Butch says 'Beamer Ball' is still alive and well

No Beamer? No problem! Tennessee head coach Butch Jones says the Battle at Bristol could come down to special teams plays.

For years, the Virginia Tech Hokies were known for making big plays on special teams. Former head coach Frank Beamer stressed it so much, that it became an identity for Virginia Tech: Beamer Ball. 

Beamer retired at the end of last season, with former Memphis coach Justin Fuente replacing him.

Vols head coach, Butch Jones, also values special teams. He said just because Beamer has left, doesn't mean his style of play has is no longer in Blacksburg.

"All you have to do is watch their first kickoff of the year," Jones said. "The kicker is outstanding, he put it to the back wall and all ten guys sprinted down through the end zone to get their crowd amped up. Special teams comes down to all one-on-one matchups, football is a game of one-on-one matchups. That's like what we do with our special teams, we post every individual's win-loss record, so you either won that rep or you lost that rep."

As for the other two-thirds of the Tennessee team, coordinators Bob Shoop and Mike DeBord normally call the plays from the press box. Bristol offers a bit of a challenge, being that the press box will be a little further from the field than the coaches are used to at Neyland Stadium. 

Shoop and the staff took a trip up to Bristol Motor Speedway to get aware of their surroundings. 

"It's a great environment," the defensive coordinator said. "I don't think being from the press box is going to be a problem."

Shoop said it's about the dimensions of the field and the track. 

"It's not necessarily the width of the field, it's the length from the end zone seats. I think that's going to be the major issue. If I were calling the game from the end zone and the ball was on the other side of the field, that would be a disaster, but where we're going to be sitting, I think, is not going to be any problem at all."

The players and coaches will have more opportunities to get used to the new environment. The team will have an extensive walkthrough on Friday.



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