With any bowl game comes the week leading up to it at the location of the bowl with tons of charitable and fun events put on by the bowl organizers for the players and the local community. This week, there have been plenty of cool events from visiting a local children’s hospital to helping at a food bank to having a full Charlotte NASCAR experience with a few laps around Charlotte Motor Speedway and a visit to the NASCAR Hall of Fame to a shopping spree to Belk as a part of their bowl gift.
While these are all either great, worthwhile things for the Charlotte community or fun things for the players; they still can be distractions in addition to being in Charlotte for almost a week and practicing at a high school. However, some of Virginia Tech’s stars are confident that their team has handled the distractions well and brought great focus and intensity to their practices.
In a week that is full of distractions, the Hokies seem very confident that they have handled those distractions well with the final 24 hours setting up much more like a normal weekend with the team set to go through their final walkthroughs and team meetings as they would normally.
Based on the comments from the players, it seems clear that the Virginia Tech coaching staff has tried to make sure that the players do enjoy the unique parts of the bowl experience, but make sure that the team is still focused on the task at hand in practices and team meetings. This quote in particular from Isaiah Ford emphasizes the professional approach that the Hokies are taking with this bowl week.
Coach Fuente told us that there’s a time to play and then there’s a time to work.
That quote right there exemplifies the almost NFL-style approach that the Hokies are taking letting the players be responsible for being focused which clearly seems to be working based on how Woody Baron, Isaiah Ford, Ken Ekanem, and Sam Rogers all agree that the team has been well-focused in practice this week.
Of course, the real test for whether the Hokies have been able to focus and have quality practices will come tomorrow against a good Arkansas team that will be looking to finish the season on a positive note. However, the Hokies definitely have a good feel for what is the level of practice that they expect to practice at after recognizing their poor practices before the Battle at Bristol and this time, Virginia Tech’s players are clearly confident in their preparation.