Press Conference: Virginia Tech football coach Frank Beamer
COACH BEAMER: I’m very pleased with our spring practice. I think we’ve had a really, really good spring practice as far as effort. Certainly some people to replace. We haven’t always looked great, but I thought our effort was good. As long as you’re getting effort, I think you have a chance of improving. That’s what took place at our place. The big question really is the quarterback. I think Mark Leal, Brenden Motley and Andrew Ford all have had their moments. Some of it’s good, some of it’s not as good as you like. I think Michael Brewer coming in, Chris Durkin coming in, will enter into the competition there. We’ll see how that ends up. But that’s certainly the critical question for our football team right now. Having said that, I’ll take any questions.
Q. At the kicker position, where are you? Does (Michael) Branthover look like a guy you can rely on or will the competition be decided in the fall?
COACH BEAMER: I think there’s a couple guys coming in that will enter into the kicking situation. I’ve been pleased with (Remington) Hinshaw. I think the height of his kick, the consistency of his kick. Then we had a situation in our last scrimmage where his kick was going to determine whether his team won or lost. He nailed it right through there. I think coming out of spring, he’s the guy that I would look to. But I’m very interested in getting a couple other guys coming in here and competing. That’s the position that I think if you got it, you got it. If you have the ability to walk up there and swing it one time, knock it through the middle, if you’re made that way, you can do that. It’s not like working with other people or experience. I think it’s really a situation where a freshman can play. I should just say it that way.
Q. Can you quickly tell us a little bit about Wade Hansen, how you got him, where he fits in.
COACH BEAMER: He came in here, transferred in. Really great effort. Made a lot of plays this spring. Athletic. He’s been a pleasant guy to see out there this spring.
Q. Down at Amelia next month, the league is going to debate eight versus nine conference games. What is your preference?
COACH BEAMER: Well, I understand both sides. Certainly playing eight gives you a chance to do some scheduling, maybe overall help the league get people into bowl games. But having added the extra teams in the league, just because you’re eligible, you might not have a bowl to go to I think with the numbers. Again, I think you don’t know about that. I actually prefer to play a conference game. I think generally we need to schedule the same way. We’re in a conference where Georgia Tech plays Georgia, Florida State plays Florida, Clemson plays south carolina. I think all the rest of us need to have a game of that caliber. But I do think to me, I’d rather play a game that you need to win as opposed to play a game that you should win. Just from a coaching standpoint, I’d look more towards those challenges rather than the alumni getting all upset when they think you should have won a game. Sometimes their thinking is not quite the way the talent level is on the other side. I think I’d go for nine games.
Q. Commissioner Swofford and some others are sponsoring legislation that would give conferences the autonomy to maybe even do away with divisions which would increase scheduling flexibility, perhaps the number of times you’d see teams in the league. What are your thoughts on divisions?
COACH BEAMER: Well, I would want very much to keep divisions. I think that’s real competitive. The games at the end mean something, are more important. I think every sport that you think about, they play divisions. You have two winners there, then you have the winner. I would very much want to keep our divisions. I think that’s very important.
Q. A question about Wade Hansen. He’s a tall guy in there at tackle. Have you had a pair of guys that tall and do you like what you see from that combo with Vinny( Mihota)?
COACH BEAMER: Getting some tall guys in there gives you a better shot on getting a hand on the field goal. On the other hand, I think a couple of our field goal kicks have been low. I think for us right now, it’s having a low kick. We spent a lot of time trying to figure out trying to get an advantage on the opponent. If you can block a kick, field goal, extra point, that’s a big turnaround in the game. We’ll continue to try to work on that and try to get our tallest people in there.
Q. Sounded like you are going to have discussions about a format for the spring game.
COACH BEAMER: As soon as this call is over, I’m going to look at it. We’re going to meet tomorrow morning and decide exactly how we’re going to do the whole thing. Both our quarterbacks got nicked up a little bit yesterday. I’m hoping that Leal and Motley will be able to play. Then we have some guys on defense, Motuapuaka got nicked up, he’s going to be out. Trying to have a meaningful game. I really like the format of a game. I think they get in a game atmosphere, to play like that, that’s what you really want to end up with spring practice. When you get people in the stands in a game-like situation, some people perform differently than they do for a scrimmage or an everyday practice. I’d like to put that game element in there if we could find enough people.
Q. I’m interested in your take on the possible unionization of collegiate athletes talked about especially at Northwestern this spring.
COACH BEAMER: I’m not sure exactly if everyone understands what the ramifications of the whole thing would be, what it would actually mean. I don’t think anyone would really want to be paying taxes on their scholarship. I don’t understand the whole thing myself. I do feel like the college game really is pretty good. You come, you play for your university, your education is taken care of. You have a skill set there that not everyone has. I need to know more. I need to educate myself more on exactly what it would all mean. I’m not sure the kids at Northwestern knew everything it would mean. But I think to get a legitimate, clear picture of what this would actually mean, is that exactly the direction we want college football to go? I think that’s the deal.
Q. What has been the biggest way the team has gotten better this spring?
COACH BEAMER: I think along our defensive line. We’ve had some guys that are very, very athletic. I think they’ve really been a factor in the last couple scrimmages. I think Dadi Nicolas has been a big-time player. We want to get more weight on him. But he’s got some talent that you don’t find every day. (Ken) Ekanem, (Seth) Dooley on the other side, those are some guys that you look at. Alfred also showed up in the last one. Corey Marshall has had a great spring, as have Luther Maddy, someone mentioned Hansen, Nigel Williams. I think up front, that’s kind of been the place from the start of spring to right now where you feel those guys out there. I think it all starts up front. So that’s a good thing for our football team.
Q. What has the Georgia Tech preparation been like this spring?
COACH BEAMER: I think the more times you play Georgia Tech, the more times your kids have played, and we have a lot now that haven’t really played, but I think it’s a hard thing to do to take a couple days out. We haven’t done that this spring. I do think having people in the program that have played against them for a few years, that kind of helps you a little bit. But it’s still different. That’s a different week. They’ve got a different offense. They know what they’re doing with it. That’s what makes it hard.
Q. Is that the first time you’ve not done that?
COACH BEAMER: I can’t remember exactly. Seemed like we did do it the year we was going to open up with them, so forth. It kind of depends when they fall on the schedule, too, if you have an open week before them, so forth. Again, I think having had some experience against it from the coaching and player standpoint, I think it helps you a lot.
Q. Your feeling about the NCAA extended meal allowance legislation? Your emphasis on nutrition, how has that changed over the last few years?
COACH BEAMER: Well, I’m all for anything from a feeding a player standpoint to improve his health. Some kids need to lose weight. Some kids need to gain weight. I think to be able to control that, for them to be able to play at their best, those are all issues that everyone would be for. We have a nutrition lady here now. That’s a big, big part of it. She helps them a lot as far as what you need to buy at the grocery store, how much of this, how much of that. I think that’s kind of one of the biggest changes that’s come along really, how people treat nutrition, how important it is to the production of your football team.