Fuente, Foster talk WVU, depth chart and more as Hokies start week one prep

BLACKSBURG – Ahead of Virginia Tech’s showdown with West Virgnia at FedExField on Sept. 3, head coach Justin Fuente and associate head coach/defensive coordinator Bud Foster met with local media on Monday for the first game week press conference of the 2017 season.

Here are the highlights.

FOSTER LOOKING FORWARD TO THE RETURN OF THE TECH-WVU RIVALRY

Bud Foster couldn’t but express his excitement for the return of the rivalry game between Virginia Tech and West Virginia. He brought up the Hokies' goal line stand of Major Harris in 1989 and, of course, Tech’s magical win in Morgantown in 1999 that helped propel them to the national championship game.

The longtime defensive coordinator, who enters his 31st season in Blacksburg, will face the Mountaineers for the 20th time.

“A lot of great memories some big football games, some important football games. These programs parallel each other in a lot of ways as far as the blue collar mentality, the toughness of the kids,” Foster said. “Got a lot of respect for this program who we’re about to play but I’m excited that this rivalry is kicking back off again.”

FUENTE FIELDS DEPTH CHART QUESTIONS

Coach Fuente was peppered with questions concerning the first depth chart of the fall. In total, 11 true or redshirt freshmen appear on the Hokies' week one two-deep with six featured on the offensive side of the ball.

While Fuente would ideally like to send experience out onto the field, he sees it more as a chance for the freshmen to step up.

“They all said they wanted to play when we were recruiting them, so here’s their opportunity,” Fuente joked. “That’s what I tell them too, ‘I sat in your living room and you told me you wanted to play.’ So, it’s not good enough at Virginia Tech just to play, but play well. Sure, there’s some young guys that will be going out there for the first time, but hopefully we’ve done a great job training them and they will be ready to contribute in an efficient manner.”

FUENTE, FOSTER ON FIRST GAME JITTERS

The Hokies will kick off in front of what’s expected to be a near-capacity crowd at FedExField in primetime on ABC for their first game against West Virginia in 12 years on Sunday. It’s quite a stage for the season opener and Fuente admitted that, as much as Tech prepares situationally in all phases, there’s no substitute for game experience.

“It takes a little while for guys to get into game shape,” Fuente said. “I don’t know if it’s because of the anxiety that goes with playing early in the year or what it is. We try to take that into consideration early in the year, which leads to some more young guys getting out there. But when you kick it off to start the season on a fantastic stage against a great opponent, you can’t help but feel all of those emotions as the ball kicks off.”

After 31 years, Foster still feels the emotions prior to kick off for the first game of the season. The hair still sticks up on the back of his neck. But his focus will still remain on his players.

“There’s a lot of things going on, but from an emotional standpoint, yeah I mean you’re just in it for the kids,” Foster said. “We live vicariously as coaches through these guys and I’m really excited for them I’d like to think that they’re a part of an extension of us too, so I’m hoping we will play with controlled recklessness with a lot of emotional enthusiasm and an unmatched effort and attitude and that’s kind of my thoughts prior to that game.”

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