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October 9, 2013

Beamer ACC Teleconference: Pittsburgh

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The revenge tour continues for Virginia Tech, trying to avenge another loss from last season, going against Pittsburgh Saturday. The Panthers have won the last four games in the series, but can the Hokies keep it from reaching five?

Coach Frank Beamer talked about the task against the Tar Heels, plus injury and status updates on this week's ACC Media Teleconference. Below is the transcript, followed by the audio link.

Beamer: Got another very tough game, very challenging game this weekend. I think Pittsburgh knows exactly what to do. They do a great job getting it done against a very tough football team, very aggressive. I think the personnel kind of fits. They run the ball, run the ball. They've got a couple of guys there in Bennett and Connor. Connor's a freshman, big old guy, 6'2", 230. They pound you that way with big offensive linemen. They got a couple of receivers in Boyd and Street, they can get it done. They've got a quarterback that can get it to them. Defensively they fly around and play tough and get after you. Got that Donald kid that is a tremendous player inside there. I think he's got six sacks already. It's going to be a very, very challenging football game for us. There's no question about it.

In a year of blowouts conference-wise, so far for the most part you guys have obviously scored some pretty close ones in a row. What have you learned about your kids in the last month?

Beamer: We certainly haven't been a blowout team, that's for sure. But I'm proud of our football team. We're kind of a grinding football team. Playing a lot of young kids, kids playing hard. Don't always play well, but play hard. They're getting better all the time, too. I think we've beaten some teams and teams we've played have been very good. I think you take their records and see that we've really played some good people. Pittsburgh fits right in there. I'm very impressed with their football team.

Your last three games last year were all pretty close ones, if I remember right. Has this been a carryover as far as the grind out, find a way at the end kind of mentality?

Beamer: Yeah, I think that we were sitting there 4-6, I believe it was. And we ended up on our last three, but all of them were close, a couple of extra overtime games I think it was. But, yeah, I think that's kind of the -- we've been able to grind at the end, and that's a good thing.

I was wondering what you think your players learned from last year's loss to Pitt, just given the situation that it was with you guys being a ranked team and going up there with such high expectations?

Beamer: Well, we learned that Pittsburgh will pound you if you don't play well yourself. They had a lot to do with that too, us not playing well. I've always been impressed with the kids in Pennsylvania. I think we've done some recruiting up there ourselves, and I think there's a toughness about those kids. Then I think they do a good job of coaching them up, and you put all that combination together, and they've got talent, they're tough, and good coaching. They're always going to be a team that's tough for us to beat. They've beaten us the last four times we've played, so we know we've got great respect for Pittsburgh.

I know you don't think about it during the season, but during the off-season when you have a little downtime, do you think about how long you want to coach and what keeps you going year after year?

Beamer: This year is a perfect example of trying to put this team together. We're playing more young guys than we've ever played here at Virginia Tech, and trying to get the chemistry right. Seeing the team progress, you know, I think that's kind of what keeps you going, being around the kids and seeing their life change. I could name a couple guys on our team right now that I think really have turned things around over the time that they've been here at Virginia Tech. Those are the things. But I'm very aware that can you overstay your welcome there too. So I'm very aware of that also.

You're not close to overstaying your welcome though, are you?

Beamer: Oh, well, you look around and this is a tough business. It's week-to-week and year-to-year. But I'm enjoying it. I'm enjoying the players. I always said as long as I've got a good quarterback and my health is good, and I throw in the good kicker too, and right now we have good kickers and a good quarterback. But my health is good. Other than this cold today, everything is good right now.

Talk about playing against Pitt. You guys used to play with them a lot in the Big East. What's it like having them back in the conference?

Beamer: Oh, I think they're a great team for our conference. I think academically they fit right in with what the ACC stands for. You go back and look at their history and All-Americans and the National Championships in that section of the country, and I think it's a perfect fit for the ACC. I think it strengthened our league. I think it put us -- by adding the teams that we did, I think it put us in a very positive position for the future. I think everything's good about Pittsburgh coming to this league.

What similarities about your quarterback -- for Pitt, they have Savage, you guys have Thomas, do you see any similarities when you watch Savage on video?

Beamer: Yeah, they're both big and tall and can throw it and tough. I think both of them bring toughness. So I think there are probably some similarities there, yeah.



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