Firstly, let me preface this by saying that I love Frank Beamer. He has been the face of Virginia Tech football for the past 20+ years and has taken the football program from rags to riches. We’ve seen ACC titles, 10-win seasons, and multiple BCS bowl appearances. That being said, it’s time to be real for a minute.
Frank Beamer comes on Tech Talk Live every Monday during the football season and answers questions from the fans. Tonight was especially harsh due to being 4-4 this late in the season. The questions were harsh, Bill Roth got chippy towards some listeners/question-posers, and some of the responses Frank Beamer gave tonight were just ridiculous.
Everyone knows Frank Beamer is notorious for his coach speak – that is – being vague as to not tip your hand to either the media, fans, or outsiders in general. I recognize that. I’ve been in the press room with Beamer and I’ve had the privilege to interview him. But as a fan, tonight pushed me over the edge.
I was live-tweeting Tech Talk Live tonight, and here are some of Beamer’s highlights.
"“You take about 8 plays out of that ballgame and I think we’re gonna win that ballgame.”"
No, Frank…just…no. Sure, Virginia Tech did have about eight or nine big blunders that certainly helped leave points on the board, but so did Clemson. The dropped pick-6 on a wide receiver screen, some drops by Clemson’s solid receivers, and the list could go on. Both teams made mistakes throughout the game, but saying that if Virginia Tech corrected their mistakes it would have been a different game is just moronic. That’s not how football works, Frank, and I’m sure you know that. Both teams can make that claim. If the Hokies corrected their mistakes, they probably win 40-or-so to 20-something. If Clemson corrected their mistakes, they likely win 50-something to around 17. That scenario swings both ways.
"“I think plays like that, if they’re successful they’re great plays…whether we should’ve gone back to it’s the question.”"
That quote is in response to the infamous Marcus Davis pass in the fourth quarter. Frank Beamer admits that the question in that scenario was whether or not to re-try a play that they had already done earlier in the game. Well Frank, the answer is unequivocally no. It’s a cardinal sin in football to attempt the same trick/gimmick play twice in one game. Gimmicks only work multiple times in a game if you balance your gameplan around them. The defense had already seen that play, recognized that formation, and moreover were already in a passing defense since the Hokies were down by 14 points in the fourth quarter. Common sense would seem to dictate that the answer to that question is a resounding no, no, NO! As we noted in our last post, Beamer was holding an offensive play-sheet on the sidelines. If he is trying to have influence in the offense, veto that play call before it even happens.
"“All of us are aware that we need to run the football better. When you play your 3rd center, things don’t always get blocked well.”"
Hey Frank, that’s also your starting guard when everyone else is healthy. If you’re complaining about your third-string center not blocking well, perhaps you have bigger problems along the rest of your offensive line. Now – if Frank wanted to argue that Via was struggling getting up out of his stance and lay a block, I’d entertain that argument because I could see that. If that was the point Frank was trying to convey, fair enough.
"“Todd McShay stays on TV by being controversial – that’s part of it. Cam Newton played in a similar offense and won.”"
Now this is the one that made me laugh out loud when he said it. I’m going to explain Auburn’s offense with Cam Newton at the helm – Spread option with implemented zone-reads. Easy enough, right? Now I’m going to try to explain Virginia Tech’s current offense – Multiple style with implemented zone-reads, fused with looks out of I-form, shotgun, pistol, and ace. The problem with Beamer’s comparison there is that Auburn had an identity. Cam Newton was going to run the ball out of the zone-option and utilize the deep passing game. Logan Thomas has tried to run the ball out of the zone-option, he’s tried to utilize the play-action pass, and he’s tried to utilize a plethora of screen passes, he’s tried to throw spread-like routes and quick slants, and he’s tried to make pro-style throws.
You see the problem here? Auburn was consistent with their gameplan, but the biggest complaint by many towards the offense this season has been a lack of an identity. Did Cam Newton run a similar offense? At times, perhaps. But what about the other times when Virginia Tech has tried to be something different altogether?
"“I think the officials do a good job.”"
Virginia Tech had already been talked to by the ACC about criticizing the officiating in games (I’m looking at you, Shane Beamer), and so I’m not surprised at this response. No need to get into more trouble with the league.
"“INSERT DODGE HERE.”"
Frank Beamer was asked about whether or not he would be evaluating the coaching staff during the season or during the off-season. He completely disregarded the question and said he wanted to talk about Miami. Now look, I get it – you don’t want to cause a stir in the middle of a bad season. Frank is good friends with the other coaches and they all have a tight bond and I don’t expect him to outright say that he’s looking to make heads roll. What I would have been happy with would have been something like this: “We’re going to wait until the end of the season, evaluate where we’re at, and if necessary make the changes that need to be made in order to get back on track.” That’s not overly controversial and it’s not guaranteeing that heads are going to roll. Straight up dodging the question completely is just a bad look.