2004 ACC Football Kickoff begins
By Jimmy Robertson
July 25, 2004

GREENSBORO, N.C. - There's a sure sign that football season is about to commence - when various conferences around the nation begin holding their annual league preseason media functions. The Atlantic Coast Conference joined that list on Sunday when the league's 2004 ACC Football Kickoff began at the Grandover Resort in Greensboro, N.C.

More than 300 media members - an ACC record - from all over the nation flocked to Greensboro for the first day of interviews. Two players from each team were brought to Greensboro for interviews and media members spent three hours (90 minutes for print media, 90 minutes for television and radio) Sunday afternoon interviewing those players about an array of topics.

Quarterback Bryan Randall and safety Vincent Fuller represented the Hokies at their first ACC Football Kickoff since gaining admission to the league late last summer. The two of them fielded questions on just about every topic, including Marcus Vick, the Hokies' quarterback who has been suspended indefinitely after some off-field transgressions. But they probably answered more questions on the Hokies' opportunities for the 2004 season in a very tough conference.

"The preseason is all for talk," Randall said. "The postseason is what matters. It doesn't matter what people say or think right now. What matters is what we do during the season.

"We know, from top to bottom, the competition in this league is definitely going to be better. The Big East was making strides, but when you talk about the ACC, you're talking about one of the powerhouse conferences in the nation."

Media opinion at the ACC Kickoff seemed mixed on the Hokies' prospects for the season. But most projected Tech to finish between fourth and eighth in the league. All ballots for the ACC's preseason poll were gathered from the media Sunday and will be released Monday.

Tech never finished lower than tied for fourth in the Big East.

"We're going to find out quickly," Fuller said about the competition in the ACC. "There are a lot of top 25 teams in the league and we know all the teams in this league can play. From top to bottom, there isn't a weak team.

"But we're excited about this season. We're looking forward to going to some different places and seeing who has the best stadiums and the best fans. There's going to be a lot of excitement. It's going to be fun."

The players from some teams returned home after the media session, but some, including Fuller and Randall, stayed and planned on playing in a golf outing at the Grandover on Monday morning. The golf outing involves media members, head coaches, assistant coaches, bowl reps and players.

After the golf outing and lunch, the head coaches from each team in the league step to the center stage. Media members get the opportunity to interview the coaches Monday afternoon during a 3 1/2-hour time period. Afterward, there is a reception and a dinner.

The ACC Football Kickoff ends Tuesday morning after ACC Commissioner John Swofford meets with the media for an hour from 9-10 a.m.

All members of Tech's football team report to campus on Aug. 3rd. Practice begins Aug. 4th. The Hokies open the season on Aug. 28 against defending national champion Southern Cal at FedEx Field in Washington, D.C.