Virginia Tech put about as much into a game as is possible in last weekend’s home finale with North Carolina. The 30-27 overtime loss now has the Hokies in need of a win to continue the program’s streak of 22 consecutive winning seasons, 22 consecutive bowl appearances, and the career of head coach Frank Beamer, who is retiring at the end of the season.
Beamer told reporters on Monday that he’s trying to keep his team’s focus on the task at hand: beating Virginia, not the other stuff.
“My concern right now is that our team is focused and ready to roll because this is a good team we’re getting ready to play,” Beamer said.
Tech (5-6, 3-4 ACC) took the 12th-ranked Tar Heels to the hilt before losing on the final play in OT. It was the second overtime home loss of the 2015 season for the Hokies, who have underperformed after being picked to finish second in the ACC Coastal Divison in the preseason, and have had to endure a slew of injuries dating back to their Week 1 loss to defending national champion Ohio State.
Virginia Tech has won 11 straight over their in-state rival, but Beamer knows that this year is this year, and Virginia enters Saturday’s Commonwealth Clash on a three-game home winning streak.
“Not much has happened in the past really affects what’s going to happen Saturday,” Beamer said. “This is a good football team. They’ve got their quarterback throwing very well. They’ve got Mizzell running and catching very well. Several wide receivers, big tall guys that can go get it.
“They’ve got a good streak going there at home as far as winning, and they’ve been close on the road in several games. When you look at it, it’s a very, very good football team. So that’s kind of what gets your attention right now.”
The Hokies are a three and a half point favorite on the road, maybe because the oddsmakers factor in the winning streak, maybe also factoring in the emotion that goes with playing for one more bowl game for the legend.
Beamer is buying none of that stuff.
“Your mind’s got to stay on your work,” Beamer said. “I think that’s something particularly important this week that your mind stay on your work. It gets into a lot of family and Thanksgiving dinners and a little bit of this and a little bit of that. The schedule is not normal.
“I’m a big believer in what you’re thinking when you step on the field is how you’re going to play. That is, we’ve got to have a purpose and understand the importance of playing well and representing their fans and alumni in the best way possible. That’s where I’m trying to be is keep your mind on what you can really control, and that is how a team plays on Saturday against Virginia,” Beamer said.
– Story by Chris Graham