by Will Stewart, TechSideline.com, 3/12/97
celebrate Hokie Central's first birthday (the site debuted on March 12, 1996), I went
through my archives and accumulated some quotes and thoughts from the first year. I
actually only used the archives from the 1996 calendar year, so none of the material since
the new year was used.
I hope you enjoy what I've come up with here, because I had a great (but sometimes
not-so-great) time reading over the last year's events and thoughts. Have fun! -- Will.
This first birthday celebration is divided up into three sections:
QUOTES FROM HOKIE CENTRAL'S FIRST YEAR
- Quotes from the first year
- Quotes from 1996 football game reports
- Hokie Central's Year One Awards
word of warning - I used the HTML "Blockquote" tag in the following quotes. I
know it'll look okay in Netscape, but I can't vouch for what it'll look like in Internet
Explorer or Mosaic.
Looking into the Crystal Ball
There are times when we look into the crystal ball and we're absolutely psychic,
but more often than not, well ... it's a little foggy in there.
" What compounds Miami's mistake even further (the Canes had scheduled us for
Homecoming) is that the game is on November 16th, our 9th game of the year. By then, our
young defensive line will have jelled, and Miami will be in for it. Mark my words.
-- from the 4/9/96 archive
" Now, it's April of 1996, Tech is a big-time player in college football, and all
of a sudden, our guys can't stay out of jail. "
-- from the 4/16/96 archive (I had no idea how much worse it would get)
" I don't think we're good enough to be Big East champions right now or even
contend for it. But maybe if we can get the chemistry right and get this thing together
next fall, we could have a shot. But right now I don't think we make enough plays. I don't
think defensively we're as strong as we need to be. "
-- Frank Beamer, as quoted in the 4/23/96 archive (fortunately, he was WAY wrong)
" Third (in the Big East) is about where we belong, I think. With road games at SU
and Miami, as a matter of fact, I would be satisfied with a third place finish this year,
mainly because it would take us the one place we haven't been the last three years - Joe
Robbie Stadium in Miami and the Car Quest Bowl (pretty lame, huh? Being happy about third
place because I'd get to go to Miami? What's happening to me?) I would be pretty happy
with a second place finish, and ecstatic with a first place finish. "
-- from the 8/18/96 archive (okay, I'm ecstatic. We got to go to "Joe
Robbie" for a different reason)
" Roanoke's Channel 10 is reporting that Marcus Parker's season is over. "
-- from the 10/1/96 archive (Greg Roberts gets one wrong)
" ... beware, Dan Henning: I think your days are numbered. "
-- from the 10/1/96 archive (the BC football coach was later fired)
" Why Tech Should Win Against Syracuse "
-- from the 10/1/96 archive (that was the title of an ill-fated piece I wrote in which
I learned NOT to make game predictions. Syracuse 52, Virginia Tech 21)
" This year smacks of 1994, a year in which the Hokies went 8-4, which sounds
good, but you never really felt good about the Hokies all year long. And when we lost, we
lost BIG that year. "
-- from the 11/12/96 archive (Tech righted their football ship a few days later
against ECU and never looked back)
" All I've got to say about the interception streak is ... go Druck! "
-- from the 12/5/96 archive (Jim would later break UVa's NCAA record-setting streak of
games with an interception)
" The good news is, Tech won 66-50. The bad news is, the team, looks, uh ...
-- from the 12/19/96 archive (the Hokie basketball team would struggle with the act of
putting the ball in the basket all season long)
Here are some of the more
amusing quotes from the 1996 Hokie Central archives.
" Well, that's me and the Hokies. I'll bet that if you put a beeper on my hip and
set it off at random, that 50% of the time it went off, I'd be thinking about the Hokies.
-- from the 4/16/96 archive (and people wonder why I do Hokie Central)
" And what in the heck kinda name is Tiki anyway? Was his mother watching
that 2-part Brady Bunch episode in Hawaii while she was in labor? "
-- from the 9/17/96 archive (reader Dion Pifer vents his rage at Tiki Barber's
pointless "Tiki for Heisman" campaign)
" Lastly, the latest news is that as of Friday night, 1/3 of the Lane Stadium goal
posts are in front of Burruss, 1/6 is in the Duckpond, and another sixth were sitting
behind Arnold's. "
-- from the 12/5/96 archive (Hokies were celebrating Tech's first home victory over
UVa since 1990)
QUOTES FROM THE 1996 FOOTBALL GAME REPORTS
" We'll let you off the hook this time, Advance Auto, but next time, be careful,
because I might just take Part #57 and kick you right in Part #23 if you do that again.
