The First Bank & Trust Company Friday Q&A: 5-Year Expectations

Virginia Tech, Brent Pry
Brent Pry didn’t get much national media attention when he was hired. (Jon Fleming)

1) Are fans and pundits not giving Virginia Tech head coach Brent Pry enough kudos based on the previous regime? – JKHokie-RunFor32

Chris Coleman: In terms of national coverage, Brent Pry is a boring hire. He was a defensive coordinator at a good (though not elite) Penn State program. People don’t seem to get very excited about defensive coordinators being hired as head coaches unless the defensive coordinator comes from some place like Alabama (Kirby Smart) or Notre Dame (where Marcus Freeman was promoted).

Penn State has gone 11-11 the last two seasons (8-10 Big Ten). During the James Franklin tenure, the program is 67-34 (42-28 Big Ten). The Nittany Lions have won their division once in Franklin’s seven years in Happy Valley. Like I said, they are a good program, but not an elite one. I think they were perceived to be elite for a short time thanks to a star quarterback (Trace McSorley) and running back (Saquon Barkley), but they couldn’t sustain that level of play after those guys left.

PSU’s offensive talent has dropped quite a bit, with a number of 4-star “busts” at running back who were originally from the state of Virginia. The offensive production just isn’t there anymore. Their defense remained strong throughout, but in the end, Brent Pry left Happy Valley as the defensive coordinator of a .500 football team.

I think everybody is looking for flash and style. Whoever gets hired at a Miami (Mario Cristobal), USC (Lincoln Riley) or Oklahoma (Brent Venables) is going to generate a lot of coverage simply because of the school. Even Virginia Tech generated a lot of media coverage when Justin Fuente was hired, but two things contributed to that…

1) Frank Beamer was a coaching legend; who would replace him was a big story.
2) Justin Fuente had head coaching experience, his offenses were good, he produced a first round pick at quarterback and the Memphis program did a complete 180 in his tenure.

Well, Brent Pry isn’t replacing a legend. He’s simply replacing a fired football coach who couldn’t fill the shoes of Frank Beamer. That automatically makes it less of a story than the coaching change back in 2015. Pry also has no head coaching experience in his own right, so there’s no evidence either way of his head coaching ability. Throw in the fact that he was a defensive coordinator rather than an offensive coordinator, and yeah, his hiring is going to fly under the radar.

Personally, I don’t care. It’s the old style vs. substance argument. North Carolina has style, but how many football games has that won recently? It’s won the Tar Heels some signing days, but winning football games is more important. I don’t care whether Brent Pry’s Virginia Tech has style out of the gate, because I know that if the substance is there, Tech will eventually be “in-style” again.

Virginia Tech

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