Just a week and a half left until the season, all, and I've got three words for you.
Frank. Beamer. Back.
Sure, it's just as part of the dog and pony show to promote the return of the Black Diamond rivalry game, but it's nice to have the guy around all the same. If Wednesday's media availability proves anything, it's that he hasn't lost his touch for a good folksy quote.
Case in point; Beamer had plenty of old memories to share about the old Black Diamond days — including the understatement of the century in "Sometimes our fans didn't get along so well" — but it was this little nugget that caught my eye.
"I think it's a game that needs to be played as often as possible, because again, you're the next state over and we both have great fan bases," Beamer told reporters. "They're going to fill our stadium and we're going to fill their stadium. There are so many positives about playing this game that I'm glad to see it back on the schedule and hope it'll come back as often as it fits into both schools' schedule."
But as Andy Bitter of the Roanoke Times notes, the two squads won't have a chance to reignite this rivalry until a home-and-home in 2021 and 2022, and then things get tricky.
Tech's non-conference schedule is awful packed through the end of the 2020s (yes, anytime you discuss college football schedules, you have to reckon with the inevitably of time marching on) and West Virginia's dance card is filling up as well — out-of-conference dates with Penn State and Pittsburgh occupy much of the latter half of the Eers' 2020s.
While Beamer was probably going for more of a generic statement about how old rivalries are good, he happens to elucidate a scheduling viewpoint that I think is worth highlighting.
Former AD Jim Weaver and Whit Babcock plainly hold some similar views about the value of scheduling nontraditional opponents, and that's evident in some of the more unexpected choices on Tech's future schedules (Arizona! BYU! Wisconsin!).
But there's a lot to be said for using the non-conference schedule to rekindle old rivalries undone by the chaotic days of college football realignment, particularly when it's structured as a home-and-home series rather than a sterile neutral site game (looking at you, FedEx).
I've been thinking a lot about that point these last few years with the Tennessee game and now this West Virginia matchup on the horizon. A one-off renewal of a rivalry is cool and generates buzz, but why not dedicate your scheduling efforts to building some sort of consistent schedule of games to really engage a pair of fan bases that once had some real history with one another?
I'm not going to pretend to understand all the factors Babcock and his fellow ADs have to deal with as they construct schedules. Even thinking about this stuff normally gives me a headache.
But I don't think it can be said often enough that fans appreciate a college's administrators showing some willingness to listen to them in making scheduling decisions, instead of just going after the best business partnership or the snuggest scheduling fit.
I'm with Frank on this: give us more West Virginia games, and if that comes at the expense of fewer games against, say, Maryland, so be it.
Savvy Sean Savoy?
Just a few days ago in this space, I suggested that the simplicity of the offense (and the team's lack of clarity at WR) might open the door to an inexperienced receiver getting some major reps this year.
Clearly, some of the folks on the beat were thinking the same thing.
When asked about true freshman WR Sean Savoy Wednesday, Justin Fuente said he "could earn significant playing time if he continues to improve." That praise may be qualified, but it sure seems as if our very own Brian Marcolini hit the nail on the head with his pick of Savoy as a breakout player this year.
Savoy fits the bill as a guy Fuente identified very early on as a receiver who might fit his system — the Hokies offered him in February 2016, just a few months after Fuente took over for Beamer, becoming one of Savoy's first Power 5 offers in the process.
From there, big schools like Miami and Penn State jumped on board, and if I recall correctly, both the Canes and the Terps made a late push for Savoy's services.
But he stayed with Tech, no doubt hearing the whole time from the coaching staff that he'd likely have a chance to contribute quickly.
Now, here we are — Fuente says he's "a little more filled out" since he first got to campus, a fact borne out by his listing at 188 pounds, up from 177 as a senior, and the head Hokie says he "looks good with the ball in his hands."
At 5'9", he may not be the biggest dude, but he could certainly fit the bill as a slot receiver in Fuente's offense.
That is, if he can somehow fit his hair under a helmet. I hadn't checked out his headshot since he signed, and holy moly, his hair just goes straight vertical.
— Alex Koma (@AlexKomaVT) August 23, 2017
I leave you today with Frank's finest quote from today's presser when asked about the VT-WVU comic book cover. I've covered some quotable folks in my (brief) career, but I'll always have a soft spot for Beamer-isms like this.
"The ol' Hokie has got this Mountaineer on the run. Looks like his knees are buckling a little bit. I think we got him right there. Don't you?"