The ACC Kickoff (aka media days) is fast approaching, something we media members consider the unofficial start of the football season. That’s not until July 21, however. In the meantime, it’s as good a time as any to start taking a closer look at Virginia Tech.
This isn’t a list of the 25 best players on the Hokies’ roster. It’s a list of 25 things/people/ideas that will determine whether Virginia Tech’s 2013 season is a success or not. Next up is …
No. 6: Frank Beamer, head coach
Of course the head coach is going to appear somewhere on this list. It’s just a matter of where.
You could argue that Beamer’s biggest influence took place in the offseason, when he made a much-anticipated overhaul to his offensive coaching staff. He’s an overseer, after all, a coach who puts his assistants in place and lets them go to work.
But that’s not to discount Beamer’s weekly influence over things. He’s the steady presence over the entire program and has been for nearly three decades. Sometimes that gets taken for granted in Blacksburg.
Still, Beamer seems to be accepting a willingness to change. Since the winter of 2011, he’s brought five new assistant coaches into the fold, skewing much, much younger with those hires.
Long-time allies Billy Hite and Jim Cavanaugh have been phased away from the on-field product. Both now work for the school’s Monogram Club, which deals with alumni. Beamer made the decision to re-assign offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring, who has been with him since the early ’90s, to recruiting coordinator and tight ends coach, a demotion that could have been extremely awkward under a less seasoned coach.
In recent years, Beamer has expressed an interest in modernizing Virginia Tech’s offense, stating several times how impressed he is with how Clemson runs the ball. That’s not to say the Hokies will look anything like the Tigers, but in hiring an outsider like Scot Loeffler to run the offense, Beamer has introduced a fresh set of ideas that should energize a program that is known for its consistency (or, critics might say, has been limited by its complacency).
Beamer’s demeanor won’t change. He’s still the same figure on the sideline, the one who urges his team not to get too high or too low, a steady hand that has worked well over the years. And he’ll still have a major hand in special teams, where he takes a hands-on approach to every facet.
But he’ll have a new challenge this year: making sure all of the offseason changes fit into what Virginia Tech wants to accomplish. That doesn’t happen automatically.
Coming Tuesday: He’s shed some weight since last year.
- No. 25: Ryan Malleck, tight end
- No. 24: Defensive subs
- No. 23: Andrew Miller, center
- No. 22: BeamerBall
- No. 21: Ronny Vandyke, whip linebacker
- No. 20: D.J. Coles, wide receiver
- No. 19: Cody Journell kicker
- No. 18: Tariq Edwards, inside linebacker
- No. 17: Detrick Bonner and Kyshoen Jarrett, safeties
- No. 16: A.J. Hughes, punter
- No. 15: J.R. Collins and Dadi Nicolas, defensive ends
- No. 14: Demitri Knowles and Josh Stanford, wide receivers
- No. 13: Kyle Fuller, cornerback
- No. 12: Derrick Hopkins and Luther Maddy, defensive tackles
- No. 11: Young cornerbacks
- No. 10: Jack Tyler, inside linebacker
- No. 9: Bud Foster, defensive coordinator
- No. 8: Laurence Gibson and Jonathan McLaughlin, offensive tackles
- No. 7: Antone Exum’s right knee