Old pals meet up at different location

Longtime coaching pals Frank Beamer and Jim Grobe will renew
acquaintances when Virginia Tech faces Wake Forest this afternoon
at Lane Stadium. When they shake hands and exchange pregame
pleasantries, Grobe can be excused if he pleads to Beamer for
lending him a boatload of additional strokes for this matchup. “We
like to play golf together,” Grobe noted this week. “I wish I could
beat him on the golf course, but unfortunately I can’t.” Grobe’s
chances of winning on the green grass of Lane today? Put it this
way: He would much have a much better shot at knocking off Beamer
at Blacksburg Country Club.

In the first meeting between the two programs in Blacksburg
since Tech joined the ACC in 2004, the Hokies (4-2, 2-0) are listed
as hefty 22-point favorites over the Demon Deacons (2-4, 1-2). Tech
has won four consecutive games since starting the season 0-2.
Meanwhile, Wake Forest has lost four straight after opening 2-0.
“This is a typical Frank Beamer team,” Grobe said. “You look at all
three areas — offense, defense and special teams — and you can’t
find any weaknesses. I think they’ve really hit their stride right
now. I think they’re playing their best
football of the year. “They’ve got
the offense cranked up and [quarterback] Tyrod Taylor is doing a
good job of directing that with a lot of good support. Defensively,
they’re starting to play defense like you’re used to seeing them
play. Of course, on special teams they are continuing to do the
stuff that they’ve always done — block punts and kicks, cover
kicks really well, and their return game is special. I just think
this is the Virginia Tech team we’re used to seeing.” The Hokies
have turned things around since suffering a heartbreaking 33-30
loss to Boise State in Landover, Md., followed by a mind-blowing
21-16 upset loss to I-!– 200a(unknown) –>AA James Madison five
days later. Tech has ripped off four straight wins since the
nightmarish start, and stands alone atop the ACC’s Coastal Division
in its bid to capture a fourth crown in seven years in the league.
Unlike on the golf course, however, there are no gimmes in
football. Beamer knows his buddy
Grobe will have some weapons in his bag for today’s 3:30 p.m. tee
time. After all, Wake’s four straight losses haven’t exactly come
to the likes of high-handicap hackers. The list includes
14th-ranked Stanford (5-1), No. 16 Florida State (5-1), defending
ACC champion Georgia Tech (4-2) and Navy (3-2). The last two
losses, both at home, came as a result of touchdown passes with
less than 30 seconds to play. “I think Wake Forest is certainly
better than their record,” Beamer said. “I think you’ve got a
tremendously dangerous
football team coming in here.”
Because of injuries, Wake has been forced to play four different
quarterbacks in the season’s first half. Freshman left-hander
Tanner Price, who turned down a scholarship offer to Stanford to
come to Wake, is the current solution to that problem. In last
Saturday’s 28-27 loss to Navy, Prince completed 37 of 53 passes for
326 yards and two touchdowns. “It looks like to me they found their
guy last week, and, boy, did he play well,” Beamer said of Price.
Grobe wouldn’t disagree. His team began the season figuring to
utilize a predominant option-game running-game attack. Now that
Price has quickly emerged to the forefront, Wake will pitching the
ball around the lot. ”We just kind of bit the bullet last week and
tried to do some things that we felt Tanner would be effective at,”
Grobe said. “He’s made more improvement in a week’s time than any
kid I’ve ever had. He exceeded our expectations in a short amount
of time. “Now, his challenge is going to be greater this week being
on the road in Lane Stadium. That’s not going to be easy for a
freshman quarterback.” Just like on the golf course, Grobe hasn’t
had much luck against Beamer. His Wake teams are 0-2 vs. Beamer and
Tech, losing 17-10 in 2004 and 27-6 in 2006. Both games were in
Winston-Salem, N.C. No matter what transpires today, nothing can
tarnish the utmost respect both coaches have for the other. “I
don’t know that anybody runs a program better than Frank Beamer,”
Grobe said. “He starts out with treating the kids well and teaching
the values and those type things, so he’s always been a guy that
I’ve admired by the way he runs his program. If I had a son playing

football, there’s nobody I’d rather
have him playing for than Frank Beamer.” Beamer chose the same club
for his response. “I think Jim is a guy that if he tells you
something, you can count on it … reliable, dependable,” Beamer
said. “I think our values and how we coach and respect our players
and so forth … I feel like we’re a lot the same.” Then there’s
the golf thing. Beamer smiled when asked about Grobe’s comment that
he can’t beat the Tech coach on the links. “I’ve never known him to
lie,” said Beamer, “but he might be lying about that.” KEYS TO THE
GAME By Randy King The Roanoke Times Bring the heat and rattle Wake
QB Tanner Price. Whether it comes from a four-man rush or an
assortment of blitzes, Tech needs to get pressure and get in the
freshman’s face. The left-hander has a big-time arm, and if he gets
time to pick out his targets and deliver the ball, he has the
capability to inflict damage. Keep the offense rolling against a
suspect Wake Forest defense. The Hokies have scored 41 or more
points in three of their past four games and there’s no reason to
believe it won’t happen today. Wake’s defense has given up an
average of 442.8 yards and 39.8 points in their five games against
Division I opponents. Get some snaps for backup QB Logan Thomas.
The redshirt freshman from Brookville who is being billed as the
Hokies’ QB of the future hasn’t gotten much playing time because of
all of Tech’s close games. He played two late-game series last week
vs. Central Michigan. The coaching staff would love to get Tyrod
Taylor out and give Thomas an increased work load.