Two years have come and gone since Virginia Tech suffered the humiliation of watching victorious players from Football Championship Subdivision foe James Madison dancing in Lane Stadium, but Tech learned some lessons from that experience.
Of course, that loss came just five days after Tech lost its season-opener to No. 3 Boise State in Landover, Md. It's a one-week span that still lingers in the memories of Tech's older players.
"Just the embarrassment that I felt at the end of the (JMU) game when they were all running on the field so excited," linebacker Bruce Taylor said. "That should've been us."
There are some distinct differences this season, not the least of which is both of Tech's first two games are at home. Still, there's enough similarity in the five-day gap from Monday's 20-17 overtime win against Georgia Tech to Saturday's expected walkover against FCS opponent Austin Peay that Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer is determined not to repeat the mistakes of the past.
"We're doing things a little bit different," Beamer said.
"I'm very aware that we played a very physical football game (against Georgia Tech). I think we've just got to be smart about trying to get our legs back under us. We've got to prepare for Austin Peay, but we've got to make sure we're as healthy as we possibly can be, too."
While Beamer's theme of the week in preparation for Austin Peay (0-1) is to make sure enough rest is incorporated in the practice schedule, getting sharper on both sides of the ball will be another paramount concern. Right tackle Vinston Painter is sure to be far more caught up on his sleep than he was heading into the Georgia Tech game.
"I had to take sleeping pills just to go to sleep (the night before the game)," Painter said. "I was just that excited."
Painter and his fellow starting offensive linemen will work to produce better results in the running game than Virginia Tech was able to muster against Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Al Groh's 3-4 scheme.
The rushing numbers against Georgia Tech were skewed by a 22-yard loss on Virginia Tech's botched punt in the first quarter, but the Hokies still generated just 96 yards on 35 carries. The last time Tech ran for fewer yards and won was against Nebraska in 2009, when the Hokies had 86 yards in a 16-15 win.
"We'll just have to tone it up a notch, make sure the running backs feel comfortable running behind us and make sure we're opening up big enough holes so they can make their reads faster," Painter said.
Quarterback Logan Thomas was a harsh critic after the Georgia Tech loss, faulting himself for most of Virginia Tech's offensive woes until the team broke out in the fourth quarter and overtime. He was only slightly more impressed by his play after watching film of the game.
"I don't feel I played as bad as I did (on game night), but I still played pretty bad," said Thomas, who was 12 of 27 passing for 90 yards in the first three quarters before he completed 9 of 11 for 140 in the fourth quarter.
"It was just bad footwork by me. I was getting off balance. I would step away from a target, or I would step to the target, but I would stay high and not drop my waist to be able to throw an accurate ball. It was a little bit of everything."
Taylor, who started at the "backer" position as opposed to his traditional middle linebacker spot, said he'll be more aware at backer this coming game than he was in portions of the Georgia Tech game.
He said he was responsible for giving up Georgia Tech's longest play of the game — a 22-yard run by Tevin Washington on a quarterback draw in the fourth quarter on a touchdown-scoring drive — when Taylor blitzed and Washington simply ran to the open spot where Taylor started the play.
Taylor may not be able to point to Austin Peay's location on a map — he admitted he originally thought it was in Austin, Texas (it's in Clarksville, Tenn.) — but he won't overlook the Governors, who lost 49-10 at Western Kentucky in the season opener. Like Beamer, he's picked up some things from the start of the 2010 season.
"We lingered on that (Boise State) game way too long, and didn't focus at all on JMU," Taylor said. "We've got to make sure we come out and don't do that, because as we know, any given day you can be beaten."
WHO: Austin Peay (0-1) at Virginia Tech (1-0).
WHEN: 1:30 p.m.
ONLINE: ESPN3Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times