The revenge tour continues for Virginia Tech, with another coastal division opponent who ran over the Hokies last season, Pittsburgh. Like North Carolina, which lost Giovanni Bernard from last season, the Panthers n longer have Rushel Shell, who transferred to West Virginia.
Still, Pittsburgh presents a big challenge, primarily with an offense that put up 58 points at Duke. Of course, the defense allowed 55 points.
Plus, Virginia Tech might finally have a weapon back this week in Antone Exum, who could help further defend what at times has been an explosive Panthers offense. With or without Exum, Beamer hopes to simply get past Pittsburgh, which has defeated the Hokies four straight times.
"The facts are, they're talented, they're well-coached, they're very, very tough, physical and that's what you've got coming in here," Beamer said.
Last week, the story for the first half of the week was the return of Exum. Beamer had announced that redshirt freshman cornerback Brandon Facyson, who has four interceptions, would be playing some wide receiver to make room for Exum. By Thursday, Exum released a statement saying he would not dress for North Carolina and would instead rehab and work to come back against Pittsburgh.
Today, Beamer said that's still the case, denying that Exum's waffling has become any type of distraction as well.
"Yeah, he's gonna try," Beamer said. "He wants to get back. He needs to be full-speed before he gets back and that's just the bottom line. We're very fortunate that we have a guy back there that's playing at an extremely high level in Facyson. When he gets back, the one thing it's gonna be is more depth for our football team."
Of course, with or without Exum, Beamer said the Hokies have to be physical to keep up with the Panthers on both sides of the ball.
"You talk about physical, everywhere...everything about them, that's what you think of, physical," Beamer said. "Not only the receiving corps, but we've all gotta match up. There's no secret in what has to take place if you want a chance to beat Pittsburgh."