Virginia Tech Football: What Happened to Beamerball?

By Ryan McCart

There once was a time when fans new everything they ever needed to know about Virginia Tech football every year. Fans knew that the offense would be predictable (except when they had a good quarterback), they knew that coach Bud Foster’s famous lunch pail defense would outwork their opponents, and they knew that they had the best special teams in the country.

Beamerball” is a term that originated under the Hokies head coach Frank Beamer. The actual definition is scoring in all three phases of the game, but the term is most liberally applied to the special teams. Beamer is the coach in charge of the special teams because he understands how important it is, how it can change a game in an instant.

Virginia Tech’s special teams have faltered over the past few years. From 2006-2010 the Hokies only blocked 18 kicks. Compare that to the 33 kicks blocked from 2000-2005 and you notice a steep drop off. Beamer has been the head coach for 309 games and the Hokies have blocked 128 kicks (that’s a block every 2.4 games).

In the early 2000’s every team Virginia Tech played was intimidated by the special teams. The Hokies could block kicks or if they didn’t get to them they had returners that new how to run it back to the end zone. The Hokies special teams at that time were like the dark priest in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Beamerball could put its hand into the opponent’s chest and pull out its heart and show it to them. At home 60,000+ people would be going nuts as this happened and on the road there would be nothing but silence.

That is no longer the case in Blacksburg. Virginia Tech’s special teams unit is still well above average but not the best. That may change this year. Many players want to bring it back, none more so than cornerback Kyle Fuller.

In an interview with Mike Barber of the Richmond Times-Dispatch Fuller said:

“I was just talking to Coach Beamer yesterday and asked him, ‘Are you going to let us loose to go block some punts?’ That’s something I’m trying to bring back. I remember seeing those guys back in the day, blocking punts and returning ‘em, things like that. So that’s definitely something we want to do and I think we can do that with the people we have.”

Beamerball has dissipated since 2005 but it now appears ready for a comeback. If it indeed does come back then the ACC has been warned.

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