Shannon: We Need Football Players

Randy Shannon addressed yesterday's performance and talked about what this team needs in order to take steps in the right direction. Read on to see what he's saying...

GAME HITS

THE GOOD:
o The young kids, specifically wide receiver Leonard Hankerson stepped in and made some plays.
o The return game was solid, especially with the fourth string return group in.
o The team threw the ball well.
o Kyle Wright played tough.

THE BAD:
o Wright believed that Virginia Tech's blitzes caused him a lot of trouble on Saturday.
- Virginia Tech came at the team with a lot of ‘corner fire' and FS blitzes on Saturday. Shannon said it was nothing they didn't prepare against during practice.
o Dropped balls and turnovers. Turnovers are always unacceptable.

• The team didn't step up and make plays. They didn't execute. They played really hard, but no one was there to make plays. The team needs players to step up and make plays when the team needs them.

• The team struggled running the ball and that is credited to Coach Foster who had his team playing well.

TEAM HITS

• For those that have gotten on the staff to take accountability for their own jobs, Randy was adamant with getting the following points across:
o The coaching staff needs to do a better job at getting the players to do what the coaches want them to do.
o That he (Randy Shannon) needed to get his team and his coaches with his "mentality." He followed it up by saying that the team won't be successful until that happens. And if he can get the team to get his "mentality" then that is when you'll see a turning point with this team. This change in mind set is a learning process and Shannon feels that it is his responsibility.
- Earlier this season, he saw a lot of "talent" on this team in terms of athleticism. However, Randy admits, he didn't take in all of those "other" things that make a football player and he says it is one of the most important things he has learned this season.
- He goes on and details his "mentality"…look out for an article on this topic later on tonight.

• On this same topic, Shannon told reporters that Coach Nix told him that he (Nix) is responsible for and needs to be the guy to better teach Kyle Wright about the blitz pickup.
o Shannon further said that if the coaches are preparing the players for plays and schemes in practice and they aren't getting it…that is coaching.

• The culture change is simple…they need to win games. The coach is the man that needs to change the culture. "Put all of the responsibility on me," Shannon said.
o He needs to get this team to learn how to win.

• In a roundabout way, Shannon feels that the team needs an upgrade in talent. And not from the perspective of athleticism, because the team has a lot of it. But from the standpoint of getting "football players." He cited the NFL as an example and said the reason many teams struggle in because they draft athletes and the teams that are successful draft football players.

• This team has another opportunity to make a bowl game, and that this week's game versus Boston College will be very difficult. If this team fails to make a bowl game, it will be a big disappointment. He said that these seniors deserve to play in a bowl game.

• The learning curve has been steep for him this year. Right now, he is focused on giving this team a solid foundation. He has talked to many coaches who say to him that they are already seeing the bigger picture.

• At the end of the season he'll go back and reassess and evaluate his team and the support staff.

PLAYER HITS

Sam Shields and Ryan Hill are "starting to come around." Shannon is very proud of those two players. They both practiced well this week and responded well. Shannon now expects them to continue and grow.
o He said his job is to not just be a coach, but to be a parent. As a parent, he said, "you just can't quit on your kids."

• Shannon does not want to grade players as individuals on a game-by-game performance, rather that of the team as a whole.

• Again, Shannon cited the play of Orlando Franklin and Joel Figueroa as one of the brightest spots on the team and that their play has been very good.

• Leonard Hankerson was mentioned as a bright spot. He scored the first TD of his career.

• The team's play at linebacker has been up and down. Injuries and the learning curve have been tough.

• He is going to encourage the players to run track this spring. Shawnbrey McNeal, Demarcus Van Dyke, Lee Chambers, and some receivers and defensive backs will also run. He noted that none of them are world class sprinters, so they will get beat. But, it will be a learning experience and feel that the knowledge they will learn there will make them more competitive on the football field.

INJURY REPORT

• Shannon said that the injury report will be available after 1:30pm today. Since no one will be there, he said he'll get back to the media on Tuesday.

• Safety Kenny Phillips was banged up during the game.

• Running back Graig Cooper did not make the trip to Blacksburg.

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