmare. I would say that's the toughest thing we have to do in coaching. That is, to get your team to play at a high level each and every Saturday for 12 Saturdays. I think it is probably the most difficult thing we do. I think you can look anywhere in the country on any given Saturday, and you find it where a team doesn't play up to their capabilities. A lot of-- I mean, that's probably the majority of it is just the mindset of the players on the field that day."
You guys certainly came out and played with a lot of fire down in Atlanta the week earlier. Do you think it will be easier this week with a Virginia Tech team that, even though you beat them last year, it was obviously a quality team and a tough opponent that I'm sure -- I'm guessing would be easier to prepare them for.
" don't know if there's any part of coaching that's easy. I think you work extremely hard, and you do the best job you can to prepare your kids each and every week to play at that high level, and that is ultimately my responsibility as a head football coach.
"We didn't get it done last week, and I can't tell you that we're preparing any differently because I believe in the way we prepare. And so hopefully, I'll do a better job of getting our guys ready to play on Saturday."