Virginia Tech Special Teams: Are They Truly Special?

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You can’t watch a Virginia Tech football game on television without hearing the announcers mention Frank Beamer and
his special teams. The Hokies have blocked a lot of kicks over the years, and with the exposure they get from ESPN, many
have come on national television. One day we’ll all look back on Beamer and say that when it came to blocking kicks,
he was ahead of the curve. But the special teams game is more than how many kicks you block. They can turn the tide of
the game and mean the difference between victory and defeat. With that in mind, are Beamer’s special teams truly

It seems like longer than three weeks ago that I was sitting in ALLTEL Stadium, watching Virginia Tech get dismantled
by Florida State on special teams…again. It was depressing and embarrassing when you consider the amount of publicity
the Hokies’ special teams get. And that got me thinking…exactly how many of Frank Beamer’s wins and losses can be
directly attributed to special teams?

That’s a tough question. Using past media guides as my reference, I looked at the game recaps and box scores for
every game since Frank Beamer has been at Virginia Tech. It’s easy to find blocked kicks and kick returns, but things
like a shanked punt, fumbles on kickoff return and missed field goals are usually not included. So for some games, I’ve
had to go on memory.

There is also the difficulty of deciding whether or not special teams actually won or lost the game. There are some
who will say that special teams didn’t cost Virginia Tech the national championship in 1999 (when FSU blocked a punt
for a TD and returned another for a TD in a 46-29 win), and there are others who say that they did. Also, a big play in
special teams changes a lot during the game. If a team gets behind, they’ll throw the ball more. If they get up, they’ll
run out the clock by running the football. Stats and play calling are directly impacted by special teams scores, so
deciding which games are won