Editor’s note: JD Howell of ESPN of ESPN Radio Blacksburg (94.1 FM, 1430 AM) will be transcribing Frank Beamer’s telecasts for us this year, as well as getting postgame and press conference quotes from players. Thanks to JD for all his hard work!
You can listed to the JD Howell show live on ESPN Radio Blacksburg every weekday from 4-6pm. You can also listen online here.
Beamer opening statement
“As we look to this first football game, you talk about a football team I think is just extremely talented, extremely tough. Every part of their game they’re very good at. You look at them defensively. They’re strong. They got very efficient offensive players. The Yeldon kid for them with 1,000 yards last year, what a back he is. AJ McCarron’s won 2 national titles, and great receiver the Cooper guy, explosive. Then you look at the kicking and the punter, 44.3 average last year. That’s the fourth year he’s done that. So they just got it all. They do everything well. Talented guys but extremely well coached guys, do it all. Yeah, I think you play a team like this, the best football team in the country, you find out where we are as a football team, so we’ll see where we are. And it’s time to play a ball game. I say this every year, but it’s time to play a ball game and get a starting point and see where we are as a football team.”
Update on J.C. Coleman
“He’s questionable right now.”
Does it look good for Coleman?
“I’d say he’s questionable right now.”
On 27 freshmen traveling to Atlanta
“Well again you kind of get a reading of where you are. You see if people can handle the biggest of big situations. And how they handle it and how they react to it. In college football I always say this but, the first time you play for real, you’re playing another opponent for the first time during your regular season and it’s not preseason scrimmages or preseason games or whatever. That first ball game I think you get a great evaluation. Or see how kids respond to those types of situations. Put Alabama in there and now you’ve got a tremendous team that you’re seeing how they respond. We’ll learn a lot here Saturday.”
On the defensive end spot
“Well we got several players there. That’s the one thing we do have. We’ve got several players that are very good. Coach Wiles will run them in there. And I’m not sure whether he’s decided who will actually start or not. But all those guys there are going to end up playing quite a bit. When we’ve been able to alternate people in there that’s when we’ve been a pretty good football team. We feel good about that spot.”
On what stands out about the 2009 Alabama game
“It was a good football game. I thought that we played well, I thought certainly they played well and went on to win the National Championship. It was a good, tough, physical football game.”
Is there an advantage of Scot Loeffler gameplanning against Alabama again?
“Well they’re certainly familiar with Alabama. But it still gets back to players. That’s the concern you have, the quality of players that they have. Like I said earlier they’re coached up. I’m really impressed with their program.”
Will there be more big neutral site games like this when the playoffs begin?
“I think it’s very clear that strength of schedule is going to be a big criteria, I think from that standpoint. I do believe this; I think when you get evaluated against the best team in the country and really particularly good in all aspects that you do get a great evaluation of where you are as a football team. Certainly what you need to improve on. Sometimes when you have runaway wins at the start of the season you don’t really get to find what you really need to work on, or sometimes that’s not as clear. I think playing a team like Alabama you become a better football team. We understand what a task it is to go in there and beat Alabama. But it’s not often you get a chance to play the best team in the country the #1 team in the country. I think there are plusses, it’s certainly a challenge and we know what kind of game we’d have to play to have a chance. But I think there’s some things you get out of it too.”
On starting a true freshman at left tackle
“I think the type of kid he is, I mean he’s a tough guy, he’ll give you best effort he’s got. Scheme wise you need to try to help him a little bit. But nah, I don’t think we’ve ever had a freshman start at left tackle for us. It’s kind of where we are, we’ve gotten a little bit thin in the offensive line. We’re in the process of building that back and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Who will return kicks and punts?
“It’ll either be Jarrett or Kendall Fuller or Willie Byrn. And Kyle Fuller’s been back there some catching the ball. We’ll decide later in the week that’s for sure.”
On who decided to play the Alabama game
“Well Jim came a couple years back and checked and we decided to play the game. You can look at it one of two ways. I think you get a very accurate assessment of your football team. Again there’s not many times that you actually play the #1 team in the country. So there’s a lot to play for. I think there are some plusses, there are always some minuses because they’re such a tough, tough team to beat. You have to play certainly mistake free and all those things. There are some plusses and minuses whichever way you go there’s some plusses and minuses so we’re going to look at the plusses. And see exactly where our football team is and go from there.”
On whether the new coaches are an advantage
“Well yeah, I think any time there’s new people, the last year’s film doesn’t mean very much. So yeah I think that’s a plus. But like I said it still gets back to personnel on the field and they’ve got some excellent personnel. But we’ve got some good players too, don’t get me wrong on that. But I do think when you’ve got new people that there’s some question mark exactly what are you going to see.”
On whether he plays up the underdog role to his team
“Well I mean, I think facts are facts, and we are, I don’t think you’ll see many people if any picking us. Facts are facts.”
On the problems Amari Cooper presents
“In our league he reminds you of Sammy Watkins there at Clemson. I mean a guy that’s just athletic and can go. They’ve got a good group of wide receivers but certainly Cooper is a guy that’s just… hard to cover that guy.”
On whether Logan Thomas is ready to bounce back
“I don’t think it’s as much Logan as it is people around Logan and how we can stay even with the down markers. I think when you’ve got a lot of long yardage situations that’s bad on any quarterback. But I think Logan’s a year older, I think sometimes he tried to force things and do too much and take the team on his shoulders. I think he’s certainly learned from that and we’ve got to play to our strengths as a football team and I think Logan will help us do that. ”
Breaking down A.J.McCarron
“Any time you go into it, I think that quarterback is a key, key player. This one is good, he’s got the experience, he’s got the national championships, he gets the ball to the right people, he makes great decisions. I’d say he’s an excellent quarterback, above excellent probably. For a college quarterback to have that experience, and have those people around him and have his talent and have his game… his intelligence, I’d say that’s probably about as good as you get.”
On whether Alabama has a weakness
“Haven’t found one yet. When your kickers are good and offensive personnel is excellent. They’re like us they’ve got a couple of new guys in the offensive line, but a couple of those guys are preseason All-American I think. No I don’t think they have a weakness, I think they’re just as solid as the day is long and really good.”
On whether he’s hoping for a traffic jam before the game
“At least make them late? No. We know the challenge ahead of us, there’s no question about it. We’ve had good preseason practices. When you play the best, and in no particular area are they weak, matter of fact they’re strong. Again you do find out a lot about your own football team. It’s a challenge but you’ve got to play the ball game, that’s what we’re going to do.”