"Don't be messing with my kicker." Beamer's tone was both playful and serious, although his face read with a dismissive, "just fucking try me." That was the conclusion to an anecdote about an over-coached punter that regressed on his watch at Murray State told during the Duke week presser. Special teams are the Frankinator's baby. They're an integral component of his brand of football, BeamerBall. A lot of other coaches try not to lose with special teams, Beamer tries to win with them.

Special teams were a liability this season, and that's on no one else but Frank Beamer.

The Hokies were ranked 108th nationally in net punting (33.6 yards/punt) in 2011. Scott Demler and Michael Branthover struggled to find consistency, routinely shanked balls and flipped field position out of favor. Danny Coale was more reliable and averaged 6.7 more yards a punt than the team. Even though I thoroughly enjoyed #Coale4Punter because it enhanced his legacy, it hurt the team because it detracted from him playing receiver.

The Hokies only made 72% of their field goals last season. Compare that to 95-, 87-, 79-, 81- and 95-percent success rates in 2010 back to 2006 respectively.

Reality check, a Frank Beamer coached team didn't have a dependable punter or kicker.

2011 Opponent Recap: University of Virginia

UVA RECORD: 8-3 (5-2 ACC) (W 14-13 against (25) Florida State)

VT RECORD: 10-1 (6-1 ACC) (W 24-21 against North Carolina)

SCORE: (6) VT 38 – (24) UVA 0

GAME SUMMARY: On their first drive of the game, the Hokies went 70 yards, capped by a 14 yard Logan Thomas touchdown run. The Wahoos responded with a 75 yard drive, but Mike London’s fourth down gamble was stopped a yard short at the VT 7 by Jack Tyler, and the rout was on. 31 more points were scored in the game, and UVA scored none of them. For the duration of the game, the Cavaliers would enter the Hokie red zone only twice more; before halftime Mike Rocco was strip-sacked by Kyle Fuller, and near the end of the third quarter UVA K Robert Randolph missed wide right from the 21. In short, this game was the epitome of LOLUVA.

Boston College Preview

Who: Virginia Tech Hokies (11-5, 0-2) @ Boston College Eagles (6-10, 1-1)

When: Saturday, January 14 @ 3:00 p.m.

TV: ACC Network (Tom Werme and Cory Alexander)

Where: Conte Forum (8,606), Chestnut Hill, MA

The Opponent: Looking solely at the stats coming into this game, the Hokies should cruise over Boston College. But then you throw in Tech’s last two games, the 1-9 record for the Hokies all-time at BC, and the fact that BC is coming off a win over a Clemson team that crushed FSU by 20. Tech’s only win at Chestnut Hill was an overtime victory in 2008. That’s it. And we all remember BC dominating the Hokies on Senior Night last year in the singular game that probably kept Tech out of the tourney. So who knows what’s going to happen.

BC is easily the worst statistical team in the ACC. Coming into league play, many thought this could be the worst ACC team of all time, even worse than last year’s 1-15 Wake squad. But then they beat Clemson so the worst they can actually do is 1-15. The Eagles have lost to Holy Cross (by 22), UMass (by 36), Boston U (by 14), and 3-14 Rhode Island. Their best win outside of Clemson? Stony Brook. Plain and simple, this is not a good basketball team.

Here’s their projected starting lineup:

Rambling about Basketball

The Hokies are 0-2 in the ACC for the first time since the 2005-06 season. The team has looked lifeless, lost and inept in their first two conference games against Wake Forest and Florida State. Some fans are angry, others are showing patience with the young team.


I stepped foot inside Cassell Coliseum just two times during my four years at Virginia Tech. The first was mandatory. All freshman were herded inside for orientation a day or two before classes started. All I remember was the speaker explaining the importance of Ut Prosim, and how those cadets in attendance would know the truest sense of the motto. The last was for a celebration.

Screaming all the way my buddy jumped off the couch like his ass was on fire, ran outside my apartment and smashed two empty beer bottles against the cold metal backside of the stairs. Virginia Tech had just beaten Miami, in Miami, back when Miami was back. We had won our first ACC Championship, and it was a big deal. Soon after, my roommate got an email or an IM (remember AIM?) notifying us that there'd be a reception to welcome back the team that night.

We were pretty drunk and my roommate hit on a 70-year-old lady in front of her husband. One of my favorite college nights.


Final BlogPoll (BlogTroll)

The BCO came up with this idea a couple of months ago, a way for us to have a little fun, and close out the 2011 season. He and I co-authored the final poll. At the very least we have Alabama first, Clemson ahead of Virginia Tech and the SEC overvalued. Your arguments are invalid.

