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A 'Chalk Talk' with Greenberg

While Virginia Tech students ate lunch, Seth Greenberg stood with a microphone and played roles that fit as comfortably as the sweatpants he was wearing: coach and comedian.

On Thursday, Greenberg hosted one of his regular "Chalk Talk" sessions at a large on-campus dining hall. He led an equally informative and humorous discussion about the Hokies (5-1) and their next opponent, Georgia (4-2).

Greenberg drew up diagrams on large sheets of paper about how Virginia Tech would attack and defend Sunday against the Bulldogs and also passed out a scouting report with some keys to winning the game. (He asked that such information be kept off the record.)

Georgia is very big up front and is physical and productive in the post. Last year, the Bulldogs dominated the Hokies in the paint in a 67-66 win in Athens. In general, Greenberg talked about the importance of blocking out and defending the post against the Bulldogs, who are led by 6-foot-10 forward Trey Thompkins (15 points per game).

When a student asked about the specifics of Virginia Tech's post defense against Georgia, Greenberg replied, "If I told you that, I'd have to kill you."

While it was an informative session, Greenberg kept it light as he spoke with a group of students in a room to the side of the cafeteria, where students shuttled around carrying trays piled with sandwiches, pizza and teriyaki chicken.

Greenberg seized the platform as an opportunity to engage students and to help to brand a program at a university where football is king. He took full advantage of it, and was in his element as he cracked jokes with those in attendance. Someone there suggested there ought to be a drummer playing rim shots after each of his witticisms.

Before everyone settled down with their food, Greenberg highly recommended trying the blue cheese crumbles on the salad and the soft-serve ice cream. (I can speak on the ice cream: it was good.)

When speaking about the Hokies' 70-64 win at Iowa on Tuesday, Greenberg offered the crowd an idea of his spectrum of happiness. "If we lost that game, I would have been miserable," he said. "I'm only semi-miserable now."

He did, however, say that "a light bulb went on" against the Hawkeyes. By that, he meant that he started to see some promising signs from the Hokies, who he said were getting more confident, were finding ways to get open shots and were making the extra passes in an offense that looked crisper.

Later, when he spotted a student in a Georgia hat, he jokingly questioned his allegiance and called him a spy. Later, he called on the student and referred to him as "Benedict Arnold."

When Greenberg spotted another student walking into the room with an arm full of food, he took the opportunity to make another crack.

"The guy's got two ice cream cones and two pieces of pizza," Greenberg said. "That's what I call balance!"

Greenberg quizzed some students about what the Hokies would try to do against different defenses or when defending certain looks. Twice in the session, one student came up with the right answer. Greenberg took a liking to the student.

"This guy's a cerebral guy right here," he said.

At the end there was a drawing, where students could win different prizes.

"Just want you always wanted," Greenberg said, "a Seth Greenberg Spalding autographed rubber basketball."

Raines to play Sunday

Freshman forward Cadarian Raines should get his first playing time against Georgia on Sunday.

Raines, who broke his left foot in practice in September, was expected to return against Iowa, but Greenberg said the Hawkeyes rain some screens that could have confused Raines, whose progress has been slowed because of missed practice time.

At 6 feet 9, Raines should provide a help for the Hokies inside against the Bulldogs, who have big, physical post players.

Allen off the bench

Forward Jeff Allen, one of Virginia Tech's most productive players, came off the bench in the Hokies' game at Iowa in effort to stay out of foul trouble.

Allen, who had fouled out in each of the two prior games, came in 5 minutes 35 seconds into the game on Tuesday. "You can't commit a foul in the first four minutes if you're sitting next to me," Greenberg said.

By Mark Viera  |  December 3, 2009; 3:02 PM ET
 
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