Press Conference: Virginia Tech football coach Frank Beamer
FRANK BEAMER: We have probably the best football team, you could argue for sure, that’s ever played in Lane Stadium coming in here this coming week. Talented, well-coached, No. 1, ran the table last year, got a lot of guys back, a lot of guys back, so we understand the challenge. We understand that games like this don’t come along very often, but at the same time it’s the opening ballgame, and I’ve got to think you’ve got to keep it as what it is, the opening ballgame against a great football team, a whole country watching. But what we’ve got to do is treat it like any other opening ballgame and go play it, find out where we are as a football team, and then go and improve from there, and that’s a formula we’ve used for years around here, and that’s going to be the formula we use this year. Let’s go play and find out where we are.
Q. I wanted to ask you, the success you had last season with your tight ends against them, was that something schematic, something you saw in their defense, or was that just your tight ends making some plays?
FRANK BEAMER: Well, you know, we were fortunate, we got tight ends here that are tough guys, that will block inside, and then all of a sudden they’re good enough to get out in space, and with a little height advantage and good speed can be effective out there, too. I think that’s always going to be a part of our game plan is trying to figure out how can we gain an advantage here, what can we do to get these guys messed up. That’s always going to be a big part of our game plan each and every week.
Q. And on your initial depth chart, you didn’t have Kalvin Cline there at tight end. What’s his status? Is he healthy?
FRANK BEAMER: Yeah, we think he’s going to be. He’s still — we’re working with the medical staff, but I’ll let those guys determine that for sure.
Q. What was his injury?
FRANK BEAMER: I’ll let the medical staff talk to you about that.
Q. You’ve talked about how this game is the most anticipated one you guys have ever had in Blacksburg. I guess what would you have considered the second most anticipated that you guys have hosted there in Lane Stadium?
FRANK BEAMER: This may be the first and second. You know, we’ve been fortunate — when you go back and think about it, all those Miami teams that came in here and Texas A&M and Nebraska, I mean, you kind of go on and on about all the big games that’ve happened here in the last few years. But this is one where, hey, never before has there been a unanimous No. 1, I believe I’m correct in saying that, to start the year, never to come to our place and open the season. That’s special. But again, you know, the game is big. There’s no question about that. The whole country will be watching. People will have an opinion of Virginia Tech after that game, so we’re going to determine whether it’s a good opinion or not, so you know, there’s a lot riding on it, but again, as I mentioned earlier, it’s still the first ballgame, find out where we are, let’s get better from there.
Q. When you start the season against a team like Ohio State, how do you keep your guys kind of corralled and focused? I know you’ve played big games before, but is it difficult to have them kind of be ready for a game like this when there is such a big team coming in, or have you seen this team really have a lot of confidence and maturity to just go about it like any other game?
FRANK BEAMER: No, it’s been my experience over the years, playing a team like this helps you as far as the focus for the game. We’ve got smart guys around here and they turn the tape on and they understand we’ve got to play a great football game to have a chance to win this thing. They understand that you’re playing a very, very talented football team. I think those things get your attention pretty quickly and kind of keep your attention as you get out there and practice. So to me, playing a team like this helps you as far as your attention to detail and your preparation for your opening game.
Q. When you look at your defense going into this game and this season, who have been some of your most impressive defensive players going into the season that you feel like the defense can lean on a little bit?
FRANK BEAMER: Well, I think a guy, Luther Maddy that got hurt last year, but what a steady influence he is for our football team, not only playing inside there and being good in that position, which that’s where it all starts, inside out, but yet I think his influence — I think in the secondary we’ve got some guys, Facyson and Fuller and Clark and Frye, some guys that are very — they’ve got some height to them, but they’re smart guys and they’re good football players. You know, on the back end, having those guys is really, really helpful. When you can do some things with them, it kind of turns your front loose a little bit, so I think those guys are key for us.
Q. You just mentioned the defensive line and that was one of the big match-ups you won in the game last year, so how do you replicate that type of performance against what is now a much more experienced Ohio State offensive line?
FRANK BEAMER: Yeah, you know, you look at them, and most of those guys are back. I saw where about three or four of them are preseason All-Big Ten, whatever. So it’s a different game, and we like our guys, but I know they like their guys, too. That’s going to be a big part of it. It always starts up front. In big games, good teams, it’s who wins the battle up front, and that’s going to be a big issue in this game right here.
Q. This might be a silly question, but what is the biggest difference between Ohio State when you played them last year and Ohio State now?
FRANK BEAMER: Well, I haven’t played them yet, so that’s going to be hard to tell you. But I think a year experience, and probably confidence. I mean, confidence is such a big thing, and we both were in a situation where we were running a lot of new guys out there last year, and we happened to get a couple big plays, scoring plays, and ended up winning the football game. But you know, as you go through a year and you play and you get better and your confidence improves, I think that’s big. You know, this is a good team, and I’m sure a very confident team. You know, I think that’s a big, big part from last year to this year.
Q. I wanted to ask about Facyson. Two years ago he was a great young corner, and last year obviously you had to shut him down and he couldn’t play very much. Can you talk about is he all the way back or is he what you would hope he’d be at this point?
FRANK BEAMER: I think you’ve got to wait until the game to determine that for sure. From everything I’ve seen he’s been playing with a lot of aggressiveness and going to get the ball type of deal and the whole deal. It looks like to me — I think he’s got to get out there and play and get him comfortable in that setting. I think we’ll know more after a game like Ohio State where you’ve got to cover some great people. You’ve got to make some tackles. You’re got to get singled up a little bit. You’ve got to make a tackle. I think we’ll know a lot more after this game.
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