It was filled with the usual platitudes about the opponent — and at this point, there isn’t really much new that either can say about the matchup — but there were some interesting nuggets.
Here’s a little bit of what they had to say:
** Beamer had a revealing answer about how tough this season was for him personally. It sounds like it affected his health too. ”I didn’t sleep real well some nights and I my diet was really working, because I was losing weight when I really didn’t want to lose any more weight. I wasn’t eating,” he said. “But I take great pride in not getting too high and not getting too low. And that’s the way I try to handle situations. That’s the way I think the coaches and players would describe how I was during the season. I think. Because I think that’s how you get through things like this.”
** As far as Rutgers and Virginia Tech go, the programs aren’t too different. They both want to play strong defense, run the ball and be dynamic on special teams. Obviously, the Hokies didn’t succeed in all those areas this year, but it remains their aim. “They value very similar things to what we value,” Flood said. “I think it’s going to be two football teams trying to do the same things to each other, and really whoever executes the best … is the team that’s going to have the opportunity to be 1-0.”
** Beamer holds Rutgers’ defense in high regard. The Scarlet Knights are fifth nationally, allowing only 14.3 points per game. “We played a lot of good defenses this year, but I don’t think we played one any better than this defense, I will tell you,” he said. ‘They are right there.”
** The Hokies hold an 11-3 advantage in the series, having won 11 straight in the series, although that was back in the teams’ Big East days, when Rutgers wasn’t too strong. “This is a different Rutgers program right now,” Beamer said. “They are much more talented, got those big tall receivers that can run and play great defense and blocked a bunch of kicks and just — they’re just a very talented we will-coached football team, so we got our work cut out for us in that regard.”
** Given the rumblings about coaching staff changes at Virginia Tech, it was interesting that Flood brought up the Hokies’ bowl streak and coaching staff continuity as two things he hopes to achieve at Rutgers. Beamer was asked how much he thought keeping the same coaching staff intact has meant to the team’s bowl streak. “I think it’s been important,” he said. “I think the having people together, knowing what we’re going to do and how we’re going to do it and then, you know, to get to this many bowl games straight, there is a consistency there. I think a lot of that goes back to our coaching staff.” (We’ll see how much meaning those words actually have once the season is over and he reassesses the offensive coaching staff.)
** You could tell the respect Flood had for Beamer wasn’t a front. The first-year head coach, who took over for Greg Schiano only 11 months ago, called Beamer “legendary” and said he would one day tell his grandkids that he coached against him. He talked about introducing his young son to Beamer earlier in the week. “I don’t know if my son knows how fortunate he was to shake that man’s hand,” he said.
** It’s odd that as Virginia Tech’s string of eight straight 10-win seasons came to an end, Rutgers is trying to reach 10 wins for only the third time in its history. “I think 10-win seasons in college football are the standard for the elite programs,” Flood said. “You better take those things seriously. These opportunities have not come around as often for us as maybe Virginia Tech, but this is an opportunity for us to do that.”
** Flood seemed impressed by Hokies quarterback Logan Thomas. “I think the most concerning thing about Logan Thomas is that he’s going to play in the game,” Flood said matter-of-factly, noting that 6-foot-6, 250-pound tight end D.C. Jefferson is the only player who they have that matches him physically. “So the fact that that gentleman lines up and touches the ball on every play, on every offensive snap they have, he is a legitimate weapon in every phase of the game. … When you have to go tackle an athlete like Logan Thomas at his size, that is not an easy thing to do, and we need to make sure early in the game we get multiple players to those tackles and make sure we can get him on the ground and hopefully minimize the effect he has on the game.”
** It was interesting to hear Flood talk about Rutgers’ recruiting philosophy. He talked about how the Scarlet Knights recruits what they call “the state of Rutgers,” a four to four and a half hour radius from campus, in addition to the state of Florida. Sounds similar to the Hokies’ six-hour recruiting radius and Florida focus.
** Rutgers has won five straight bowl games, the longest active streak in the country. “We feel like we’ve built a culture of winning bowl championships,” Flood said. “And we — again, they’re championships and eventually these players are going to get a ring — we want that ring to Russell Athletic Bowl champions. I think that’s very important to us as coaches. It’s very important to those seniors and certainly as you build your program, you want to build it on winning championships, not just getting to games, but being able to get to those games and then ultimately win them.”