The shake ups on Virginia Tech's coaching staff continue. Frank Beamer has released on Beamerball.com that Mike O'Cain will take over the play-calling duties from Bryan Stinespring. That news was quickly circulated through Twitter by the Hokies' beat writers.
Nothing has been made official yet and I don't have a subscription to Beamerball.com, so what's unclear right now is whether O'Cain is now the new offensive coordinator or if the Hokies' quarterbacks coach is merely taking over the play calling duties. Stinespring will reportedly now coach the offensive tackles and tight ends.
While I'm sure there is a large segment of Hokie fans who are ecstatic over this news, I think the feeling we should have is cautious optimism. O'Cain doesn't exactly have a track record that is significantly better than Stinespring's.
In 2000, as North Carolina's offensive coordinator, the Tar Heels finished 58th in yards per game, 65th in yards per play and 66th in points per game. In 2004, as Clemson's offensive coordinator, the Tigers were 110th in yards per game, 109th in yards per play and 90th in points per game. His last team as head coach at NC State in 1999 finished 86th in yards per game and 96th in points per game.
Whether or not the offense will actually improve now that O'Cain is calling the plays remains to be seen. What is readily apparent is that the notion that Beamer is even resistant to change in his pursuit of a national title is completely out the window.
Last week we saw a couple of changes aimed at improving the ridiculed recruiting efforts of the Hokies. Now, we have a change aimed at improving the ridiculed offensive production. However, it will be interesting to see how these changes effect the continuity of the coaching staff.
Keeping Stinespring also keeps his recruiting abilities on staff. But it also might keep a disgruntled coach on staff, too. Virginia Tech's offense improved his last two years as playcaller and saved the Hokies at times this year when the young defense was struggling. Doug Doughty of the Roanoke Times wrote that Jim Cavanaugh is "hurting" after being reassigned (It was a hit-piece by a Hoo-centric beat writer, but Doughty does seem to be friends with Cav). There's no telling for sure, but my guess is Stinespring has to be hurting as well. At least his pride has to be.
If a change was going to happen, it probably needed to happen this year. Beamer just did a big reshuffling of his staff for recruiting purposes and with a new quarterback taking the reigns next year, it would be better to give him a new playcaller for his first year under center and not his second or third.
This change isn't the monumental shift Hokie fans were looking for. Simply giving O'Cain the playcalling duties isn't going to change Tech's offensive philosophy. My guess is that Tech's offense would have looked the same next year whether it was O'Cain or Stinespring calling the plays. A monumental shift would have been nabbing Kevin Rogers before BC could or convincing Ralph Friedgen from his lake-side lawn chair to call plays in the 'Burg.
All that we have today is probably a cosmetic change to appease some deep-pocketed boosters. I don't think making O'Cain the playcaller instantly makes Virginia Tech a national title contender or even better than they were yesterday. It does make the upcoming season a lot more intriguing though, to say the least.