Not a HokieHaven.com subscriber? Join now for access to all our premium content!
Virginia Tech wide receivers coach Holmon Wiggins met with the press for the Hokies' weekly media availability. He began his conference with a discussion of the tragic death in the family of freshman receiver Sean Savoy, whose older brother, Omar Rogers, was shot Sunday.
"First off, we had a tragedy hit home to one of our own. I just want to thank you guys and all of the other supporters that have reached out to us, as well as Sean [Savoy] in this time of disaster and we appreciate that. Right now he is at home tending to his family which we think is the priority and we’re looking forward to getting him back and getting things back to normal or as normal as they could be.”
Experience guiding a player through this tough time:
"It’s a process. I’ve dealt with it myself as a player so it kind of hits home when something like that happens to a kid. I recruited Sean so he’s near and dear to my heart and I care a lot about the kid. Right now we kinda put football to the side and let him know, basically as a kid having to deal with an adult situation and it’s tough. It won’t be a day a week a month it’s going to be a full-blown process and just letting him know we’re here with him every step of the way."
The plan for re-integrating Savoy with the team when he's ready to return:
"The thing that he will need from us is support. What we don’t want to do is single him out. From my experience, the one thing that I didn’t want was to have people feel sorry for me, I just wanted them to just work with me. That’s the one thing we’re going to do with Sean. Just let him know that we’re here and anything he wants us to do we’ll do that, but we’re not going to try and single anything out and try to make it a bigger deal than what it is because we know that he is already dealing with enough."
Savoy's big game against Boston College:
"It was great to see him get out there and mature and kinda grow up. We need him and a lot of those other guys to start stepping up because it is a marathon not a sprint. We got some older guys getting some miles put on them and we need those young guys to start taking the bull by the horns a little bit and making a name for themselves and kinda keeping up with the Joneses. We got Cam [Phillips] who's been steady for us. We got C.J [Carroll] who's been a steady guy for us.
"We’ve said from day one that we were going to try and play more guys with the tempo that we push, and now we’re starting to get guys that are consistent enough to get in there and trust them enough to be able to go out there and make plays."
Progress of the younger receivers:
"Well as a group we need to get better without the ball in our hands and that’s the one thing we try to always praise is how guys play with the ball in their hands. We say a play is six seconds, if those guys were having their best game and was targeted 20 times that’s two minutes out of a game. We need to make sure that the other 58 minutes we’re making our presence felt. We’ve got five-to-six guys every play blocking their tails off for us to get the praise when we catch the ball, we need to return the favor when those guys are running the ball. As a group that’s always a priority.
"Duty is going to call for those guys to do that but it’s good to kinda see Henri [Murphy] step up and make a few plays. [Eric] Kumah was big on third down for us. Savoy had a big breakout game. One thing those guys know when we step between those white lines all of them are going to be coached like they’re going to be that guy. We all know throughout the process of a season they can be."
Building confidence for Eric Kumah:
"The thing about Kumah is that he doesn’t lack any of that so that’s a great thing. That’s the good thing about a couple of those other young guys. Sean is also one of those guys where it’s hard to knock those guys off their pedestal, but its my job to keep those guys humble. it’s their job to be hungry and he was hungry and he wanted to make a play and you see that there. Kumah is 220 pounds and we expect him to be able to absorb some of those shots and play like he’s a big receiver."
Backup receiver progress in practice:
"I think it was good. We tend to roll our guys through practice because we’re going to ask them to work a whole lot, there’s a lot of running. It’s funny because we have a couple other guys that are dabbling a little bit at that spot and they are finding a newfound praise for the receiver spot. Realizing that there is a lot more work than what it looks like. It’s good to focus on some these young guys and clean up some technique and turn all of our efforts towards those guys and invest in them a lot more than what we have done in the past. Sometimes during the course of the season you can get caught up in game planning and the guys that are playing a majority of the time and you lose sight of that."
Freshman tight end Drake DeIuliis working at receiver:
"Right now it’s been a new thing for him; right now he’s just scratching the surface on some of the things he can do. He has the skill set to be that guy. He’s big, he’s athletic. More of a tight end but he has some of those qualities that Bucky Hodges had during his time here. To go out there and flex out and play against a smaller guy and become a mismatch. We’re excited to bring him along as well as he can keep adapting to what we’re throwing at him. He’s starting to let it soak in a little more and we figured at the halfway point this would be close to where he would start to springboard a little bit."
Senior James Clark's injury situation:
"Well the bye week has kinda fell at the right time especially for those older guys and especially for a guy like James. He needed this bye week to get as healthy as he can be. We’re excited to see where he’s at by the end of this week. Today he’ll be out there at practice and I got the chance to talk to him yesterday and he’s excited about this last half of the season. He’s a guy that transferred here with big hopes of having a great role in what we’re doing offensively and we feel like these last six games he can still help us. He’s been dealing with some things that have been nagging him and now he feeling like he’s overcome those so we’re excited to see that."