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Brent Pry Gets It. He Showed That Today On The Drillfield...

(Photo Courtesy Of Virginia Tech)

So much of hiring the right college football coach comes down to “fit”.

There’s no concrete definition of what that means, but you know exactly what I mean when I write that. Bostonian Brian Kelly is an awful fit at LSU, but the Tigers’ athletic department hired him anyway. Shane Beamer was a great fit at South Carolina, and the Gamecocks looked competent for the first time in years this season.

In sports, fit matters. It matters more so in college athletics, which is why it was critical for Whit Babcock to find someone who fit in Blacksburg. Not just anybody can be a head football coach at Virginia Tech.

We just finished learning that lesson in earnest.

Enter Brent Pry, who in the span of just a few days seems to have confirmed that he is the right fit at Virginia Tech.

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He's Back! And Ricky Has A Few Resolutions To Share...

First and foremost, I hope that you and your loved ones enjoyed your holiday season. Christmas and New Year’s are important holidays on the calendar for my family, and it almost always means a trip west to see Father LaBlue on his Tennessee farm.

After my return, I, like many of you, watched Virginia Tech get demolished on national television. And to make matters worse, the ACC Network replayed the Hokies’ abomination for the few freaks who get off on bad football.

But all that is in the past now. As the calendar turns, so does Brent Pry and Virginia Tech.

I imagine that nothing is going to be the same. Did Justin Fuente ever tweet out a rallying cry to the fanbase after an abysmal performance? Did the Hokies ever walk up to a premier Power 5 program and take one of their best coaching assistants?

I didn’t think so.

So with a new year and a new coaching staff comes new resolutions for the Virginia Tech football program. Here are my recommendations:

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I Don't Just Like The Hire Of Joe Rudolph; I LOVE It...

There are a lot of things Hokie fans can say they’ve been concerned about over the past few years, but the one question I’ve had trouble answering of late has been these three words: Who are we?

During the hey day of the Frank Beamer days, it was an easy question to answer. The Hokies were tough defensively with Bud Foster’s attacking defenses. They earned the nickname DBU for all the defensive backs the Hokies sent to the next level. They were a hard-nosed running team that got you two yards when you faced 4th and 1.

And above all else, they were stable and consistent. Meet the staff one day in Blacksburg, then come back five years later, and 95 percent of the staff would still be the same. Virginia Tech had a brand, and it meant many of the things.

The last few years, that changed and certainly contributed to why the program changed head coaches two months ago. But today, with the formal announcement that Joe Rudolph has been hired as associate head coach/run game coordinator/O-line coach, it sure looks like Virginia Tech is about to go back to the future.

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After Yesterday's Game, A Change WILL Do Us Good....

It was only a few minutes after Virginia Tech’s 54-10 loss to Maryland that the question arrived on my phone via text.

“Do you think,” asked the text, “that this was the most unsatisfying season you’ve seen as a Hokie fan?”

It’s an interesting question. It didn’t ask if this was the worst season. Or biggest disappointment of a season. Just if it was the most unsatisfying.

Since I’ve seen more than 50 seasons of Hokie football, I had to think for a few moments. That season in 1973 when the team went 2-9 and lost to Alabama 77-6 was a pretty bad one, particularly in light of the team under Charlie Coffey having a winning season the year before. But in that situation, I was a new Hokie fan – so I didn’t have much to compare it to – and change was immediate. Coffey had a bad year, and the next year he wasn’t the coach.

Then there was the famous Frank Beamer season of 2-8-1 in 1992, where just about every close game went against them. A 50-49 loss to Rutgers was that team’s version of the 77-6 loss to Alabama 19 years prior, and the Hokies only beat two teams – James Madison and Temple.

But even then, I can’t say it was unsatisfying. In at least 5 of those games, Virginia Tech had a better than average chance to come out the winner, no matter whether you wore orange and maroon colored glasses or not. You could see the potential, and when Beamer made some changes on his staff, the next year began the streak of 27 consecutive bowl game appearances.

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Who I Would Play In The Pinstripe Bowl For The Hokies...

The Hokies have released their depth chart ahead of Wednesday’s Pinstripe Bowl against Maryland, and with the amount of roster attrition that has taken place since the end of the regular season, it seems a difficult task in trying to put a particularly inspiring team on the field.

Despite all of that, however, I think there are some alternatives that should be considered.

As always, depth charts are unofficial. What you see above may not be reflected in the players’ on-field usage during Wednesday’s game. In some cases, maybe we should be hoping that the pecking order at some positions changes on game day.

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Dave Fulton

Hokie Ops

Here's a link to a Christmas morning story in the Richmond paper that Hokie fans should appreciate: https://richmond.com/sports/co... Read More
Saturday, 25 December 2021 11:07
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Here's To Hoping This Holiday Season, Your Cup Runneth Over...

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, and since every Christmas deserves a good story with a happy ending, allow me to tell my 2021 version of such a tale.

The adventure begins back in 1974, when in the first five minutes after I had moved into Pritchard Hall on the Virginia Tech campus, I met Doug. He was in the room next to mine, and after meeting each other, we became instant and lifelong friends.

We were both competitive sorts who enjoyed trash talking each other, but our skills were widely different, making competitions between us a bit interesting. When it came to sports, I was a 6-foot-4 white guy who couldn’t jump and had the quickness of a pregnant rhinoceros, but if left open, I could consistently hit an outside shot. This came in handy when Doug and I played either H-O-R-S-E or one-on-one, as I’d toy with him and let him get ahead, then drill three straight long jumpers to crush him.

