2008 UNC Game Analysis: Tough Hokies Grind it Out Over Heels

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“Hang in there; keep playing hard and something good will happen for
you!” How many times have we heard Frank Beamer repeat those words game
after game, season after season? Saturday’s game had to be very gratifying for a
coach that saw his young squad do just that. Trailing by 14 points without any
tempo or rhythm on offense, the Hokies kept fighting and pulled off the second
biggest 2nd half comeback in Frank Beamer’s 22 years as head coach of the
Hokies.

Before breaking down how it all unfolded, I want to get into a personal
perspective I have regarding Butch Davis and his inability to get the best of
Frank Beamer. In my opinion, it ties directly back into the concept of giving
full effort on every play and playing hard right to the whistle. I believe Davis
has a lot of respect for Frank Beamer and the VT program and that tough,
physical style of play with constant effort is the main reason why.

Playing Hard

The coaches constantly talk about effort and how proud they are when the team
plays hard. Over the years, analysts that have covered games for television and
various media have commented about how hard the Hokies play. We have heard it so
many times now (regardless of victory or defeat) that the words no longer
resonate the way they once did.

But Saturday’s game should bring all of us back to understand the
significance of those words, because it was that constant effort that made the
difference. And in my opinion, it is at the root of Frank Beamer’s success
against Butch Davis.

How is that? Years ago Butch Davis decided that his teams needed to match the
effort and toughness of the Hokies in order to beat them. Year after year while
in Miami, he saw first hand how hard the Hokies played against his teams. By
1999, he had seen enough of the Hokies wearing down and beating up the
once-mighty Hurricanes. That year, it was clear from the very first snap that
the Hurricanes were going to fight, punch, scratch, claw and gouge (literally)
every chance they got. After another defeat (a 43-10 blowout in which the...