Reports: Grimes leaving for LSU

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Virginia Tech appears to be losing offensive line coach Jeff Grimes to LSU.  Per Mike Barber of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, VT commit Billy Ray Mitchell‘s head coach confirmed that someone from Virginia Tech informed him and Mitchell that Grimes will indeed be taking the LSU job.  If that’s true, then he’ll be the first coach to stay on Frank Beamer’s staff for just one year since offensive coordinator Gary Tranquill in 1994.

Two Virginia Tech OL recruits, Tyrell Smith (@TyrellSmith76) and Colt Pettit (@ctpettit72) sounded off on Twitter this afternoon, within minutes of each other (1:07 PM and 1:13 PM) with varitions of “this sucks.” Billy Ray Mitchell (@billythekid_75) also chimed in on Twitter with a frowny face at 1:36 PM, so it’s pretty clear that Tech’s recruits are disappointed that their recruiting coach and position coach appears to be on his way out.

Grimes, who recruited the Auburn offensive line that was a big part of the Tigers’ run to the National Championship Game, is highly regarded both as a coach and a recruiter.  Unfortunately, his tenure in Blacksburg will have lasted less than a year, assuming these reports are true.

Virginia Tech currently has commitments from five offensive line prospects.  However, Brady Taylor recently received an offer from childhood favorite Ohio State, and he was likely going to decommit whether or not Grimes stayed.  Could the Hokies lose any of their other offensive line commits?  Here’s a look at their top listed offers:

Billy Ray Mitchell: Wisconsin, Georgia Tech, NC State, Syracuse
Colt Pettit: Illinois, Indiana, Purdue
Tyrell Smith: FAU
Eric Gallo: Buffalo, Temple

Keep in mind that offer lists are fluid.  Those were the listed offers of those players when they committed to Virginia Tech last summer.  Since then, they could have added offers.  Or, they could have lost offers if some of those other schools filled up all their spots.  For example, Wisconsin already has five offensive linemen in their class, so it’s very unlikely that their offer to Mitchell is still on the table, though I could be wrong.

It’s too early to speculate on the futures of those players.  It’s a confusing time for us as fans, but it’s even more confusing to the recruits.  We are less than a month from Signing Day, and their recruiting coach is leaving.  Try to be patient and let them sort things out for themselves.  They only get one Signing Day, and it’s important for themselves that they make the correct decision.

You’re probably wondering who the Hokies might hire to replace Grimes, if he is indeed gone.  The first candidate that pops up in my head is Todd Washington.  Washington was a starter at Tech in the 1990s.  Here’s what he’s been doing since:

1998-2002: Player, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2003-2005: Player, Houston Texans
2007-2008: OL coach, University of San Diego
2009: Offensive coordinator/OL coach, University of San Diego
2010: OL coach, Hartford Colonials (UFL)
2011-2013: Assistant OL coach, Baltimore Ravens

Washington is one of just 13 people to win a Super Bowl both as a player and as a coach.  In his one year in the UFL, the Hartford Colonials finished #1 in total offense and rushing yards.  Four of his offensive linemen went on to sign contracts with NFL teams.

There are two issues with Washington:

1: He and offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler aren’t familiar with each other.
2: He has never recruited on the 1-A level.

However, USC head coach Steve Sarkisian offered Washington the job as the offensive line coach for the Trojans.  Apparently he’s a coach who is on the rise.  Also, there are rumors that Washington could be headed to the Detroit Lions to join the new staff of Jim Caldwell.  Would he be interested in the Tech job?  I think so.  Would it be enough to pull him away from an NFL job?  I don’t know.

Another option I can think of off the to of my head would be Boston College offensive line coach Justin Frye.  He coached with Scot Loeffler at Florida and Temple, and his lines at Temple and Boston College have been very good.  Coordinators generally like to work with guys they are familiar with, so I would think Frye’s name has at least come up in conversations between Loeffler and Frank Beamer.

However, Frye has a very close relationship with Boston College head coach Steve Addazio.  He played under Addazio at Indiana, and coached under him at Florida, Temple, and now Boston College.  I would have a hard time seeing him leave Addazio, but you never know until you try.

