University of Miami

Miami Hurricanes coach Al Golden to face another ACC coach Saturday with outside ‘doubters’

UM coach Al Golden, left, and Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer are both facing outside pressure as their teams struggle this season to live up to expectations.
UM coach Al Golden, left, and Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer are both facing outside pressure as their teams struggle this season to live up to expectations. AP

Like the University of Miami, the Hurricanes’ next opponent was down by 10 during the second quarter of its most recent game — a Friday night home matchup with then 4-1 North Carolina State.

But unlike Miami, the Virginia Tech Hokies battled back to victory with three consecutive touchdown passes by quarterback Brenden Motley late in the second quarter, then added to the lead in the fourth quarter for the 28-13 win.

The Canes rebounded from a 20-10 halftime deficit to go up 24-23 in the final quarter at now-No. 11 Florida State, but allowed a subsequent touchdown run for the deciding score.

The two Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal Division teams meet at 3:30 p.m. Saturday (ESPNU) at Sun Life Stadium, with both coaches getting heat from the outside.

Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer, whose Hokies (3-3, 1-1 ACC Conference) are one of only two Football Bowl Subdivision schools to go to bowl games each of the past 22 seasons, is the winningest active coach (276-141-4) in the FBS. He indicated Monday during his weekly press conference that Friday’s victory over the Wolfpack was instrumental for his coaches as well as players.

Al Golden of Miami (3-2, 0-1) hasn’t been the only coach bombarded by the public and media.

“Our backs were to the wall and our coaches and players did a tremendous job,’’ Beamer, 68, told reporters in Blacksburg. “Sometimes coaches get lost in that. I tell them that’s when they coach their best — when you’re down. And that’s when coaching makes a difference.

“Anyone can coach when things are smooth, silky smooth and going well. But that’s when you find out who the good coaches are, when it’s a little rough and people are doubting you and not many good things are being said about you.”

In the decade or so before 2012, Beamer had very few “rough” seasons, with double-digit victories in 11 of 13 campaigns from 1999 through 2011. He has guided the Hokies to four ACC titles since joining in 2004, the same year as Miami.

But the Hokies have had at least five losses in each of the past three seasons, finishing 7-6 in 2012, 8-5 in 2013 and 7-6 last year.

Golden was asked Monday by 560 WQAM radio’s Joe Rose if he feels “more pressure now to win this Coastal Division,” likely because many believe that for the coach to ultimately keep his job he’ll have to win the Coastal and get to the ACC championship game, which UM has never done.

“No,” Golden said. “I don’t feel any pressure. I just focus on my job, my team. I love this team. They come to work every day. There are no distractions. They are really selfless. … This team is doing a lot of things well. They just need that one moment where they can capture that and bottle it and get it in our locker room and keep it for a long time — and build on it.”

Golden agreed with Rose that “there’s no question” he needs to win his first big game.

“But again,” the coach quickly added, “understand that this is a big game. Virginia Tech is a big game … and it needs to be treated as such.”

▪ Beamer would not say if quarterback Michael Brewer, who broke his left collarbone in the Hokies’ opener against No. 1 Ohio State, would return against Miami. Brewer practiced last week and was listed as probable for N.C. State, but did not compete.

Motley keeps improving, and is second in the ACC in total touchdowns with 13 – 10 passing and three rushing.

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