Coach Ron Meyer: Thursday Night Beamer Ball

Coach Ron Meyer: Thursday Night Beamer Ball

It's the second straight week of Thursday Night Beamer Ball, as Frank Beamer's Virginia Tech Hokies play host to North Carolina seven days after squashing Georgia Tech 37-26 in a game you probably watched on ESPN.

I can't say that Beamer's win over Georgia Tech was classic "Beamer Ball." His games usually aren't that high scoring, and there were some mental lapses mid-game that saw Virginia Tech blow a 21-10 lead before finishing on a strong 16-0 surge.

But, during their dominating stretches in that game, you did see at least some of what puts this team in the ACC title chase every year.

  • A power running game. Beamer's never going to use a spread offense and throw 50 passes. He's a classic old school coach in that sense. He's going to pound the ball at your weakest point on defense. He's going to wear you down through the course of the game because college defenses have trouble staying holding the line for the full 60 minutes. He doesn't want to risk interceptions or holding penalties when he can just pound the ball and run clock. This style does hurt him against elite opposition, which you saw in the Orange Bowl against Stanford last year. It's tough to play catch up on the ground! For most of the season, it's a winning strategy.

  • A physical defense. Tech is going to shut down your run game, terrorize your quarterback, and try to force turnovers. Maybe they'll get burned taking a risk or two with this aggression. But, they usually get those turnovers...and then the Tech offense makes you pay. It was an oddity last week when Virginia Tech didn't force any turnovers from Georgia Tech. Some of that is due to Georgia Tech's option attack that doesn't put the ball in the air much.

  • Great special teams play, at least in terms of blocking punts and field goals. Maybe they don't have a great kicker every year. Maybe they don't have a breakaway return threat every year. But, they will find away to blow through an opponent's line and block a punt at a critical time or a field goal. Now, Beamer's smart in that he doesn't try to do this EVERY time. He picks his spots very well. And, the fact that he's KNOWN for this often messes up opposing kickers who take their eye off the ball and commit unforced errors.

Watching Virginia Tech is like watching LSU or Alabama right now...except the Hokies don't quite get the same caliber of high school stars at the same volume. Beamer gets enough to compete for the ACC title every year...but he wouldn't be a favorite to win the SEC in most seasons. No shame in that. Beamer Ball has been well-represented in BCS bowls over the years because of his success in the ACC.

Virginia Tech (9-1, 5-1 in the ACC) is favored by 10.5 points Thursday Night at home against North Carolina (6-4, 2-4 in the ACC). The Hokies have struggled to match Vegas expectations this year because quarterback play has been spotty...and there's not much margin for error at high spreads when your offense is inconsistent!

Here's what Virginia Tech has done this year as double digit favorites.

Virginia Tech (-17) only beat East Carolina 17-10
Virginia Tech (-24) only beat Arkansas State 26-7
Virginia Tech (-21) only beat Marshall 30-10
Virginia Tech (-21) only beat Boston College 30-14
Virginia Tech (-14.5) only beat Duke 14-10

That's 0-5 against the number even with a defense that only allowed 51 points in five games (10.2 per game). Note that Thursday's spread vs. North Carolina barely cracks double digits...and Tech did win three of the five games on the list by 16 or more.

I can't tell you here in my web article who I'll be picking in this game. Obviously I'm a fan of Beamer Ball. But, it's tough to lay a high number with a team that's 0-5 against double digit spreads! I just wanted to make sure you spent some time appreciating this style when you're watching on TV Thursday Night. And, to remind you of some fundamentals about this team that you'll need to consider when handicapping tonight's game, their season finale against state rival Virginia, the ACC Championship game against Clemson (assuming Tech wins out as favorites), and then a prominent bowl game.

You'll be seeing a lot of Virginia Tech in the coming weeks even if last Thursday was your first TV look at them this season.

My Thursday football plays, including this game plus Jets/Broncos in the NFL, will be available for online purchase here with your credit card. Remember that I went 8-0 last Saturday and Sunday in the colleges and pro's! You get the most bang for your buck by signing up for my full LOCKER ROOM program that takes you through the rest of the season. If you have any questions, call my office at 1-877-540-8787.

Virginia Tech has been an ACC dynasty because they had the right coach in their corner. If you've been struggling this season, turn around your fortunes with PROVEN WINNER RON MEYER!

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