BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) -Cheryl Beamer stood on the sidelines waiting for Virginia Tech to leave the field, afraid she would miss her husband as he swept past.
``I think he'll be relieved,'' she said, ``but he probably wouldn't say `happy.'''
Coach Frank Beamer's team didn't dominate as expected in its 17-7 season-opening win against East Carolina on Saturday.
However, in the first game at Lane Stadium since a gunman killed 32 people and himself on campus last April, the game was only a part of the equation.
``I think everybody was eager to get this game in,'' Beamer said.
Probably no one was more eager than the coach himself. A big believer that a team makes its biggest improvement between the first and second weeks, the Hokies need to get their offense untracked before they play in Baton Rouge, La., against No. 2 LSU.
``I think this will be a great video for us to learn from and get better,'' a weary-looking Beamer said later. ``It's quite obvious we better be better next week.''
The game against the Pirates had plenty of buildup and national attention, with several media outlets spending the week in and around campus, trying to chronicle the healing of a university and community and the Hokies' role in leading the recovery.
When it was over, several players admitted they were surprised by how swept up in the celebration they had become.
``I had no idea what to expect for myself right when I was getting ready to come out of that tunnel, but as soon as it hit me, I couldn't hold it back. ... We knew what we were playing for,'' linebacker Xavier Adibi said.
Fellow linebacker Vince Hall said learning to manage the emotion may take time.
``There's going to be extra emotion throughout the whole season just in general,'' said Hall, who led the Hokies with 13 tackles. ``There was a whole lot of stuff just building up. Once we get that out of our system, it's going to be smooth sailing.''
At halftime, Hall said, defensive coordinator Bud Foster told his guys they were still too high and needed to do a better job of paying attention to their roles.
Beamer felt it too.
``I don't buy into, `I was so emotional that I forgot to go here and block this defensive end that's getting ready to hit my quarterback in the back,''' he said.
That happened, too, leading to a fumble. Sean Glennon also threw an interception on the Hokies first offensive play and was sacked four times.
Virginia Tech's first touchdown came on an interception return, and the Hokies didn't manage another until just 13:07 remained when Glennon hit Sam Wheeler for 21 yards.
The running game wasn't any better, totaling just 33 yards on 31 carries behind a rebuilt offensive line, and the sacks showed protection is a real concern, too.
``We just couldn't get into a rhythm,'' said Glennon, who finished 22-for-33 for 245 yards. ``That's something that we're going to have to correct because next week, they're not going to let us get into a rhythm too much, so we have to put it upon ourselves.''

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