Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer got a good glimpse of those teams — including one of Bowden’s best in the 2000 BCS title game — so he can offer some perspective about this year’s squad.
“This one reminds you a lot,” he said. “We were just talking about it in a staff meeting today, reminds you a lot of those teams. Very athletic, very tough, play physical, exceptional football team in every way.”
The Seminoles, who are 8-1 and ranked 6th and 8th in the national polls, enter Thursday’s game ranked No. 1 in the league in total offense (524.6 ypg), scoring offense (44.8 ppg), rushing defense (72.9 ypg), passing defense (154.2 ypg), total defense (227.1 ypg) and scoring defense (12.0 ppg). They’re second in rushing offense (234.6 ypg) and third in passing offense (290.0 ypg).
“This Florida State team is really, really impressive,” Beamer said. “Athletic and really physical on both sides of the ball. They’re running the ball extremely well, rushing for 235 yards. Offensive line is extremely good. One of the best we’ve seen in quite some time really. They’re good.
“And then defensively, I think they lead the nation in total defense. Putting a lot of pressure on you with a four-man rush, snug up with your receivers. They’re tight throws and tight catches. Just a really exceptional football team.”
Beamer’s teams always had trouble with Bowden’s. In fact, he lost seven straight to Bowden’s FSU teams, including the national championship game, before finally breaking through with a 40-21 win in Blacksburg in 2007.
The Hokies also won the 2010 ACC championship game in Charlotte against the ‘Noles, bringing Beamer’s record against Florida State to 2-8. If this FSU team at all resembles the great ones from the past, he knows the challenge ahead Thursday.
“They’re about as good as it gets in college football,” Beamer said.
Here’s what else came out of Beamer’s teleconference today …
- First, a programming note: the live chat will be Wednesday this week at its normal time of 12;30 p.m. We wanted to move it a little bit closer to the game.
- Asked why he thinks Virginia Tech has fallen so far this year, Beamer offered up a few vague reasons. “We just haven’t played well enough,” he said. “We’ve played some good teams that have played well against us and we didn’t play well enough. That’s kind of the bottom line. Again, I think everybody in our operation here could have done something better to help our football team.”
- FSU has one loss this year, a 17-16 upset at N.C. State that looks mind-boggling after the Wolfpack got run out of its own stadium by Virginia, a team previously winless in the ACC, by a 33-6 score last week. Beamer still thinks the ‘Noles controlled that game, though. “When you look at it, N.C. State had about 7 or 8 or 9 plays in that game and the rest of them was a struggle,” he said.
- The running back split wasn’t quite what fans envisioned last week against Miami. After hearing that J.C. Coleman and Tony Gregory would get most of the work, it was surprising that Michael Holmes played as much as he did. Running backs coach Shane Beamer told Frank Beamer’s website that Coleman got 30 plays, Holmes 29 and Gregory 23. Part of that was to keep them all fresh, since Tech ran 82 plays. Part of it was the packages the Hokies used. Holmes’ got called more often than they anticipated. “We continue to evaluate that,” Frank said. “We’re trying to get it in packages right now and it just so happened that Holmes’ package was called down there. But we continue to look at that.”
- Beamer met with Logan Thomas for a few minutes. His message to the quarterback? “I don’t want him to put too much of the load on himself,” he said. “I think the quarterback is always going to be a key point. I think sometimes he feels like he needs to make some plays and so forth, and I think it’s just one of those things where you’ve got to play your game. And he’s certainly playing good enough. I’ve really admired how he’s played. … He wants to win so badly and it hurts him when he doesn’t. And that’s the kind of guy you appreciate.”
- Virginia Tech pursued EJ Manuel coming out of Bayside High in 2008, but the quarterback didn’t consider the Hokies much. They had landed Tyrod Taylor a year earlier, so playing time would have been hard to come by early on. Beamer went against Manuel in the 2010 ACC title game, when the quarterback threw for 288 yards and a touchdown but also had two picks in Tech’s 44-33 win. What’s different now? “I think just like anybody, experience is a wonderful thing,” Beamer said. “He’s been around, he’s played a lot, he certainly knows the offense and really is very good at executing the offense, very good at throwing. And then he’s always a threat to run. An athletic guy.”
- ESPN has put a 6-day hold on several ACC games, meaning it won’t decide the game times and channels for the Nov. 17 slate of games until this Sunday at the latest. That includes Virginia Tech’s game at Boston College. These are the options for that game: it will be at noon, 12:30 p.m., 3 or 3:30 on ABC, ESPNU, ACC Network or RSN. So, basically any time except at night.