Three Thoughts on Virginia Tech's Potential Offensive Staff Shuffling

Three Thoughts on Virginia Tech's Potential Offensive Staff Shuffling
Photo Credit: Virginia Tech Athletics
Tim Thomas

Tim Thomas | @TimThomasTLP

TLP: Editor
Mar 03, 2023

The departures of QBs coach Brad Glenn to become the Cincinnati offensive coordinator and OL coach Joe Rudolph to become the Notre Dame OL coach have led to Virginia Tech having to make some staff changes. There's also growing speculation about the Hokies having an offensive staff shakeup with an industry source hinting at that being the expectation.

So with all that said, here are three thoughts of mine from what I'm hearing in one case to my own personal views on another rumored or suggested ideas from fans and others.

1. Stu Holt to TEs Seems Likely

One piece of the puzzle that seems likely is RBs coach/special teams coordinator Stu Holt shifting to coaching TEs per an industry source while also continuing to lead Tech's special teams.

If you are going to be shuffling some things around to focus on getting the best assistants available rather than fill gaps, moving Holt from running backs to tight ends does make sense. Holt has coached tight ends at three of his last four coaching stops prior to VT including Western Kentucky from 2011-12, USF in 2014, and Louisville from 2019-21.

Holt has done well at scouting and developing talent at TE including helping develop standout Louisville TE Marshon Ford who has been an important of the Cardinals' passing attack over the past few seasons with over 1,500 career receiving yards. He also developed former two-time Pro Bowl TE Jack Doyle while at Western Kentucky with Doyle having 50+ receptions and 500+ receiving yards in each of his two seasons under the tutelage of Holt.

Of course, I will say that I'm not the craziest on shuffling coaches around in general when they may be at their biggest strength and when they still may be putting things in motion in the room they're currently working in. However, if Tech is going to move coaches around, which seems to be the way this is going, moving Holt to TEs does make some sense given his quality experience.

And at this moment, I would expect Stu Holt will shift to TEs given what I've heard from my industry source.

2. Don't Move Tyler Bowen to QBs

So with Holt moving to tight ends, that's led to a discussion among fans about where Tyler Bowen should go in terms of his position room. Many have suggested that it would be too much for him to coach the offensive line and be the OC, and that he should coach QBs. Whether Tech thinks that is unknown at this time but in my view, this is absurd for a whole lot of reasons.

First, Bowen has been an offensive coordinator while coaching the offensive line previously in 2016 at Fordham. During that season, Fordham averaged 40.1 points per game and scored at least 30 points in 8 of their 11 games on their way to an 8-3 record. I think he can definitely handle coaching the offensive line while being an offensive coordinator as he's shown at the FCS level where he didn't have nearly the support staff and analysts and resources that Virginia Tech has.

Bowen has also played offensive line previously at Maryland and has coached the offensive line at the Power 5 level for the Terps in 2017 before joining the Penn State staff as the TEs coach after that season. You know what position Bowen has not played or coached previously, quarterbacks.

There are also 6 offensive coordinators who are also coaching offensive lines at the Power 5 level heading into the 2023 season. Those coaches are Michigan's Sherrone Moore, Florida State's Alex Atkins, USC's Josh Henson, Texas' Kyle Flood, Florida's Rob Sale, and Arizona's Brennan Carroll. Only Sale is new in his role entering this season with Michigan making the CFB Playoff with Moore as a co-OC, Atkins helping lead FSU's resurgence, USC and Texas both having strong offenses, and Arizona actually looking respectable for the first time in a few years.

I will give those who may be harshly disagreeing with me on this the benefit of the fact that all six of these coaches are working under offensive head coaches even if some of them are their team's playcallers. However, that doesn't they're suddenly faking being the OC or something and while helping produce strong offenses, these schools have also built strong offensive lines.

Now I'm not saying Bowen couldn't do a decent job coaching the quarterbacks while being an offensive coordinator, but the reality is that almost no one has their offensive coordinator coach QBs for the first time in their career at the Power 5 level.

For further insight, there is only one offensive coordinator who coaches QBs as well currently at the Power 5 level who doesn't at least check one of the following boxes.

  • Played QB in college
  • Coached QBs solely not while being offensive coordinator
  • Coached QBs for the first time as an OC at a Power 5 institution
  • Was a Pass Game Coordinator before being an OC who also coached QBs

That offensive coordinator is none other than Iowa's Brian Ferentz.

Now to be clear, I think Bowen would absolutely do better than Ferentz if he were to be coaching the QBs. However, you have a coordinator who has coached the offensive line before and done so well as an OC in a sport where OL coaching OCs have done just fine leading strong offenses. I'm just not seeing the issue with having Bowen coaching the OL which makes way more sense given his quality experience over having him coach a position he hasn't played or coached previously.

3. Two Fan Names That Won't Be Happening

This isn't based on any sourcing, but there's two names that have been popular among fans and alums that should be ruled out pretty quickly.

First is former VT OL coach and current UNLV OL coach Vance Vice.

Yes, Vice was extremely successful during his tenure with the Hokies as a coach while also having some quality recruiting victories both for four-star talent and in the transfer portal.

Now it would be one thing if Vice was with Justin Fuente for only a short time, but Vice was with Fuente for the past decade including all six seasons in Blacksburg before Fuente's dismissal. Vice is a part of the Fuente program that Tech is seeking to rid itself of with the 180 to Brent Pry.

This isn't to say that Vice couldn't do a great job and embrace the Tech culture, but there's something to be said about turning the page from a tenure that ended in a deep hole on the overall. Yes, Tech did retain J.C. Price and promote Pierson Prioleau both those 2 are both former Hokies who were at Tech for 2 or fewer seasons at the end of Fuente's tenure unlike Vice.

The other guy is Bryan Stinespring who currently is on staff at VMI.

There's no denying that Stinespring could be a valuable piece for the Hokies as part of this staff in the right role. Having him as the offensive line coach though when he coached at the Power 5 level since his one season at Maryland in 2018 doesn't seem like the wisest move though.

Now bringing him as a veteran analyst both to help coach the offensive line and be a resource to help continue improve ties throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia would make sense for Tech to consider. But I don't see it making sense for Tech to consider Stinespring for the OL coach opening nor do I expect Tech to pursue him for that role.