NCAA

DeAngelo Hall, others react to Beamer retirement

beamer.jpg

DeAngelo Hall, others react to Beamer retirement

In 29 years at Virginia Tech, Frank Beamer become one of the most respected coaches in the nation. That respect and admiration was evident as the nation reacted to the news that Beamer would retire at season's end.

Prominent Virginia Tech alums have spoken out about their former coach including Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall:

Vick appeared on ESPNU to talk about Beamer:

My first memory of Coach Beamer was him coming to my house when I was in high school. He came to downtown Newport News, in the heart of the place that I lived that was stricken with poverty. He had his suit on and was with one of his assistant coaches, Jim Cavenaugh. What impressed me the most was that nothing around him came to surprise him, it was like he had been there before.

Frank Beamer.. Thank you for the opportunity to go to a division 1 college to play division 1 ball and have a chance to chase my dream. I wish you nothing but more blessings. #GreatCoach #VtHokies #VA #OnlyD1Offer #BeamerBall #17

A photo posted by Kameron Chancellor (@bambamkam) on Nov 2, 2015 at 8:05pm PST

Beamer's influence was not limited to the football field.

Beamer's impact on the game itself was evident as prominent coaches and analysts reacted to the news:

Even Mike London from rival UVa chimed in to show his admiration for Beamer's accomplishments.

The most meaningful quote of all, however, did not come from a coach or a pundit, but from his wife, Cheryl Beamer.

Well said.

RELATED: 7 possible head coach candidates for Virginia Tech

How Justin Fuente’s two gambles at quarterback may have saved Virginia Tech’s season

fuente-vt-usat.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Images

How Justin Fuente’s two gambles at quarterback may have saved Virginia Tech’s season

Before the calendar turned from September to October, Virginia Tech was already left for dead. Coming off a bye week, the Hokies were handed a 45-10 blowout loss at home by Duke. That left Virginia Tech at 2-2, 0-2 in the ACC and their only wins coming against Old Dominion and FCS Furman. Needing seven wins to reach bowl eligibility this season due to having two FCS teams on the schedule, it was hard to look at the eight games remaining on the schedule and find where those five remaining wins could come from.

And then something happened. A Virginia Tech offense that could get nothing going against Duke the week beforehand somehow managed to put up 42 against Miami in a 42-35 upset on the road. That game proved to be a turning point for the offense and the Hokies have now won three straight including a six-overtime victory over North Carolina.

What changed? The answer is the coaching staff finally realized the missing ingredient the offense needed in order to work: a dual-threat quarterback. That realization just may have saved Virginia Tech’s season twice already.

Sophomore quarterback Hendon Hooker started the game against Miami, taking over for the incumbent Ryan Willis. Hooker added a running threat that the team did not have with Willis and, while he did not have the best performance through the air with 10 completions on 20 attempts, the threat of the run opened up the offense. Hooker threw for three touchdowns and ran for 76 yards and another touchdown.

Prior to Saturday’s win, it would have been easy to say the difference was the move to Hooker by itself. A new quarterback sparked the offense. As well as Hooker had played, however, it was the realization of the coaches that it was that running threat that made all the difference, not necessary Hooker himself. That realization proved critical against North Carolina as head coach Justin Fuente made a huge gamble and it paid off.

Just two games after the win over Miami, Virginia Tech hosted North Carolina and Hooker left the game with an injury in the second quarter. Willis came on in relief, initially, completing all three of his pass attempts for 55 yards and a touchdown.

But after a drive in which Willis was sacked twice including a 12-yard loss on an intentional grounding call that took Virginia Tech out of field goal range and forced a punt, Fuente made perhaps the most important call of his tenure in Blacksburg.

On the next drive, third-string, freshman quarterback Quincy Patterson was in at quarterback.

“Quincy hasn’t taken as many reps in the past couple of weeks as the top two guys - but we made the decision there pretty quicky to move along and bring Quincy in,” Fuente told the media after the game. “Obviously, it changed what we looked like a little bit. To me, he did a great job of running hard, taking care of the ball, and he made a few good plays in the passing game.”

Patterson had only one college completion in his career. Yet, he came into the game and was able to pass for 54 yards, rush for another 122 and score two total touchdowns. He also ran in the game-clinching two-point conversion in the sixth-overtime.

“Part of it is his threat of running the football, it can give you some advantageous looks to throw the ball,” Fuente said of the advantage Patterson brought to the offense.”

It takes guts to decide to replace your former starter, who had already thrown for a touchdown, with a freshman quarterback who has virtually no experience.

