The Virginia Tech Hokies took a big hit Monday when it was revealed that offensive line coach Joe Rudolph was leaving after one season to take a similar position at Notre Dame.
This means the Hokies, who are just weeks away from the beginning of spring practice, have two vacancies on the offensive coaching staff. OK, the first thought that comes to your mind is, “the offense was terrible last year. This does not matter.”
Quarterbacks coach Brad Glenn will not be difficult to replace. However, Rudolph, who many were surprised the Hokies landed from Wisconsin, is a big loss. Not only could it impact recruiting, at least in the short term, but he’s also a respected coach in the industry. Yes, Virginia Tech’s offensive line struggled last season, which had more to do with talent and scheme than anything. Rudolph is a good coach. And if Notre Dame is looking at you as an offensive line coach, it tells you everything you need to know.
Losing Rudolph was always a possibility because he was such a respected coach. However, once the Hokies made it through most of February, things felt safe. Remember, wide receivers coach Fontel Mines had an opportunity to leave but took a raise and stayed.
It’s clear Rudulph is leaving for a better opportunity. More money, an opportunity for elite recruits and in the championship mix. Of course, Notre Dame hasn’t won a national championship since 1988, but they are, regardless of your affiliation, a step up from the Hokies.
We can also speculate if Rudolph meshed with offensive coordinator Tyler Bowen and the scheme Bowen wants to run in 2023. Remember, Rudolph comes from Wisconsin, which mostly employed a smashmouth offense during his time there. Bowen’s offense should feature plenty of RPO action.
Ultimately, the timing of the move hurts worse than Rudolph actually leaving. Head coach Brent Pry has a very important hire to make in Rudolph’s replacement. For those who simply think an offensive line coach is not an important hire, that’s simply not true. You can argue it’s the most important position on your offensive staff.
We’ll get into some possible replacements soon, but Herb Hand, currently at Central Florida, could be an option for the Hokies. He spent two seasons at Penn State with Pry under James Frankin.
All in all, a disappointing day in Blacksburg, but it’s not the end of the world.