Potential Candidates to Replace Brad Glenn as Virginia Tech's QBs coach

Potential Candidates to Replace Brad Glenn as Virginia Tech's QBs coach
Photo Credit: Taelor Shema
Tim Thomas

Tim Thomas | @TimThomasTLP

TLP: Editor
Feb 21, 2023

Virginia Tech will have at least one staff change after Brent Pry's first year at the helm of the Hokies as QBs coach Brad Glenn is expected to become the new offensive coordinator at Cincinnati. The Athletic's Andy Bitter hinted that a replacement for Glenn may be coming very soon.

Given the potential for a fast turnaround as you may expect, there is a decent that there will be at least some sort of connection to the current staff though given how Tyler Bowen hadn't worked with any of his 4 primary assistants, there's also a plenty good chance that won't be the case.

So with that said, here's some names that seem like either potential good candidates, names with ties that would make some sense, or both.

Green Bay Packers Senior Analyst John Donovan

One guy with plenty of ties to Brent Pry and his staff is Green Bay Packers senior analyst John Donovan.

Donovan was at Vanderbilt from 2011-13 as the offensive coordinator and followed James Franklin and Brent Pry to Penn State as the OC in Happy Valley from 2014-15.

His offensive coordinator experience is definitely a big perk here as he's had 7 years of Power 5 experience as an OC under his belt at Vanderbilt, Penn State, and Washington (2020-21) with varying levels of success. That was one thing that Tech seemed to prioritize when hiring guys like Glenn and Joe Rudolph around a first-time FBS offensive coordinator in Tyler Bowen last year.

Donovan has coached various positions over the years including time as a QBs coach both in his OC stint at Washington and early in his career at Maryland with varying levels of success.

There's no doubt that the experience Donovan brings is appealing even if not all of it was the best given his struggles at Penn State and Washington, but he also has plenty of experience recruiting the East Coast from his long stint at Maryland under Ralph Friedgen to his time at Vandy and PSU. He also brings plenty of NFL experience from the Jacksonville Jaguars (2016-19) and Green Bay Packers (2022-current) which could be of value.

Donovan definitely checks the connection box and seems like a reasonable target to watch.

Former Miami OC Josh Gattis

Another guy with connections to this staff is former Michigan and Miami offensive coordinator and 2021 Broyles Award winner Josh Gattis.

Gattis and Pry have worked together before at Vanderbilt from 2012-13 and at Penn State from 2014-17 when Gattis was the offensive recruiting coordinator and WRs coach at Vandy and added passing game coordinator titles while at PSU. That also includes when Tyler Bowen was in his brief first stint at Penn State as a grad assistant in 2014.

Gattis knows what it takes to win at big time programs having been part of staffs at Alabama, Michigan, Penn State, Miami, and Vanderbilt most notably in his career to date. He's also known as a prolific recruiting who has plenty of ties in this region which may be in part due to the fact that he is a North Carolina native who played his college football at Wake Forest.

Gattis hasn't coached quarterbacks specifically in his career to date though his background as an OC and as a passing game coordinator definitely provides a boost in that regard. Tech could also shuffle things around and have Gattis elsewhere with maybe Tyler Bowen shifting to QBs as many OCs do though that may not be a perfect fit either.

There's no doubt that Gattis is a great recruiter and that he has been a very good coach as no one wins a Broyles Award by accident if you aren't a good coach. The leash proved short at Miami, and bringing in Gattis as a passing game coordinator even if he was also a first-time QBs coach would be an intriguing option.

Jacksonville Jaguars Assistant QBs Coach Andrew Breiner

Andrew Breiner may not be a familiar name to many, but there are some connections here that would make him a sensible candidate for the job.

Breiner and Tyler Bowen worked together at Fordham from 2015-16 with Breiner being the offensive coordinator and Bowen being the OL coach in 2015 before Breiner was promoted to head coach and Bowen to OC after 2016 following Joe Morehead's departure to join Penn State's staff.

Breiner has since gained plenty of experience at various levels of the sport joining Morehead as Mississippi State's passing game coordinator/QBs coach in 2018-19 fore Morehead. After that, Breiner worked under Doug Pederson in 2020 as a pass game analyst for the Philadelphia Eagles before being FIU's offensive coordinator in 2021 and then joining the Jacksonville Jaguars this past season playing a role in Trevor Lawrence's continued development.