-- from the 12/19/96 archive (that was written in response to Advance Auto Parts
flying a banner over Lane Stadium during the UVa game that said, "Advance Auto Parts
Salutes Tiki Barber!")
no doubt that football is the marquee sport at Virginia Tech. When I write my football
game reports, I try to capture a little of the excitement that takes place on the field.
Here's a few quotes I found in the 1996 football game reports that I thought you'd enjoy.
Virginia Tech 21, Akron 18
" All right, all right, Hokie fans, calm down. I know you're hating the fact that
we only beat Akron's mighty Zips by 3, and I'm not going to dress this pig of a game up in
silk, but the bottom line is, we won. That's more than you can say about the BC
opener a year ago. "
-- a succint recap of a forgettable game
Virginia Tech 45, Boston College 7
" People have been asking me for the last two days if Tech was that good or BC was
that bad, and I've been telling them that it was a combination of both. "
-- the Hokies came out smoking and pounded an Eagles team that had dealt them a
painful loss the year before
Virginia Tech 30, Rutgers 14
" It was late in the first quarter or early in the second. Tech was cruising with
a 14-0 lead and a perfectly thrown ball was falling out of the sky into Angelo Harrison's
hands for a 56-yard TD that was going to bury Rutgers and officially commence the blowout.
Awestruck by the sheer perfection of the pass, the fans in Lane Stadium fell utterly
silent as Druckenmiller's rain-maker descended from the ozone.
The next sound was a resounding groan when Harrison dropped it. Number 83 clapped his
hands to his head and collapsed onto the end zone turf.
After that, things got interesting for a while. "
-- the Hokies would go on to struggle against a Rutgers team they should have crushed
" Who would have thought that the Hokies would start the season ranked #15 in the
AP, go 3-0, and drop 3 spots in the poll? "
-- from here on out ... ME
Syracuse 52, Virginia Tech 21
" But now, we're back where where we started. We're hanging around the fringes of
the Top 25, looking like a good-but-not-great football team. We'll probably end up
somewhere between 2nd and 4th in the Big East, and we'll go to a bowl, hopefully the Car
Quest or Gator Bowl. "
-- hmmm ... wrong again
Virginia Tech 38, Temple 0
" The sight of huge Hokie linemen bearing down on helpless 170-pound defensive
backs makes me giggle with glee. "
-- referring to Tech's patented flanker screen play
" Temple had no answer for Myron's blitzes up the middle. At least three times, he
came untouched up the middle on the snap of the ball, and he was on Burris so fast that
the Temple QB couldn't have dialed 9-1-1 if you spotted him the first two numbers. "
-- the human dynamo named Myron Newsome will be dearly missed
Virginia Tech 34, Pittsburgh 17
" On defense, Pitt didn't do a whole lot right, but they didn't get destroyed
either. They came into the game with one of the worst defenses in the country,
statistically, prompting me to write that they "couldn't stop a dead gnat in a
driving rainstorm." It turns out that Pitt played like a team who could tackle a
good-size grasshopper in a medium rainshower. "
-- that's not the only time I've said something weird while typing late at night, and
it won't be the last
" The problem at punter has been fixed. Jimmy Kibble isn't crushing the ball (38
yard average on Saturday), but he gets the kicks off with no drama, and with John Thomas
suspended indefinitely for an unspecified violation, Kibble may not have any competition
The problem at punt returner, however, did not go away with Walter Ford. "
-- once Shawn Scales started returning punts, though, the drama finally went out of
special teams play
Virginia Tech 47, Southwest Louisiana 16
" Its rare that you score 47 points and feel as if the offense didnt
play well, but thats what happened to the Hokies against SW Louisiana last Saturday.
-- we should have had that problem against Nebraska, huh?
