Steve Helber/Associated Press
Frank Beamer and Virginia Tech have fallen into a rut the last two seasons.
There’s no denying what Frank Beamer has built at Virginia Tech. The man from Fancy Gap, Va., has turned one of college football’s most downtrodden programs into a national power.
Virginia Tech officials stuck with Beamer despite a 24-38-2 record in his first six seasons and were rewarded with a tremendous extended level of success. Over the next 17 seasons, Tech won at least 10 games 13 times, including an eight-year streak from 2004-2011 that featured four ACC championships and five BCS bowl appearances.
But over the last two seasons, something has gone stale in Blacksburg. The Hokies are only 15-13, winning seven games in 2012 and eight last fall. Beamer overhauled his staff, replacing longtime offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring and firing quarterbacks coach Mike O’Cain in favor of Scot Loeffler.
Even with talented but erratic quarterback Logan Thomas leading the way last fall, Loeffler’s scheme didn’t bring immediate results as Tech averaged 22.5 points per game, 99th nationally.
With Thomas gone, neither sophomore Brenden Motley nor fifth-year senior Mark Leal have impressed. Tech’s spring game featured a grand total of 10 points. Motley completed six of 11 passes for 72 yards with an interception, while Leal went 10-for-18 with 90 yards and an interception.
The quarterback situation is entirely unsettled, with Texas Tech transfer Michael Brewer and incoming freshman Chris Durkin arriving this summer.
“I think we’re an up-and-coming football team,” Beamer told the Roanoke Times. “We’re going to go through some growing pains probably this year. But I think we’re going to go through growing pains full speed.”
Tech’s offensive line remains unsettled, and the Hokies’ stout defense is replacing five of its front seven.
The Hokies avoid crossover games against Clemson and Virginia Tech, welcome Miami and Georgia Tech to Blacksburg but must travel to Ohio State, North Carolina and defending Coastal champion Duke.
Tech should be better than it was a year ago, but it’s hard to see how this group will rebound to the 10-win level its fans had grown accustomed to. Beamer is college football’s longest-tenured coach and should have the right to go out on his own terms.
Still, it’s hard to ignore the rut this program has fallen into, which should increase the pressure for a turnaround.