Originally created 10/09/01

College football notebook



The numbers are phenomenal even by Virginia Tech defensive standards - three shutouts, 4.8 points per game, 39.4 yards rushing and 175.2 total yards.

Coach Frank Beamer's defenders appear to be at their best once again, producing stats even more impressive than the '99 team managed en route to the national title game.

Beamer built the Hokies into title contenders by stressing defense and special teams. But he says don't be so quick to dub this defense Tech's best, although he adds, "we're playing at a very high level right now."

Led by LB Ben Taylor, DT David Pugh and SS Kevin McCadam, the Hokies - with nine starters back - lead the nation in points allowed (4.8), rushing yards allowed (39.4) and total yards allowed (175.2). They also rank second in pass defense.

"We're a very mature defense, we have some experienced guys and good leadership," Beamer said. "They play fast, they know what they're doing and they don't waste steps. Most plays they've seen before so it's a matter of just getting ready for them."

The plays they've seen so far, though, have been run by a bunch of also-rans, five teams with a combined record of 10-15. Connecticut (2-3), Rutgers (1-4), Western Michigan (3-2), UCF (2-3) and West Virginia (2-3) are averaging a combined 18.6 points and 277.7 yards per game.

Beamer knows the real schedule lies ahead, beginning Saturday against Boston College (4-1). The Eagles, featuring tailback William Green, average 31.6 points and 401.4 yards per game.

"This will be a supreme test for our defense," Beamer said. "Their offense is perfectly balanced. And I think those are the tough ones."

BC has 1,067 yards rushing and 940 yards passing. Green has 713 yards and seven TDs; quarterback Brian St. Pierre is 75 of 136 for 899 yards and 12 TDs.

After Saturday's game, the Hokies still have to play Syracuse (4-2), Pittsburgh (1-3), Temple (1-3), Virginia (3-2) and No. 2 Miami (4-0).

For now, the defense is No. 1.

"Let's just wait and see at the end of the year," Beamer said.

QUOTING: "Last year's loss was embarrassing. This year's was hurtful. But you could say we were a few plays away from beating the best team in the country. So that's a lot more positives than last year." - Texas coach Mack Brown when asked the difference between last year's 63-14 loss to Oklahoma and Saturday's 14-3 defeat.

RALPH WHO? George Godsey won't be too broken up about seeing Ralph Friedgen on the opposite sideline Thursday night.

Friedgen, the former offensive coordinator at Georgia Tech, returns to Atlanta as coach of No. 22 Maryland, off to a surprising 5-0 start.

No. 15 Georgia Tech (4-1) is led by Godsey, a senior quarterback who spent the last four seasons learning the position at Friedgen's side. So, George, how does it feel to be going against your former mentor?

"I've lived fine without him," Godsey said Monday. "We had our good times and bad times when he was here. I still sleep fine at night and I'm sure he does without me."

Godsey says he has no serious problems with Friedgen, but it's clear the quarterback is more comfortable with Bill O'Brien as offensive coordinator.

"With coach Friedgen, you take what he says and that's it," Godsey said. "It's good to know you can give your input to Coach O'Brien. You could do that with coach Friedgen, but you may not get an answer. You just took what he said for granted.

"Coach O'Brien is who I went to learn the offensive formations, the shifts, things like that."

EXTRA POINTS: BYU junior RB Luke Staley, with five TDs in last week's 54-34 win over Utah State, moved within eight of the school record of 40 set by Jamal Willis (1991-94). He'll get more work the rest of the season now that backup Brian McDonald-Ashford is out for the year with torn right knee ligaments. ... BYU leads the nation in scoring at 51 ppg. Florida is next at 48.8. Penn State is 115th and last at 7.8. ... Alabama topped 50 points for the first time since 1991 with its 56-7 win over Texas-El Paso on Saturday. On Oct. 12, 1991, the Tide beat Tulane 62-0. ... No. 1 Florida has outscored its opponents 151-18 in the first half. ... No. 9 South Carolina, 0-11 in '99 in coach Lou Holtz's first season, is 13-4 over the last two seasons. Only Florida, at 15-2, has been better in the SEC. ... Alabama takes a 10-game winning streak over Mississippi into Saturday's game against the Rebels.