Hokies take to the podium at ACC Kickoff in Charlotte

BLACKSBURG, VA - SEPTEMBER 17: Head coach Justin Fuente of the Virginia Tech Hokies arrives at Lane Stadium prior to the game against the Boston College Eagles on September 17, 2016 in Blacksburg, Virginia. (Photo by Michael Shroyer/Getty Images)
BLACKSBURG, VA - SEPTEMBER 17: Head coach Justin Fuente of the Virginia Tech Hokies arrives at Lane Stadium prior to the game against the Boston College Eagles on September 17, 2016 in Blacksburg, Virginia. (Photo by Michael Shroyer/Getty Images) /

It was the Coastal Division’s turn at the ACC Kickoff event Thursday in Charlotte, N.C.

Virginia Tech head football coach Justin Fuente was in attendance along with senior linebacker Andrew Motuapuaka and senior receiver Cam Phillips.

We’ve put together some highlights from their media availability including the advantages of Lane Stadium, replacing key players, and Cam’s flashy attire.

Andrew Motuapuaka


On Tech’s group of linebackers and reaching the ACC title game, but not winning…

“So as far as linebacker corps, we’re working hard to be the best. We’re not satisfied with the accomplishments we’ve accomplished, and we have a great coach that pushes us hard every single day.

As far as making it back to the ACC Championship, we definitely have a chip on our shoulder, being that we didn’t win last year, and definitely the goal to make it back to the ACC Championship.”

On the returning players on defense and replacing Ken Ekanem, Woddy Baron, and Nigel Williams…

“Those guys were very experienced. They had a lot of experience under their belt. So I think that’s probably the biggest thing with the guys that are filling in their spots now.

But I don’t think they’ll miss a beat, really. I think our young guys are hungry and really ready to make their impact on this program. You know, they know that the baton has been passed to them, and I think they’re ready to step up to the challenge.”

Cam Phillips


On the returning personnel and why the Hokies are still dangerous…

“Regardless of what we lost, I still think we have a large nucleus of talent, especially on defense, and on the offensive side we have experience, as well along with great coaching, which is very important. I think the senior leadership and the experience that we have in myself and Travon McMillian and Wyatt Teller, I think that can help us greatly to bring along some of these young guys… I think they’ve done a great job thus far. I’ve tried to lead them as best I can, and I’m going to continue to do that hopefully to bring success to our team.”

On his flashy outfit…

“Okay, the jacket is actually a velvet double-breasted jacket. The color is bronze, actually. It looks brown to me, so I say it’s brown, but the correct term is bronze, and the glasses actually flip up. But from a different world, Dwyane Wade, I think he made those glasses pretty popular. I just like to have fun with stuff like this. I think it’s a way to show my personality, show fans, other players how kind of a laid-back and fun, cool guy I am. I’m having a great time at this event.”

More from Fighting Gobbler

On how much playing Clemson again means…

“It means a lot to us. I know it definitely means a lot to me just because of how we lost in the ACC Championship. I think it’s an opportunity for revenge, so I speak for, I think, the whole staff and the team when I say we’ll be ready for them. We’re not going to take them lightly at all. Like you said, they are the defending National Champions. But I think it will be a great opportunity to show our growth in the season. I believe it’s, what, the fifth game of the season, so it’ll be a nice test for us to see where we are.”

Justin Fuente

On the quarterback battle and how the offense could change…

“Well, we’ll see. We’ve obviously got an open competition there at quarterback, three very capable candidates. I really believe that offense has got to fit the quarterback and whatever his skill set was, and I think Brad Cornelsen did a fantastic job last year of twisting and turning the offense to fit Jerod`s skill set, and in turn it was very, very productive.

I’ve said this before, I’m sure the local Virginia media will probably roll their eyes when I say this, but I believe it: The biggest thing for us is the supporting cast, in terms of the other wide receivers and getting some more production out of our running back position as we move forward so that whoever does play quarterback has a chance to be productive.”

On how the Hokies can get back to running the ball effectively…”

“Well, the first thing I would say is that I don’t really care who runs the ball. I don’t care if it’s the running backs or the wide receivers or the quarterback, but we do have to be able to run the ball. There’s no substitute for that. So we were able to rush the football, just came in a different manner. We had a 240-pound quarterback that was really effective and had some toughness and did a good job with it.

For us, it’s making sure we do find a way to run the ball and then find a way to make big plays out of the passing game. I think you’ll see us continue to find a guy that we feel good about running the football. I think continuing to find some guys on the perimeter that we like handing or pitching or flipping the ball to to continue to manufacture ways to run it.”

“On the home field advantage of Lane Stadium…”

“Just a fantastic example of college football. Our fans don’t just fill the seats. I’ve been places and been either on the road or as a home team where fans come to be entertained. Our fans come to participate — to participate, to actively help us try and win a football game, and it’s just a fantastic example of school pride, of camaraderie, of tradition, something I’m awfully proud to be a part of. You can almost see it even better on the road when you watch our fans travel to road venues and the numbers they turn out and how vocal they are. It’s really something special to be a part of.”