2013 Football Spring Primer: Coaching Overview

Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

So far we have covered the offense, defense, and special teams overviews. Now we come to the conclusion of my spring primers: looking at the coaching staff in more detail. As we know now, former quarterbacks coach, Mike O'Cain, offensive line coach, Curt Newsome, and wide receivers coach, Kevin Sherman, have all been replaced. We are going to take a look at the bios of each coaches and try to see what we can expect from the coaches this spring.

Head coach, Frank Beamer, will be entering his 27th season as the head man of Virginia Tech Hokies football this fall. He has already amassed a career record of 216-104-2, 7 conference titles, 3 Big East titles (one shared) and 4 outright ACC championships, along with 9 bowl wins and one national championship appearance.

With Beamer's playing background as a defensive back for Virginia Tech, it is no wonder that his game plan tends to be more defensively orientated with ball control offense controlling time of possession (by the way, VT was ranked 57th in the FBS in Time of Possession category in 2012). Beamer made his start as a defensive coordinator at Murray State before becoming the head coach at Murray State, and eventually at Virginia Tech.

For all of Beamer's accolades, he could not have done it without several assistant coaches who have played under him and eventually joined his staff in various capacities.

Defensive Coordinator and Inside Linebackers Coach Bud Foster

He played as strong safety and outside linebacker under Beamer and then eventually became the man he is now under Beamer. His defense routinely fields top-25 unit, with the 2010 defensive squad being an exception, in nearly every major defensive categories. He routinely has players go pro on a annual basis. His sideline antics and demanding personality has made him a fan favorite and he is also a player's coach. He's a teacher of the game and his passion oozes out of him. His players often take on his swagger whenever they're on the field. Again, part of Foster's success as defensive coordinator is his willingness to be flexible to change from his 4-3 base defense to a 4-2-5 looks, the old 4-4, and occasionally the 3-4 looks.

Defensive Secondary Coach and Passing Game Coordinator Torrian Gray

Another Beamer-coached player, as a rover and then free safety, Gray is also an NFL product who played briefly for the Minnesota Vikings and also coached for the Chicago Bears as assistant defensive backs coach. It is no wonder why Virginia Tech's secondary is usually ball-hawkish and excellent in passing defense. With the rise of the spread formation and no-huddle, hurry-up spread philosophies, his coaching acumen is going to continue to be challenged. He is also a passionate and animated coach who can be seen flailing to the ground whenever a defensive back missses an easy pick six or getting in the face of his charges when he see they are not hitting hard enough.

Defensive Line Coach and Running Game Coordinator Charley Wiles

Wiles is also another Beamer-coached player from his Murray State days who has been able to get the most out of defensive line players under his tutelage. His 1999 group set the benchmark of what he wants out of his defensive line- nasty, angry, and sack-happy, as they helped lead the Hokies to the 2000 Sugar Bowl National Championship game. This past season, he tried to set the defensive line in the same mold as the New York Giants who won the 2012 Super Bowl, and it was met with mixed success. Wiles would like to continue to see his defensive line "pitching fits" to harass quarterbacks and stop running backs cold in their tracks. Look for that to continue this spring as this may be his deepest line in recent memory.

Outside Linebackers and Assistant Defensive Line Coach Cornell Brown

Is there any shortage of Beamer-coached players on this staff!? Brown is hailed as part of the reason why Beamer was able to turn his program around after consecutive losing seasons. Brown also has an impressive resume including his time in the NFL, having coached in NFL Europe as defensive line coach, and also being a former standout defensive end himself. He also had a brief stint in the Canadian Football League as defensive line coach. Right now, the sample size is pretty small to judge the hire Beamer made to replace Jim Cavanaugh, but apparently, he is making strides in recruiting.

That is the defensive side right there. It is pretty impressive how consistent the defenses have been with Beamer-coached players coaching past, current, and future Hokie football players. I wish I could say the same about the offense, but this spring starts the new era in the offensive department.

Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks Coach Scot Loeffler

One of the recent new hires, he made his living as quarterbacks coach when he retired from playing football at the University of Michigan, tutoring eventual All-Pro Tom Brady of New England Patriots and Brian Griese. He has also coached Tim Tebow, Chad Henne, Drew Henson and John Navarre. From that list, it's pretty impressive that he has the experience and knowledge of how to work with quarterbacks, and the hope here is that he will be able to work with Logan Thomas to get him back to the 2011-2012 form. His track record indicates he can, however, his stints as the offensive coordinator at two different schools is too small to make judgement call in predicting how well he will call games. His last season in coordinating Auburn was a disaster, in spite of producing 1,000 yard rusher in Tre Mason, and part of that is due to the switch from a Gus Malzhan's spread offense to Loeffler's pro-style offense. Auburn did not have the personnel to fit the switch and the players pretty much mailed the season in. Loeffler indicated that he would like to make Blacksburg the final coaching stop in his career, and let's hope he is an upgrade over Bryan Stinespring.

Offensive Line Coach and Running Game Coordinator Jeff Grimes

Perhaps the biggest hire Beamer made since promoting Bud Foster to full time defensive coordinator, Grimes has electrified the fan base and his track record of producing standout offensive line has brought hope. It also helps that he has the close working relationship with Loeffler from their time together at Auburn University that may help make the offense much better. It also helps that he was a former offensive tackle, and from what I have heard, Grimes is also an excellent teacher of the game. With the current roster of offensive line personnel, Grimes should get them to overachieve.

Wide Receivers Coach Aaron Moorehead

He doesn't have the resume yet, but he does have something in his arsenal, the bling of the 2007 Super Bowl championship ring from his time as an Indianapolis Colts' wide receiver. He has also served as an offensive assistant under coaches Jim Harbaugh and David Shaw at Stanford, and because he is from that coaching tree, the wide receivering corps should see significant improvement in all phases of their offense game. He also may be the youngest coach next to Shane Beamer, but that should not be a hindrance to his eventual success.

Associate Head Coach and Running Backs Shane Beamer

The son of Frank Beamer and also a former player, Shane will be in his 3rd season as the running backs coach. His previous stops have been mostly been served in a defensive capacity, so I believe that may be why he struggled as a running backs coach to date. He may have coached David Wilson, but let's face it, Wilson was an already made record-setting and ACC Player of the Year running back prior to Beamer's arrival, he just hadn't seen the full-time reps. The 2012-2013 season was rough for Shane because the running game productivity took a massive nosedive. The inconsistent rotation in the running game has also put the crimp on the offense's success. With Grimes serving in double capacity as running game coordinator, Shane should be improved as a running backs coach, and his task this spring has not gotten easier. The tailback situation is as muddled as it ever have been, and hopefully, he will settle on a #1 and #2 running back.

Recruiting Coordinator and Tight Ends Coach Bryan Stinespring

Hokies fans have rejoiced when Beamer "demoted" Stinespring from being offensive coordinator, but it is also a good thing Stinespring has remained on the coaching staff as he is a terrific recruiter and an outstanding tight ends coach. Now that he is no longer juggling between game-planning, coaching offensive tackles and tight ends, he can focus solely on the tight ends and setting up recruiting trips for all the other assistant coaches to recruit future Hokies. It will be interesting to see how well the new and old staff mesh on the offensive side of the ball. All accounts are everything is hunky-dorky.

Let's also pause for a moment for another valuable members of the coaching staff, strength and conditioning coach, Mike Gentry, and head trainer Mike Goforth, who have helped build the Virginia Tech players into monsters, and also for mended them and kept them on the field. They are the unsung heroes who deserve to be applauded, because without those two and their subordinates, the Hokies football program would not be so successful.

Be sure to keep an eye out for future football-related articles coming your way here at Gobbler Country!

*Hokiesports.com is an invaluable site to read up on all the bios of the coaches.

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