Hot Topic Hokies Journal

Frank Beamer clears the air regarding Georgia Tech's chop blocks

Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer cleared the air with Georgia Tech Coach Paul Johnson.
Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer cleared the air with Georgia Tech Coach Paul Johnson. (John Bazemore/associated Press)
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Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Excerpt from

Although it's been almost two weeks since Georgia Tech beat Virginia Tech, 28-23, a war of words between the two schools' coaches emerged over whether the Yellow Jackets' blocking techniques were legal and safe.

On Tuesday, Virginia Tech Coach Frank Beamer said he called Georgia Tech Coach Paul Johnson to clear the air regarding the public comments made recently regarding their game on Oct. 17. Beamer said the conversation went "good."

"It's not sour grapes," Beamer said. "It's not that Georgia Tech beat us. It's not that. It's just that some situations came up that I think put guys in dangerous situations."

As is customary for many schools, Virginia Tech sent a tape of plays to ACC officials for a review of disputed calls or for clarification on rules. The Hokies' coaches said that the ACC acknowledged that it missed calls on about four of the 11 plays submitted.

Some of those missed calls, the Hokies' coaches said, involved illegal chop blocks by Georgia Tech players. Beamer said on Tuesday that he misspoke Monday when he said there was a low block on free safety Kam Chancellor when Georgia Tech scored its final touchdown.

Told of Beamer's comments, Johnson replied that the allegations were "a joke." Johnson said that Virginia Tech's coaches did not complain about his team's blocking after the Hokies won, 20-17, last year in Blacksburg.

"They got out-schemed," Johnson told reporters Monday evening. "So it's illegal to out-scheme them, I guess."

On Tuesday, Beamer opened his weekly news conference by addressing the recent flap that had played out in the news media. He spent almost five minutes speaking about the topic, which also came up Monday night during his weekly radio appearance on "Tech Talk Live" in Blacksburg.

Beamer did, however, say that it was dangerous for players to be chop-blocked if they cannot see the blocker approaching and that such blocks should not be allowed if a player is already engaged with a different blocker. He said he brought up the topic to see if there was any support among his fellow coaches to adjust the rules.

A review of game film shows that in the second half against Georgia Tech, Chancellor was hit with chop blocks from Yellow Jackets players approaching from behind or from the side. In the first quarter, defensive tackle John Graves was hit with a chop block while engaged with a different blocker. In the game, he re-injured his right ankle, which was sprained earlier in the year.

Doug Rhoads, the ACC's coordinator of football officials, declined to name the number of calls that were missed or to identify specific plays that were illegal.

Rhoads said there would be no disciplinary action taken against the officials who missed the calls in the game because they were making judgment calls and did not misapply the rules. But he added that their performance would be reflected in their grades, which determine whether officials will officiate the conference championship game and bowl games or whether they will be remain employed by the conference.

-- Mark Viera

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