January 2, 2011 – Allstate Sugar Bowl Press Conference Quotes
Virginia Tech Head Coach Frank Beamer
THE MODERATOR: We’ll go ahead and get started. Again, we want to welcome everyone to the final official pregame press conference for the 2012 Allstate Sugar Bowl.
I’ll ask Coach Beamer ?? welcome him to make a few opening remarks, and then we’ll take your questions.
COACH BEAMER: Yeah, first thing I would say is I appreciate everything the Sugar Bowl people have done for us through this week. It’s a first?class operation. It’s a great bowl trip. Very organized, very professional. And just compliment them and appreciate what they’ve done.
And then after that, you’re playing a game against the winningest football program ever in the Sugar Bowl, you know, it’s just ?? it’s an honor and it’s a real challenge.
This team is good, and we know we’re going to have to play our very best to have a chance to beat them. We look forward to the challenge of that.
THE MODERATOR: Questions?
Q. We’re on the precipice of changes in the BCS and the Bowl system. You’ve obviously lived through some different iterations of college football postseason. I’m wondering what your opinion is going forward of what college football should do?
COACH BEAMER: As far as the BCS? You know, I was behind this four teams play, one plays four, three plays two, and the two winners play for the national championship.
A few years back I thought it was gaining some momentum. And I really thought that was a good idea. And the reason I thought it was the way to go is when we played Auburn here in the Sugar Bowl. And Auburn was an undefeated team, and there were two other undefeated teams that year. And Auburn was good enough to play for the national championship.
And that’s when I kind of formed ?? generally there’s about four teams that really deserve to play for the national championship. Some years there’s more. But ?? and it always would be controversy about the fifth team, but not as much, I think, as the third team.
And so to me that would ?? I think that’s the best solution right now. And I understand that it’s coming back around a little bit. And hopefully, you know, I’d like to see us go in that direction.
Q. Coach, time for the obligatory kicker update. You haven’t been too confident in Justin Myer the last couple of days. What’s the latest on him?
COACH BEAMER: Justin’s kicked well the last couple of days. We’re going to dress out Conor Goulding. He’s had a good week at practice also. But my plan right now is to kick Justin Myer.
Q. You’ve obviously done this a few times, been in Sugar Bowls, Brady Hoke obviously has not. Do you gain any advantages from that experience? I guess not ?? if not in personnel, then certainly in preparation?
COACH BEAMER: I don’t know. We’ve done some things. We’ve learned some things over the years that we think are better. But the one thing I know is that I think Virginia Tech is a team that’s done a great job to get to the BCS ballgame. I think we’re the winningest team since 1995.
And we’ve had some great wins and we’ve done a great job getting here. But now we need to take that next step and get our share of the BCS wins. And that’s, I think, the challenge to Virginia Tech and to the ACC right now is that not only get here, but get a win. And that’s what we’re going to try like heck to do.
Q. You emphasized since you got here about the importance of winning this game, as you just said. And sending a kicker home the first night probably emphasize that to your players. Have you seen the reaction from your players this week in practice, the mindset, so forth, that you wanted them to have focusing in on winning the game?
COACH BEAMER: I do. I think we’ve had good practices. I think our attention to detail has been good.
But you never know. You know, last year, you know, I thought we practiced well, getting ready for Stanford. And, you know, if that game had gone a little bit different starting the second half, maybe the game would have turned out differently.
But I think it’s always hard to tell. But I do ?? from what I can say right now, I think we practice well. And, you know, we understand what a challenge it is to try to beat this Michigan team.
Q. Coaches come and go in this business. Tenure seems to be short. You’ve had a very long tenure. Do you think that you would have had this tenure if the system worked the way it does now when you started?
COACH BEAMER: Did I have the same administrators at Virginia Tech? That would probably be my question. I don’t think after six years, when you’re ?? I believe it’s six years ?? you’re 2-8-1, I don’t think many people would survive in today’s time.
But fortunately I had administration that could see that we were doing things the right way. They understood that we were penalized, scholarships to start my time there at Virginia Tech, and I think that’s the toughest penalties you can get from the NCAA is loss of scholarships.
