“When I look at this Bowling Green team, I see a really good football team,” Beamer said. “They have 20 of 22 starters back, 10 on defense. They’re very physical up front. They play hard. The quarterback can really throw the football. He’s completed 60 percent. He has three receivers and they spread it around. One of them has 18, one 16 and one has 15 (catches). Their back is averaging 5 yards a carry.”
The defensive line, which was heavily praised this preseason due to its combination of experience and depth, is now being questioned after allowing 254 yards rushing to Pittsburgh.
“It was just embarrassing,” said defensive end James Gayle.
Linebacker Jack Tyler is quick to point out the team simply missed tackles when they had the opportunity.
“I think part of it was just maybe lack of focus,” Tyler said. “Tackling takes a lot of focus. It takes a lot of emotion. You have to run through the ballcarrier and when we watched it on film, you could see that there wasn’t as much tenacity. There wasn’t as much energy, really, out there."
The secondary, meanwhile, experienced struggles as its top player, Kyle Fuller, went down with an injury in the first half. A unit that was already struggling with depth issues was left gasping for air.
This week, the secondary will look to bounce back with a strong performance against a struggling passing attack.
“We’ve got to come out and we’ve got to get our swagger back, per se,” said secondary coach Torrian Gray. “We’ve got to come out and be physical; come out and mentally be sharp. We’ve got to do all of those things.”
As for the status of Kyle Fuller, it remains unknown, but Beamer acknowledges it was a problem as soon as he went down.
“That was a tough loss for us,” Beamer said. “I’ve said all along that we need to stay healthy in the secondary and when he went down, we were shuffling around and had guys playing positions that they hadn’t practiced at, so that caused some confusion.”
Now, the team is looking to bounce back from a loss that has caused panic amongst Hokies fans. Tech is facing a Bowling Green opponent which gave a ranked Florida team a tough game for three quarters before eventually falling 31-17.
“I think everybody is going to have adversity somewhere in their life, and how you react to it is the deal there,” Beamer said. “We have to have a great week of practice cause we’re getting ready to play a really good football team, a solid football team that plays really hard. They have a lot of experience back.”
Tech and Bowling Green kickoff Saturday at noon with it being televised on ESPNU. The Hokies will be wearing camo helmets, as the game will serve as Military Appreciation day.