Posted by ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich
BLACKSBURG, Va. -- When asked after Virginia Tech’s convincing 31-7 win over No. 9 ranked Miami when was the last time he got such a complete performance from his team -- especially considering the steady downpour -- Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer let out a sigh and conceded he wasn’t sure.
It certainly wasn’t this season.
For the first time in four games, Virginia Tech looked worthy of all of the preseason hype leading into its season opener against Alabama. Offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring caught Miami’s defense off guard with misdirection, and a good mix of running and passing plays. Defensive coordinator Bud Foster demanded more from his defense all week and they answered his challenge.
And to top it all off, Virginia Tech scored on a blocked punt in the second quarter and effectively beat No. 9 ranked Miami in all four phases of the game, coaching included.
“I am really proud of our football team, and I say ‘team’,” Beamer said. “The way we won together as a football team with all areas contributing, I like that a lot.”
What coach wouldn’t?
Virginia Tech was able to run the ball and stop the run. Ryan Williams washed away any doubt that he could be an every down back. Linebacker Cody Grimm might have played the game of his life. The Hokies were the first team to really pressure quarterback Jacory Harris and beat the Canes at the line of scrimmage. They used a lot more man pressure and took away his check-downs.
Where did it all come from? To start, the Hokies’ effort against Miami reflected what the coaches had seen in practice all week. Just because everyone was talking about Miami and not Virginia Tech didn’t mean the Hokies weren’t preparing like they were the Top 10 team.
“I know a lot of guys, it bothered them that we weren’t getting any respect,” said Williams, who rushed for a game-high 150 yards and two touchdowns on 34 carries. "But today we earned it, and nobody can really say anything about what we did today. We went out and played a strong defensive game and offensive game. We put points on the board, people said we weren’t going to be able to put points on the board. We stopped their offense. People said we weren’t going to be able to stop their offense. We defeated every odd today and came out with the win. Can’t say anything (now).”
Earlier this week, Foster took it upon himself to post the Hokies’ national defensive rankings over the past few seasons on each of his players’ lockers. He wanted to show them where they stood this year -- 107th in the nation in rushing defense and 77th in total defense -- compared to their recent top 10 rankings. He picked the tempo up at practice and got after his players.
“I cut that out and handed it to them and said it’s your responsibility to uphold the tradition of this program and this unit,” Foster said. "This is a week that I’ve been on them hard and challenged them a lot because we had a great football team coming in here.”
The offense also showed up.
“The offense has been hiding for a little bit,” Williams said with a smirk. “We’ve been hiding. We wanted to pull it out when a lot of people weren’t expecting it, and that’s what we did today.”
In every phase of the game.