Coming off last week's tough loss to Cincinnati, Virginia Tech comes to Chapel Hill this weekend for an important ACC Coastal Division showdown with North Carolina. On Wednesday afternoon, Hokies head coach Frank Beamer spoke with reporters in the league's weekly teleconference. Check out what he had to say below.
"Really impressed with North Carolina. They got veterans up front on the offensive line. The tight ends are excellent. The quarterback, Renner, is completing 64% of the passes. Their tailbacks are really good. Bernard is back now, full tilt. Then big, tall wide receivers that can go get it."
"They do a good job at offense, stretch you horizontally, vertically, make you defend the field. Great screen team. Defensively, giving up 296 yards on average in a game, really playing well as a football team, really at the top of their game. We've got our work cut out for us."
You're giving up about 200 yards per game through the air. North Carolina is averaging about 300 passing yards per game. You talked about their quarterback (Bryn) Renner, 1400 yards, 14 passing touchdowns through five games. Talk about the challenge going against this offense.
"Well, it is a challenge. Again, Renner is a veteran guy, smart guy, doing a great job for them, knows where he wants to go with the ball. Got good skill people to go to, an offensive line to block for them. They're for real, there's no question about that."
Coach, looking at some of the numbers, North Carolina scored 66 points last week. Around the country, West Virginia had a 70-63 game. It's like video game scores. Are we going through one of the eras where the offenses have the edge on defenses?
"I think when you got good talent on the field, and I think North Carolina has good talent, West Virginia has good talent, can stretch you, get athletes out in open spaces, it's tough to defend."
Your defense has broken down a couple times this year, which is something we're not used to seeing at Virginia Tech. Are you happy or is there a problem you need to correct?
"I think everything that's happened is correctable. We have kids that want to get it corrected, want to play at a higher level. We're working like heck to get that done."
Frank, now that (Giovani) Bernard is back for them, seemingly a hundred percent, what are the particular problems that he poses with his broken field ability, not necessarily a power runner, but he's a great runner in space?
"Yeah, I think he does have power and has great quickness. Got him back there on punt returns, he can go. I think he's averaging 7.3 a carry. Shifty, nifty, I think a heck of a back."
Remind you of anybody you've seen recently?
"He's a great running back. When you watch him, it doesn't take you long to see, he's got some special skills. But I think those other two do, too, Blue and Morris. I think they're well set at the tailback position."
Coach, I know we've talked about some of the struggles you've had on both sides of the ball. When you're looking at some of the positives overall, what do you think is the biggest positive you've seen from your team?
"Well, I think at some point in time in the season we played well in every area. The last half, last week the offense had some numbers. Defense played well. Special teams. We've had some returns, good coverage. In every area we played well at times. Our challenge is to play well all the time, play consistent."
Sometimes when you got some new people at positions and so forth, you're not as consistent as you want to be. But we're far enough along now that we need to be consistent in how we perform."
I know we asked you earlier this week about David Wang and Tony Gregory. Are they still good to go for Saturday?
"Yeah, we'll see how it is here and make that report on Thursday."
Looking at Logan Thomas' numbers this year, they don't seem to be quite as eye-popping as last year. Is that because he's lost some key supporting weapons, receivers, top running back from last year? How much of that is him having to take more of a load?
"Yeah, I think when the two receivers we lost, two top all-time receivers at Virginia Tech, David Wilson is in the NFL, I think four offensive linemen. I think sometimes the people around them, sometimes you're not sure where a receiver is going to be, this and that, sometimes your quarterback doesn't look as efficient as he could be.
"I've got every confidence in Logan. He's a competitor. He's a leader. He's smart. So we just got to pick up around him and make sure we're playing in a consistent fashion."