Frank Beamer wants his Virginia Tech team to demonstrate the character it takes to stand tall after getting knocked down.
The Hokies (6-2, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) are coming off a 13-10 loss to Duke that knocked them out of the Top 25, and how they bounce back from disappointment will be critical on Saturday, Beamer said.
Virginia Tech plays at Boston College (3-4, 1-3) in a series that often yields close games. The Hokies have won five straight against the Eagles, but last season needed overtime to win 30-23 on Chestnut Hill.
"All of us, you're going to face some disappointment and we didn't perform as well as we're capable," said Beamer, giving Duke credit for winning the game. "And now, it's get on. You know, it's how you react to these things. Disappointment's going to happen to all of us. But the real secret, or the real key thing, is how you react to disappointment and that kind of determines who you are."
If Sunday was any indication, the Hokies are responding the right way, quarterback Logan Thomas said.
"Obviously the guys were sad. Nobody wants to lose a game at all, but I think we're all motivated. It was probably the best Sunday practice that we've had," Thomas said. "I took it upon myself to set the tempo and make sure that nobody was going through the motions, that we're all going full speed."
The offense, more than the defense, remains the wild card for the Hokies.
Their defense ranks third in the country, allowing less that 249 yards against. Virginia Tech limited Duke to 199 yards and had four interceptions, running its nation-leading total to 17. But the Hokies' offense either gave the ball back to the Blue Devils, squandered scoring chances with penalties or missed field goals.
"This defense is better than all the other defenses we've faced," BC coach Steve Addazio said. "They're legit. I knew they were good, and now after watching the tape, I'm like, 'Wow, here we go.'"
The offense ranks 111th with an average of just 336 yards, and 101st at 21.5 points per game.
Thomas, Beamer and new offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler have said all season that the Hokies are making little mistakes that ruin potential big plays, or cause plays that work to be called back.
"This past weekend we had a touchdown, but it was called back," Thomas said, referring to his scoring pass to D.J. Coles nullified because of illegal motion against Coles. "We got to the red zone.
"One of those type of games where you don't have to get too crazy. You can kick a field goal and it will put you in position to win it," Thomas said. "But things didn't work out our way. It's just one of those things that from now on, we have to do our job the entire time, even when we get inside the red."
The loss ended the Hokies' 12-game winning streak against the Blue Devils. That made it hurt even more, linebacker Tariq Edwards said, "especially for our seniors."
And this week, that's something they want to draw motivation from so they are ready on Saturday, he said.
"We just have to put it behind us and move on," he said, "and not make it a burden."