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Beamer lauds North Carolina's defense, and some more notes

By Mark Giannotto

Considering Virginia Tech faced what is now the second-best defense in the entire country to open this season, Coach Frank Beamer has a good launching point in terms of defensive comparisons. Boise State currently ranks second nationally in both scoring defense and total defense.

But on Monday during his weekly teleconference with reporters, Beamer said when the Hokies offense takes the field Saturday against North Carolina's defense, it will be facing its toughest matchup yet.

“I think it’s a tremendous challenge," Beamer said. "Just their front seven ... the linebackers as a group are just unbelievable and then the front four ... is exceptional. I think their whole defense is probably the best defense we’ve played. They really got some talented kids playing in that defense."

Statistically, it's actually the third- or fourth-best defense Virginia Tech has gone up against thus far, depending on what category you consider more important. In terms of points per game, both Boise State and Boston College give up fewer points than North Carolina's 22.3 average. In the yards department, North Carolina State also ranks ahead of the Tar Heels, who are allowing close to 334 yards per game.

But Beamer wasn't referencing statistics. He was speaking in terms of talent, and in that regard, it's hard to argue against him. The fact that the Tar Heels have done as well as they have without the services of future NFL draft picks like defensive linemen Marvin Austin and Robert Quinn is testament to that.

Linebackers Zach Brown, Kevin Reddick and Bruce Carter are North Carolina's leading tacklers, while defensive end Quinton Coples has been a force up front with 6.5 sacks and 12 tackles for loss.

North Carolina has lost 31 scholarship players for at least one game this season, and 14 have been a direct result of the NCAA's investigation into allegations of academic misconduct and athletes receiving improper benefits. Another 17 have missed time due to injury.

“All I know is the team they’re putting out on the field is a very, very talented football team," Beamer said. "I think for them to go down to Florida State and win down there speaks volumes. ... There’s been distractions, but they don’t play distracted on Saturday."

Some other news and notes

*Beamer gave an update on wide receiver Dyrell Roberts, who underwent emergency surgery Friday morning after he developed compartment syndrome overnight following a thigh bruise in the first half of Virginia Tech's win over Georgia Tech.

Robert had a second surgery Sunday, and Beamer said he is still in the hospital receiving treatment. According to Beamer, Roberts checked into the hospital around 4 in the morning early Friday after his thigh became "very, very swollen."

On the bright side, Roberts was active on twitter Monday, apparently from his hospital bed. He responded to teammate Marcus Davis by writing he was "sore as eva but I'm gud." For the conventional grammar fans out there, he's sore but seems to be in decent spirits.

Speaking of Davis, Beamer said he's the most likely candidate to receive Roberts's playing time as the Hokies third wide receiver. The 6-foot-4, 229-pound redshirt sophomore has just 11 catches this season, but coaches have been enamored with his physical ability since he arrived on campus. Beamer said redshirt freshman running back Tony Gregory will replace Roberts on kickoff returns, but that safety Davon Morgan may see time there as well.

*Both linebacker Bruce Taylor and running back David Wilson were given ACC player of the week honors Monday after standout performances against Georgia Tech. Wilson was named the conference's specialist of the week thanks to his game-winning 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

Taylor, meanwhile, battled through a high ankle sprain to finish with a career-high 14 tackles and two sacks. Beamer said when the coaching staff looked at the film this weekend, they actually had Taylor down for 11 tackles and six assists. You can read the full release here.

*The ACC announced Monday that Virginia Tech's game against Miami on Nov. 20 will be a 3:30 kickoff. The contest will be broadcast on either ABC or ESPN.

*Beamer's quote of the day came when he could imagine reaching the milestone Penn State Coach Joe Paterno did this weekend with his 400th victory. Beamer currently ranks 10th all time among Division I-A coaches with 236 career wins.

"Somebody told me that for to get there, I’d have to go 20 more years," Beamer said. "I’ve got a few more years in me; I don’t think I’ve got 20, though.

By Mark Giannotto  | November 8, 2010; 1:31 PM ET
 
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