My grandpa, Byron Poduska, died this week at 88, so I made the trip to Pocahontas, Iowa, for the funeral. If you’ll indulge me, I thought I’d share one moment from the last few days.
A Catholic in the middle of Iowa who loved church, cards, polka music and anything Bohemia-related, my grandpa was also a huge Notre Dame fan. He even made the trek there one time about a decade ago with my uncle. Here’s a photo of him on the field in South Bend. It’s tough to see in this picture I took of a picture, but I don’t know if I’ve seen him have a bigger smile.
Anyway, at the conclusion of the funeral mass Thursday, once the casket was about to exit the church, they played the Notre Dame fight song. I guarantee that was at his request and couldn’t think of a more fitting finale.
A few things happened in the days I was out of town. Let’s catch up on them quickly, since there’s no interviews until after (UPDATE) this morning’s closed scrimmage.
– Frank Beamer‘s website confirmed that receiver Willie Byrn and linebacker Derek DiNardo both were placed on scholarship. They are juniors. I doubt those are the only walk-ons to be placed on scholarship this August. It seems like Charley Meyer and Josh Trimble could have a good chance. But for now, those are the two Virginia Tech has announced.
– Also on the site, the Hokies note that 11 true freshmen are expected to be on the travel squad for Atlanta. They are: DT Woody Baron, S Chuck Clark, CB Brandon Facyson, CB Kendall Fuller, K Mitchell Ludwig, OT Jonathan McLaughlin, WR Carlis Parker, OT Parker Osterloh, FB Sam Rogers, OT Wyatt Teller and FB Jerome Wright.
I’d expect Fuller, Facyson, McLaughlin and Rogers to start (if Tech comes out in the nickel package). Baron, Ludwig, Parker and Wright will probably get on the field in some capacity. I’m not quite sure where Clark fits, although he seems like a good special teams candidate. Ideally, I’d bet the Hokies would like to redshirt Osterloh and Teller, but I don’t know if they have enough bodies at tackle to make that happen this year.
– The Hokies scrimmaged Wednesday, doing a lot of red zone work. Tech was going to release stats, then didn’t. Apparently video was briefly up online, then it was taken down. Just a sign of the paranoia that grips coaches this time of year.
– On my multiple plane rides this weekend, I finished up Beamer’s autobiography, “Let Me Be Frank.” It was a good, quick read with few minor revelations that you might not have heard about. I’m sure Virginia Tech fans will eat up every bit of it. I had not planned to write a review (especially now that the season is on our doorstep) or go through the details, but if you’d like to read something like that, David Teel of the Daily Press has you covered.(Warning: lots of spoilers on there if you plan on reading the book.)
– On move-in day, Beamer took the team on a learning tour at Virginia Tech’s Memorial court, learning the significance of the pillars on campus, according to Mike Barber of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, a sister paper of the Roanoke Times now. The Hokies are going to wear a small logo of the memorial on their helmets this season.
– Hokies quarterback commit Andrew Ford suffered a shoulder injury in the preseason, but it sounds as though it’s not serious.
– There was some chatter in the blog comments about receiver coach Aaron Moorehead‘s tirade at his players in last Saturday’s scrimmage. I had planned to write about it but ran out of time. To wrap up this post, I’ll just put some quotes I got about it. Consider this a brief oral history of a sideline outburst (yes, I’m doing this for an event that took place less than a week ago):
Virginia Tech’s receivers struggled to make plays for the first half of the scrimmage, with bad routes and plenty of drops.
Moorehead: “To be honest, watching the scrimmage from the sideline, you’re watching the inconsistency, you’re watching them do things that they hadn’t done in practice, or over the course of the last week and a half, it’s frustrating to watch. We’re not moving the ball offensively. And I just thought we needed a pickup as a group. And I really didn’t mean it to come out the way it came out, but I’m glad it did come out, because it got their attention. And it got them going and we started making plays. So I was fine with it.”
WR Josh Stanford: “Coach Moorehead was saying that he doesn’t get embarrassed very easily. But he said at that point that he was embarrassed at how we were performing, and rightfully so, because we were messing up on a whole bunch of different things. So he felt like as a coach, he was embarrassed. And he thought that at the time he needed to say stuff to the guys, his receivers.”
OC Scot Loeffler: “We had a missed assignment that would have been a 35-yard gain easily. It was a perfect defense. So that’s what sparked Mr. Moorehead.”
Some profanities were uttered during the sideline exchange.
WR Demitri Knowles: “He’s not the type of guy who’s going to yell and scream at you, but he does get that when he feels like it needs to be done. … I thought that it was something that we needed. For some reason, we came out weak. And basically, we can’t have that. We can’t ever have something like that happen again. But he got us going, and as you can see, we started making some plays.”
Moorehead: “You’ve been around me. I’m pretty calm. I don’t normally get like that too often. And I can holler and scream at practice, but generally, I don’t get into a mode like that. But I just think as general, if I’m out there and I’m watching something that I was really disgusted with and I know that guys can do better, I’m going to do something about it. I’m going to say something about it. And the group responded, so that’s a good thing.”
When Moorehead finished, the sparse crowd on the home sideline applauded.
Knowles: “I thought that was kind of funny. I guess they agreed and that kind of helped motivate me to make some plays too.”