Virginia Tech at North Carolina State
Block Party: During Coach Frank Beamer's 19-year tenure, the Hokies have earned a national reputation for their outstanding special teams. Virginia Tech has 104 blocked kicks in Beamer's 214 games as coach -- 53 punts, 30 field goals and 21 extra points. Those blocks have resulted in 15 touchdowns. The Wolfpack also has been proficient at blocking kicks with 49 since the 1998 season began. N.C. State has blocked 32 punts, 13 field goals and 4 extra points during that span, including a school-record 10 blocked kicks under Coach Chuck Amato during the 2003 season. In fact, the Wolfpack's 35 blocked kicks during the past five seasons are the most in Division I-A. Virginia Tech ranks third in the country with 30 blocked kicks since 2000.
Containing Williams: Virginia Tech sophomore Duane Brown makes his first start at right tackle today, and his assignment is daunting: block all-ACC defensive end Mario Williams, who led the Wolfpack with 15 tackles for losses last season. Brown, from Richmond, opened preseason camp as the Hokies' backup tight end behind senior Jeff King. But when senior Reggie Butler struggled, Brown moved over to tackle. Williams, 6 feet 7 and 290 pounds, is one of the country's best pass rushers and is one of nine defensive players on the preseason watch list for the Walter Camp player of the year award.
New Coordinators: Amato has two new coordinators this season. Marc Trestman, who worked for eight NFL teams, most recently as assistant head coach of the Miami Dolphins in 2004, is Amato's fourth offensive coordinator in six seasons. Steve Dunlap, who worked at Syracuse and West Virginia, is Amato's third defensive coordinator; Reggie Herring left for Arkansas. Under Herring, the Wolfpack had the No. 1 defense in Division I-A last season.
-- Mark Schlabach