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

college

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

college

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.