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August 27, 2013Sign-up for HokieHaven.com Wireless Text Alerts sent right to your cell phone!
When asked over the past few days about his feelings on Alabama's program, Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer has gushed plenty.
He's fueled the perception that the Crimson Tide might have the closest thing to a modern-day dynasty in college football, how well they recruit and how they win national championships. That's not to say he's counting his own team out.
The Hokies enter Saturday's game against Alabama at Atlanta's Georgia Dome as the largest underdog they've been since they played then-No. 1 Miami in 1992. Virginia Tech is 0-7 all-time against top-ranked teams, though it doesn't help that the Hokies finished 7-6 last season, their worst since that 1992 season. But Beamer is confident in this being the game that gets his program launched back in a positive direction.
"I tell our players, they're probably the best football team we've ever played," he said. "I tell the players, we've had some injuries, but how often do you get the chance to play the best team in the country? How many times do you wake up in the morning and have that opportunity. It's a good thing the games not decided by, it's not always who should win, it's who does win. We're going into every game with the idea that it's important, let's win it and this is no exception."
It helps that a few teams have shown that there are some chinks in the crimson armor, even if they are small. Only two teams have defeated Alabama the past two seasons, Texas A&M last season and LSU in 2011. And Beamer and his staff have pored over both films.
"It gets down to execution and taking care of the football, don't give up long plays on defense, win the kicking game battles," Beamer said. "To me, it's as simple as that, but as complex as that, too. That's not an easy thing to do against a team like Alabama, but I think we know what we need to do."
It's also happens that Virginia Tech has two new coaches who are plenty familiar with Alabama. Both offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler and offensive line coach Jeff Grimes spent last season at Auburn, where their last game, a 49-0 loss was to the Crimson Tide.
"They're familiar with Alabama, but it still gets back to the people you have on the field," Beamer said. "Knowing what they do, when they've got players like Alabama, they just do it. I think there's a certain advantage as far as knowledge, but still, they've got those great defensive guys across the line of scrimmage from you."
Win or lose, Beamer sees this game as a huge, rare opportunity. He hopes to know plenty about the Hokies after this weekend.
"I think it's gonna be a great evaluation for us, how we perform in that setting, how 27 freshmen, if they get in the ball game, how they respond in that setting," Beamer said. "That's what I think, it's gonna be a great evaluation for us and I say every year at this time, 'Let's find out where we are at this time and get better from there' and that's exactly the way I feel about this one."
And though he's anything but counting his team out, Beamer isn't afraid to say how highly he regards Alabama's program.
"I think it's the best team we've ever played," he said. "That counts all those Miami teams and Florida State teams and the Southern Cal team when they won the championship. When you look at this team overall, I think it's the best team we've ever played, can really run the football, but have the ability and have playmakers outside. Defensively, they've been great for a while and special teams, they're really good there. I think it's just a matchup that at this particular time to start the season, we're young and they're experienced."
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