In the food chain for (almost) EVERYONE
We present this series with an initial survey and a design of the generalities of the new situation in the 3rd. (Virginia Tech Hokies Athletics, Changes Are Coming Because – Soccer Is King – Country Gobbler)
The hiring of Brent Pry, far from his long tenure (five years at Penn State and three at Vandy as James Franklin’s assistant), mentor and friend, was touted as a major move and touted up and down to the point where the old man and cynical looking at me for the morning shave, he began to wonder why Whit was trying so hard to impress me. The fact is, in his 30-year coaching career Brent Pry has never been anywhere for long (which is the coach, frankly) and the immediate flashes of concern from the “old man” rested on the reality that from that exactly zero years of career have passed as head coach. Regardless of how good someone feels about hiring, that lack of experience weighs heavily on people’s atmospheric bubbles.
Pry’s initial coaching experience was as a GA at Tech in the mid-1990s for three seasons; so, there is that. That also appears to be the emotional piggy bank that attracted Pry enough that he parted ways with Franklin and launched himself on his own. The Hokies were a different soccer team and program when he coached here, so he still has a few things to learn.
We’re still watching snowflakes fall from the sky as the NCAA and professional leagues close their regular seasons and busy attendees get out or interview in good order. We’re seeing two things that make you wonder exactly where these staff are headed. The first is that coaching positions are strangely labeled and jumbled up on the org chart. To date, there have only been two hires of the former soccer staff; JC Price and Pierson Prioleau.
The protagonists, more or less
JC Price is a head coach associated with the responsibility of training the defensive line. This is an odd combination, typically associate / assistant HCs are coordinators, not position coaches. This week, Pry sealed that unusual staffing setup by hiring Wisconsin Joe rudolph as an associate head coach, offensive line coach, and running game coordinator.
This move gives Rudolph an important role in the who and how of running the running game. Neither Price nor Rudolph have been a head coach (with the exception of Price’s stint as Tech’s interim HC at the end of the season).
Chris marve He’s the Defensive Coordinator, but with only seven years of experience as an assistant / position coach, it’s a risky move to carry Marve so high up the food chain. It’s about the same level of movement that presented Justin Hamilton with the lunchbox keys, and we haven’t seen it since.
Pierson PrioleauThe retention of former staff is actually a promotion because PP was operating as a personnel manager. It was completed during the 2020 season when absences from COVID nearly sidelined the entire team. That could have influenced Pry’s decision to keep the PP.
The rest of the current coaching hires are:
Brad Glenn As a Pass Game Coordinator / Quarterback Coach he hails from Georgia State, but his period of greatest experience was six seasons at Appalachian State when it was a Division I FCS championship program.
Stu Holt It will be the Special Teams Coordinator and a nebulously labeled Offensive Assistant position. How that fits into the larger scheme of things will likely work itself out as the offensive staff grows and ends. Holt was tagged as hailing from Louisville, but that was only two seasons. Basically your background is in the G5 App State, G5 South Florida, FCS Western Kentucky, and Tennessee State program.
Derek Jones He only appears as a defensive coach. He will probably be training the Cornerbacks. His experience has more FBS P5 teams, including Ole Miss and a long stint at Duke. He comes to Tech from Texas Tech, where he was an Associate Head Coach and Co-Defensive Coordinator.
Shawn quinn He completes the roster as a Defensive Coach, and it looks like he’s going to get the Linebackers, right now. He is the only coach who has experience as a head coach. He was hired after a 2-season stint interrupted by COVID as the head coach of Savanah State. Most of Quinn’s experience is scattered across the FCS ranks with just one stop in 2008 at LSU and GA in Tennessee.
What this means is that the new coaching staff currently does not have staff with direct experience as a top-level head coach. Anyone who dismisses that reality is shining on themselves and everyone else they talk to.
There are at least three more field positions to fill; Offensive coordinator (allegedly Jaguars assistant Tyler Bowen), Wide receivers and corridors. In addition to those positions, there will be nearly a dozen general assistants and junior-level assistants who will introduce themselves. There is currently no identified theory of offense in the works, hopefully we’ll see something in Spring. Those who open appear to be in part the result of the delay in signing Bowen due to his contractual obligations to the NFL.
