Virginia Tech has their next head coach in Penn State DC Brent Pry in a move that feels like an embrace of the lunch pail defensive identity that helped make Virginia Tech great. Pry also knows about it well himself having been a GA under Frank Beamer and Bud Foster from 1995-1997 when the Hokies were making their rise.
The hiring of Pry also means the focus shifts to who will be the Hokies' next offensive coordinator given Pry's defensive focus. One name who almost certainly won't be the guy, but is worth mentioning is Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Joe Brady who was a grad assistant at Penn State from 2014-15 while Brent Pry was on staff there. Once again, almost no chance that happens but it's a connection worth mentioning especially if Tech decides to back up the brinks truck for an offensive coordinator.
Michigan OC Josh Gattis is likely to be another name people mention as a what if but he also falls in the same category as Brady as I don't see it happening at all. Gattis is a Broyles Award finalist and has Michigan on the verge of the playoff, and could be a top coordinator target for head coach jobs in 2022 with one more good year so I don't see him having any reason to leave Michigan now.
Joe Moorhead was set to be on this list as well, but he looks bound to be the next head coach at Akron. Meanwhile, Dan Mullen would be fascinating, but I have a hard time seeing him landing as the offensive coordinator at Virginia Tech over a big time SEC program like Georgia or Alabama if Todd Monken or Bill O'Brien land a head coaching job.
John Donovan, the former Washington offensive coordinator, could be a name thrown out there but given his struggles at Washington and how he was fired at Penn State after two seasons despite a solid run at Vanderbilt, a return to being an OC at VT seems unlikely. However, he could be a guy on staff as a position coach given his East Coast ties which includes a decade at Maryland from 2001-2010.
With that said, here's a look at a few potential candidates who could be considered.
Penn State RBs Coach/Run Game Coordinator Ja'Juan Seider
Ja'Juan Seider is considered a big time recruiter and feels like someone who's ready to make the jump to being an offensive coordinator similar to what we saw from another former Penn State position coach and renowned recruiter who now is a Broyles Award finalist as an offensive coordinator, Michigan's Josh Gattis.
Seider has been an extremely good recruiter of his position at Penn State landing their top targets consistently including in VA with Devyn Ford to IMG standouts like Noah Cain and Kaytron Allen to PA standout Nicholas Singleton. Seider has also proven that he can be a strong recruiter beyond his position in Virginia along with in the state of Florida where the Hokies historically have gone to in supplmeneting their recruiting classes.
He also should bring loads of connection as though he's a native of Florida, he's coached mostly in region the past decade starting with Marshall from 2010-2012, West Virginia from 2013-2016, and Penn State since 2018 with one season at Florida in 2017.
Seider has been the run game coordinator as well for Penn State which has been the strength of their offense over the past few years. If Tech is looking to get back to a physical rushing attack led offense first, then Seider could be a very good fit in terms of the schematic side as well.
The risk with Seider is the fact that he's never been an offensive coordinator at the collegiate level and having someone without that experience especially with a defensive-minded head coach may not be the best fit.
It seems like Ja'Juan Seider is ready to be an offensive coordinator similar to Josh Gattis but we'll see if Tech gives him his chance or not.
Los Angeles Chargers WRs Coach Chris Beatty
Christ Beatty has been thrown out there on more rumored Virginia Tech assistant lists than any other coach over the years and for good reason as he has loads of Virginia connections and is well respected by numerous high school coaches especially in the 757.
There is a connection here as Chris Beatty and Brent Pry were both assistants for James Franklin on his first staff at Vanderbilt in 2011. Beatty brings a wealth of experience from all sorts of offenses all over Big 10 and ACC country since then from Wisconsin to Illinois to Virginia to Maryland to Pittsburgh while having stints as co-offensive coordinator at Illinois and Maryland.
Additionally, Beatty has been able to diversify his offensive background being in the NFL with the Chargers' high-octane offense. Beatty has had a stint as the lone offensive coordinator at his first college job at Hampton in 2006 and had a top 10 FCS offense so he's shown that he can produce in that role before.
Pry already has plenty of respect in Virginia, but adding a Chris Beatty whether as offensive coordinator or in a different role (which might make it difficult to get him) would be a massive statement even more about the plan to attack the Commonwealth on the recruiting trail.
The challenge with getting Beatty may be timing as the Chargers are right in the playoff hunt and Pry probably wants his offensive coordinator in place before Early Signing Day which almost certainly wouldn't be possible. Of course, the deal could be kept quiet in public similar to when Tech brought in Bill Teerlinck, but Beatty also may have NFL aspirations more than college ones now especially given the fact that NFL coaches don't have to worry about the year-round grind of recruiting.
Will this be the time that Chris Beatty ends up joining Virginia Tech's staff after years of message board speculation. It's too early to rule out that possibility.
Jacksonville Jaguars TEs Coach Tyler Bowen
Tyler Bowen, like Chris Beatty, may currently be in the NFL, but this is a guy whose roots are in college coaching albeit Bowen at 32 is a lot younger than the 48-year old Beatty.
Bowen has an interesting background as he was a GA at Penn State for James Franklin's first season and became the offensive coordinator at Fordham two years before a brief stop at Maryland prior to a return to Penn State where he became the offensive recruiting coordinator in 2018 and 2019, and then co-offensive coordinator in 2020 before joining the Jacksonville Jaguars as TEs coach for 2021.
