We're just days away from the official start to the 2013 season, as Virginia Tech takes on defending national champion Alabama, the top-ranked team to start the season, in Atlanta's Georgia Dome.
Coach Frank Beamer talked about the challenge this weekend, plus a few injury updates on this week's ACC Media Teleconference. Below is the transcript, followed by the audio link.
Beamer: We certainly have been impressed with Alabama. I said yesterday at the conference, our press conference, that I think they've done something special. I never thought one team could dominate college football the way they have the last few years. They've got a terrific program. They've recruited great players, and they coach them up. Really outstanding football team. So I think our kids are eager to play. We practiced against ourselves long enough. We need to play and find out where we are as a football team.
Hey, Coach, with three of the ACC teams playing against the SEC this weekend, do you have any gauge on how important it is for the conference to gain some respect by these big time matchups against a great conference like the SEC?
Beamer: I think we've talked, and it's very obvious that the one thing the ACC needs to do to establish our reputation is to do well against nonconference teams. Of course, I think the SEC is without a doubt the best conference in the country. So when you play an SEC team, it probably has an extra meaning in that regard. So I think you judge that over the long haul, the -- not just one Saturday, but, you know, I think it's important that all of us do well.
Hey, Coach. Just didn't get to ask you about some of the return stuff. Kick returns, would you still use J.C. Coleman there considering he's been nicked up? And what do you like in the guys you have there?
Beamer: Well, J.C. right now, we'll release his status on Thursday through our medical people here. So we'll see if he's available, number one. But Demitri Knowles is the guy who did it quite a bit last year. He certainly gives us a threat. And Mangus has been back there doing it a little bit in preseason. He's got good speed too, runs tough. So we'll figure out who -- exactly who it's going to be as we go through the week here.
Logan Thomas is back for his senior year. Do you see his senior leadership kind of changing a little bit, helping the team? He had 18 touchdowns, 16 picks last year. Do you think he can go lower in interceptions this year since he does have that senior mentality now?
Beamer: That's his plan. That's our plan. I think Logan at times -- number one, I think we put him in too many third and long, second and long situations. That's not --when you get in those long yardage situations, that's not good for a quarterback or your team. And then I think Logan felt like, hey, I need to take this team on my back a little bit, try to make some plays, and gave up the ball when we'd be better off just kicking the ball. I think -- he's a smart guy, and then very much in control of situations. I think Logan's probably learned from last year and just got to play within the framework of the game. I feel good about him. People around him need to play consistent. That's our big situation right now.
Hi, Coach. Looking at this Alabama team and what you know about it compared to the Alabama team you played a few years ago in Atlanta, can you draw any comparisons there? And also expound a little more on what makes what Alabama's doing special.
Beamer: Well, I think the thing that they probably added is more play makers on offense. They've always been able to emphasize the running game, but you look around now, and all their receivers, they're playmakers. So I think that makes them exceptionally tough. And I think what they're doing -- as I said, they're a well-coached football team, but they've got excellent talent doing the techniques. That's a good situation to have for them. So that's, to me, what makes them really special.
My question relates to some of the championship teams in the early part of the 2000s. You got to play them firsthand, and now getting to watch Alabama, how do you compare the Championship teams?
Beamer: Well, I've said this week, I think this is the best team we've ever played here at Virginia Tech all the way around -- offense, defense, special teams, just up and down the roster. They've got good players, and they're well, well coached. On their punt protection team, I mean, they've got their best guys. Mosley lines up on that team. I mean, they emphasize the special teams part of it. They're just -- you know, we played a lot of good teams around here, and we've played a lot of national -- several National Championship teams, but in my opinion, this is the best overall team we've ever played.
Good morning, Coach. I think we've asked you a lot about the whip position, about Josh Trimble, but we haven't really asked you much about Derek DiNardo. Are you guys 100 percent set on Trimble at whip? Is there a chance that DiNardo starts? If he doesn't, how much do you use a guy like DiNardo?
Beamer: DiNardo will be involved in the game quite a bit. Trimble will start at the whip position, but DiNardo really has had a lot of good spring, summer preparation. He's on quite a few of our special teams. So he'll be in there on a lot of plays against Alabama.
Hi, Coach. I wanted to ask you about the tailback position. You've got -- traditionally gotten a lot of production there. Last year it dropped off a little bit. Coleman's coming back. Do you see -- is he the guy? Do you see it coming from somewhere else?
Beamer: Yeah, we went from too many tailbacks to not enough tailbacks really. We lost, of course, Holmes, and then J.C. got hurt early. Trey Edmunds is going to be the guy that will start for us. If Coleman can't go, Chris Mangus will be the next guy in there. We think Trey's got ability. We know - we think Mangus has got ability, and we've seen it out here, both of them. It's just the fact they're both freshmen. But Ryan Williams, he played in the last Alabama game. That was his first ball game, and he had trouble with one punt, but other than that, he was pretty special in that ball game. So I think it will be interesting to see how these guys react to that.