Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Beamer: Sideshows will cease
The Hokies' football coach has had it with the act and gone to a zero-tolerance policy.
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Twitter: Andy Bitter
BLACKSBURG -- No more show-boating. No more taunting. No more dancing. No more trash talking.
Just shut up and play, Virginia Tech football coach Frank Beamer says.
In the wake of his club's performance/character meltdown in Thursday's nationally televised 22-3 loss at Boston College, Beamer has since laid down the law to his troops. Either do things the right way, boys, or grab some bench.
Coming off a hellish three weeks in which they have seen three players suspended and another player kicked off the squad, and plummeted from 11th in the country to nowheresville with back-to-back ACC losses, the Hokies (4-2) find themselves trying to right a sinking ship as they head into the second half of the regular season. Their first chance to bail some quickly rising water comes at 7 p.m. Saturday, when Southern Mississippi (4-2) visits Lane Stadium.
"I think we were getting away from each other as a team against Boston College," senior wide receiver David Clowney said Tuesday. "It's all about frustration, man. Guys are tearing apart during the game, but we had a team meeting and some guys stood up and talked, and stressed the fact we've can't be veering apart from one another.
"When it happens, it happens bad. Everybody knows we need to stick together now, no matter what."
With his team's season on the brink following a repugnant show at BC in which it turned the ball over four times and killed itself with penalties, Beamer has had enough. In an effort to prove his point, he sat his players down Monday and showed them an X-rated video -- the ESPN broadcast of the Tech-BC game.
What the players saw wasn't pretty. Neither was the sound of the words of ESPN color analyst Kirk Herbstreit, who spent the game's final seven minutes tearing through the Hokies like a Texas tornado.
Talk about mass destruction. First, there was a finger-pointing sideline tirade between linebacker Vince Hall and strong safety Aaron Rouse. Next came a blatant, post-whistle hit from behind by defensive end Chris Ellis. A video clip during a commercial timeout of linebacker Brenden Hill dancing on the field to the BC's band's rendition of "Sweet Caroline" was strike three.
"Tough to watch," Clowney said. "I think the whole team realized that's not how our program is, that's not what we do. The reaction of the team, of course, everybody was quiet. A lot of guys were like, 'I can't believe [Herbstreit] said all that.' Coach Beamer talked about it afterwards and let us know we've got to tighten up ... that's not Virginia Tech and we can't be doing that."
The nonsense, the jiving, the talk. All the extra-curricular stuff that's usually reserved for "The Jerry Springer Show" must fade to black. Now.
"Somehow, we've gotten into all this talking," Beamer said Monday night on his weekly radio show. "And that's exactly what happened in the Miami thing [Saturday night's mega-brawl between Miami and Florida International] ... people keep talking and finally somebody has enough and that's what happens.
"It's not the thing to do. Somehow in the last couple of years, that's gotten to be the thing to do, and it's not the way to play the game. These guys watch guys play on Sundays [in the NFL], making all this money and it kind of becomes OK. I believe if you're talking, your mind is somewhere else instead of where it needs to be.
"I heard we had some guys talking to people in the stands at Boston College. It's not the way to play the game, and it's not going to happen anymore."
Clowney said he sees the team rallying around each, with all members falling in line.
"Guys have got to understand if you can't act right, you've got to go. Go to class, stay out of trouble, and play football, that's what we're here to do," he said.
Of all of Tech's late-game sins at BC, Hill gyrating on the field with his team down 20-3 drew the most ire from Herbstreit. The senior apologized to his teammates in Monday's meeting.
"I would never do anything to embarrass my teammates," Hill said Tuesday. "It was a TV timeout ... there were water girls on the field ... and I was just zoning out. Unfortunately, it came off like that, but my intentions were to keep the guys around me loose, keep them excited, keep them from being so tense because of the situation that happened on the sideline before.
"We were losing ... and personally, I don't want anyone to hold their head down, because we're Virginia Tech. We don't hold our heads down for anything. We just pick ourselves back up and get ready to go.
"I feel like people want to kick you when you're down. Coach Beamer has built up a great program in his time here, and it's almost like people want to see the dynasty fall. We don't want to be the group that's responsible for letting it crumble. I think in these next six games you'll see a different Virginia Tech team."