Beamer talks about JMU and a possible playoff, and some more notes
While the Hokies were busy winning their eighth-consecutive game of the season Saturday, those pesky James Madison Dukes upped their record to 5-5 with an upset of William & Mary, the No. 1 ranked team in Division 1-AA heading into this weekend.
So now that Virginia Tech needs just one win in either of its final two games to clinch the ACC's Coastal Division and is enjoying its longest winning streak since 2005, the logical question is what if Sept. 11, 2010 never occurred? What if the Hokies hadn't suffered that fluky loss to James Madison?
"We don’t do that," Coach Frank Beamer said emphatically after his team beat North Carolina, 26-10. "At the end of the year last year, I said we really had a good football team and I think we’re getting to be a really good football team right now. At the beginning of the year, we were just a little too young to be a real good, consistent football team.”
Virginia Tech remains on pace to become the first ACC team since Florida State in 2000 to finish the conference's regular season slate undefeated. The last team besides the Seminoles to accomplish that feat was Maryland back in 1986.
It would seem then, that the Hokies would be in perfect position to qualify for a playoff --- that is, if college football had such a thing. But when asked during his postgame news conference, Beamer wasn't ready to shake things up too much, even if it would give this year's team a shot at more than just an ACC championship.
“I’ve always said, 'I like the BCS.' This particular year, a playoff wouldn’t be bad," Beamer said with a smile. "I wish we could get the two games and then one game, take the four best teams at the end. I wish we could get to that, but I don’t see it changing any time soon.”
Some more notes and quotes
*At some point these Hokies have to lose, right? Maybe not. Early deficits don't seem to matter. Injuries to key players just gives others a chance to emerge. They still haven't lost a true road game this season.
As I stated earlier, one more win gives Virginia Tech a Coastal Division title and a berth in the ACC championship game. But be forewarned, next week's matchup with Miami still holds some major ramifications. Because the Hurricanes beat Georgia Tech Saturday, the Hokies cannot lose both of their final games, since Miami would then hold the tiebreaker.
*I talked about it at length in my game story, but the play of the game was without a doubt safety Eddie Whitley's amazing interception in the second quarter. It was all part of a banner day for the Hokies defensive backfield, which executed a calculated game plan concocted by secondary coach Torian Gray to perfection.
North Carolina wide receiver Dwight Jones was limited to just one catch and four yards and quarterback T.J. Yates threw four interceptions, largely because the Hokies overplayed the Tar Heels deep post routes. Virginia Tech consistently brought an extra defender over the top, using the North Carolina running backs as a read of some kind (Bud Foster being Bud Foster, of course he wouldn't spill all of his secrets).
But that sort of deception led directly to Whitley's spectacular play, Hosley's first interception, as well as Morgan's second pickin as many games to begin the fourth quarter. After the game, Foster said the secondary has been the most consistent part of his unit this season.
"We got to give a lot of credit to Coach Gray for studying these guys," Whitley said. "From Sunday to today, he was still having adjustments. He put us in the right position to make these plays and all we had to do out there was go out there and make them."
*The other star of the game was undoubtedly wide receiver Marcus Davis, who had a breakout two-touchdown performance. Filling in for junior Dyrell Roberts, Davis finished with four catches for 81 yards and provided the Hokies with their final cushion.
Afterwards, Davis said the performance was bitter sweet as he got some "bad news" before the game, only elaborating that it had to do with a "family situation." Nonetheless, it was the type of showing many Virginia Tech fans have been waiting for from a player coaches and teammates alike have called a physical freak.
“I think [the coaches] have always had confidence, it’s just up to me to go out there and put myself into situations to succeed, Davis said.
*Let's not forget place kicker Chris Hazley, though. As Virginia Tech struggled in the red zone in the first half, Hazley kept the Hokies close with three field goals before halftime, including a career-high 52-yarder. He added a fourth field goal in the third quarter, giving him 17-straight makes since missing the first kick of his career against Boise State to start the year.
That ties Hazley with Chris Kinser in 1986 and Brandon Pace in 2006 for most consecutive made field goals in Virginia Tech history. After the game, Hazley said the scaffolding back drop that's currently in place behind one of the goal posts at Kenan Stadium due to construction on new luxury suites actually helped him tremendously. He said he zoned in on a piece of red tape, especially on the 52-yard field goal, and used it as a target for his kicks.
“I would have hoped for it," said Hazley of his streak. But I don’t know if I would have expected it. I just hope I can keep it going.”
*This game wasn't without some sobering news, though. The Hokies will be without running back Tony Gregory after he tore his left ACL on a kickoff return. It forced the Hokies to use Hosley and Carmichael on kickoff returns the rest of the afternoon. That'll probably be the case until David Wilson returns from mononucleosis, as now Gregory and Roberts won't be back for quite some time.
"You’re talking about speed guys, a lot of fast guys who aren’t with us right now," Beamer said.
*Thought running back Ryan Williams gained 83 yards in this game, I don't think I was only one wondering why he seemed to be slipping so much before being hit at the line of scrimmage on some runs. Beamer said it had nothing to with his hamstring injury, though.
“I asked [running backs coach] Billy [Hite] at the end, ‘Does he have the same cleats everyone else has got?’ I think he gets out there and he's trying to stop and cut back and the grass got a little wet and moist on him.”
That's all I've got for tonight. It's a busy next few days for me as I'll be at Kansas State Tuesday for the men's basketball game and then traveling on to Miami for next weekend's football game. The blog, though, will remain active so check back for daily updates.
| November 13, 2010; 2:30 PM ET
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