" My answer to all that? A big, fat, So what? I read that prior to the
SW Louisiana game, the Hokies had been inside the red zone 23 times and had scored 20 of
those times, including 16 touchdowns. If they want to have a mediocre day at the office,
then so be it. After all, I did a poor job of playing the role of Hokie
Central on Saturday, so if the boys want to have an off day, thats fine by me.
Do you do a great job at work every day? Huh? Dont lie to me.... "
-- nice attitude!
" And for one game at least, the Hokies found a kick returner. Shawn Scales ...
-- we also found a hell of guy, too
Virginia Tech 35, East Carolina 14
" How did I love this game? Let me count the ways? "
-- the Hokies roared back from the Brawl suspensions earlier in the week and buried
ECU on a frigid night at Lane Stadium in a dominating performance
" The key question for Tech is this: is this game just another flash in the pan,
like the BC and Temple games were? Or is this the beginning of another patented Hokie
sprint to the finish line? "
-- the "key answer" is this: it was a sprint, thank you very much
Virginia Tech 21, Miami 7
" Funny thing is, we didnt win the game in the manner that most people
thought we would. Conventional wisdom held that the Hokies were going to run the ball up
the gut on Miami, where Techs offensive line held a 30+ pound advantage on
Miamis smallish tackles. A repeat of Techs 300-yard performance against the
Canes last year was not out of the question. "
-- instead, Jim Druckenmiller and the entire Hokie defense led the way
" Miamis next drive started at the 2, however, and the Hokies started to
show signs of life defensively. In one of the more remarkable plays of the game, on third
down, Brandon Semones blitzed, wrapped up Ryan Clement, and when Clement dumped the ball
off to the fullback, Brandon jumped back up off the ground and made the tackle.
Phenomenal play. Miami punted, and they would not score again. "
-- Semones was the model of courage and consistency all year long
" How did you feel when Miami was driving down the field in the last two minutes?
Were you worried? Did you think the Hokies were going to lose? Two or three years ago, I
would have been right there with you, sweating bullets, convincing myself that the Hokies
had come this far only to lose at the end. "
-- but those days are gone, for reasons that I detailed in the paragraphs that
" In the next three plays, Tony Gaiter didnt catch the ball, and Keion
Carpenter did. "
-- those two plays (Gaiter's drop at the goal line and Keion's 100 yard INT return)
are woven into the fabric of Hokie football lore forever
" In the end, the biggest thing this win does is allow us to continue dreaming. We
still have a shot at an Alliance Bowl, if we beat WVU and Miami beats Syracuse. We may or
may not have to beat UVa in order to go to the Alliance. That all depends on the rankings.
-- as I'm fond of saying, we all know how THAT came out
Virginia Tech 31, West Virginia 14
" In the final analysis, what lost the game for WVU was the inability to stop
Techs passing game and their own inability to consistently execute on offense. There
were no special teams nightmares here - WVU just got outplayed by a better team. "
-- Chad Johnston was WVU's achilles heel the entire year
" First of all, I dont believe that Dunlap was given the green light by
Nehlen to make those (pre-game) bulletin-board statements. Techs offensive line
includes two NFL draft picks (Hagood and Conaty), three if you count Jennings. Techs
line is big and theyre quick. The last thing you want to do is insult them the week
before a big game by saying that they cheat. That was just stupid.
As for Nehlen, when the head coach is sniping about the opposing QBs mouthpiece,
Im asking myself, In all those hours of game film that you watched,
THATs what you noticed about Druckenmiller? Where are Nehlens
priorities, with a huge conference game coming up? Theres no way youre going
to rattle Jim Big Game Druckenmiller, who is so cool that hes listed
with the EPA as an environmentally safe replacement for CFCs. "
-- much was made of Dunlap's comments about Tech's offensive line committing
"blatant" holding, as well as Nehlen's statements about Druck and his
mouthpiece. I couldn't resist a few barbs afterwards
" I watched the (post-game) prayer meeting closely, and I can report that
Druckenmiller was wearing his mouthpiece, and none of Tech's offensive linemen were
committing holding against WVU's defensive linemen. "
-- more barbs
Virginia Tech 26, Virginia 9
" Not this time. This is a guy (Tiki Barber) whos gotten around the corner
on Michigan and Florida State, two of college footballs most storied programs, and
neither one of them had a player who could catch Tiki. But neither one of them had Torrian
Gray. 80 yards after Barber had broken into the clear, Gray ran him down, hooked his
shoulder pads, and pulled him to the turf. UVa would have to settle for a field goal, and
the tone of the game was established for Techs defense: take your best shot, but
youre not getting into the end zone. "
-- Gray's rundown of Tiki Barber also goes down in Tech football history
" Tech put the game away with their last TD after that, pulling an end-around out
of the hat that hadnt been seen all year. When Shawn Scales took the ball from
Marcus Parker at about the 25 yard line, he had a convoy of five blockers waiting for him
on the other side of the field. Once again, the Cavalier defense had overpursued, and once
again, Ricky Bustle made them pay for it. "
-- I loved seeing Scales, a class act all the way, get that TD
" Youre probably the best team weve played all year. "
-- that was George Welsh's unforgettable statement to Frank Beamer when they shook
hands at midfield after the game
" I stood in the stands for a while and watched the drunks attack the goal posts.