Another option, though I certainly don’t think it should be option #1, is to move Bryan Stinespring back to offensive line coach and hire a new tight ends coach.  Stinespring served as Tech’s offensive line coach from 1998 through 2005.  Here are Tech’s rushing numbers in those seasons…

1998: 178.1 ypg, 3.8 ypc
1999*: 253.9 ypg, 5.0 ypc
2000*: 270.5 ypg, 5.2 ypc
2001: 194.7 ypg, 4.3 ypc
2002: 212.4 ypg, 4.5 ypc
2003: 209.3 ypg, 5.3 ypc
2004: 178.2 ypg, 4.2 ypc
2005: 190.7 ypg, 4.1 ypc

*denotes Michael Vick years

If Beamer did decided to move Stinespring to offensive line coach, he would then have to hire a new tight ends coach, which could potentially be easier than finding a new offensive line coach.  Stinespring could continue in his role as recruiting coordinator, which he held from 1994 through 2001.

Whatever decision gets made, you can bet that Frank Beamer and Scot Loeffler have been talking about it since last week.

I titled an article this week Welcome to Normal.  Virginia Tech is now facing a situation that every other school faces a lot: coaching changes.  Frank Beamer built a program that saw very little coaching turnover through the years, but here’s the harsh lesson that we’ll all have to get used to in the future: when you hire good coaches, other programs are going to try to hire them away.

Assuming the Grimes news is true, the ball is now in Frank Beamer’s court.  The Hokies are in the process of rebuilding their offensive line, so it’s very important that Beamer make the right hire.

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55 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. PLEASE not Stiney. Haven’t we learned our lesson? IMO we could do without Stiney altogether and it would be an upgrade to the coaching staff. Let’s make a good hire for the OL coach and another for the TE Coach from outside the program.

  2. Just way too many haters making useless posts here! I’ve been a fan when I went to VT and a .500 year was amazing against really poor competition, I’ve been a fan when we truly sucked, which has been at least 21 years ago, I’ve been a fan during the high times too. I will still be a VT Hokie fan regardless of what happens with this coaching change. Do I think continued changes are necessary…yes. Do I think Frank will need to eventually retire someday…yes! Do I think the world of big time college football has ended at VT…NO I don’t think that at all. Do I think Frank Beamer is the root cause of all things bad at VT….NO. I think Franks biggest problem is he built a truly remarkable program from almost nothing, made it a consistent winner so that now all the haters can tee-off on what a drag he is. Really? Really? VT is not in the upper stratosphere of FBS football and we never have been, we’ve just visited on occasion. Our athletic budgets do not allow us to compete at the same level as the truly top dozen or so schools with 100k seat stadiums, $5.5M HCs, and FB coaching staffs with another $4.6M in salaries. What we have are class facilities and class people, and mostly class fans. I for one think Tech and Frank Beamer have done a heckofajob getting us to where we are. I want to get better, but let’s not blame Frank for everything but the weather and throw him under the bus.

  3. So typical of Virginia Tech. Beamer finally wakes up and hires a coach that is the perfect man for the job of turning around the train wreck that is our OL and then we’re too cheap to keep him. Chris you said there were two issues with Washington. I think you missed the biggest problem. He’s a coach on the rise, offered the job at USC and possibly the NFL. What on earth makes you think we would pay him what he’s worth? So tired of VT football. Seriously if we hire a successful assistant coach he’s just going to leave for somewhere else that will pay him. Why even go after a rising star, or a big name if we’re not going to pony up and pay him? Just put Stiney back in charge and we can continue to be a mediocre team with an embarrassing offense year after year. Moorehead will be the next to go…

    1. I’m not convinced the problem is “too cheap”, but that ACC teams just aren’t going to pay what LSU and other SEC elite will pay. Doubt we could have matched whatever LSU offered. Does that make us “cheap”? Not really…just that we can’t outbid everybody.

  4. Chris, I would certainly hope Beamer would take a hard look at Robert Prunty at Cincinnati. He is from Chatham, VA, coached the Hargrave Post Grad team including first round draft pick Brandan Albert and then with Turbeville in Texas Tech before Cincinnati. More importantly he has twice been recognized as the recruiter of the year, including nationally, I believe. Even though more coaching experience on the defensive side of the ball this guy is a home run recruiter. That’s where it starts!!!!!!

