Hokies' Special Teams a Concern

It seems only fitting that the best special teams unit in the country comes to Death Valley one week after that very area was a main reason why Clemson lost to Georgia Tech.

Virginia Tech has long been considered the team with the best special teams. And with such gaudy numbers, it's hard to argue against it.

Since the start of the 2000 season, the Hokies have blocked 37 kicks. Overall, Frank Beamer's teams have blocked 113 kicks over his 245 games as a head coach.

Since Beamer arrived in Blacksburg, Va., in 1987, Virginia Tech has blocked 57 punts (15 for returned for touchdowns), 35 field goals and 21 extra points. Virginia blocked more kicks than any other Division I team in the 1990s.

All told, the Hokies have scored 38 touchdowns on special teams under Beamer, 15 coming on blocked punts, 14 on punt returns, four on kickoff returns, four on blocked field goals and one on a fumble recovery.

According to Beamer, all those numbers should have gotten bigger last week against North Carolina.

"Well, we had two blocked (against North Carolina), we just didn't get them blocked," he said. "Those kids are working hard so I think it will come. I like the effort on the ‘Pride and Joy' team. We really should have had two of them blocked the other day and of course, (North Carolina) held Chris Ellis so I think he would have blocked one.

"We got a 10-yard penalty on that play, so we pick up yardage that way, too. Sometimes, it's not just the blocked kick, it's the bad kick or a penalty against (the opponent) trying to keep you from blocking one. It all counts. There's yardage in there that over the course of the game you want to come out on the positive side."

On his special teams, Beamer looks for athletes that are big and quick. For example, star linebacker Xavier Adibi plays on special teams. Beamer doesn't hold back with his personnel. He understands the importance of having good special teams play.

"He's really done a great job," Beamer said. "He's the quarterback of that punt protection team and he's a good cover guy. He had a great game against North Carolina but he also had a great game on the ‘Pride' team, too. Overall, it was a great day for him. He's the one who gets us squared away, so that's an important element."

Clemson kicker Jimmy Maners knows all too well what kind of special teams Virginia Tech has and that the Hokies are going to be some serious pressure.

That's not good news for a team that already has two punts blocked this season.

"I'm not real sure what kind of schemes they have, but I know in the past they've been a special teams powerhouse," Maners said. "I guarantee their special teams coordinator or coaches will have stuff planned and switch some things up. I don't know what they'll do specifically, but I know they'll have some looks and come up with some ideas to try and have a good special teams game."

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