Notes from Frank Beamer Teleconference today

Virginia Tech Head Coach Frank Beamer addressed the media today as his team prepares to host the Nebraska Cornhuskers this weekend. Here are some notes from the Q&A with Coach Beamer.

Virginia Tech, ranked 13th by the AP and 14th in the Coaches' Poll, will host Nebraska this weekend. Nebraska will go into the game with an unblemished record of 2-0, while Virginia Tech comes into the contest 1-1, their loss coming to the top-five Alabama Crimson Tide.

In Beamer's opening statements about this game, one particular unit he singled out was the offensive line. It's a line he feels is better than the one the Huskers had last season. "Up front, offensively, they are just exceptional. I think they lost three guys, but they look more athletic and better than even last year, and they were good last year," Beamer said.

Beamer may have given kudos to the bigguns down in the trenches for last year, but Nebraska did only have 55 yards on the ground in the 35-30 loss to the visiting Hokies. Nebraska did manage 278 yards in the air, however, former Husker quarterback Joe Ganz completing 17 of his 26 passes (65%), throwing two for scores. Ganz also had an interception.

Comparing the quarterback of last year to Zac Lee, who will be going into just his third start as the Husker QB, Beamer said he didn't see a lot of differences. "I think they're very similar – heady guy out there, good pocket presence, very accurate – I think it's a lot of the same guy it looks like to me," Beamer said. "He's got some impressive stats, I can say that."

On the season Lee has completed just under 74 percent of his passes for 553 yards, six touchdowns and one interception. Lee's efficiency rating of 186.41is good enough to rank him in the top 10 of all the Division 1-A quarterbacks right now.

But both games for Lee have been at home, and Blacksburg has a reputation for being one of the toughest places to play…anywhere. Beamer isn't buying just how significant that will be when it comes to shaking up this still-young QB. "If you look at his stats not much has bothered him so far, I can tell ya," Beamer said. "I think all of us try to get to the point that it doesn't make any difference where you are playing.

"Nebraska fans were great last year, and (I'm) hoping that ours will be the same kinds of fans this year. I think you really try to get that it doesn't make any difference where you are playing. You just play."

The questions about senior defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh were inevitable. For Beamer, he's obviously faced his share of superstar players over his career as a head coach. But he only has to look back a couple of weeks to find a solid comparison as to just how much of a pain a stellar defensive tackle can be. When you are talking about defensive tackles as potential early round picks in next year's NFL Draft, Suh ranks at the top of most lists, but senior Terrence Cody isn't a slouch by any stretch. At 6-5, 345 pounds, he's a little different type of nose tackle, but Beamer figures they are both similar in how much of a problem they can present. "It's more of the same – big guys that can change the game," Beamer said when asked if facing Cody prepares you for facing someone like Suh. "We've gone against one guy like that, and now we are getting ready to go against a couple more."

Virginia Tech will go into this contest as favorites, the latest lines predicting Nebraska to be just over a field goal worse than the Hokies this weekend. Even with the loss, just from a national standing Virginia Tech's hopes for a BCS game are still very much in reach. Beamer looked at playing Nebraska now similarly to how he looked at playing them last year, despite the fact that from a post-season-aspiration standpoint the Hokies are in a more crucial spot now in the rankings this year, still sitting in the top 20, whereas last season they went into the Husker contest unranked. "Certainly a name-opponent like Nebraska, we try to get at least one of them a year. That's exactly what we'd like to do," he said. "Our fans are going to be excited for a team like Nebraska with all the tradition. Like I said before, a top program in the country coming here, that's certainly exciting for our fans.

"We've just got to go be a better football team this week to beat this group or to have a chance to beat this group."

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