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A Commentary Regarding Offensive Coaching Hires: Fans Need to Calm Down

With the whirlwind of Twitter driven rumors, the much anticipated change on the offensive side of the Hokies' football program has caused numerous emotions ranging from excitement to frustration to lambasting the names of potential candidates to fill a non-vacant offensive coordinator job.


The opening lines from the long-running daytime soap opera, Days of Our Lives, "Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives," perfectly describes the patience of the Hokies fan base.

Changes clearly are coming in Blacksburg. Not long after the win over intrastate rival Virginia, I posted an opinion piece, which states that there is a dire need for changes to the offensive staff.

To recap:

  • The use of the Multiple playbook needs to be cancelled.
  • Curt Newsome, responsible for the interior of the offensive line, needs to be dismissed.
  • The arrangement of responsibilities for Mike O'Cain, quarterback coach and play-caller, and Bryan Stinespring, tackles and tight end coach, and offensive coordinator was awkward. The running game took a nose dive with Stinespring's return to the booth. O'Cain needs to be dismissed. Stinespring should be retained in some capacity, and Gobbler Country's official position suggests that Stinespring needs to return to coaching the offensive line or stay on as some sort of recruiting coordinator or liason.
  • I advocated the promotion of Shane Beamer from running backs coach to coordinating special teams units.

The focus, right now, and rightfully so, is the offensive coordinator. That position is one of the most important and dynamic parts of any successful football program. While some head coaches at the FBS level call the offensive plays (think Oregon's Chip Kelly or Southern California's Lane Kiffin), most of the head coaches prefer to take the CEO approach and entrust the defense and offense to the coordinators. Clemson's Dabo Swiney is the perfect example here.

Frank Beamer doesn't use that approach. He is fully hands-on, in that he requires that a coordinator fit within the constraints of his offensive philosophy. And that is okay, as long as the football program is successful. The 2012 season has seen the productivity take a bit of a nose dive, and has painfully shown that there is a huge gap between Virginia Tech and the nation's best football programs. Most of it is related to the offensive side of the ball.

National championship winner Alabama, uses a ball control offense that pounds and pounds the opposing defense into submission. That used to be Virginia Tech's plan. Beamer prefers a ball-control offense that chews the clock, keeps Bud Foster's defense fresh and energetic to force 3 and outs, and beat the opposing defense into a corner.

During the bowl game between Virginia Tech and Rutgers, it was reported that Pep Hamilton, Stanford's Andrew Luck Director of Offense (no, that is not a joke, it is his official title), was possibly linked to the offensive coordinator job at Virginia Tech.

Predictably, fans immediately wanted him. He would have been a great hire that would perfectly compliment Bud Foster's lunch pail defense. For evidence, consider how Stanford manhandled Virginia Tech during the Orange Bowl a few years ago. Nasty offensive line with a bully mentality, the most complete quarterback in Andrew Luck, and a fullback who also was a starting linebacker, and that is the type of offense Pep Hamilton would bring to Blacksburg.

If Logan Thomas decided to forgo the NFL Draft and return for one more hurrah, he would been a dynamic playmaker in Pep Hamilton's offense with backfield mates Trey Edmunds and Drew Harris, powerful running backs and J.C. Coleman, a small, speedy and firebug running back, with some decent receivers. The tight ends of Malleck, Martin, and others would help make Virginia Tech's rushing attack feared in the ACC once again.

Alas, it was a dream. Pep Hamilton is reportedly being interviewed by the New York Jets, and possibly for other NFL offensive coordinator jobs around the league. So, Beamer may have decided to pursue other candidates on that basis.

Another name that has emerged is former Kansas offensive coordinator, Chuck Long, and it was a name that immediately caused some fans to upchuck in their mouth and create jokes about Long. For example, maybe the offensive philosophy of Chuck Long is, "Chuck and Clunk." In all seriousness, it is a name that is not sitting well with the majority of the fan base.

Scott Leoffler emerged Friday as a candidate, and Washington Redskins' quarterback coach, Matt Lafleur, has also expressed interest in the OC position.

What is driving Virginia Tech fans crazy is the silence from the Merryman Center. To date, there has been no official word from Frank Beamer or athletic director Jim Weaver, and even Virginia Tech beat writers are in the dark about exactly what is happening. David Teel of the Daily Press and Mike Barber of Richmond Times-Dispatch have been giving names of candidates based on unnamed sources without official confirmation of any kind.

Part of the problem is, according to a source, Beamer has basically issued a gag order, and that is why there has not been a peep about who is coming to Blacksburg to be interviewed. Also, the position of offensive coordinator still belongs to Bryan Stinespring and that means for now, there is no opening officially.

From the high of the possibility of hiring Pep to the news that he is no longer linked to the job, fans are growing restless and frustrated. It is entirely possible that Beamer is waiting for Logan Thomas to make a decision about whether to go pro or return for one more season. January 15th is the last day to declare for the Draft. It is possible by then the fans will finally hear the news of whether there will be changes or not.

Until then, the fans need to calm down, step back, and try to look at the larger picture. Beamer is not going to rush his decision, and he should not. It would appear that he is preparing the program for the eventuality of his retirement and to ensure the program will not slip back into its dark age. Beamer did hire Cornell Brown and his son, Shane Beamer to the coaching staff. He reassigned two long-time assistants, Jim Cavaughn and Billy Hite, to administrative positions. It is possible Bud Foster and defensive line coach, Charley Wiles, may retire some day, allowing long-time secondary coach, Torrian Gray, to be promoted to defensive coordinator, and Cornell Brown as a full-time defensive line coach. That is all speculative at this point.

Until Gobbler Country learns of the official the news, please, try to stay calm and optimistic that the hire(s) will be the right one(s), if there in fact are going to be any at all.