In his 30-plus years experience as a head football coach, Frank Beamer has mastered just about all aspects of the coaching profession. He knows how to win, he knows how to teach and he knows how to talk to the media.
Often regarded as one of the best in the business when it comes to coach talk — using many words to say very little — Beamer never gets too high or too low when discussing his team.
So when he unleashed strongly worded rhetoric in regards to last year’s game against North Carolina, saying Virginia Tech “got pounded down,” “got their tail pounded” and “it was a hammer job,” the message got across loud and clear.
The Tar Heels welcomed the Hokies to Chapel Hill last fall, and then beat them down to the tune of 48 points and 778 all-purpose yards. The Heels embarrassed Bud Foster’s defense, running over them at will for 339 rushing yards. Giovanni Bernard, now with the Cincinnati Bengals, was responsible for 262 of those yards, averaging over 11 per carry.
“It is what it is, we got pounded. They ran for 300-plus yards, plus they had a lot of penalties that brought long runs back too, so it is what it is,” said defensive tackle Derrick Hopkins. “Everybody saw the game. Bernard just ran the ball on us. It’s extra motivation, we’ve just got to keep doing what we’ve been doing and working hard and trying to play consistently and try to get better.”
What bothered senior linebacker and defensive captain Jack Tyler when he watched the game film this week was that it wasn’t UNC overpowering the Hokies that led trouncing. The Tar Heels were so successful because of what the Hokies did — or didn’t do.
“I mean it was embarrassing. That was the worst defensive game I’ve ever seen a Virginia Tech defense play,” Tyler said. “I mean every play there was someone not doing what they were supposed to. It wasn’t really what they were doing either. It was just guys weren’t focusing; guys weren’t running to the ball; guys were missing tackles; guys weren’t getting in their gap. It was just a disaster.”
This year — with the Tech defense ranked fourth nationally — the success has come as a result of each player understanding their responsibility and buying in to Foster’s system.