The two coordinators of Virginia Tech, Bud Foster of the defense and Bryan Stinespring of the offense, were joined by sophomore wide receiver Danny Coale and senior defensive end Nekos Brown in a scheduled press conference at the Georgia Dome on Tuesday afternoon.
The coaches and student-athletes provided media with their perspectives on the upcoming bowl opponent in Southeastern Conference foe Tennessee.
A successful outing for Virginia Tech Thursday night will most likely have to start with a disciplined defensive squad that hasn't allowed a second half point over the last half of the season.
For a Tennessee squad that outscored itself in the first half over the course of the season 213-148, late defensive adjustments could be the key for the Hokies.
"I think the one thing that we've always done a good job over the years is make adjustments," Foster said. "Usually those adjustments are during the course of the first half and carry over halftime."
"We all take pride in it, this is a big senior group, we've been together for a long time," Brown said. "It all goes into how we want to be remembered. We knew we were always capable of doing it; it was just a matter of time really. This is how we want to be remembered."
The Berry Effect
Bryan Stinespring didn't seem to think that preparing for Eric Berry was impossible without the star defensive back's presence at practice.
In Stinespring's opinion, he only had to look as far his own practice fields to find players of equal caliber and capability.
"Yeah, Cam Channcellor," Stinespring said. "Cody Grimm. There's a lot of carryover to what we see. Philosophically, schematically, it might be a little different, but Tennessee does a great job at getting their playmakers in position to make plays."
However, to the offensive coordinator, Berry seemed to be only an individual component of the challenge the Tennessee defense will present at the Georgia Dome.
"You start focusing a lot on one element, and you don't take care of all the elements," Stinespring said. "You start focusing on one primary area; you've probably not given full attention to every area that needs to be accounted for."
Hokies wide receiver Danny Coale is undoubtedly anticipating a harsh welcome from Eric Berry Thursday night.
"He's a great player and for obvious reasons," Coale said. "What we were talking about earlier about protecting the ball, that's one of our main goals. As a receiver you have to kind of have to brace yourself every time you catch the ball, whether it be a strip or a big hit you have to be prepared for that."
Berry, who is currently second among SEC defensive backs with 83 tackles, snagged two interceptions and collected two fumble recoveries for 48 return yards on the season.
Foster stressed the importance of not only containing Tennessee's ground game, but their tendency to air it out to tight end Luke Stocker.
The junior has 27 receptions for 370 yards and five touchdowns after starting each game for the Vols this season.
"I think they do a great job of setting up their play selection," Foster said. "They move their tight ends a lot, they move them around to block and all the sudden they're going to run play-action off of it."
"With Luke (Stocker) you've got to know where he is. I really think he's one of the premier tight ends in college football today."
Dinner for Two Please
Bud Foster touched on his excitement not only to coach in a game with defensive legend Monte Kiffin across the sidelines, but also share dinner with him across the table.
The Chick-fil-A Bowl hosted dinners Tuesday evening in which the assistant coaches of both teams will have the opportunity to dine with counterpart coaches.
"I'm hoping I get the chance to go with Monte," Foster said. "He's one of the legends of all of football. Not that we would sit down and talk shop and pick each others brain, but I'm going to try to see what drives him. That's one of the neat things that this bowl offers."