It took them a while to get them down (because theyre building em better these
days), and once they were done, it was hysterical to watch the crowds carry them around.
In case youre wondering, the goal posts are about $3,000 apiece, and remarkably,
theyre covered by insurance. With Techs track record, who would be dumb enough
to insure the darn things? "
-- I already told you (further up the page) where they would eventually wind up
The Orange Bowl: Nebraska 41, Virginia Tech 21
" Big, strong, deeper team wears Hokies down. There's your game analysis. "
-- I went on to write more stuff, anyway
" The Hokie fans were their usual, hysterical selves. There's nothing quite like
the crowds Tech has seen at the Sugar and Orange Bowls the last two years. Those fans are
the hardcore fans, the ones who go nuts, and when you've waited a month and travelled
about a thousand miles to see a game ... well, then you do get a little crazy when it
For those of you who weren't there, I wish you could have been in Tech's corner of the
end zone when Marcus Parker scored the Hokies' first TD. I mean, it was insane. "
-- I nearly sprained an ankle jumping around in the stands after that TD
HOKIE CENTRAL'S YEAR ONE AWARDS
" Tech has reached the status of a powerhouse program, in my opinion, bolstered by
longevity in the coaching staff and one of the best strength and conditioning coaches in
the country. We'll be back. Get used to success, because we've got the key ingredients in
place to keep it going. "
-- here's to hoping that my crystal ball is CLEAR on that prediction!
threw some awards together off the top of my head, without much thought, so don't hang me
out to dry if you disagree with any of them. They're definitely football and
basketball-oriented, so if you've got any awards you want to add to these, or any
disagreements, post them on the message board. I'd like to hear from you!
Story of the Year: the string of arrests and negative
publicity put together by the football team. No contest.
Runner-up: Tech's second straight BE championship and Alliance Bowl invitation, Yubrenal
Isabelle's "commitment," improvements in facilities at Tech
Athlete of the Year: Jim Druckenmiller.
Runner-ups: Ken Oxendine, Ace Custis
Man of the Year: (tie) Brandon Semones and Shawn Scales
Runner-ups: Ace Custis, Dave Braine
Football Game of the Year: (tie) the ECU win and the Miami
Runner-ups: Nebraska, and Virginia
Football Play of the Year: Keion Carpenter's 100 yard
interception return against Miami
Runner-ups: Torrian Gray running down Tiki Barber, Cornell Brown's interception of a WVU
Football Performance of the Year: Ken Oxendine's 150
yards+ rushing against Nebraska
Runner-ups: Cornell Brown's domination of WVU, Druckenmiller's game against Miami
Basketball Game of the Year: Virginia Tech 63, UMass 47
Runner-up: Virginia Tech 43, GW 41
Basketball Play of the Year: Ace's game-winner against GW
Runner-up: nothing else came close
Basketball Performance of the Year: Troy Manns' 30 points
Runner-up: Ace's 16 points and 14 boards against Rhode Island in the A-10 tournament
Bumper Sticker of the Year: "Women at VMI? What Next?
Men at UVa?"
Runner-up: "If God Isn't a Hokie, Then Why Do the Leaves Turn Orange and Maroon in
Question of the Year: "Coach, when are we going to
start throwing the ball to Bryan Jennings?"
Runner-up: "Dave, when are we going to improve the out of conference football
TSL Columnists Archives