Hokies making final preparations for game
San Fran Chronicles
December 30, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO - Officials from the Diamond Walnut San Francisco Bowl conducted a pregame press conference Monday morning at the Grand Hyatt as both the Hokies and the Air Force Academy met the press for the final time before taking the field on New Year's Eve at Pac Bell Park.

Tech head coach Frank Beamer and players Willie Pile and Lee Suggs represented the Hokies at the press conference, while Air Force coach Fisher DeBerry and players Leotis Palmer and Anthony Schlegel represented the Falcons.

The press conference featured quite a few light moments. DeBerry, a longtime friend of Beamer's, spoke for about 10 minutes, going over all of Beamer's accomplishments and the Hokies' accomplishments over the past 10 years. He also told the press how difficult it would be for his team to hang in there against the Hokies.

"Fisher, I appreciate those nice words, but I really believe you're trying to set us up," Beamer joked.

Players from both teams also spoke at the press conference. Schlegel, the first-team All-Mountain West linebacker, gave his impression of San Francisco, which drew quite a few chuckles.

"San Francisco is really nice, it's just really hilly," he said. "When you're walking, you realize you should have taken a cab."

Likewise, Pile, Tech's free safety, said the Hokies have enjoyed their time in the city.

"I'm not a late-night person, so I haven't seen much of the nightlife that goes on here in San Francisco," Pile said. "From what I've heard from my teammates, it gets pretty wild."

After the press conference, the players and coaches from both teams enjoyed a kickoff luncheon at Hotel Nikko in downtown San Francisco. The Hokies then had position meetings the rest of the afternoon before heading to Pac Bell Park for a brief walk-through.

Both teams got a bit of good news on the weather front as forecasters expect rain Monday and early Tuesday morning. But the rain should clear out in time for the game Tuesday night. Kickoff is slated for 10:30 EST.