Hokies Not Under Saban Radar

Alabama Coach Nick Saban thinks that if the perception of Virginia Tech football and its veteran coach, Frank Beamer, is not among the best in college football, then the perception is wrong.

Alabama is just over a week away from its season opening game against Virginia Tech in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Kickoff in the Chick-fil-A game will be at 8 p.m. EDT (7 p.m. central time) on Saturday, September 5, with national television coverage by ABC.

Alabama ranks among the elite in college football. Virginia Tech Coach Frank Beamer said earlier this year that Bama is "top shelf." The Hokies may not have the same high reputation as the Crimson Tide, but Virginia Tech's record under Beamer is exceptional.

"I think the consistency that they've had in their program in terms of winning over the long haul with consistency probably matches just about anybody's program in the country," Nick Saban said. "That's the reality of it. If it's not the perception, then somebody's missing the boat, in my opinion."

Saban expects Bama to have its hands full against the Hokies. "Virginia Tech is a very, very good team," he said. He said they are good on defense and that they have 10 returning starters (though not all will be starting against Bama) on offense with a play-making quarterback. And, of course, he cited the Beamer trademark. "They're good on special teams; that's how they've always been."

Saban said, "It's going to be important that we do a good job in all three areas to have a chance to be successful."

Virginia Tech is favored to win the Atlantic Coast Conference championship this year. The Hokies are coming off a 10-4 season, ACC championship, and Orange Bowl win. Virginia Tech has been to 16 consecutive bowl games and played for the national championship a few years ago. Doesn't that earn respect?

"I have respect for them," Saban said. "I respect Frank Beamer. We've played them through the years, and they've always been tough, they've always been physical, they're always very well coached, and they usually have a pretty good team that has a lot of success and ends up in a pretty good bowl game at the end of the year. And they have played for the national championship. So this is a program that has a high standard of expectations and I think Frank Beamer is one of the best coaches in the country."

Saban was asked if Beamer is "undervalued."

"Not by me," Saban said. "I certainly have a tremendous amount of respect for him. I think the longevity really speaks volumes and the consistency that he's done it with. He's not only a really good coach he's a very good person and he‘s been good for college football in a lot of ways. He has shown a lot of leadership and set an example in our profession."

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