We pick up the second part of our interview with Dyrell Roberts with the continuation of his answer to the question of what type of coach he is. Coach Roberts discusses how his current players view him. If you missed part one, you can read it in its entirety here.
SI: How did Coach Beamer influence the type of coach you are today?
...They know also I'm going to give them tough love when they need tough love. If they're not acting the way that I know they are, because most of my guys I had the opportunity to recruit with their families so I know where they come from. I know what they have in them. I'm going to push them to be the best that they can be and get the best out of themselves. Once it's all done, I tell them every single day, man, I'm living proof. Football is going to be a thing of the past when it comes to being a player.
It hit home for them because they kind of see. I get out on the field and I run routes with my guys, I'm doing releases with my guys and they're like, "Dang, coach just turned 30 years old but coach looks like he could still be playing somewhere!"
It's like, 'Yeah, where am I though? All my time is going into you guys trying to get you to that next level because my day is over.'
SI: That's really cool. I like that you're still out there showing them how to do it.
Oh yeah without a doubt. I mean all drills, I'm trying to get in tug-of-wars, I'm trying to race. I'm doing it all.
SI: You set a bunch of records kick-returning at Virginia Tech, in fact you still hold them. What does it take to excel in that role?
I still coach returners now. It's been following me as part of my job. It's something that I'm very proud of that I hold very dearly to me. To still be in the record books today? Hopefully I can keep that record for a little while longer. It does feel good and I would love to tell my son and show my son all of that good stuff.
I tell my guys, kick returning for me it was really all about vision. That was kind of my thing. Coming from high school I was more of a running back slash athlete, just snap the ball to me and kind of let me run. I'm always looking for holes. Can I explode here? Can I go there?
If you've got the vision and you understand the scheme, as long as you've got the speed and you're not afraid to really hit that thing you should be in pretty good shape.
SI: Our next question comes from our guy Jay Anderson who I believe you know a little bit.
Oh yeah! That's my brother there. That's my brother for real. We had some good times together in ol' Blacksburg without a doubt.
SI: He wanted to know which meant more, the Alabama kickoff return for a touchdown or the catch to beat Nebraska?
Hands down I'm going to have to go with the catch to beat Nebraska. I'm a competitor before anything else and I want to win and we fell short versus Alabama.
That catch versus Nebraska I think it's my most memorable football moment as a player. I mean I have many memories that I cherish dearly but I think that is hands down the best. Just the atmosphere, the type of game it was, the players that were on the field. Just everything was perfect that day. Everything didn't go perfect until the end of course but it was just one of those games.
The fans got what they wanted, the players got what we wanted. Competition was in the air. I still feel it. I get goosebumps to this day talking about it and thinking about it and really putting myself back into the stadium.
SI: So this is a really random moment, but when I was looking up highlights of yours I came across this game. I want to know if you remember the moment at North Carolina, you found a pair of scissors on the field and had to stop play?
[laughs] Yeah I do. I definitely do remember that. It was definitely a funny situation. I got concussed that game so I can't remember if it was a couple plays after me finding the scissors or if it was before I found the scissors and I just tried to kind of play through it a little bit more and had to come out of the game.
I definitely remember finding those scissors though and I don't have any idea what made me look down in the middle of the field like that and say, 'Oh man, some scissors right here." But I'm glad I did. Made sure nobody got cut up [laughs].
SI: That's got to be the most random thing you've seen in a game right?
Oh yeah without a doubt. I've never seen anything more random than that. Not even high school and we played on some kind of bad fields in certain games and still never found anything like that before.
SI: What are some of your go to food spots that you crave from your days in Blacksburg?
Kobe [Japanese Express]. Kobe was definitely a huge one for me. I ate Kobe very often. I ate Macado's. I ate those wings right often without a doubt.
I always liked Rally's. I can't remember if that was in Blacksburg, I think it was but I always liked Rally's.
And really besides those...I would eat on campus a lot of the time. Campus food was great. I used to love the D2 [DXpress] wraps, the D2 chicken wraps I used to absolutely love those.
I can't remember the name of it, but you could go in and they had like the Carvel ice cream thing in there and the Pizza Hut and the Chik-Fil-A. I used to go there a lot, then the downtown spots once I got older. I used to love going to PK's.
SI: I want to say that's maybe Owens Dining Hall that you're thinking of with the Chik-Fil-A?
Maybe. I think it was. That sounds kind of familiar....oh and Mexican! I can't remember the name [El Rodeo], all I can remember is it used to be on that main strip.
SI: [laughs] It's just funny, I don't know how often you're able to get back there. It's changed a lot but there's still a lot of those places which is cool.
Yeah I know it's changed. I haven't been in years man. It's been years because I'm always in the middle of the season or spring games too. It kind of affects me getting back.
Any chance or opportunity that I do get, especially in the near future I'm definitely going to try and take advantage of it.
SI: Western Illinois played a tough schedule last year [four top 10 FCS opponents]. It looks like you'll have another solid one whenever we get back to football. How does your team look and what do you think about your receiver group?
I definitely agree with that. The conference we play in [Missouri Valley Football Conference] it's a tough one each week.
I feel good...we were kind of young in a lot of spots last year and a lot of key spots. Hopefully that year of growth and experience will make a difference when it gets down to that later part of the year.
I think we made some good moves when it came to recruiting, adding depth to some spots. That kind of hurt us down the stretch last year when some injuries happened.
I'm definitely feeling good about where we are...on paper anyway. With this COVID thing it's been hectic because we haven't seen our guys really besides Zoom calls [laughs]. It's the same issue for everybody in the country though.
I think we're making really good moves and adding the pieces to the puzzle that we need to really make some noise.