Western Michigan running back Jarvion Franklin is taken down by the Murray State defense during an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014, in Kalamazoo, Mich. (AP Photo/The Gazette, Katie Alaimo)
Georgia Tech inside linebacker P.J. Davis (40) scores a touchdown after intercepting a pass by Virginia Tech quarterback Michael Brewer (12) during an NCAA college football game in Blacksburg, Va., Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014. (AP Photo/The Roanoke Times, Matt Gentry) LOCAL TV OUT; SALEM TIMES REGISTER OUT; FINCASTLE HERALD OUT; CHRISTIANBURG NEWS MESSENGER OUT; RADFORD NEWS JOURNAL OUT; ROANOKE STAR SENTINEL OUT
Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer and his players have a little edge to them this week.
The coach said he's not used to going through growing pains two weeks in a row.
"We're not a good football team right now," Beamer said this week. "Just too many penalties, too many mistakes and too much not coming up with the play. But we can be a good football team and it's up to us to get there. We're not there right now. I think everyone fully understands that."
The Hokies (2-2) hope to make strides when they host Western Michigan (2-1) on Saturday.
Wide receiver Willie Byrn thinks the problem is focus. He says Virginia Tech was precise because it knew it had to be to win at Ohio State, but that maybe the team has slacked off on focus since.
The Broncos, of Mid-American Conference, have faced the Hokies three times previously, and have lost the three games by a combined 124-0. The last meeting ended 63-0 at Lane Stadium in 2004.
This Western Michigan team is averaging 39.5 points after consecutive games scoring 45. The offense is led by freshman tailback Jarvion Franklin, who has run for three touchdowns in each of their games. The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder is averaging 6.6 yards per carry while quarterback Zach Terrell has six touchdown throws.
More than worrying about what the Broncos are doing, Beamer said the Hokies have to correct mistakes like the handful of illegal substitution penalties that plagued them in a 27-24 loss to Georgia Tech last weekend, and to continue to get production from its passing game without turning the ball over.
Quarterback Michael Brewer threw for 297 yards against the Yellow Jackets, but also threw three interceptions that turned into 17 points. In four starts, he's already thrown eight interceptions.
"I think Brewer played his best football game other than three plays," Beamer said Monday. "But you've got to count every play. Three critical plays in the ballgame. I thought our kids played extremely hard. As you look at the video, there's so many times we could have won the game, but the bottom line is we didn't, and you give Georgia Tech credit. They did. And that's where we are as a football team."
A 35-21 victory at Ohio State in the second week "cements the idea that no one can beat us," Byrn said, and may have contributed to the failure to execute in subsequent losses to East Carolina and the Yellow Jackets. Both came at Lane Stadium, the Hokies' first losses there in consecutive weeks since 1995.
This week, he said, it's back to basics, no matter who they are playing on Saturday.
"We're going to watch, we're going to see their game plan, strategy, but more so it's about us, it's about focusing in practice and making sure we're signaling on and off the field from an offensive perspective," he said. "That's what we've got to do. We've got to be more picky, more annoying in practice on the little things. That's definitely going to happen this week. It's already started."
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