Here is what Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer had to say about his team’s upcoming game against Florida State in the ACC Championship.
We’re really excited to be back in the championship game. We had a hard road getting here, but I’m proud of our players and coaches for hanging in there after a rough start and coming back and going undefeated in conference play, which is tough to do – Had a lot of challenges there – Tough to do.
Excited about playing in Charlotte – I think we’ll have to play tough, and that’s the way the ACC Championship game should be in front of a full house. Look forward to playing there and look forward to the challenges of playing Florida State.
Haven’t done a lot of work on them yet – Just finished up the meeting going over our game yesterday, going over the film from yesterday. But we’re starting on Florida State right now. Certainly, a quality opponent, a team that’s beaten three good teams here in the last three ball games. So you know, any time you play Florida State, you’re going to play a good football team. We know that’s in line there.
I know you haven’t played Florida State in a couple years, and as you said just now, you probably haven’t had a whole lot of chance to see it, but maybe snippets on TV or whatever you’ve been able to see. Is there anything in particular that they’ve done this year that impresses you? Well, I’ve seen them some in crossover tapes and so forth. But I know this, they can get after a passer. I think they lead the league in sacks. I believe that’s true. I know the scoring defense, they’re second in the league. I know their defense has improved over last year. Every time we’ve ever played Florida State, they had good defensive players, and they got after you. I think that’s exactly what they’re doing there.
Of course, they’ve got an excellent quarterback in Ponder, and he’s back playing. I’m not sure – I understand he played through some pain yesterday, but an excellent quarterback.
You know they’re going to be good players. They’re going to be well-coached. That’s the way I’ve always known Florida State to be, and that’s the way it is now with Coach Fisher.
Frank, I wanted to ask you about your defense, having to replace all those starters coming into this season. How far have they come as a group and just where do you think they’ve made the most progress? I think we’ve come along. You know, probably the consistency, and then I think maturity a little bit, making adjustments during the game because every game is not exactly the way you practice all week. I think, as the game has gone along here lately, we’ve been able to get better. That probably shows that we’re able to adjust a little bit.
But I think just playing, you know. There’s just no substitute for experience. I think playing and playing against some good football teams. You know, we’ve gotten better.
Do you think that they have – that they’ve come through with the stops? It seems like it’s been sort of bend but don’t break in a lot of cases. But when you really need them to come through like that, that play against Verica was a big play for them. That they continually have the ability to make game-changing plays: Yeah, we had some big plays yesterday – The fourth down stop and the early interception and breaking up the pass, which our defensive unit was in there on that. I’ve been impressed with how they’re coming up with the play. They’ve gotten several turnovers the last few ball games – Been able to get some big plays out of their defense for sure.
Hey, Frank, I know you’re a big proponent of the ACC moving this game to Charlotte. The fact that you clinched early and a lot of your fans were able to scarf up tickets, could that be the answer for you with the crowd in your favor? We’re going to have a bunch of people there, and I like Charlotte just because of the location and how it’s central, I think, to the ACC. More teams can – you know, it is closer to it. That’s why I think Charlotte’s the place for it. Jacksonville and Tampa, I think they worked hard, but I think we’re more centrally located in this one.
And then I think people can buy tickets even if your team’s not in there. You know, being more – or closer to a lot of schools. I think the main thing is whenever we play that game, it’s always sold out, and I think that’s going to be the case. Hopefully, that will be the case.
Feel like with you guys and Florida State, two of the biggest states in the league, does it add a little more to this game nationally, do you think? Yeah. Both of us are going to be ranked, and, you know, I know we sold out, I guess, when we played Jacksonville that first time. I know that thing was sold out. You know, Florida State’s just got that name. I mean, they do, and I think we’re getting that name. Like I said yesterday, I’m proud of the fact that we’re the only team in the country that’s gone seven straight years with ten wins. And that’s hard to do.
So I think it’s – I think it’s a match-up that a lot of people would look forward to.
One more from here. When you beat Florida State in Blacksburg in, I think it was 2007, you sort of got off the snide against Florida State. Of course, a lot of coaches have losing records against them over the years. But how big was that game just to sort of get you guys, get off that hump you had with the ‘Noles and Bobby Bowden back then: Generally speaking, when you play teams with good players and good coaches, it’s hard to beat them. Florida State is just hard to beat. There’s just no question about it. That was back then. You know, again, they’ve got good players, and they’re well-coached, I’m sure. So they’re going to be a hard team to beat now. Like you said, we’ve had a tough time over the years beating Florida State, that’s for sure.