Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer spoke earlier this week at the ACC Media Days in Pinehurst, North Carolina about life in the Coastal Division, the powerhouse matchup with Ohio State, and other topics related to the Hokies’ upcoming season. Check out what the ACC’s longest-tenured head coach had to say below. All quotes courtesy of ASAPSports.com.
Q. I want to ask you about life in the Coastal Division. No one goes through undefeated. Last year Georgia Tech had two losses. You may not be aware of the media pre-season balloting. Six of the seven teams got first-place votes.
COACH BEAMER: I think that pretty well says it. We got some good teams. I know we got a totally dominant team. Georgia Tech is hard to beat, Miami, North Carolina, Duke, Virginia is getting better all the time, how they do business, how they recruit, so forth. But that’s the way you want it. I mean, in reality I think for the league’s sake, we’re good in the middle. I think that’s good for the league, getting that one team that’s totally dominant, have that team year in and year out, too. I think what’s happened is everybody has worked to get better. When you got teams up there that’s been successful, I think the other teams in the league, they’re going to do some things to catch you. I think that’s what’s happened in the ACC.
Q. I know you’ve always said as long as you have a good quarterback and a good kicker, you want to keep doing this. Could you speak to your passion and desire to compete, where that is right now as you get back after it here.
COACH BEAMER: Yeah, I’m really enjoying it. This time of year is always important. How do you feel with practice starting here in a couple weeks? I’m really excited. Of course, having a good football team helps, or the potential for a good football team. We got some good players. So that helps. And then the fact that I think I’ve got a great coaching staff, Bud Foster, Scot Loeffler on the other side I think is very knowledgeable. The staff on both sides, you know, you need that. You need guys that you trust and have a lot of confidence in. I have that. A good administration that’s allowed us or helped us to be successful.
Everything’s good right now. We just need to get back to the way football was for so many years at Virginia Tech. We’ve had some time away, haven’t been quite as many wins as we’d like to have. But we’re hopeful we can get back to that. That’s what we’re shooting for and keep going here. The health is good. I feel good. I feel excited. We do have a couple of good kickers. Probably need to put a quarterback in there. I think Michael is getting ready to have a good year. Everything is good in Blacksburg.
Q. North Carolina has hired Gene Chizik to hopefully be their Bud Foster. Can you talk about how long it takes, even with Bud, to sort of establish that fabric, bring it up to where you wanted it?
COACH BEAMER: Well, I think in this business there’s no substitute for experience. Bud started out with me at Murray State. He was a player. He came along and wanted to be a coach. We did that. Then he came with me to Virginia Tech. He started out at co-defensive coordinator, now defensive coordinator. He’s got it. He’s smart about football. It makes sense to him. I think with experience he’s seen most things in the game, so game adjustments are good. They come quick. His kids always play hard. They’re always ready to play. To me, without question, the best defensive coordinator in the country. Like I said earlier, I think we’re pretty good on the other side of the ball, too, with Scot Loeffler. That’s part of what makes my job good at Virginia Tech.
Q. Can you update us on how the offensive line looks now. That was one of the projects, to rebuild the offensive line. Also the running game, who you’re going to be counting on back there to carry the pigskin.
COACH BEAMER: I think the offensive line generally, us not being able to put a complete offensive line out there. Seemed like there was always a little bit of a hole here or a hole there. That affects the rest. Your quarterback is throwing before he wants to if you don’t have protection. One-yard run should have been a five-yard run. It all starts right there. We just kind of got behind for whatever reason. But I think we’re catching up. We’re more athletic in the offensive line, which is something I’ve always believed we kind of got away from. Got those big old guys, but didn’t move quite as well as I think you need to. We’re getting back. We’re close to being back. I wish we had just a little more experience there right now. But I think athletic-wise, we’re right on track. So I think that’s the key part.
Q. And the running backs?
COACH BEAMER: We got four guys in our program right now that’s had a hundred-yard game. We’ve got some potential there. J.C. Coleman leads our group. He finished up there last year when we got all of them hurt. I told him that he played better than I thought he had the possibility to. That’s a credit to him. I underestimated his talent a little bit. He’s tough. He’s small, but he’s tough, has a good knack for running. Trey Edmunds, you look forward to seeing him back full tilt. We have two or three more, Marshawn Williams that has had his moments. I think that’s an area, our biggest issue is who is going to play and how many reps they’re going to play starting out. Last year we got a bunch of them hurt. You never know about that. But making sure we’re not trying to play too many. I think they need to get in there, get in the flow, get moving, not be in and out too much. I think that’s a position of strength for us going into the season.
Q. You talked about the line behind that line, Michael Brewer, what you say can about him? How would you define him where he is right now, where you need him to be?
COACH BEAMER: I think Michael Brewer is getting ready to have a heck of a year. Number one, he’s smart. He wants to be good. He studied. He spent a lot of time watching video. He’s out there, got his guys throwing. He’s the right guy. The last year, he starts out, he’s new. We got two freshmen wide receivers. We didn’t know where they were going to go. He didn’t know. Maybe they were going to end up in the right place. They were talented, those two freshmen guys. Now they’ve got experience and they’re good. Plus I think a real key to the offense is I think we’ve got about three tight ends that gives you the flexibility if they’re in there tight, they’re tough guys that will block for you. Then you can move them out in space and get them matched up on a linebacker or strong safety.
They’re athletic enough to be good out there. I think those people around him. Last year we got all of our runningbacks hurt. This year we go into the season with a good group that should be a strength. You know, again, offensive line that’s getting better all the time, more athletic like we like it. I don’t worry about Michael. It’s the people around Michael. If those people perform, I think Michael, with a year of experience with Coach Loeffler, I think he’s going to be just fine.
Q. Michael Brewer told us yesterday that Ohio State will be the biggest game so far. Do you agree with that?
COACH BEAMER: We’ve certainly had some big games there, a lot of them over the years. The more games you win, the more games become important. In the last several years, we’ve really had a lot of important games. I think it’s the most anticipated game ever to come. How many times do you have the number one team in the country, by far the number one team in the country. I don’t know if anyone would argue. First-place coach, second-place coach, but who is the best team in the country. Talent wise, they’re by far the number one team in the country. They’re coming to Blacksburg on a Monday night. You don’t have that opportunity that often. I know for fans, they’ve looked forward to it. We have, too. I mean, it’s the best team in the country coming to your house. You want to make the best of that.
Q. You’ve accomplished so much. Everybody looking at your record would say you have nothing to prove. What is it that keeps you coming back year after year?
COACH BEAMER: Well, number one, we need to get back to where we were a few years ago. Last few years we haven’t been as successful as we need to be. For our players and our fans, students, the whole deal, we want to get back there. But number two, you know, this is a business where the people around you make a lot of difference, player-wise. To me, we got great character kids. I don’t know how many of you talked to Michael and Kendall yesterday. I think they’re a great example of the type of kids we have on our team. I like that part of it. I told you my coaching staff, I’m high on them. Our administration’s been great over the years, making it possible for us to be successful. Things are in place. I still like it. I mean, right now the challenge of trying to make a team that you think has good ability, making them a good football team, I like that challenge. That’s kind of what drives me.
Q. Your team’s inconsistencies last year, how much of a problem was that for whatever success they could or should have had last year? How have you gone about trying to change that for 2015?
COACH BEAMER: Yeah, well, hopeful that experience will correct inconsistencies because the only way to be successful is to play in a consistent way. I think when your number one runningback gets hurt, you’re playing your second one more, you’re playing your third one more, then the second one goes down, now this guy is getting in there, first time as a starter. To me, experience affects consistency a lot. Not many freshmen going in there first time going to grade 96%, it’s going to be more like 76%. I think that affects it a lot. Hopefully with experience that we’ve got, our consistency will be better. It needs to be, no question about it.