- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 12, 2009

BLACKSBURG, Va. | The Virginia Tech team that Marshall coach Mark Snyder has talked about preparing for and the group that coach Frank Beamer will lead onto the field sound like two different squads.

Beamer found fault with all three units of his team in its 34-24 loss to No. 4 Alabama last week. He cautioned those worried about the offense that the whole team has work to do.

“What’s important for us right now is that we get Virginia Tech right in all areas,” Beamer said this week. “I think our football teams need to improve.”

No. 14 Virginia Tech gained only 155 yards against Alabama and allowed nearly 500 yards of offense as the defense clearly got tired late. Snyder expects a different Hokies team Saturday, especially with No. 22 Nebraska and then No. 20 Miami following the Thundering Herd (0-1) into Lane Stadium.

“They’re going to be jacked up,” Snyder said. “We are excited to go play, and our kids will come ready to play. I know Coach Beamer won’t let them look past us to Nebraska or Miami,” he said.

Tailback Ryan Williams, the Hokies’ star of the opener with 113 of those yards (71 rushing, 42 receiving and two touchdowns), said there’s no chance they won’t be ready.

“Right now we’re not really dwelling on the loss any more. We’re more focused on this Saturday,” he said. “We still have a lot of high expectations. They’re not going to drop.”

Those expectations include challenging for the national championship, and receiver Dyrell Roberts said a key might be leaving those lofty goals in the locker room.

“If we just go out there and just play, who knows what can happen?” he said. “So this week, we’re just really thinking about not thinking as much. Just relax and go play.”

Traditionally, the Hokies have done pretty well with that, especially at home. They will bring a 30-game winning streak in home games against nonconference opponents into the contest, not to mention the belief that they came close to clicking against Alabama.

“It was real frustrating coming to the sideline and knowing that this could have worked, that could have worked and we were just one or two blocks away or one or two assignments missed or things like that,” Roberts said. “There were some drives where we were just moving right up and down the field. We were just wondering, ‘Why can’t we do this all the time?’ ”

Marshall could complicate things with the return of tailback Darius Marshall and cornerback DeQuan Bembry, who missed the opening win against Southern Illinois while serving one-game suspensions for drug arrests. Marshall ran for 1,095 yards last season.

But with a defense that returns eight starters, the line especially struggled against the Salukis, allowing touchdown drives at the end of each half. This week, Snyder showed them film of Alabama’s line technique against the Hokies.

“We have the same type of bodies,” he said. “It is always great to have an example of a team like Virginia Tech or Alabama to show your guys what it’s supposed to look like.”

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