1. Alabama - Held LSU to 92 yards in the championship game; Georgia Southern ran for 302 yards on them in the middle of November. The masters of the one game season.

2. LSU - They now own college football's all-time resume with wins over: the Orange, Cotton, Rose and BCS National Champions.

3. Arkansas - But, but, they only lost to Alabama and LSU. #RememberThe5

4. Oklahoma State - Mike Gundy is 40, but any coach that loses a yard to setup a field goal, game winning or otherwise, when he's sniffing the end zone instead of punching it in for six isn't my man.

5. South Carolina - They play in the SEC East, that's as good as the SEC West, right?

6. USC Trogans - Lane Kiffin coached in the SEC, he knows what it takes to win at the highest level.

7. Oregon - The best team in the country (as long as they don't have to play defense).

8. Stanford - "Start of a dynasty. They won't miss Luck." -- No One

9. Wisconsin - SEC speed > Big 12 speed > Pac-12 speed > rate at which coaches are leaving Wisconsin > B1G speed

10. Michigan State - The B1G will hang their hat on Sparty's win over Georgia for the next 5 years.

Devin Carter's Climb to #1

Football season is over, yes that is depressing, but I woke up to very good news this morning. The Hokies have a wrestler ranked #1 in the country at his weight class for the first time since 2002. Devin Carter is the top wrestler in the country at 133 pounds, I'm probably more impressed with this than most of you because I have watched him wrestle from the time he was a freshman in high school.

It's Basketball Season! FSU Preview

With college football coming to an uninspiring end, it’s time to switch gears and focus on college basketball. For those that haven’t been keeping tabs on this season, you’re not alone. The Hokies are priming themselves for another run to the bubble and have a big game tonight against Florida State. Here’s a preview:

Who: Virginia Tech Hokies (11-4, 0-1) vs Florida State Seminoles (9-6, 0-1)

When: Tuesday, January 10 @ 7:00 p.m.

TV: ESPNU (Carter Blackburn and Jay Williams)

Where: Cassell Coliseum (9,847), Blacksburg, VA

The Opponent: Florida State comes to the Cassell as desperate, if not more so, than the Hokies after just one conference game. The ‘Noles were dumptrucked by 20 in their conference opener at Clemson on Saturday and have lost 3 of their last 4 overall. This is a big game for FSU as they host North Carolina (in addition to ESPN’s College Gameday) this Saturday, which could make them 0-3 in conference if they can’t win Blacksburg.

Thank You

Since The Key launched on March 14, 2010 the site has served up 1,098,482 pageviews. There have been 1,158 posts (stories, blog posts, forum topics, etc...). 974 readers have registered for accounts, 223 accounts have been active on the site in the last 30 days. Readers have left 7,551 comments.

Two-thousand-eleven was the second full season we covered, and it was our biggest yet.

Wake Forest Preview

Who: Virginia Tech Hokies (11-3, 0-0) @ Wake Forest Demon Deacons (9-5, 0-0)

When: Saturday, January 7 @ 12:00 p.m.

TV: ACC Network (Mike Hogewood and Dan Bonner)

Where: Joel Coliseum (14,665), Winston-Salem, NC

The Opponent: The Hokies enter conference play as winners of six straight after a gritty 67-61 win at Oklahoma State last Saturday, snapping the Pokes’ 37-game non-conference home winning streak in the process. Tech has been playing really good basketball and has had contributions from a lot of different guys.

Dorenzo Hudson scored his 1,000th point against Oklahoma State and led the team with 18 points. He’s one of six players that has led the team in scoring in the first 14 games this year. Interestingly enough, the Hokies have held the lead at halftime in every one of their games this year.

A good opening to ACC play is critical for Tech. After Wake, the Hokies host a scuffling Florida State team on Tuesday and then have an extremely winnable road game at Boston College next weekend. Starting strong is emphasized even more by what lies afterwards (UNC, @UVA, BYU, @UMD, Duke) in a span of 15 days.

David Wilson will leave Virginia Tech, Declares for NFL Draft

David Wilson plays football on Sundays. The Hokies running back announced minutes ago he will forgo his senior season and enter the NFL draft. Wilson is rated as the 22nd overall player and 2nd running back available in the 2012 draft according to ESPN Scouts Inc.

Wilson rushed for 1,709 yards in 2011. That campaign broke Tech's single-season rushing record previously held by Ryan Williams (1,655 '09).

One or more inexperienced players: Tony Gregory (who had surgery on his left ACL yesterday), Michael Holmes, or incoming 2012 freshman J.C. Coleman, Chris Mangus or Drew Harris will try to succeed Wilson at running back this fall.