  5. Can’t imagine why someone would go to the SEC, as the ACC is now the power conference, based on this past bowl season. ACC Pride!

  6. VT’s offensive line has been a sore point for several years. We didn’t recruit offensive lineman, those 4 stars we did recruit went bust, we moved tight ends to tackle, we moved defensive lineman to offense…it’s been a completely non-stable carousel.

    We finally get a good OL coach who recruits offensive linemen and is a good teacher. We’re looking at improvement in an area that has been in flux…and now he’s gone. Wow! What drama. This sort of stuff belongs on Duck Dynasty.

    I’m disappointed in Grimes. To me he’s a quitter, having not finished what he started. But in this show-me-the-money world he did what is expected and it’s hard to blame him.

    We’re back to square one. While it bothers me we may lose some of Grimes’ recruits, that’s all they are…Grimes recruits…they suit HIS style of play and are HIS kind of player. None was better than a 3 star, but we were told they where HIS style of player and he would mold them. So other than the numbers game (number of OL in the system) losing the recruits just puts us back where we were…which is pretty weak along the OL. We lost at least one year in the rebuilding process, too.

    For this reason, as far as who succeeds him, all I know is we have to have a no holds barred, kick butt OL coach who can mold some young men into something better than what they are. That’s not asking too much is it? Of course it is! But we got to have it, or else our offense is still going to be the same old weakness of our team. You have to have good, solid players at all positions, all areas of the offense. One weak link and you’re hurting.

    As far as what you pay the coaches, you have to get good coaches and pay them. You don’t underpay coaches because you can’t afford to pay more. Thirty years ago Coach Chuck Noe used to say that if you put a winner on the field the fans will come to see them play. He was right. Witness VT’s 88 or whatever home sellout streak right alongside 10 win seasons. (As a Philles fan I saw this as well in a streak of sellouts at Citizens Bank park for 3-4 years when the Phillies were top dog in their division.) If a good, solid OL coach can help get us another streak of 10 win seasons, hire him and pay him. If we need to upgrade the other coaches salaries, do it. The fans will follow and support the program with their dollars if the increased salaries result in wins…especially in those all important “big” games that we have consistently failed to win (Alabama, Michigan, Boise, etc.,…hell, what about winning just some big ACC games?)

    As Forrest Gump used to say, “That’s all I’ve got to say about that.”

  7. Obviously Frank made a good hire last year or LSU wouldn’t be knocking at the door. Go outside the organization and make another hire that is equally as good.

    And no, not from within.

    1. NO FREAKING KIDDING. oline is too important hire the best available and talk to those and put out feelers to those that aren’t available. IF THERE IS ANYTHING a future HOF coach should be doing getting on the DAG GONE FREAKING phone and work those telephone lines FRANK! DO not stick stiney back on the OL

      Go hire a good one to the replace the good one you lost!

  8. Hey, these things happen in D1 football. I thought Grimes was a great hire and obviously a great SEC school did too. Todd Washington would be a great recruiting hire because if his relative youth and great success at both VT and the pros. Position coaches who were stars at their Alma Mater, then in the NFL show what’s possible coming to their Alma Mater. He would represent VT well and just like Torian Grey and Shane B., get some more youth into the program. Hope it happens!

  9. I’m wondering if it’s not possible to split OL duties as has been done in the past. Promote Pugh (former center) to coach interior lineman while Stiney takes T’s and TE’s. It might not be a bad approach to try either. Gives a younger coach a shot that if he proves himself, could get more responsibility (the whole OL) after a year or two.

    That being said, I’d prefer a more experienced OL coach first. Grimes was the ideal OL coach, great at coach and recruiting. If I had to take my pick, I’d get someone who is first and foremost, great at coaching the OL. We have a lot of great recruiters on staff now, and I think for the future of the program, we need a surprisingly good season in 2014.

      1. It is a crap shoot when we recruit OL because we have, in recent years, largely been recruiting at 2nd and 3rd tier on OL. That is a crap shoot at any position. Hopefully, we have left the 3rd tier behind now and can be a little more consistent with 2nd tier and an occasional 1st tier.