Stylistically, Breiner would likely fit in well with Bowen given that both are heavily influenced by Joe Morehead from their times at Fordham, Bowen's time at PSU, and Breiner's time at Mississippi State. Given that the next QBs coach will likely also receive passing game coordinator titles, that definitely matters.

Breiner may not have a lot of high-level recruiting experience, but he did play a big role as the primary recruiter for a few Mississippi State QB commits including four-stars Garrett Shrader and Jalen Mayden.

Former Charlotte HC Will Healy

Former Charlotte head coach Will Healy would be an interesting potential candidate and fit for the Hokies as someone who is from Chattanooga, played most of his college football at Richmond, and has coached in the VT footprint as an HC at Austin Peay and Charlotte.

Healy had tons of success turning around the Austin Peay program and did get Charlotte to a bowl in his first season before things slowed down by his fourth season in part due to his initial staff getting poached regularly by bigger programs.

He's currently an analyst for Gus Malzahn at UCF, but having the chance to jump back in as a P5 position coach with potentially an additional title could be a good fit for Healy. He hasn't coached QBs before, but he did play the position in college so it wouldn't be a stretch for him to coach it.

He's shown plenty of recruiting potential with his 2020 class ranking 71st in the country, pretty impressive for a G5 Charlotte program that hasn't existed for long and was in one of the two worst G5 conferences in Conference USA. Healy should also have plenty of ties in the footprint which would be of great value for this staff.

He's also well-known for his outgoing personality and while that may not be much of a factor, he would likely fit in well with a Tech staff with plenty of outgoing individuals.

Now Healy may also be content to be an analyst at UCF for a year and reset, but he could be an intriguing fit with some upside.

Former Clemson OC Brandon Streeter

Now with Healy and Brandon Streeter listed, you may be thinking that this feels a little the fantasy football version of a coaching search list, but there's plenty of reasons why Brandon Streeter could make sense for the Hokies.

It all starts with the fact that though things didn't end well for him as the OC at Clemson this past season, Streeter had a successful tenure overall on the Clemson staff from 2015-22. He was the QBs coach throughout while also being the recruiting coordinator for some of the Tigers' great classes from 2015-19 before taking on passing game coordinator roles in 2020-21 and ascending to offensive coordinator in 2022.

Streeter also has deep Virginia roots having coached at Liberty from 2006-11 and Richmond from 2012-14 putting together some strong offenses during those two stints in the Commonwealth of Virginia. While Clemson recruits itself in part, he also played big roles in helping the Tigers land five-star QBs like Trevor Lawrence, DJ Uiagalelei, and Cade Klubnik as the primary recruiter for all three per 247 Sports.

There's also a connection here as Streeter did overlap with Fontel Mines from 2012-14 at Richmond before Streeter left to join the Clemson staff. That may not be a connection at the top of the staff, but any of those prior relationships even if short can be significant.

While there may be some blowback from some fans on Streeter given his struggles at Clemson this past season, his reputation overall is quite strong like Josh Gattis above. He also checks a whole lot of boxes from big time recruiter to proven QBs coach to having loads of ties within the VT footprint that would make Streeter a very good fit.

JMU QBs coach/Pass Game Coordinator Tino Sunseri

Looking for a rising name on this list who could be a good fit for this role, then look up I-81 to Harrisonburg and JMU QBs coach/pass game coordinator Tino Sunseri.

Over the past two seasons, JMU have put together some strong passing attacks as Cole Johnson put up huge numbers in 2021 in JMU's final FCS season. Todd Centeio followed that up with an impressive 2022 completing over 63% of his passes with a 169.03 passer rating as the Dukes won the Sun Belt East in their first season at the FBS level.

Sunseri has also spent plenty of time learning at big time programs and atmospheres during his short coaching career starting out as a quality control assistant for Jimbo Fisher in 2016-17. He then made a stop at Tennessee in 2018 in the same role before joining Nick Saban's staff as an Alabama grad assistant for two seasons prior to being poached by the Dukes for an on-field role.

The Dukes have also had plenty of success recruiting QBs out of the transfer portal landing Centeio in 2022 from Colorado State and then landing Wake Forest's Brett Griffis and Arizona's Jordan McCloud this past cycle. His experience at JMU should also mean that he's been able to cultivate plenty of in-state and footprint ties that would be valuable for him to have given Brent Pry's recruiting focus.

It's one thing to gain those type of experiences, but it's another thing to then go out and prove yourself as a position coach which the former Pittsburgh QB Sunseri has done. He'll likely be a Power 5 assistant sooner rather than later, and Tech may be wise to give him his first chance.