Vols likely to force Hokies to throw

Flanker Danny Coale, Virginia Tech's second-leading receiver, sat mute for most of a 34-minute news conference Tuesday in the Georgia Dome as questions flew around about the game plan for the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

Coale and split end Jarrett Boykin better not be so invisible and quiet when it is game-on Thursday night.

Tennessee's defense, which did not let Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram of Alabama escape for big runs in a regular-season game, figures to load up near the line of scrimmage against the Hokies' star tailback Ryan Williams and see if Tech can make plays in the pass game.

Bryan Stinespring, Virginia Tech's offensive coordinator, watched a tape of Tennessee's 12-10 loss at Alabama and what he had to notice was the Vols lining up in a six-man front, or what SEC coaches call a "double-eagle." Ingram had 99 yards rushing, but Alabama had to use direct snaps to Ingram to help get him on track.

“Defenses today try and make you one as one-dimensional as they can,” Stinespring said. “A lot of defenses have skewed themselves toward that. If you have shown the ability to run it, they are going to skew to have the advantage to create additional defenders and see how well you perform in the passing game.”

The Crimson Tide took the ball into Tennessee territory six times, but had to labor on offense and managed to score only four field goals.

Williams rushed for 1,538 yards in the regular season -- so he is on the marquee -- and a target of the Vols.

Uneven odds

When it came to the pregame coin flip this season, the Virginia Tech player sent to the 50 has a suitable name: Cody Grimm.

Virginia Tech lost the toss the first 10 games of the season. Grim, indeed. The Hokies won the coin toss in their final two regular-season games, so maybe their luck is changing.

The Hokies are 7-1 when scoring first this season.

Thanks, son

Shane Beamer, the son of Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer, is an assistant coach at South Carolina. The Gamecocks were hammered in Knoxville by Tennessee 31-13 on Halloween.

“He told me we better go play well,” said Frank Beamer. “That wasn’t a hot tip.”

Shane Beamer's familiarity with Tennessee goes beyond one game. He spent three seasons at UT as a graduate assistant on defense under former coach Phil Fulmer. Beamer, who was the starting long snapper for Virginia Tech for three seasons and a reserve receiver, also coached placekickers, punters and long snappers for the Vols.

Berry good, too

Stinespring was asked if there was a player in the ACC who could line up on defense and stress the offense with his positioning as Tennessee's Eric Berry does.

Stinespring answered immediately, "Yeah, Kam Chancellor." Then he quickly added, "Cody Grimm."

Chancellor is the Hokies’ imposing safety, a 6-foot-4, 226-pound senior. Berry is a hard hitter, but so is Chancellor, who has the look of an NFL strong safety and is being projected as a second- or third-round pick in 2010. Grimm was named first-team All-ACC at linebacker.

“We’ve asked Tennessee to put a little red light on top of Eric so we know where he is all the time,” Stinespring said. “They haven’t really gotten back with us.”