Ultimately the results speak for themselves.

With Willis as the starter, Virginia Tech went 2-2. They turned the ball over 11 times in those four games and the offense was getting progressively worse. The Hokies managed 442 total yards in the season opener against Boston College. That was down to 403 the week after, 350 in Week 3 and finally 259 against Duke.

With Hooker and Patterson as the primary starters, Virginia Tech has turned the ball over only twice. The total yards have climbed each week from 337 to 485 to 490. Perhaps most critically, a Virginia Tech team that was averaging only 148.8 rushing yards per game was has averaged 210.3 rushing yards in the past three wins. The Hokies are also average 39.7 points per game, up from 23.3.

Think those points were inflated by the overtime win? Not really. If you take away the 12 points Virginia Tech scored in those six overtimes, their scoring average would still be 35.7.

Even with three straight wins, Virginia Tech still has a tough hill to climb to get back to protect its treasured bowl streak and contend for the Coastal Division. The Hokies have five wins and must find two more in their schedule at Notre Dame, Wake Forest, at Georgia Tech, Pitt and at Virginia.

But you can’t count them out just yet. The offense has pulled the team back from the precipice after Fuente’s two gambles at quarterback paid off.

MORE NCAA NEWS:

Maryland, Virginia and VCU ranked in college basketball Preseason AP Top 25 Poll

darryl_morsell_terps_usat.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Images

Maryland, Virginia and VCU ranked in college basketball Preseason AP Top 25 Poll

For the first time since the start of the 2015 season, the Maryland Terrapins men's basketball team is ranked in the Associated Press' Preseason Top 25 poll. 

Fresh off of a Second Round appearance in the NCAA Tournament last season, Mark Turgeon's squad will start the year ranked seventh in the country. 

Aside from losing Bruno Fernando to the NBA Draft, the team will be one of the most experienced in the NCAA. Everyone other notable player returns on the Terps roster. The team will be led by 2020 Cousy Award Watch Listee Anthony Cowan Jr. 

They'll be in a loaded Big Ten conference as they are one of four teams to make it into the Top 25. Michigan State, who made it to the 2019 Final Four is the top-ranked program. 

The defending National Champions, the Virginia Cavaliers, will start their title defense ranked No. 11 in the poll. They lost a huge crop of their championship team as DeAndre Hunter, Ty Jerome and Kyle Guy all were drafted into the NBA. Tony Bennett, however, still has several quality contributors that know how to run his style on the court.

One other Mid-Atlantic team was noted in the Preseason Poll. VCU from the Atlantic Ten nabbed the last spot at No. 25. Last year they returned to the NCAA Tournament for the first time under head coach Mike Rhoades. They welcome back their leading scorer from that campaign and Atlantic 10 First-Team selection Marcus Evans.

2019 AP Preseason Top 25 Poll

Team, 2018-19 record (first-place votes)

#1 Michigan State, 32-7 (60)
#2 Kentucky, 30-7 (2)
#3 Kansas, 26-10 (3)
#4 Duke, 32-6
#5 Louisville, 20-14
#6 Florida, 20-16
#7 Maryland, 23-11
#8 Gonzaga, 33-4
#9 North Carolina, 29-7
#10 Villanova, 26-10
#11 Virginia, 35-3
#12 Seton Hall, 20-14
#13 Texas Tech, 31-7
#14 Memphis, 22-14
#15 Oregon, 25-13
#16 Baylor, 20-14
#17 Utah State, 28-7
#18 Ohio State, 20-15
#19 Xavier, 19-16
#20 Saint Mary's (CA), 22-12
#21 Arizona, 17-15
#22 LSU, 28-7
#23 Purdue, 26-10
#24 Auburn, 30-10
#25 VCU, 25-8

Others receiving votes: Washington 164, Colorado 152, Tennessee 78, Marquette 68, Florida St. 36, Davidson 34, Harvard 24, Illinois 14, Missouri 13, Mississippi St. 12, Houston 11, Georgia 11, Cincinnati 8, Notre Dame 7, Creighton 4, Syracuse 3, NC State 3, Vermont 2, Alabama 2, Southern Cal 2, Liberty 2, Michigan 2, Dayton 1, Colgate 1, Providence 1.

The 2019-20 men's basketball season tips off on Tuesday, Nov. 5. Two of the opening night premiere matchups will be No. 3 Kansas vs. No. 4 Duke and No. 1 Michigan State vs. No. 2 Kentucky. 

MORE NCAA NEWS: