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Notebook: Regrouping After a Loss

Clemson never recovered after its season-opening loss to Alabama in Atlanta. Coach Frank Beamer, whose team opened under similar circumstances, hopes the same does not happen to the Hokies.

“In our meeting today, I’m going to tell them I’m proud of their effort,” Beamer said Monday in a teleconference. “If we prepare for our opponents the way we did Alabama, we’re going to be a good football team.”

The No. 7 Hokies lost to the No. 5 Crimson Tide, 34-24, at the Georgia Dome on Saturday night. They looked sluggish offensively against Alabama’s stout front seven.

Last season, Clemson entered the year with national championship hopes but finished 7-6. Coach Tommy Bowden was fired in October and replaced by wide receivers coach Dabo Swinney. Perhaps the biggest reason for the disappointing season, Swinney said, was the effect of the Tigers’ loss to the Crimson Tide.

“I don’t know exactly how long, but it’s something that affected us the next few weeks,” said Swinney said last week in a teleconference. “You don’t want to let a loss beat you twice. And it didn’t seem like we did a good job putting it behind us and getting ready for the next one, then things kind of spiraled.”

Virginia Tech (0-1) hosts Marshall (1-0) on Saturday at Lane Stadium. It will be the Hokies’ first opportunity to put the disappointing performance in Atlanta behind them.

Miscommunications on Defense

The Hokies let up a few big plays defensively. There was none more memorable the 48-yard bomb from quarterback Greg McElroy to Marquis Maze that set up a Crimson Tide touchdown with 12 minutes 23 seconds in the fourth quarter.

Free safety Kam Chancellor, who was beat on the play, said there was communications issues in the secondary. He said the defensive backs mixed hand signals and that it sometimes left gaping holes in the defensive backfield.

“It was loud,” Beamer said of the Georgia Dome. “It was a couple times all of us we weren’t on the same page.”

He said the defense played well, adding, “There’s about five plays that were some long plays that we didn’t get played correctly.”

Running Philosophy with Taylor

Although he occasionally broke from the pocket when pressured, quarterback Tyrod Taylor was rarely used on designed runs against the Crimson Tide. He ran 10 times for negative-26 rushing yards thanks mainly to being sacked five times.

Asked if the purpose of Taylor not running was to protect him, Beamer said: “No, we were trying to win the football game. Everything we did in that game was trying to win the thing. That was our purpose.”

Boone Injured

Tight end Greg Boone sprained his shoulder while blocking against Alabama, according to a blog entry on Beamer’s Web site, The site said Boone was “day to day.” Boone also suffered a gash above his eye.

Backup linebacker Bruce Taylor, who missed the Alabama game with an ankle injury, was expected to rejoin practice on Monday, according to the site.

By Mark Viera  |  September 7, 2009; 3:01 PM ET
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Next: Alabama's Saban Jabs at the Hokies' Offense


When are we going to address the glaring weaknesses of our offense? Our offensive output has steadily declined under the leadership of Bryan Stinespring. The last three years have been particularly bad. This must change if we have any hope of contending for a national title.

Beamerball might win a lot of games, but it won't win a national title by itself.

Posted by: WalkTheLine | September 7, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

I agree here, our special also cost us games against ECU last year as well as the the ALA game this past saturday on 2 fumbles. Plus the defense was on the field 3/4ths of the time. We need our offense to have some possesion and make some 10, 15, 20 yards types of plays. We always seems to thrown the ball 3-5 yards or really deep - neither of which are succesfull.

Posted by: godpere | September 7, 2009 7:07 PM | Report abuse

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