Opening Statement: “As we went back and watched the video, we were really impressed with East Carolina. As I said after the game, I think they were a good football team. I’m equally impressed with Marshall. I think ECU and Marshall, along with Central Florida, are probably the best teams in Conference USA. UCF went up and beat Penn State this past weekend. [Marshall is] a good football team, very skilled people, averaging 46 points a game and over 500 yards a game on offense. The receivers are quick and fast, the offensive line is very, very good. Their defense is, I think, very much improved from last year. It’s a new coordinator that I know Scot Loeffler has worked with at Florida. They impress and I think they’re really, really good; they’ve won their first couple ballgames. They lost at Ohio; I think they turned the ball over three or four times early and that got them in a jam up there, but this is a really good football team coming in here Saturday and we have to continue to improve ourselves. That’s the key thing. Looking at the video, I thought we did some things better and the key to us is that we continue to improve every week.
Mike with Richmond: “The receivers were plagued by drops in the opener and they’ve played better the last two games, what have you seen in terms of improvement there?”
Beamer: “Yeah, I agree with you. Coach Morehead has been working with them after practice, catching a lot of balls using the JUGS machine. I think it’s a matter of concentration, we’re hoping to get Charley Meyer back this week and I think he’s a very, very dependable guy, so he’ll help that situation as well. I think it’s just hard work and concentration and that’s the key for them.”
Mike: “Specifically with Demitri Knowles, he had such a tough first game, what has he done to kind of bounce back?”
Beamer: “He’s really just using his ability. I tell him, from the first time I saw him, he was extremely fast, but he’s got really good hands. Sometimes, I think that, rather than trust his hands, he tried to use his body to help him catch it. When he catches it with his hands, he has really good hands, so it’s just a matter of him using his ability, really.
Andy Bitter, Roanoke: “It seemed like it was a little tough to run the ball against ECU, was that a matter of them committing to so many guys to stop the run, or just a tough day running the ball? What did you see there?
Beamer: “Yeah, they had eight people around the box for most of the day and that makes it tough, but you can still get hats on people and execute a little bit better. I think the other side of that is that when people are willing to commit eight people to the box, you have to be able to throw it. I thought we did a fairly good job of that. With their scheme they wanted to make us throw the football, but I like to think that we’ll get to the point where, if we get a hat on everybody, we have a good shot to pick up some yards.
Andy: “Do you think you’ll see that frequently this year, that teams are going to dare you to beat them in the air?”
Beamer: “Oh, I don’t think it’s a question. I think most people will probably take that approach, but again, I’m hopeful that we’re dangerous enough [in the air] that you’ll have to think about it.”
David Teal, Newport News: “I think that last year Marshall was running about 91 plays per game, maybe the fastest pace in the country. It seems they’ve slowed the pace down, at least statistically. When you look at the tape, are they playing at a more measured pace now?”
Beamer: “Yeah, I think they probably changed it up a little bit, but they’re extremely good. They spread you out and throw it around. They have a quarterback that, I think, is completing 64% of his passes. It’s kind of like last week in terms having a good offense. I think they’re probably better, overall, on the offensive line, which really helps them. I think they rush the ball a little more than ECU does, they’re averaging something like 240 yards a game rushing and 300 yards throwing, so there’s more balance in there. You put all those things together and it’s a tough outfit to defend, there’s no question.
Teal: “You saw [Marshall QB Rakeem] Cato two years ago, I believe. How has he progressed?”
Beamer: “Just experience. Experience is a wonderful thing and the more you’re in an offense, the more you know where to go with the ball and the more you do that, the more accurate you are; one thing just kind of leads to another. They have a good scheme and, like last week, they know what they’re doing and you’re going to have to stop them. They aren’t going to beat themselves.”
Mark Giannotto, Washington Post: “Following up on the offensive line, what went into the decision to start Brent Benedict at right tackle over Laurence Gibson? Do you expect that to remain the same this week?”
Beamer: “Well, how we practice is always a factor in the offensive line right now and I like competition. I wish we had a few more people competing. Like I said last week, I really think Austin Smith is going to get in there and give us another really good player. Benedict has been a little more consistent than Gibson, so that’s why he played last week. We’re going to go back and see how we practice here this week and go from there.”