The point was the same: the offensive coaching changes the Hokies made last winter provided a much-needed jolt to the program.
Six months later, long enough out to better digest everything, players and coaches say that feeling is palpable.
Tyler called bringing in Scot Loeffler, Jeff Grimes and Aaron Moorehead a ”culture shock,” thoughts he expounded on to columnist Aaron McFarling at the ACC Kickoff this weekend.
“The expectations of Virginia Tech having a top-tier defense and a sub-par offense have changed,” Tyler said. “Those new coaches have brought in the mindset that we’re not only going to have a great defense, we’re going to have a great offense at Virginia Tech. I think we need that, that we’re not just a defense anymore. We’re a full team.”
“We just needed to shake it up,” quarterback Logan Thomas added.
That’s music to the ears of Hokies fans who have made similar observations over the years, wondering if they missed their window of achieving something greater than an ACC championship when several times Tech posted the nation’s top defense and a slipshod offense in the mid-to-late 2000′s.
Beamer remains as loyal to his assistants as you’ll find in a head coach, reticent to publicly critique the work of past coaches at Tech. (“I thought the coaches we had last year are good coaches,” he emphasized Monday. “That’s the first thing I’d want to make clear.”) But he acknowledged that change for the sake of change is sometimes good.
“I felt like we needed something different,” he said. “We needed to change. We needed a different feeling. … People coach different ways. I don’t think there’s one exact way to be successful. I think you are who you are. The way these personalities are, they’re different from some of the guys last year. I’m not saying that’s right or wrong.”
It is different, though. Players have noted a faster tempo at practice, not just lip-service to that effect. New coaches want to set the tone. Players want to make a good impression. The end result is a lot of hustle.
“There’s always excitement about new-ness,” Beamer said.
Beamer is also a realist, however, understanding the eternal optimism of the offseason soon gives ways to the occasionally harsh realities of the regular season. Playing two-time defending national champion Alabama in the season opener certainly has a sobering effect.
“I think the real issue is how we play this fall,” Beamer said. “So we’ll wait and see how that turns out.”