Virginia Tech head football coach Frank Beamer is reportedly looking for a new offensive coordinator, offensive line coach and quarterbacks coach. It’s important to note that no coaching changes have been officially reported from the athletics department, but all the beat writers who cover the Hokies all seem to have the same “source.”
The Virginia Tech alum has coached his alma mater for the last 26 seasons and has more wins than any other active FBS college football coach in the game today. He is known for his loyalty to his assistants and conversely, his assistants’ loyalty to him. Turnover is almost unheard of at Virginia Tech.
But after another disappointing offensive season, it appears the long-time coach can no longer ignore the need for new blood and new ideas. The question is, who does he get? While we don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes, it’s already being reported that Tech was unable to lure Stanford OC Pep Hamilton to Blacksburg.
Even if they had, Hamilton is already garnering NFL interest, so how long would he stay in Blacksburg? And therein lies Frank Beamer’s dilemma. Finding a coach that won’t leave in two years. Finding a coach that will become part of the Hokie Nation and embrace the culture of family and loyalty Beamer has carefully crafted over the last quarter century.
But is that a realistic expectation in today’s coaching environment where one or two good seasons at a big program can launch a young coach into a head coaching job, or even an NFL gig? Most college and pro teams are so afraid to miss out on the next great young coach that they hire someone based on a very short resume. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t, but teams are willing to take that chance it seems.
So who’s next on Beamer’s list? Mike Barber of theRichmond Times-Dispatch reported that a source has Chuck Long as the next man on Beamer’s radar. So far, that bit of news has left the Virginia Tech fan base slightly deflated based on social media posts and comments.
Long, who was the runner-up to Bo Jackson in the 1985 Heisman voting and is a member of the college football hall of fame, last coached in college in 2011 as the Kansas offensive coordinator. In two years as the offensive coordinator, the Jayhawks were 5-19.
In 2011, Kansas ranked 106th in total offense and 95th in scoring offense. In 2010, Kansas ranked 113th in total offense and 111th in scoring offense. Those offensive numbers are actually worse than Virginia Tech.
In 2001, after having served as quarterbacks coach at Oklahoma for college teammate Bob Stoops, Long was promoted to OU’s offensive coordinator position. The Sooners won the 2003 Rose Bowl (2002 season).
The following season, OU’s offense set a Big 12 conference record by averaging 51.5 points per game. The next season, Long was a finalist for the Frank Broyles Award, which honors the top assistant coach in college football.
During his four years as offensive coordinator for Oklahoma (2002-05), the Sooners were 44-9. In 2002, OU’s offense ranked 37th in total offense. In 2003, it improved to 19th. Long led the offense to an 8th place ranking in 2004, his third season, before dropping off to 71st in his final season as OC.
Long has also been a head coach, having spent three seasons at San Diego State (2006-2008) where he went 9-27 and lost to a I-AA team twice.
Everything is still a rumor at this point, but if the Hokies are hoping to keep quarterback Logan Thomas around for his final year, a decision will have to be made by Tuesday, Jan. 15, the deadline Thomas faces for withdrawing his name from the NFL draft.
EDITED: 1/11/13 - 12:00 p.m. to include Long’s record as offensive coordinator at Oklahoma.
It’s been two weeks since Virginia Tech’s football season ended with a 13-10 overtime win against Rutgers. In the 14 days since, rumors have been swirling about coaching changes on the offensive side of the ball, but so far, no news.
Earlier this week, two defensive stalwarts on Bud Foster’s vaunted defense opted to return for their senior seasons and forgo their NFL aspirations. Safety-turned-cornerback Antone Exum and defensive end James Gayle bothannounced via their Twitter feeds that they would be back for one more run.
That left redshirt senior quarterback Logan Thomas as the lone holdout. Thomas, who set Virginia Tech’s single season record for offense by a quarterback two seasons in a row, has until Tuesday, Jan. 15, to withdraw his name from the NFL draft.
David Teel of the Daily Press reported that Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer is likely keeping Thomas abreast of the ongoing search for a new offensive coordinator, presumably in the hopes of finding one that will bring Thomas back for his senior season.
Keep in mind that no coaching changes (i.e. firings) have been officially announced, therefor no positions are officially available. Frank Beamer, his staff, and the university’s athletics department have been completely silent on the issue. So everything that is taking place resides in the realm of whispers, rumors, and “sources.”
The big question on most fans’ minds is, “Is Logan Thomas ready for the NFL?” Based on the responses on various Facebook fan pages and Twitter, they don’t believe he is because of his subpar season in 2012 - a season in which he put up more offense than he did in 2011.
The answer is no, he’s not ready for the NFL. So, why would he consider leaving? Well, for starters, he’s already earned his degree at Tech.
This year’s draft class is devoid of any sure-fire NFL caliber quarterbacks and despite a sub par year, Thomas is still considered an early round pick. NFL teams aren’t stupid. They invest a lot of time and money into researching draft picks. Some do a better job than others, but no NFL team is going to draft Thomas with the illusion he’ll be ready to start as a rookie. Any team that drafts him will do so in the hopes of developing him into an eventual starter three or four seasons into his career.
Thomas has all of the physical attributes NFL teams want in a QB. He’s tall (6-6) and he’s build like a truck (260 pounds). He has a strong arm and has shown that he can throw accurately, even though his passing efficiency was down in 2012.
Whether or not Thomas decided to go pro, he’s going to have a new offensive coordinator in 2013. So why wouldn’t you take the NFL money, achieve your dream, and learn from a coordinator and coaching staff that will prepare you for the NFL rather than take your chances on a brand new staff at Tech that will only coach you for one season?
If Thomas chooses to go to the NFL, it shouldn’t come as a surprise, nor should they blame him. He’s earned his degree and if he’s likely to be drafted before the fourth round, he’ll probably go. If he stays, he has to deal with a new offensive coaching staff and risk injury. Would you take that chance?