And it not only hurts you recruiting now, but down the road three or four years, that’s where it shows up. But fortunately I had administration that saw that and hung with us long enough for us to get the wins. We went to the Independence Bowl in 1993 and have gone to a Bowl ever since.
But I think money’s gotten up there and people want results right now. I think the way information gets out, it may be right, it may be wrong. It doesn’t have to be accurate. But then people are talking about it. And I just think the way the whole situation is, I just don’t think coaches will last as long as we’ve been able to do it at Virginia Tech.
Q. Denard Robinson has credited Michael Vick and other dual?threat quarterbacks for giving him the confidence to remain a quarterback. Was there ever a point in your coaching career where you looked at a quarterback that had those diverse skills and said, you know, we’ve got to get him somewhere else on the field? Was there a point where you were okay with a dual?threat quarterback, I guess?
COACH BEAMER: I didn’t understand quite the last part of it. Say that again.
Q. Was there ever a point where you became okay with the idea of having a dual?threat quarterback, or have you always ??
COACH BEAMER: That philosophy has been to get a guy ?? I think the first thing the guy has to do is to be able to throw the football. And then after that the more of an athlete he is, the better it is.
I mean, it’s all pluses after that. And Michael just happened to be very top of the list at both – athletic ability and throwing the football. The zip he can put on the ball and how quickly it comes out of there.
And probably one of the great performances ever was when we played Florida State in the Sugar Bowl, that particular night. And I think that probably changed a lot of people’s thinking: Yeah, I can do this. And a lot of great athletes that could see themselves being Michael Vick.
And I know their admissions, applications for admissions at Virginia Tech went up that year. So he changed a lot of things, I think, in the football world and Virginia Tech world.
But that’s kind of the way we’ve always ?? that’s the way we look at it. Tyrod Taylor, he was an excellent athlete. He’s with Baltimore (Ravens) now. But he could throw the football and got better all the time. And Logan Thomas, I mean, he can throw the football. He’s a big, strong athlete.
But I think the first priority at quarterback is can you throw the football. When you go the other way around, I think it makes it tough. If you’re just a guy that can just run it and can’t throw it, I think you can slow that guy down. But when you put those two together ?? and Denard ?? their guy does a great job of that.
He’s not only ?? cannot only run it, but he can throw it. He’s good throwing the football.
Q. For your entire career you’ve pretty much set a precedent that people who miss curfew are sent home. Why do you feel to be so strict on that and what’s your opinion of coaches that maybe are a little bit more lenient on the matter?
COACH BEAMER: You’ll have to ask that again. You’re echoing.
Q. Throughout your career you’ve been steadfast that people who miss curfew are immediately sent home. How come you feel the need to be so strict about that and what is your opinion on coaches that are maybe a little bit more lenient on the matter?
COACH BEAMER: I think if you come down with a purpose and understand what the purpose is of being here and understand that there’s only so many ?? that the opportunity to play a program like Michigan in the Sugar Bowl is a unique opportunity that just doesn’t come around every year. And there’s a lot of nights you can go out and socialize. There’s going to be a lot of those nights in your life.
But to come down here and be in this setting and the Sugar Bowl and be the only game on and on national TV and to play Michigan, to me it’s worth ?? and I firmly believe if you’re going to be successful, your football team’s gotta all be going the same direction. You can’t be scattered about and doing this and that.
And so we preach that at Virginia Tech. And it may seem ?? and that’s the way we’re going to do it. We’ll set the time. You’re responsible for your actions. Let’s do things right. And do them all the same way. So…
Did I answer your question?
Q. What is your opinion on coaches that are maybe a little more lenient on the matter?
COACH BEAMER: I think people have to run their program whichever way they want. That’s how we do it at Virginia Tech. Everyone needs to go in the same direction and understand the purpose.
And this situation is big enough that it’s worth the sacrifices of whatever. And being on time.
