Virginia Tech report
Beamer, Hokies tired of hype, ready to play
Posted: Monday January 03, 2000 11:01 PM
Coach Frank Beamer believes the long layoff between games could affect his team in the Sugar Bowl. AP
NEW ORLEANS (CNN/SI) -- At last, it's almost game time.
"These bowl trips are great, if you just didn't have to play the game," Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer said at Monday's final press conference before Tuesday night's national championship game in the Sugar Bowl. "I think it's definitely time to play," said Beamer, whose team arrived on Dec. 27. "After a certain number of practices, you keep doing the same things over and over."
Virginia Tech has not played since Nov. 26. FSU has not played since Nov. 20.
"I think that's a factor," Beamer said. "But it shouldn't be an excuse. The place you should be hurt first is the kicking game and then throwing the ball because that involves timing. It should be mind over matter. You don't have the full-speed experience of a game in practice, but you do have the full-speed experience of a practice. If you're concentrating, you shouldn't jump offsides."
Beamer said his week of workouts have been great, except for a few injuries. Senior wide receiver Ricky Hall is doubtful for the game with a foot injury. "He may dress," Beamer said. "We'll make a decision at the game. He and the team doctors will make the decision."
Hall's backup, Emmett Johnson, is also recovering from an injured finger, but is expected to be fine for the game.
"I hate it for Ricky because Ricky's very important to us," Beamer said. "Not only do we need him, but then this is his last ballgame."
In addition to Johnson, freshmen receivers Terrell Parham and Shawn Witten will be expected to fill in should Hall not play.
"The two freshmen are really going to have to step up," Beamer said. "But I think they will. That's what this is all about."
Parham caught nine passes for 98 yards this season, while Witten caught six for 55.
Virginia Tech's leading receiver is sophomore Andre Davis, who finished second in the Big East with 87.5 yards receiving a game on 35 catches for 962 yards and nine touchdowns.
"Regardless of who is in there, Andre's role won't change," Beamer said.
Davis is nearly as important to the Virginia Tech offense as quarterback Michael Vick.
"We need him to make some big plays against Florida State," Virginia Tech offensive coordinator Rickey Bustle said. "If Andre can't make a couple of big plays, we'll struggle some."
Most expect Virginia Tech to struggle, and Beamer likes that.
"There will be no sneaking up tomorrow," he said. "Each team is going to get the other team's best shot. The facts are facts. We're the underdog. Florida State is for real. They are the team of the '90s. Florida State started the season No. 1 and never slipped. They get good players and they coach them well. We're playing a great football team which plays its best against the best competition. We understand the chore we've got."
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