The stage is almost ready, let’s see the pros and cons
We have to be honest here. The tendency to dance this as all shiny and wonderful is as bad as the urge to shake your head and dismiss it as a mess of real inexperienced assistants in the captain’s chair. One of those attitudes will be shocked and surprised, that’s for sure.
There are, of course, three types of feelings about this, and all fans should have a bit of all three; caution, caution and enthusiasm. It’s always best to take a look at the pros and cons of staff turnover and get a better idea of how to balance that triad of opinions.
The Head Coach Experience Trepidation
The most common complaint we’re seeing about Pry’s hiring, along with his current roster of assistants and associates, is that he has no experience as a head coach. Here are the top three complaints (from the weight of the comments and conversations I’ve had, this is not “scientific”):
- He has had 30 years of training without any experience as a head coach.
- He is a defensive coach with experience in defensive positions and with no evidence of offensive thinking or activity.
- He’s repeating the same mantra about recruiting footprints, not letting promising players run out of offers or at least contacts, and then a bunch of platitudes like “git er done.”
Those are the “cons” of hiring, and none of them are invalid. In fact, they are so relevant and obvious that those who think that Pry’s hiring is headed for a “big failure” are not without foundation in their instincts.
However, Pry has a ton of really good qualities that should spread all over those three negatives. He has a long and relatively successful coaching career, the last part of which is SEC and B1G (Big Ten for challenged trademark) experience. His lack of experience as a head coach appears to be the result of some individual loyalty to James Franklin. When asked why he was willing to return to Virginia Tech, the answer turned out to be that Tech was at least one of the programs that he was genuinely excited to take on and run. He was willing to take the risky leap into this show. It didn’t seem like a pro forma nod from the coach’s talk to the new big paycheck. Pry looked and sounded genuinely excited to be back in Blacksburg.
Not that the job of a head coach at the FBS level is an easy transition for a position coach, and Pry was very conscientious and honest about the realities involved. It made Mike and Jon, during their introductory interviews, acutely aware of their focus required to move to the overall team role. He knew the dirty details of the X’s and O’s had to be handled by his assistants and his new job was elsewhere. He even admitted that it was going to be difficult to give it up. That level of honesty has not been a high point in coaching for many organizations. A lot of top coaches have a big “I’m THE MAN” ego. Perhaps Pry’s biggest “Pro” is that he hasn’t developed one yet.
The summary of the image “B1G”
The supporting cast appears to be more than competent, with some good help from the assistant coach and director of the B1G-focused soccer program. For the record, the reality of the difference between the B1G and the ACC in program strength is the difference between a college program and a high school (well, maybe a Texas 5A school, but still). The ACC “best” are candidates for the B1G Intermediate Programs Platoon; Minus the current incarnation of Clemson, who will fade as Dabo’s fortune moves elsewhere.
The biggest pro that I see going in Brent Pry’s favor is that he seems to be actively working to bring Virginia Tech’s football program to the B1G level with professional-style offenses and defenses, along with the administrative level and facilities necessary to carry it. finished.
Is that hanging my hat on a short peg? I don’t know, but Coach Pry deserves the benefit of the doubt and I’m going to offer it to him, as Hokie of course, as a sportswriter, I’m from Missouri. We will objectively observe the transition, and if it appears that there are alarms that should sound, we will sound them.
So, turn off the sound. After thinking about the implications and going through some pros and cons, where are you at in all of this?
Which of the three “fandom feelings” are you regarding coaching hires?
Disappointed and disappointed. There was hope for some head coaching skills, and what we got was a ton of assistants.
With optimistic caution, but there is still only one script being read for public relations, and a slow appearance that worries me.
This is IT, Pry is not the guy to follow “The Guy”. The staff is awesome and Pry is excited to get started. I also.
61 Voices Total
Inevitably there were going to be outbursts with this. Ultimately, the reality for coaches is that Whit Babcock took a huge risk by reducing the visions of glory of ‘high-powered, high-money coaches’ and sought to rebuild a respectable winning program. That took some serious guts. For that, we all might want to reduce the extremes of emotions and adopt a hopeful “wait and see” attitude. There will be extreme skeptics and extreme Pollyannas. It’s also not a great place to be right now. We will talk about all that in the third and last article.