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Posted at 1:45 PM ET, 01/ 2/2011

Beamer, Harbaugh give their final pre-game remarks

By Mark Giannotto

Well, we've almost reached Monday when all the talk and rhetoric during the build-up to this year's Orange Bowl will finally make way for some actual football. If you haven't done so already, check out my stories on senior Davon Morgan, the spotlight this matchup has put on how to play quarterback, the Hokies linebacker situation, and what the Hokies draft eligible players are doing as they balance the bowl season and hiring an agent.

In Monday's paper, I'll have an advance on the Hokies horrendous record against top five opponents. Here on the blog, I'll have some more game specific posts to help tide you over as the countdown begins until the 8 p.m. kickoff.

But until then, here are some notes and quotes -- other than the fact Virginia Tech sent six players home early for violating team rules -- from Sunday's news conferences with Virginia Tech Coach Frank Beamer and Stanford Coach John Harbaugh.

*As noted earlier, running back Ryan Williams (hamstring) participated fully in Saturday's practice, and Beamer gave his most optimistic outlook on the situation yet.

"I thought he looked better yesterday than he had as far as just moving around and getting around," Beamer said.

For what it's worth, the official Virginia Tech football twitter account reports that running backs coach Billy Hite has decided junior Darren Evans will start the game at tailback, and barring any setbacks Sunday or Monday, Williams will play.

*The remarkable winning streak Virginia Tech has gone on since opening the season with two losses has been well documented here and throughout many publications. So given what's happened since that dreadful beginning to the year, Beamer was asked whether he's allowed himself to savor this Orange Bowl appearance a bit more as a result.

"I'm certainly appreciative of where we were and where we've gotten to from where we were. I think everybody feels that," Beamer said. "But you learn in this business, there's always that next ballgame, and you'd better go and you'd better get ready. If you lose that last one, then there's people that are not happy. And then you've got to go to all those Hokie Club meetings, and people are not happy. I'm very appreciative, and I really like this football team. I really like the kids on our football team. But I know this: We need to win the next one."

*When asked about the potential for a playoff system, Beamer once again stated his desire to go to a plus-one format in which the top four teams in the country would compete for the national championship.

"The thing that I don't want to see go away are the bowl games," Beamer said. "I just think they're right for college football. I think there's a lot of good to it. The experience we've had down here with the Orange Bowl people and our kids' experience and our fans coming to town three or four days early and enjoying themselves, I don't want to see that go away.

"When I was in 1-AA football I was in the playoffs, and you know exactly how it goes. You're going to go in on Friday, play on Saturday, you're right back out, and if you win you're getting ready for the next game. It's totally different.

*To the dismay of the men and women of the Orange Bowl committee donning orange blazers in the conference room Sunday, Harbaugh disgreed with Beamer's sentiments. He would like to see a playoff system adopted.

"I would love to see a playoff system, yeah, an eight-team playoff system," he said. "I think every other sport in the NCAA has it. There's no NCAA sport that doesn't have a playoff system, so why not football?"

*Last week, I posted former Maryland Coach Ralph Friedgen's comments concerning rumors that he could potentially join Virginia Tech's coaching staff at some point. Well, Sunday Beamer was asked about the possibility, and in the process of answering, addressed whether his son, Shane, currently the special teams coach at South Carolina, would ever become a member of his staff. In short, he said both would be considered in the future if there is an opening.

"It's got to be the right situation at the right time," Beamer said of Friedgen. "And my wife keeps talking about my son Shane. But it's got to be at the right situation at the right time. That's the way that should work. But as far as Ralph being a qualified coach and I think a really, really good coach, there's no question. And as far as Shane being a qualified coach and a really, really good coach, I don't think there's any question."

*I wrote about Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck in Sunday's print edition, and in compiling information for that story, many people spoke at great length about how Luck is not only a great quarterback, but a great guy to be around. But Harbaugh had perhaps the quote of the news conference when he said his star player was "like a dolphin."

"You know,it's really smart, he's always having fun and he's laughing and joking, and it's just a great mix of focus and being loose at the same time that you can't help but love being around that kind of demeanor," Harbaugh said.

*What about those persistent rumors that he's could be headed out of Palo Alto, Calif., following this bowl game and maybe headed to Michigan or possibly an NFL team like the San Francisco 49ers? Has it bothered it Harbaugh?

"Well, we've really always treated that as -- we just talk about -- I just talk about the job that I have and none others, and that's the way I've always handled it in the past, and it's worked well. The way I handle it now and in the future, just focus and concentrate on the task at hand."

*As for Monday's game, Harbaugh said he isn't concerned about Stanford's long layoff -- the Cardinal last played on Nov. 27. He expects a close game, but did mention that either team could end up blowing the other out. Harbaugh likes the way the Cardinal have prepared this week, and thinks they have a plan in place that can be successful."

"Then again," Harbaugh said. "a lot of fighters had a plan before they fought Mike Tyson. They had a plan going in, too."

By Mark Giannotto  | January 2, 2011; 1:45 PM ET
 
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Next: Virginia Tech's secondary, Stanford's Luck face their biggest tests yet

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