Press Conference: Virginia Tech football coach Frank Beamer
COACH BEAMER: Number one, we got a lot of respect for East Carolina. They’ve earned it. They beat us here last year, the last three games have been seven-point games. We understand what kind of game this is getting ready to be. (Blake) Kemp, their new quarterback, very accurate. We know they’re going to have good receivers, always have, always will, I believe, including their tight ends. Their offensive line is all back. You know, it’s going to be a challenge for our football team. Again on the road. Rain I know is in the forecast right now. We got a challenge ahead of us, that’s for sure. .
Q. Chris Durkin has been working back at the hybrid spot. What do you like about him there?
COACH BEAMER: I like Chris. He catches the ball very easily. He’s an excellent athlete. I like quarterbacks playing other positions. I think usually the quarterback in high school is a guy that in a lot of cases is your best player or at least in the top two, three, four, something like that. We’re going to work to get him on some special teams. Again, a bigger guy with good athletic ability. So I think he can really help himself, help this football team as we go along through the year here.
Q. When you say ‘special teams’, what kind of a role do you envision?
COACH BEAMER: I think he’s a pride and joy guy, a guy that can hold up the bigger guys to getting on guys and holding them up. That’s a plus, I think. I see him on kickoff return. You have a big guy that can run, has played a lot of football. I think he brings a lot to the table.
Q. I know in your opening statement you gave a lot of respect to East Carolina. I spoke with the head coach earlier on. What can you say about your respect for him and your thoughts on him? He had a lot of positives to say on you.
COACH BEAMER: Well, it’s all for real. He’s done a great job there. They’ve done a good job of recruiting. They’ve done a good job of playing. They came in here and beat us last year. It wasn’t a fluke. They had a game plan, had players to execute it. The history of this series tells you, hey, they’re getting ready, it’s going to be a heck of a ballgame. He’s a guy that you really respect out on the recruiting trail, a good guy, in my opinion, good coach, and been a real plus for the profession. I think he’s the right guy in every way really.
Q. As far as your quarterback in Brenden Motley, the last two games he’s been the same throughout as far as completion percentages, what he comes up with touchdowns. What can you say about his consistency?
COACH BEAMER: I think it’s going to continue. I think that’s just Brenden. He’s not an up-and-down guy. I don’t think his play will be up and down. I think it will be very consistent. I think he’s a guy that just knows what he needs to do to win. I’ve been very impressed with him. I’ll be honest with you, I’ve been impressed with him when he took over for Michael.
Q. Six of the last seven years now you will have played East Carolina. What will be the common thread you see through teams coached by him, being so familiar with him over the years?
COACH BEAMER: I think good players, well-coached. Good athletic skill. I have never seen East Carolina where the athletic skill wasn’t very, very good. It’s a game both of us benefit. We’re fairly close. Their fans come here, our fans go there. Whenever you can schedule a team that you have respect for, like East Carolina, and we’ve played a lot of games, got quite a few more to play, but I think it’s good for both sides. Scheduling is not an easy thing anymore. You got to find people that want to play you and you want to play them. When you find a team that you can schedule long-term like we have with East Carolina, it’s a real, real plus. They give us that kind of a possibility, too, as far as being a team we can schedule, and schedule quite a bit.
Q. What have you seen from the limited film so far on their quarterback as a new starter there?
COACH BEAMER: I think very accurate. Gets rid of the ball. Doesn’t hang on to it long. I’d say a smart kid. Looks like he knows where he wants to go with the ball depending on what he’s seeing. I think he really gives us something. (Chris)_Hairston, their running back there, No. 3, (Anthony) Scott I believe it is, and No. 25, (Devin) Anderson, all those guys, I think they’re good players, too. To me they present a more balanced look than they have at some points in time.
Q. What is your philosophy on defending Hail Mary’s and how do you drill that?
COACH BEAMER: I think most people have an organization that you practice and have people in different parts of the end zone in relation to where you’re trying to throw it, try to get the tallest guys you can. That gives you a chance to get a ball caught or tipped. I think that’s it. A lot of people rush three people. I prefer to rush more. I don’t like sitting back there and letting the quarterback throw the ball where he wants to throw it. I think he needs to have to throw it under some stress, maybe not throw it quite as accurate as he does when he can sit there and take as long as he wants. I think there’s strategy on both sides of that deal.
Q. How often do you practice that? How do you practice that?
COACH BEAMER: There’s the play, sometimes a Friday play. We try to do unusual situations on Friday, a lot of them. Sometimes on Thursday, that gets into our script offensively.
Q. Frank, Dahman McKinnon seems to be helping you out as linebacker and special teams. He left the program last year. Did he have to do anything special to convince you he was ready to come back and play football, get back on the team?
COACH BEAMER: He did. I’ll keep that between him and the football program. But I think anytime you leave a program, your guys you trust, the leaders of your program here, have to agree that we should allow him to come back. I always make that part of the policy here. It’s the team making the decision as well as myself. But he’s a guy, you know, I think he’s learned from it. He’s got good talent. I think it’s one of those situations he didn’t realize he missed it till he was away from it. When I go on the road to recruit, I’m always looking to make that a success story at the end. I’m hopeful with McKinnon it’s going to be a real success story in the end.
Q. You talked about their quarterback. Talk about their wide receivers, Isaiah Jones and Bryce Williams.
COACH BEAMER: Tall guys. Bryce is a tight end about 6’6″. Jones is about 6’1″. They got a couple more there. Grayson is 6’2″, Barnes is 6’1″. Williams on the other side at 5’11”. They just don’t have many wide receivers. That’s the thing you notice out there on the field. Last year they were throwing to big old tall wide receivers. In most cases we gave them an opportunity to throw some deep balls. That’s where the ball is going to go. When you got a tall receiver, you’ve got an advantage. They certainly made that pay off for them a couple times last year, too. I think that’s the trend certainly at East Carolina. Every once in a while you’ll see a real fast small receiver, but I think everyone’s trying to get the bigger guy that can go up and get it downfield.
Q. When I look at your numbers, I see remarkable offensive balance between the run and pass game. Talk about achieving that. I would assume that would be a goal of almost every coach.
COACH BEAMER: Oh, yeah. I think anyone would tell you the more you can achieve that equal, the better off you are. There’s just times in the game you got to be able to run it. You’re trying to run out the clock, go for first downs, whatever. And there’s times you got to throw it. I mean, you’re behind, two minute, so forth. I think when you got the ability to do both, it gives you a chance to be a good football team and gives you a chance to win championships. If you’re just one-dimensional, I think anymore teams are too good, coaching is too good. Generally speaking, the people you’re playing are going to be talented enough to shut down one element of the game. You better have both things available to you.
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