Best of luck in the NFL DW4. We'll miss your play on the field, and charisma off it, a lot.

Clayton, Hamlette, Prince, and Tucker Will Not Return in 2012

The Frankinator released a bunch of updates on his website today regarding the future of the program.

Ju-Ju Clayton, Isaiah Hamlette, Courtney Prince and Dwight Tucker will not return to the program in 2012. Prince has one more season of eligibility and will transfer to Eastern Kentucky. Hamlette is looking to play at a I-AA school. Both have already graduated. Neither Clayton and Tucker will continue their football careers, both will graduate in May.

J.C. Coleman and Dewayne Alford will enroll in classes for the spring semester. Two other players are expected to join them. (Expect one of them to be Robert Lockhart.)

The 2012 Maroon-White Game is April 21st at 4:00 pm.

The Hokies could sign as many as 28 players in the upcoming 2012 class.

Winter Workouts begin on January 17th when the players return and run through March 12th.

Georgia transfer Brent Benedict will be a redshirt sophomore in 2012.

A projected first-team offensive line was listed as: Nick Becton, David Wang, Andrew Miller, Brent Benedict and Michael Via. Vinston Painter, Laurence Gibson Mark Shuman and Nick Acree are expected to battle for playing time as well.

These last two updates are included verbatim, read between the lines at your own risk.

A Game of Inches: Reviewing a Heartbreaking Sugar Bowl Loss

I woke up this morning with teeth gritted, brain throbbing, and my heart aching. The Hokies played their collective asses off last night, and for the outcome to be what it was just makes you sick to your stomach for those kids. The defensive line, perhaps for the first time since the injury to Antoine Hopkins, completely dominated the line of scrimmage. The Hokie secondary (after a couple of hickups early) was a ballhawking unit. The linebackers did all that was asked to make Denard Robinson look like a freshman without a clue. Logan Thomas and his receivers had an outstanding game.

That Team Made Me Proud.

"DAH-NY COALE! DAH-NY COALE! DAH-NY COALE!" All the Hokies chanting, high-fiving and hugging me thought he made the catch. I didn't. Not because it din't look like a catch, it did, I saw it on replay. It looked good. It looked like a game winning catch. One of those big catches that's featured on SportsCenter and bootlegged onto YouTube. Everyone's sharing that video the next morning in the office. Your coworkers are huddled behind you ohhh-ing and ahhh-ing watching it while they sip their morning's coffee. I knew it seemed too good to be true.

That team made me proud.

No we didn't win. I'm sure a lot of y'all are pissed about some play calls. I am. More carries for Logan. More carries for Logan. More carries for Logan. More carries for Logan, especially on short yardage situations. But this wasn't the Orange Bowl last year. We didn't get our balls beat in. We didn't get throttled. We didn't get out-coached. We didn't get out-played. No one punched us in the throat... And that's why it hurts.

I have an ache in my chest right now too painful for words to describe. We came sooooooooo close, but failed. That's a strong word, but it's accurate--we failed. We came to play. We came to fucking play this game.

Live Blog: Michigan

It starts at 8:00 PM east coast time. Box and BCO are running the show so play nice and go Hokies!

Sugar Bowl Primer: Photo Edition

Y'ALL. I'm still somewhat reeling from New Years Eve on Bourbon Street. Laughs help in the recovry, or so I'm told. 

I was having a hard time developing a dislike for Michigan fans. All of them that I had previously met seem like real, down to earth people. Fans I've interacted with are well knowledgable and passionate. They're smart, reasonable people. And then I saw some hipster douche go up to two elderly Tech fans in the hotel lobby, and obnoxiously real "GO BLUE" in their faces. TIME TO UNLEASH THE HATERADE. 

I dunno about y'all, but it's really annoying how the meda keeps harping on how Tech hasn't played any quality opponents.

Film Study: Michigan Preview

Thanks to kind Internet souls like mgodisney I was able to efficiently watch five Michigan games yesterday (Ohio State, Nebraska, Iowa, Michigan State and Notre Dame). The Wolverines improved each week during the season. That's coach speak, but it's true. In their final two games against Nebraska and Ohio State, Michigan was a complete team with a lot of confidence capable of moving the ball and playing good enough defense.

I know we're playing Michigan, but let's talk about Iowa real quick, more specifically Iowa-Michigan. Watch this, or as much as you can tolerate, or for as long as it takes you to realize there's a high probability '08 Stinepring is calling the plays for the Hawkeyes.