Q. If I could just follow up on longevity in the coaching profession. You have a son who I’m guessing probably wants to be a head coach one day. Do you have any thoughts on what changes should be made to enable coaches to enjoy long careers? Should there be less money? Should there be more understanding? Should there be patience with building programs? What’s it take? What has to change?
COACH BEAMER: Well, I think we are where we are. And, you know, Shane certainly understands the coaching profession. And he certainly understands that it’s not only year to year, it’s week to week. Things change quickly in a week’s time. And that’s just the way the profession is.
And I don’t think there’s ?? I don’t think ?? administrators are the only people that can change it, and I think they always certainly feel pressure from people outside.
So I don’t think it’s going to change. I think it is what it is. And I don’t see the money going the other way. I don’t see media going the other way.
I think it’s a profession. Did you win last Saturday or did you not. And it’s kind of that way, really.
Q. You’ve taken your team to 19 straight Bowl games, and you’ve won 10 games in, what is it, eight or nine years in a row. Is there an argument to be made, if you just wait, if you’ve got the right guy, it’s going to turn out okay?
COACH BEAMER: Yeah, I think from an administration standpoint, that I believe this: Things don’t just happen quickly. There’s about three guys fired this year after they were there only two years.
And I don’t know the ins and outs, but I do know this: If I were an administrator and I had the right guy in place, I would try to hang in there with him to ?? I would hang in there with him until ?? give him an opportunity to get his recruiting classes in there and get his program, the foundation of his program in there and give him an opportunity to be successful, because it’s just ?? I think today’s world, people seem like, okay, we’ll fire this guy, hire this guy, pay him a bunch of money and everything’s going to be okay.
But I don’t think it’s necessarily going to be okay in a real quick period of time, a real short period of time.
So, yeah, I’m all about people. And if you got the right guy, you know, you better just hang in there with him and give him a little time. If you don’t have the right guy, you need to move on to the next one.
Q. What stands out to you about Michigan’s defense? And what Ohio State did against them the last game of the year, does that give you encouragement at least?
COACH BEAMER: I think they’re really good up front. I think they’re very aggressive, very tough, very well coached. I think when they get you in long yardage situations they’ve got a lot of different looks that you’re trying to figure out how are you going to block this crowd now.
So, I mean, I just ?? most of their guys up front are older guys. And mature guys, physically mature. Played in a lot of ball games.
And I always say it’s what’s up front that counts. They’re good up front. Not to say they’re not good on the back end, but I think it always starts right up front. And very tough, very aggressive.
Q. This game is being played on January 3rd, and it seems to have an adverse effect on ticket sales and interest. Do you believe that the BCS?level Bowls should all be played on January 1st, or is that just living with whatever ESPN tells you to do?
COACH BEAMER: Yeah, I believe it all should be played on January 1st. I know TV’s there, but it’s just ?? it’s difficult. I think it’s difficult on fans everywhere.
You know, after New Year’s, your kids are going back to school. Now here it’s the 3rd, and it’s a three?day stay with hotels. It makes it a difficult situation to fill the stadiums.
And I believe a BCS game, the first thing is the stadium needs to be sold out. But I understand the other side of it, too, the way the TV works they spread them out. I understand that part firmly, too. But I do think it’s an issue. I think it’s something that probably needs to be thought out and talked about, is this what’s best for college football in general is to play so many games after January the 1st.
Q. Clearly taking into account your full focus is on trying to win this game, but three years ago you guys entered the Orange Bowl I guess No. 21 in the country. You win that game against Cincinnati. And you start the next season, No. 7, going into the Alabama game in Atlanta. Have you given any thought about what a win here would do to sort of propel you into maybe a really high?ranking situation last year and into the public consciousness in that situation, if you can get a win and with everything you have coming back, too?
COACH BEAMER: I know this: Going to those alumni meetings in the springtime, it’s a lot better when you win it. The way you’re thought of in the end, the final poll, it’s a lot better if you win it for when you start out the next year. It’s going to be higher if you win it. I think there’s just a lot of implications that a BCS Bowl win or any Bowl win, really, has on your program.
So I think it’s important for a lot of reasons.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.