July 24, 2011
Coale, Whitley meet with the media at ACC Kickoff
Wide variety of topics discussed

PINEHURST, N.C. - Virginia Tech football players Danny Coale and Eddie Whitley met with the media Sunday afternoon as the opening act of the 2011 ACC Football Kickoff, being held at historic Pinehurst Resort in steamy North Carolina. The group of nearly 300 credentialed media members included most of Tech’s beat writers, along with regional and national scribes and television figures.

Early Sunday morning, head coach Frank Beamer and his wife Cheryl, along with Coale and members of the Athletics Communications Office hopped aboard the Tech plane in Roanoke and made the short 32-minute flight to Pinehurst and then hopped in the awaiting van for Pinehurst. Whitley, who has family that lives 20 minutes away, drove in from his hometown of Charlotte and met the group around 11 a.m.

After checking in, Beamer headed straight for the links as he had a tee time on the famed No. 2 course while Coale and Whitley got settled in to their rooms. They then met with the other 22 players representing their respective schools for a lunch and informational meeting, and then donned their jerseys and braved the oppressive heat to take the group picture with Commissioner John Swofford.

Up next was the gauntlet of media interviews. The duo started with the print members and were joined by NC State and Maryland in the first group. Coale and Whitley easily had the most attention as 25-30 members of the media were swarmed around their table from the get-go. The first questions Coale was asked about was his foray into the punting business and how he has progressed since spring practice as most of the beat writers hadn’t spoken to him since the Spring Game in April. Coale was also asked about new quarterback Logan Thomas extensively and the differences between him and Tyrod Taylor, the deep receiving corps and his thoughts on trying to defend the ACC title.

Whitley was bombarded with questions about how the Hokie defense needs to improve, what his role as a senior on the squad will be, his thoughts on paying players, new starting corner Kyle Fuller and the rash of NCAA violations taking place recently with schools.

They had it easy compared to their counterparts in the same session as the Wolfpack players dealt with a barrage of questions surrounding the departure of quarterback Russell Wilson while Maryland’s players had to answer questions about the program’s new coach. The Hokie table led the way with the most media members crowded around until North Carolina’s players entered the room. At that point, a majority of the scribes headed to the Tar Heels’ table to no doubt talk about the NCAA investigation going on at the school.

After the 70-minute session with the print media, Coale and Whitley then headed upstairs to meet with the television and radio media members for another three hours to finish up the day. Along the way, they were stopped by a handful of Tech fans who asked them for autographs and pictures. Both also did a segment for Virginia Tech Sports Today, ESPN.com, ESPNU, hokiesports.com and the BCS.

Coale got some unexpected punting advice late in the day when he ran into former SMU running back Craig James who now works for the ESPN Thursday Night crew, but also punted his junior year in college. He went over some techniques, including helping him get down to the two-step kick.

The day ended with dinner and then they headed to the student-athlete lounge for the evening’s festivities planned by the ACC. Both will do a few more radio interviews tomorrow morning before heading to the driving range for some lessons and a chance to hit some golf balls.

After that, it will be Beamer’s turn to face the media as he will go from 2-6 p.m. in the same format after taking part in the media golf tournament in the morning. The preseason media poll will be released around 1 o’clock and Tech is a heavy favorite to be picked as the winner of the Coastal Division based on talk from the media, with Florida State a near-lock to be picked to win the Atlantic Division. The media’s pick to win the conference title seems to be drawing a split decision and may be a photo finish. On Wednesday, the preseason All-ACC squad will be released and then it’s a countdown until practice starts on Aug. 4.

Be sure to check out the video interviews with the two players on hokiesports.com that will be posted this evening and a chat with Bill Roth and Mike Burnop that will be posted tomorrow morning.

For updates on Virginia Tech football, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Football).

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