All-In On Tyler Bowen

Tyler Bowen
Brent Pry is going all-in on Tyler Bowen. (Jon Fleming)

Well, Brent Pry just pushed all his chips into the middle of the table, and each of those chips is embossed with a likeness of burly, bearded Tyler Bowen. If the offense flops again, and Whit Babcock’s not questioning Pry’s sanity for essentially promoting the architect of ‘22 into a more important role, then the donors sure as heck are gonna be most inquisitive. You know that scene in Lethal Weapon where Riggs goes up to a rooftop ledge to talk a guy out of jumping, and then Riggs figures they might as well both jump anyways? It’s stuck in my head for some reason.

I’ve got a new strategy for helping me sort my thoughts on what Tech football does these days: WITHDI?

WITHDI (or “withdee” if said aloud) stands for “What If The Hoos Did It?” By transposing my issue of concern to the Cavaliers, I can offset my biases toward Tech. In this case, how would I react if UVA adjusted to the loss of their QB coach by putting the former offensive lineman and tight ends coach guy who led their historically bad offense in charge of the quarterbacks?

I’d be laughing my butt off, probably. Therefore, the WITHDI method suggests this is not a great move by the Hokies.

The whole thing is weird to me. An established P5 program turning their OC/TE coach into a first-time QB coach. And I’m pretty sure he never played quarterback. Bowen was a 6’8 offensive tackle in high school, so if he ever quarterbacked, he must’ve been darn young. He’s going to be coaching off observation; most of that’s going to be from observing Brad Glenn, I reckon, so at least there’s some continuity there, I suppose.

But coaching a position you’ve never played for a program in the upper echelons of the college football hierarchy?

I imagine Bowen will do just fine at chalk-talkin’ schemes and reads, and being a TE coach means he’ll be on the same page as far as figuring out defenders’ leverages and all that. But beyond the general scheme, I don’t know how much he’ll bring to the table. It’d be one thing if Tech was chock-full of support staff who had been quarterbacks and quarterback coaches, but that’s not the case, either.

I’ve seen some downplaying of how much a QB coach works with fundamentals, but any coach at any position is watching and adjusting technique stuff when players are working individual drills, and then those coaches are going back and watching film of those drills to see if they missed inefficiencies or outright errors. Those same coaches are also responsible for fine-tuning facets of technique to work around injuries and biomechanical idiosyncrasies.

Quarterbacks aren’t machines…they don’t go off and work with a private coach in the offseason and come back locked-in for the rest of the year. Heck, sometimes that private coach is teaching stuff that doesn’t mesh with what the offense is doing, and the team coaches have to fix those issues. I don’t think we can expect Bowen to fine-tune anyone’s mechanics in accordance with whatever he considers to be an ideal stance or throwing motion, but he’ll need to make sure the quarterbacks are at least consistent with their movement.

And I say all this as someone who doesn’t believe there’s a perfect throwing motion, and has never heard two QB coaches agree on much of anything. Just to give an example, you guys know Josh Heupel and Phil Longo. Heupel wants his QB relaxed and still in the pocket to improve consistency and eliminate wasted motion, while Longo wants his