He was willing to go as far as “up and down.”
“I certainly thought it was going to be an up and down season. Just who was playing, the level of experience,” said Beamer, whose Hokies (4-5, 1-4 ACC) head to #19 Duke (8-1,, 4-1 ACC) for a key ACC game on Saturday.
A loss puts Tech on the brink of missing out on the bowl season for the first time since 1992, which is not only unthinkable over the long course of the past two decades-plus, but is even more so considering how the 2014 season started.
The Hokies put the nation on notice after pulling a 35-21 upset at Ohio State in Week 2. Things have gone downhill from there, with Virginia Tech losing five of its last seven, including its last three, with four losses at home.
Injuries have been an ongoing concern. Beamer noted in his weekly presser that he’s down a third of his projected starting lineup from the opener against William and Mary, the upside to that being that Tech football should benefit in the future from the experience that the youth movement has gained in 2014.
“The one thing about playing them, it’s just a fact; you get better quicker by playing. You don’t get better quicker by standing over there beside me. It helps when you’re getting good reps in practice, but the quickest way to get better is playing. I think for the future, having played all these young guys we are going to be better,” Beamer said.
But in the here and now, “you just go through some growing pains,” Beamer said, with some in the fan base suggesting that maybe Beamer’s time has come and gone, with Virginia Tech at just 19-16 since the start of the 2012 season, after a run of eight straight seasons, and 11 in 13, with 10 wins or more.
“I don’t know if frustrated is the right word,” Beamer answered a reporter’s question on the topic. “Before we ever started this whole thing, I knew it was going to be a little bit of an up and down year. People say, Well, how about Ohio State. Well, that was an up. But you still have to come back and play with guys that haven’t played a lot.”
Beamer is encouraging Tech fans to say the course.
“I think our deal is continue to get better,” Beamer said. “Build the program. We are where we are. The level of experience is where it is. That’s just being realistic. I’m not sure if frustrated is the word I’d use. Being realistic, it is what it is. Now, I think what the question is, and this team has given me no indication that says we’re not going to keep battling, we’re going to keep getting better, we’re going to keep working, we’re going to be as good as we can be, and I like this group of kids. I think they’ve done what we’ve asked, they’ve practiced hard, they’ve played hard. So, I don’t think frustrated is the right word.”
– Column by Chris Graham