"Fuente will beat you with his players or yours. The man can flat-out coach and motivate" Those are the words of a Memphis alum who is a current colleague of mine, which makes me really excited. But one of many unanswered questions surrounds Fuente's ability to recruit and motivate his coaches to recruit constantly. Although I think he will have VT recruiting consistently in the top-25 the first step is winning games, which is what the Hokies have struggled to do. One way in which Fuente could make a statement with recruiting is by hiring a proven recruiter to replace Torrian Gray as defensive backs coach. Is this the best strategy or should he find a coach that can develop talent and fit into his plans? Both is the best answer, but realistically I don't know it that will happen.
Josh wrote a great article last week showcasing some of the potential candidates for the open position. In my mind and based on bar-room conversations I think Fuente hires a coach with plenty of experience and recruiting ties to the area OR a former Hokie with NFL experience that has something to sell. I like both options as long as the candidate fits the culture that Fuente is trying to build. It is all about the "Team" and being the toughest and most physical team on the field, which has been missing in Blacksburg for 4-5 years. That mentality does not suit all coaches and requires a level of detail that many frankly don't have. Torrian Gray coached his fair share of tough guys, but it was all about turnovers and style. I think VT needs a hard-nosed, grinder that will have his guys playing physical around the line of scrimmage and playing the ball in the air.
The new coach also needs to recruit kids that are more physical with so many offenses running the spread or spread-option attacks. Torrian passed on several very good Virginia prospects because they lacked the finesse he was looking for in the position (one committed to Ohio State and another Maryland that would be Hokies). Finesse is not going to stop a 6-4 WR; hell, look at the Tulsa game. It will be critical that the new coach is willing and eager to build relationships and recruit constantly and I am fine with that being the expectation. A proven recruiter with ties to Virginia is a nice thing in theory, but that does not mean they will succeed. It is all about selling a winning brand and building good relationships. Key to those relationships will be evaluating and targeting the guys that want to be Hokies and want to be coached.
ACC Recruiting Class Rankings— College Spin (@collegespin) February 4, 2016
2 Florida State
35 North Carolina
41 Virginia Tech ...
If I were Fuente I would hire a coach with toughness and a drive to be successful. Recruiting will be fine if those other qualities are met.