Matt Rhule might not be a household name, but he surely will be sooner rather than later (he was just named to the Paul "Bear" Bryant Coach of the Year watch list). He returned to the Temple program in December of 2012 after serving as an assistant o-line coach with the NY Giants in 2012. Prior to his time with the Giants he spent six years on the Temple staff who was led by current Miami Hurricanes coach, Al Golden.
Rhule was raised in State College, PA and attended Penn State University where he played linebacker for Joe Paterno. He has spent 18 years as a college coach and has coached on both sides of the ball. It is hard to say that he is just an offensive-minded or defensive-minded coach because he has had great success coaching both ways. I would classify his style of play as old-school, which means running the ball and playing very good defense. Rhule puts an emphasis on managing the clock, playing field position and being opportunistic on offensive and defense.
After 7 games against ACC teams, @American_Conf finishes with 4-3 record pic.twitter.com/mcKdBDuvNu— American Football (@American_FB) October 10, 2015
His style of play will not blow your doors off, but his teams know how to win and the biggest reason for that is the resiliency that permeates his program in and out. In 2013, the Owls were a miserable 2-10. In 2014, they were able to grind to a 6-6 record and breakeven in the AAC with a 4-4 conference record. In 2015, the Owls are 6-0 and look to be 7-0 as they play at ECU tonight on ESPN2.
Why should Whit Babcock pursue Matt Rhule?
First, he is a good football coach that would love the challenge of rebuilding a program that is not in that bad of shape (we are not 2-10 in the American) and is realistic (both from a financial perspective and job-appeal perspective). Second, he would bring a style of play that is consistent from week-to-week and fits the personnel that Frank Beamer has recruited to VT. Finally, he is a young, likable coach that is not afraid of going toe-to-toe with the "big boys" when it comes to recruiting. Hell, he recruits against Penn State for kids who play in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
First, Rhule is not the "home-run" hire that many Hokie fans are hoping for, although he is a realistic option. Second, his style of play is very similar to what the Hokies already do (which is both a blessing and a curse), but he does it better than we are. Third, my biggest fear is that if he has success at VT he will leverage that to get back to Pennsylvania (Penn State) or to greener pastures ($$SEC$$), but if he has that kind of success at Virginia Tech then bring him on down.
In all honesty, I am not sure that Whit Babcock is looking to make a change at the end of 2015 (I hope he is), but Matt Rhule is a good football coach that can and will win, if given the opportunity to coach Virginia Tech.