Beamer: Hokies appreciate second shot at BCS
By HANK KURZ Jr.
AP Sports Writer
BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Frank Beamer has picked up more than a few gray hairs this season as his team has gone down to the wire time after time this season.
But now that the Hokies can finally stop talking about their up-and-down pursuit of a spot in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship and actually get ready to play Boston College for the title on Saturday in Tampa, Fla., Beamer said it's time to work harder than ever.
"We've got to go get this one," Beamer said Tuesday. "You know, I've talked so much about getting to the championship game, and I told the team yesterday -- now we've got to go get this thing, put great effort into it and not just be satisfied getting there. It's not every year that you get this chance. We're fortunate to be there, and now we've got to go get it."
The title would be the third in five years since Virginia Tech (8-4) joined the ACC in 2004, and Saturday's game will be the second straight title tilt against the Eagles (9-3).
A year ago, Virginia Tech avenged a dramatic Matt Ryan-led comeback during the regular season with a convincing 30-16 victory in the championship and went to the Orange Bowl.
The prize will be the same for the winner this time around, and the Hokies again will have to change their fortunes from the first meeting, having lost 28-23 at BC on Oct. 18.
In that game, Virginia Tech's 150 rushing yards mostly came courtesy of quarterback Tyrod Taylor, but not because the Hokies' tailbacks didn't try. The Eagles allowed just 40 yards on 23 carries by Darren Evans and Josh Oglesby.
"We're going to win and lose some battles, but the bottom line is we need to be more productive," center Ryan Shuman said. "If we win the battle, we're going to win the game."
The first key will be moving mammoth tackles Ron Brace, 6-foot-3 and 324 pounds, and B.J. Raji, 6-1 and 323, out of the way to create some holes, and no team has managed that yet.
The Eagles allow just 2.9 yards per running play and 87 rushing yards per game.
"It's two very stubborn schemes," Shuman said. "We want to run the ball first. They want to stop the run. We want to be physical. Obviously they're physical. It's always a battle, almost to the point where it's boring. You know what you get when you play Boston College."
More than revenge, the Hokies are motivated by the prize awaiting the winner.
"It feels great to be where we are right now, but nothing compares to the feeling if it goes good," said senior linebacker Brett Warren, a reserve before this season.
Especially not when the battle to return always seemed to be heading uphill. The Hokies at one point needed simply to keep winning to get the ACC's Coastal Division berth, but the loss at BC was the first of three in a span of four games, and they needed help to get back.
It has been a much different trip than last year, Warren said.
"I think people looked at our team last year and they kind of expected them to win," he said. "It kind of feels like almost the complete opposite for our team. No one really expected us to make it here and people were always pointing out negative things about our team."
Now, having been through the turmoil of quarterback changes, offensive inconsistency and uncharacteristic losing in critical spots, the ACC title is again there for the taking.
"We all prepared ourselves for the season. It hasn't gone the way we wanted and it wasn't as smooth as we thought it would be, but we're here," Shuman said, "and we have a chance."