Almost two months ago, the Virginia Tech Hokies were 1-0 after beating the William & Mary Tribe and ready to go in to Ohio Stadium as underdogs against the Ohio State Buckeyes. The Hokies pulled off the massive upset in Columbus 35-21 over the Buckeyes on September 6th in a game that gave many Virginia Tech fans.
All of a sudden, the Hokies seemed like they were sleepers to make a run at the first College Football Playoff. Meanwhile, Frank Beamer received a lot of praise at that time and deservingly so as the head coach of a team that had just pulled off a massive upset at Ohio State.
That was in early September but now in late October, Virginia Tech football seems to be nearing a big decision on the future for a Virginia Tech team that has underperformed. The Hokies are 2-4 since the win over the Buckeyes and it is clear that the Hokies have regressed some since that upset.
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The Hokies still were in the ACC Coastal hunt entering Thursday Night’s game against Miami but there were people starting to wonder if Frank Beamer still had it or not. Those call have grown a lot with beat writers hinting and local analysts wondering if it’s time for change.
Virginia Tech football seems like it is close to hitting rock bottom and changes seem likely for the Hokies this offseason. The projected talent on next year’s roster is good enough for them to be top 15, which won’t happen likely unless there is a major turnaround, and potentially go undefeated next season with the biggest challenge at home against Ohio State.
The big question is whether Frank Beamer is the guy to maximize the talent and bring Virginia Tech back to being nationally relevant consistently? Right now, the camp that says that this season should be the end of the Beamer era is growing and that is honestly starting to look more reasonable every week.
Sep 13, 2014; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies head coach Frank Beamer looks on during warm ups prior to the start of the game against the East Carolina Pirates at Lane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
One issue is that the Hokies just haven’t started home games well this season and a lot of that has to do with preparation with comes down to the coaches. The Hokies have dug themselves in holes that were too big to get out of against East Carolina and Miami though Virginia Tech never got close against Miami.
Also, the Hokies did not bring out the same level of energy as Miami did for this past Thursday night and that led to what is probably the worst first half ever for the Hokies at Lane Stadium. The fans stayed loud a lot longer than most fan bases in this type of game would but the Hokies never made it close and most of the sellout crowd was gone by the end of the game with Lane Stadium looking shockingly empty.
Another thing that have frustrated some people with Beamer is how he has been mostly optomistic after the toughest losses about how the Hokies will bounce back while also stressing the positives. While that is great, people wonder where the fire is in Beamer while some of these slow starts make you wonder if he has the whole locker room which would be very disappointing if he didn’t.
One thing that you can praise Beamer for is the fact that special teams have been improved this year with Greg Stroman being a dynamic punt returner, Deon Newsome and Demitri Knowles having solid kick returns, Joey Slye being a quality walk-on kicker, and A.J. Hughes being solid overall outside of the one really bad punt out of the endzone.
Beamer also has had tons of success in the past while also doing a good job of finding under-the-radar recruits and turning those players into big time players including Seattle Seahawks’ star safety Kam Chancellor. Beamer also is the active wins leader in all of college football and that can’t be forgotten no matter the recent struggles.
However, this is more about the overall play of the team currently and you have to wonder if Beamer has lost his edge similar to what happened with Bobby Bowden and Phillip Fulmer. In both those places, those programs stucky with legends too long and it led to a fall from national relevance. Florida State has bounced back with Jimbo Fisher bringing a national title to Tallahassee but Tennessee hasn’t won more than 7 games since 2007.
Sep 6, 2014; Columbus, OH, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies athletic director Whit Babcock against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium. Virginia Tech defeated Ohio State 35-21. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Virginia Tech athletic director Whit Babcock has another month to evaluate Beamer and the Virginia Tech football program with Hokie Nation having complete trust in Babcock’s decision making. However, the decision on Frank Beamer will almost certainly be one that defines Babcock’s time in Blacksburg.
Right now, the next two months seem to be rough for Virginia Tech football with the future of Frank Beamer being extremely uncertain with two camps of fans forming and changing every week.
One thing seems certain, whatever the decision Whit Babcock makes, Beamer will likely accept it as a man that loves Virginia Tech and wants the best for this school. If this is the end, don’t expect this to end in an ugly manner with Beamer but you can never tell with how tricky a move like this can be.