      1. Didn’t say he wouldn’t, but leaving with Grimes for another GA position vs staying and having a full assistant coaching job… I know which I’d take.

  10. Todd Washington may be a great offensive line coach and may be a great hire for the Hokies and I would like to see him here. But, he was only the assistant OL coach so not sure exactly ho much responsibility he had with the Ravens. And, if you can believe, the Ravens offensive line was worst this year than any Hokie offensive line ever. So lets temper our expectations of TW a little.

    1. I’ve been a Ravens season ticket holder from the beginning. Todd Washington, Vince Lombardi and Jesus couldn’t have done a thing to improve the offensive line in Baltimore this past season. That is a sad bunch the got Flacco killed and was the reason for the worst rushing team in league. That is no reflection on Todd.

      1. I have been a season ticket holder from the beginning also. In some ways I agree with what you say. But, some of the offensive line problems have to come down to coaching. I think TW would be a good hire for VT at this time. But, if people think he is going to be some savior and make miracles happen, well that is just foolish.

  11. Just saying, if Todd Washington wanted a good start with a Team that is a protenial top 20 team in DIV 1, this would be the time for him to make his thoughts known. Not saying he should be the one. He does sound good. Think Grimes just was offered a job he couldn’t turn down. Not just the money. Lets see VT step forward an get a great replacement. This is assuming Grimes is GONE.

  12. 1 Todd Washington
    2 Bob Bostad (just fired with Schiano at Tampa Bay Bucs)
    3 Elevate grad assistant Ryan Pugh (long shot)

    1. there is a special place in hell for coaches who steal other team’s coaches 3 weeks before signing day.

  13. If he moves Stiney to Ol coach that would be a huge mistake. VT Ol didn’t learn shit from Stiney before. Grimes made him look like kindergarden teacher. Frank pressure is on to get a real OL coach not another Beamer has been.

    1. Two comments, on disagreeing, one agreeing.

      First, disagreeing, Stinespring did have some pretty good success as an OL coach prior to becoming OC and early on in his OC time. I think he’s a viable option, but definitely not my first choice.

      Second, agreeing, the OL started down a bad road under Stinespring and Frank hired Newsome because being the OC, having a lot of recruiting duties AND being the OL coach was too much for 1 guy to succeed. OK, he’s not the OC anymore, but if he’s still recruiting coordinator and doing a lot of time in the 757, can he be effective on the OL?

      So IMO putting Stiney back in that role wouldn’t be a disaster in capabilities, but probably would be in perception. I also strongly believe we can do better

    2. NO FREAKING KIDDING. Jeez chris should redact your article with suggestion of putting stiney back on the oline

    3. He MAY wind up with no other choice…Grimes, while certainly within his rights, leaving at the TIME he’s leaving, has put us in one HELLOVA bind!

      We may be VERY limited as to who we CAN get at this late date.

  14. I have confidence that SL will go out and find us a good OL coach. He knows better than anyone that it will determine his success at VT. I never understood how Stiney out of self preservation didn’t throw Newsome under the bus several years ago. He had to know he wasn’t getting it done. It ended up being his downfall IMO.

  15. Beamer is going to hire another 55 year old old fart who knows nothing bout coaching. We are looking at Curt Newsome II.

    1. Funny. Frank hires a top OL coach, and he gets lured away by a top 10 program and then people think he can’t hire a good OL coach.

    1. Yeah…he screwed up so bad this time that one of the 3 is already being hired away….You obviously have no clue, but are welcome to your paranoia.

    2. Agree 100%. He’s probably pissed now that Grimes didn’t want to stay here despite the fact that we wouldn’t pay him crap, so we’ll probably get someone he knows who is an assistant to the assistant OL coach from a high school team.

  16. You had this one queued up and ready to roll, eh Chris?? I would love to see Todd Washington on staff. A couple super bowl rings wouldn’t hurt on those recruiting visits!

    1. Haha, I had it in my head, but I hadn’t written it yet. It actually interrupted today’s WR article. Oh well, I’ll just push that one back until tomorrow.

      1. There is one VT-NFL OL that you guys are leaving out of the mix. Don’t count your chickens and eggs just yet.

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