Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer has said all along that the Hokies are young and a work in progress.
He hopes to see lots of that progress Saturday when they host surprising Boston College.
''I said at the very beginning, we're going to go through some growing pains, and we are,'' Beamer said this week. But, he added, ''We're far enough along that it needs to be fewer growing pains.''
The Hokies (4-4, 1-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) are trying to rebound from consecutive Thursday night losses at Pittsburgh and at home against Miami. The latter dropped their record at home to just 2-3.
Beamer said they are close to being a lot better than their record.
''I think the effort's good. The want-to is good. We've got guys who have put a lot into this and our main focus for us this week is to continue to get better,'' he said this week. ''We're going to have to.''
Boston College (5-3, 2-2) has won all three of its road games to date and find itself one victory shy of being bowl-eligible. Coach Steve Addazio expects playing at Lane Stadium to present a challenge.
''We have played on the road in silent games and we have operated that pretty effectively,'' he said of their victories at Massachusetts, North Carolina State and Wake Forest. ''So we've done a few of those things that make you feel a little better. You certainly would hate for this to be your first road trip, but nevertheless, it doesn't lessen the impact of the rough crowd that you're going down to play in front of. Really, I should say passionate. It's a very passionate crowd, about football and their team.''
The Eagles beat Virginia Tech 34-27 last season, and this year are led by quarterback Tyler Murphy, who is third in the ACC and second among all quarterbacks nationally with 105 rushing yards per game.
Here are things to watch when Boston College visits Virginia Tech:
MURPHY'S LAW: Virginia Tech has had issues stopping running quarterbacks this season with Georgia Tech's Justin Thomas running for 165 yards against them, Pittsburgh's Chad Voytik running for 118 yards and North Carolina's Marquise Williams running for 94. They also gave up 364 rushing yards, their highest total ever under Beamer, last week in their 30-6 loss to Miami. Tyler Murphy arrives Saturday.
MISTAKES: Virginia Tech quarterback Michael Brewer has thrown 11 interceptions and the Hokies have lost six fumbles. They lost three in as many possessions to start the second half against Miami and are sure to have worked extensively on ball security because they can't afford many empty possessions.
HOME FIELD EDGE: Maybe Hokies fans were spoiled by those eight consecutive years of 10 or more wins, but that streak ended three years ago. Their 93-game sellout streak ended last season, and the stands were pretty empty by the fourth quarter of their blowout loss to the Hurricanes. Boston College has won more games on the road than at home, and in two fewer tries. Will Lane Stadium be fan friendly?
FOR STARTERS: The Hokies are 4-0 when they score first, and 0-4 when they don't.
FAMILIAR FACES: Eagles coach Steve Addazio was the offensive coordinator at Florida when Virginia Tech's offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler was the quarterbacks coach. When Addazio left Gainesville to be the coach of Temple, he brought Loeffler with him. Both are in their second seasons in their jobs.
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