After Frank Beamer stepped off the platform at the Schott Media Center Monday, signifying the end of his weekly meeting with the media, he was stopped with one last question.
Asked about what kind of environment he anticipated for the 8 p.m. start versus Virginia on Nov. 28, he avoided the question completely. To anyone familiar with and Tech’s schedule and Beamer, the answer was par for the course.
Virginia isn’t the next game on the slate, so Virginia doesn’t get talked about. No one but the next opponent ever does.
“With us, it’s the next game,” Beamer said. “Concentrate on that one. Not thinking about anything else. We have got to keep it, get to the next ballgame. That’s all we are going to talk about this week, that’s all we are going to think about.
“I think it’s the first time we’ve ever beat two top-20 teams on the road in the same year, but at the same time we have a couple losses that weren’t very good for us.”
It’s part of Beamer’s way, right up there with constantly finding good things to say about the opponent, even when he might have to do some digging to find good things to say.
Wake Forest, Tech’s next opponent, has not won since Sept. 20. The Demon Deacons rank dead last in the FBS in total offense (204.6 yards per game) and rushing offense (34.1). Asked why the Demon Deacons have struggled so mightily to move the ball on the ground this season, this was Beamer’s response:
“Defensively, they play very well. I think they are 45th in the country in defense. Tenth in the country in passing defense, and those corners, I talked to you about that. You got a new system, you got new players, a redshirt freshman tailback, a freshman quarterback, and when you put all that together you’re going through some things that I’ve talked about here. You get a good play and then a not-so-good play, and then a good play and a not-so-good play. Like us, they are trying to fight through that too.”
Beamer’s interactions with the media, always complimentary of opponents – what some call coach speak – has turned off a vocal minority of Tech’s fan base. It’s not the fire and brimstone some wish to see in a football team that isn’t experiencing success in quantities it is accustomed to. It’s also part of what has made him one of the most respected coaches in college football.
“To me it just makes perfect sense,” Beamer, who is one win away from becoming bowl eligible for the 22nd consecutive season, said. “If you can keep that vision straight ahead and don’t get sidetracked, like I said before, we’ve proven we can be a pretty good football team, we just haven’t done it time after time after time. That’s the thing that we need to do is be better this week and play better this week.”
For the most part, that mentality has had a trickledown effect on his teams that keeps them focused on the next game and away from spitting bulletin board material for opposing teams to post.
“I think if there is one thing that we learned this year it is not to take any team lightly,” quarterback Michael Brewer said. “There has been a lot of cases this year where we had big wins and then come back and lose the next week, or have a close game that didn’t go our way and let that affect us the next two weeks. I think at this point in the season everybody has figured out that you have to stay even keel and have a good week of practice and prepare for Wake Forest like it is the ACC Championship Game.”
Going from a 17-16 road victory versus then-No. 19 Duke that ended a three-game losing streak to ACC cellar dweller Wake Forest could prove trap-worthy, especially for a young team that relies so much on youth as Tech does. As a result of the man who sets the trend, that won’t be the case.