Tech Arrives In Jacksonville
By Jimmy Robertson
December 26, 2000

The Virginia Tech football travel party, including staff, administrative personnel, wives, children and players arrived in Jacksonville on Tuesday to begin preparations for the 56th annual Toyota Gator Bowl. Tech did not practice on Tuesday, but rather checked into the swank Sawgrass Marriott in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., and held meetings Tuesday afternoon. "This is a real treat for us," Tech head coach Frank Beamer said. "I think it's a great match-up. You have two teams who are gonna play hard and both schools bring a lot of fans, so the game's gonna be played in front of a large crowd. I think fans are gonna see a good game."

All 110 of Tech's players arrived safely in Jacksonville by the 3 p.m. deadline imposed by Beamer. Only 10 players flew down on the charter. The remainder of the group either drove - preferring to get paid the maximum amount for mileage allowed by the NCAA - or flew commercially to Jacksonville.

On Tuesday evening, the travel party attended the Gator Bowl Welcome Party held at Dave and Buster's, a sports bar/restaurant with a huge game room. Players and staff from both Clemson and Tech ate dinner and then played video games for an hour.

The Hokies, playing in their third Gator Bowl in seven years, begin practice Wednesday morning for their match-up with Clemson. Tech has lost in its previous two trips to the Gator Bowl, falling 42-3 to North Carolina in 1998 and losing 45-23 to Tennessee in 1994.

"We need to play better down here," Beamer said. "We've let these Gator Bowl folks down.

"What we've got to play for is really important. To have the opportunity to finish ranked in the top five, that would be high compliment, particularly where we've come from with this program. We've got a purpose, but we've also got a challenge, for sure."

Beamer not interested in Redskins job: At Dave and Buster's, Beamer addressed the rumors swirling around, the ones connecting him with the Washington Redskins head coaching job. Redskins owner Dan Snyder fired Norv Turner during the season and named Terry Robiskie as the interim coach. And it looks as if Snyder doesn't plan on giving the job to Robiskie for the long haul after Robiskie went 1-2 for the 'Skins, who failed to make the playoffs.

But according to Beamer, Snyder might as well cross Beamer's name off the list.

I've heard that there is some interest, but there hasn't been any official contact," he said. "I know where I need to be right now.

"I'm totally committed to building the Virginia Tech program. We've got great coaches and great players and our recruiting is going very well. "Maybe one of these days I'll get into it [coaching in the NFL]. But not right now."