It has been assumed since the latter stages of the 2013 season that UVA and Mike London would eventually part ways, the only question being when athletics director Craig Littlepage would finally pull the trigger.
Now we have to wonder if Virginia Tech and Frank Beamer might soon be parting ways themselves.
“We’re not happy where we are right now. I’m happy with the potential that we have right now. I’ve said all along, we just have to play better,” Beamer told reporters at a Monday press conference.
The Hokies (3-4, 1-2 ACC) host Duke (5-1, 2-0 ACC) in Lane Stadium on Saturday. Vegas has Tech as a two- to three-point favorite, but you have to wonder why.
Virginia Tech has lost three of its last four, and the Hokies will be going back to Michael Brewer at quarterback after Brewer made his first appearance in relief last week since going down to a broken collarbone in Week 1.
Brewer gets to face arguably the ACC’s best defense on Saturday: the Blue Devils lead the ACC in scoring defense (9.3 points per game) and pass efficiency defense (89.5 opponent passer rating) and are third in total defense (252.8 yards per game).
It will be a tall order for a team that has struggled to find a footing with a flurry of injuries dating back to the opener.
“We weren’t counting on Brewer going down. We weren’t counting on Kendall Fuller going down. Other defensive backs not being here. Everyone has injuries. Some are more critical than others,” said Beamer, who to his credit will address hard questions about his present and future head on, unlike his counterpart up the road in Charlottesville, who is prone to rah-rah his way through questions about his status as if it’s not an issue that the UVA program is in a long period of decline.
Virginia Tech is in its own extended decline: just 25-21 overall in the past three and a half seasons, and 13-14 in the ACC, on the heels of a run of eight straight seasons with 10 or more wins.
Athletics Director Whit Babcock has been clear about his expectations for the Tech football program. For the record, they are not to see the Hokies hovering at or now below .500.
Beamer knows the stakes heading into this weekend. A loss drops Tech to 3-5, with tough games remaining at Boston College and at Georgia Tech and at home against North Carolina.
(Go ahead and count Virginia as a win.)
A losing season is not out of the realm of possibility. It might be out of the realm of comprehension for Hokie fans, who don’t want to get used to the mediocrity that has befallen Wahoo Football Nation.
Beamer, for the record, doesn’t think the end is anywhere near.
“Our kids are playing hard,” he said Monday. “We haven’t always played well. If you’re out there and your kids aren’t playing hard and wanting to win, then I’d be disappointed. We’ve played hard just not well enough at times. Certain things have happened that set us back. I’m excited to get back to practice tomorrow and see that we can get better. With young kids with talent, we have a chance to get better.”
– Story by Chris Graham