Given its offense and special teams, Tech wouldn't even rate as Miss Congeniality at this point.
Yet there Beamer stood Saturday afternoon, relishing a homely 15-10 victory at East Carolina.
- Bio | E-mail | Recent columns
- VIDEO: Hokies' run game concerns Beamer
- ACC All Access: Kicker Cody Journell and Virginia Tech's running backs have day to forget at East Carolina
- Virginia Tech's defense clamps down on East Carolina in 15-10 win
- Beamer on VT defense
- Beamer summarizes win over ECU
- Virginia Tech Hokies
See more topics »
Dowdy-Ficklin Stadium, Greenville, NC
This the Hokies managed despite averaging 1.6 yards per rush against a suspect defense, missing two field goals and an extra point and allowing a long punt return that set up the Pirates' go-ahead field goal.
As usual, Tech faithful, send those thank-you cards to defensive coordinator Bud Foster and his crew.
The Hokies terrorized ECU quarterback Shane Carden with seven sacks and three interceptions, the final sack, by senior end James Gayle, producing a late safety. Most impressively, after yielding 60 yards on the Pirates' opening touchdown drive, Tech allowed 144 on ECU's final 11 possessions.
But the Hokies' defense figured to excel this season. Veterans such as Gayle and linebacker Jack Tyler are that good, freshmen such as cornerbacks Kendall Fuller and Brandon Facyson that promising.
The overarching question was, and is, the offense, and Saturday was another fickle performance, especially from quarterback Logan Thomas and the line.
Thomas completed 25-of-43 passes (58.1 percent), his most accurate game since Week 6 last season against Duke, for 258 yards and two touchdowns. Eight of his completions converted third downs, including a 30-yard touchdown pass to Demitri Knowles, and he was 10-of-11 on the Hokies' two scoring drives.
"Everything was clicking, and everything felt good," Thomas said of those possessions. "I think the incompletion was a throwaway, to be honest. Things were just going real well for us. The receivers were where they were supposed to be at, catching the football and I was just putting it there on time."
But as Beamer said of the offense's chronic hiccups: "My deal is, if you can do it one time, you can do it every time. I don't think anything's keeping us from doing it every time. Concentrate and let's go play."
Indeed, Thomas airmailed several open receivers, threw an interception and exhaled after the Pirates dropped at least two other potential picks.
Thomas' worst throw/decision came on the fourth quarter's opening snap. Attempting to hit Chris Mangus in the right flat, he lofted the ball right to linebacker Montese Overton, who couldn't catch a sure pick-six that would have erased the Hokies' 13-10 lead.
"The time before (we) got it out there and we got a good gain," Beamer said. "This time the guy peeled off on us, and Logan evidently didn't see him. But that, phew, that was tight right there."
Considering ECU's defensive scheme — the Pirates swarmed the box and dared him to throw — Thomas should have had a career day. But he remains too inaccurate and not yet in sync with young receivers such as Knowles, Willie Byrn and Joshua Stanford — that trio combined for 18 receptions and 188 yards.
With ECU (2-1) crowding the line of scrimmage, Tech ran for just 53 yards on 34 attempts. Tailback Trey Edmunds popped one carry for 13 yards but netted 29 on 20 other rushes.
"Not acceptable," guard Andrew Miller said.
Nor is this: Three times the offense took over in ECU territory after interceptions. Three times it failed to score.
Line coach Jeff Grimes played Brent Benedict instead of Laurence Gibson at right tackle, but the switch appeared to pay few, if any, dividends. The line was most exposed when ECU stuffed Thomas for no gain on a fourth-and-1 sneak from the Pirates' 10 that could have essentially iced the game with 2:04 remaining.
Beamer insisted the decision to go for the conversion had nothing to do with Cody Journell, whose third missed field goal had just been nullified by a running-into-the-kicker penalty.
"I wanted us to get that first down and the game be over, and our offense get a hard yard, a tough, tough yard," Beamer said.
Strange as it sounds, the Hokies (2-1) were better at grinding for such yards against Alabama in the opener than they were Saturday.
"We'll learn from this deal," Beamer said. "We should have had that game put away a little sooner, without question."
And as Tech learned painfully last season against Cincinnati and Florida State, relying on the defense to channel Mariano Rivera darn near every game is no way to win consistently, no way to shine in the swimsuit competition.