He's definitely shown some strong coaching acumen as well having developed tight end Pat Freiermuth who has already taken over the top tight end spot for the Pittsburgh Steelers this season.
One of the big positives with Bowen is that he's proven to be a very solid recruiter and has recruited a lot of the DMV especially the state of Maryland and the Washington D.C. region which is going to be important for Brent Pry and his staff. Additionally, he may not have the length of time that Beatty has, but he has experience as the offensive coordinator and may be ready for his chance as the guy without an offensive head coach either.
Bowen could have some similar issues as Beatty possibly, but he may not have as many given how the Jaguars are clearly not in the playoff hunt unlike the Chargers for Beatty. Of course, leaving an NFL job early for a college job even as a position coach is rare with Bill Teerlinck being a great example of how Tech had to wait till January to formally add him to the staff after the 2019 season.
Keep an eye on Tyler Bower as a name to watch for the offensive coordinator job especially given the connections to Pry.
West Virginia Offensive Analyst Kirk Ciarrocca
Kirk Ciarrocca is an interesting name who has had lots of success during his career especially at Minnesota but also only lasted one year at Penn State though installing a new offense during 2020 isn't exactly the easiest thing to do.
Prior to his Penn State struggles, Ciarrocca had been P.J. Fleck's offensive coordinator starting at Western Michigan in 2013 and continuing on to Minnesota from 2017-2019. Ciarrocca had built up some strong offenses including with the Gophers helping Tanner Morgan take his game to the next level which others have since struggled to do while overseeing talented skill players develop around him including Rashod Bateman.
Ciarrocca is also a fit in terms of the Tech recruiting footprint as he's spent plenty of time in this region previously having been the co-OC at Delaware from 2002-2007, at Rutgers from 2008-2010, and then stints at Richmond and Delaware in 2011 and 2012. He's also been around some very good recruiters in P.J. Fleck and James Franklin, and landed a few borderline four-star QBs during his time at Minnesota which isn't exactly easy to do.
His work as OC also produced results as Minnesota from averaging 22.1 points per game in 2017 to 34.1 points per game in 2019 with steady improvement in 2018 as well. That's proof of someone who knows how to build an offense up when given more than just a year to do so.
He also would be pretty easy to get as taking an offensive analyst is clearly a placeholding move to stay in the game while waiting for the next job.
Ciarrocca has a good reputation and though his short stint at Penn State didn't go great, his past reputation is quite strong and feels like a name to watch in numerous ways.
West Virginia OC Gerard Parker
Gerard Parker was briefly at Penn State in 2019 as the WRs coach before landing the offensive coordinator job under Neal Brown in 2020 and could be a guy to watch given that tie.
Parker also is boosted by the fact that he has recruited the Mid-Atlantic and Carolinas a lot over the past few years from two years at Duke in 2017-2018 to his year at Penn State and now two seasons at West Virginia. He's also been a pretty solid recruiter who's been involved in beating out the Hokies for some pretty big targets of theirs including four-star in-state WR KeAndre Lambert and four-star OT Wyatt Milum.
As an offensive coordinator under Neal Brown, Parker has had a solid but not spectacular offense that hasn't shown as much growth as likely hoped from 2020 to 2021 with similar averages in yards per game and points per game. However, West Virginia was outside the top 100 prior in 2019 so the fact is that Parker has definitely helped boost the West Virginia offense even if they're still in the mid-50s nationally in total yards per game.
Parker also is a guy who feels like someone that a defensive head coach like Pry could be confident handing the offensive keys over to especially given the growth that he showed coming in from the outside as the OC as someone who came in after Neal Brown's first year. That seems to suggest someone who was able to make changes that brought results.
Now poaching Parker from West Virginia may be tricky but given the increase in pressure on Neal Brown after a disappointing third season, this may be a great opportunity to do just that.
Clemson QBs Coach/Pass Game Coordinator Brandon Streeter
Brandon Streeter is the one name on this list that doesn't have an overlapping coaching tie to Brent Pry, but Brandon Streeter is one of the top offensive position coaches on the East Coast who seems due for a jump to offensive coordinator at the Power 5 level.
Yes, this year hasn't been the best for Streeter just as we mentioned with Tony Elliott in the head coaching search, but Clemson's offense has definitely bounced back as the season has progressed. Additionally, Streeter has more than proven himself as a QB developer with Deshaun Watson and Trevor Lawrence while also helping maximize what Kelly Bryant could bring to the table before Clemson moved on the Lawrence midseason given his talents.
Streeter is also a high level recruiter who was the recruiting coordinator from 2015-2019 before he shifted into a pass game coordinator role after former co-OC Jeff Scott left for the USF head coaching job. Yes, Streeter is at Clemson, but he knows what it takes to land big time recruits especially at QB having been the primary recruiter for four 5* QB commitments at Clemson to date.
While he's been in Clemson since 2015, he actually has plenty of Virginia ties as well as he was the offensive coordinator at Liberty from 2009-2011 after being just the QBs coach there from 2006-2008 before following Danny Rocco to Richmond as the offensive coordinator there from 2012-2014. Those ties didn't go away overnight and he should be able to hit the ground running recruiting Virginia well beyond what he's done at Clemson.
There may be no ties to Pry with Brandon Streeter, but he is absolutely someone that Pry should consider for this important offensive coordinator hire.