Doug, conversely, was a table game wizard. On a foosball table, he could snap his wrists with no effort and score goals at will. I later in life bought a foosball table for my basement, trying to learn to be good enough to give him a run for his money. But every time he visited, he toyed with me in foosball the way I taunted him in basketball.

The rivalry went up a notch during my sophomore year at Virginia Tech, where I received at Christmas a gift that became the focal point of our competitions for years to come: It was an NHL Hockey game (the one where the players were connected to long thin rods that you’d push or pull to move your player, and twist the knobs connected to those rods to make the players shoot). After the holidays, I bought it back to the dorm, and Doug and I ended up playing this game all the time (this was before video games, cell phones, the internet, and a bunch of other stuff my daughter can’t believe we did without).

We knew nothing about hockey, but it provided everything we needed: a game you could play that allowed for constant trash talking, required no electricity or special equipment, was portable, and could be set up just about anywhere.

The game came with a miniature Stanley Cup, and whoever won that day’s game took it back to their room, as the trophy’s presence in your living area afforded you bragging and trash-talking rights until the next game. It went back and forth between us until for some reason, momentum shifted squarely to my side.

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Recent Comments
Dave Fulton

Friendship

What a wonderful story of friendship. Merry Christmas to you and your family.
Thursday, 23 December 2021 11:15
Dave Scarangella

Merry Christmas to you and you...

Doug and I have been friends for so long, not only does it go back before the days of cell phones and the internet...it goes back ... Read More
Thursday, 23 December 2021 11:41
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So Far It's Been Defense First, Offense Second For Hokies

Following Brent Pry being announced as Virginia Tech’s new head football coach, he was quick to address the defensive side of his coaching staff. Tuesday’s announcement was perhaps the most shocking, but it might’ve been the best – and most heartwarming. It also underscores how unconventional, yet smart his approach in hiring a staff has been.

J.C. Price – who has quickly become a spokesman for the program, thanks in large part to his stint as the interim head coach – and Pierson Prioleau were quickly retained by Pry. Soon thereafter, Shawn Quinn (Savannah State head coach/defensive coordinator) and Derek Jones (Texas Tech co-DC and defensive backs) were brought on board.

The latest addition is Chris Marve. The 32-year-old up-and-comer was most recently the linebackers coach at Florida State, after stints in similar roles at Vanderbilt and Mississippi State from 2016-19 and as a graduate assistant at Vanderbilt for the two prior seasons.

Given how early it is in Marve’s career, it’s tough to gauge how good of a coach he is. However, Florida State’s run defense improved by more than 50 yards per game this season compared to 2020. He also guided Willie Gay Jr. to a second-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft during his tenure as a run game coordinator in Starkville, Mississippi.

Marve has been viewed as a rising star for a few years. He was named to the 247 Sports “30 under 30” of coaches in 2017 and 2018, as well as ESPN’s “40 under 40” in 2018.

Perhaps more relevant within the context of his new job, Marve was a highly-productive linebacker at Vanderbilt from 2008-11. He was also a team captain in his final two seasons – the last of which came under the James Franklin regime, with Brent Pry as their co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach.

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To See Sunny Skies Again, Hokies Need A Confident Storm

Now that we’ve all had an enjoyable week watching the beginnings of the Brent Pry dynasty take shape, perhaps it might not be a bad idea to take a quick look at the men’s basketball program.

You know, the one that’s lost three of its last four and seems to be one big question in search of an answer?

It’s certainly not a time to be worried or panic in any way, but this was a team that started off against weaker opposition and still looked pretty good in the process. I judge teams not by the level of competition they’re playing early in a season, but whether when granted an open shot, do they consistently hit it. The ball and the rim have no idea whether the other guys on the floor are in the top 10 or the top 300, so if you’re a good shooting team, you make open shots when you get them.

Early in the season, Virginia Tech made these shots, particularly when they were moving the ball around the perimeter and finding open players. That, to me, is the magic of Mike Young’s offense, as he’s not one of those coaches from the movie Hoosiers who demands four passes before you take a shot. He wants as many or as few passes as necessary for the ball to find an open shooter, and when that happens, he expects his players to take – and make - those shots.

The Hokies did early in the season. But when they played Memphis right before Thanksgiving, they met a physical team that really pushed them around, particularly point guard Storm Murphy. Murphy had been one of Virginia Tech’s better shooters and playmakers, but finished with only five points against Memphis. It got worse, as he didn’t score at all in the next two games against Xavier and Maryland before finally hitting a couple of shots and getting 7 points recorded in the scorebook.

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Here's To Fresh Starts As We All Get Ready For 2022...

December has arrived, which means the year that was 2021 is coming to a close.

But before it does, two new eras are beginning.

First and foremost, I have mostly completed the process of moving into a new apartment. Getting ready for and actually moving my belongings into my new place has taken up most of my free time over the last week-plus, which has led to my hiatus from DullesDistrict.com. Thankfully, Emperor Scarangella has held down the fort quite nicely with some engaging content.

(Photo Courtesy Of Virginia Tech)

And of little concern to anyone reading this, Virginia Tech settled on their next head coach — former Penn State defensive coordinator Brent Pry.

Pry has spent the last week doing many things, perhaps being even more busy than I have been. He’s attended two Virginia Tech basketball games, met with most of the Virginia Tech athletic department, held a press conference, taken at least one trip back to State College, Pa. and started recruiting players to his new home.

Along with my busy schedule, I also wanted to take a couple of days before I gave my initial reaction to Pry’s hire. I was a bit confused at first — one of Whit Babcock’s biggest criteria for Justin Fuente’s replacement was that the candidate had to have head coaching experience. Pry has none, though his resume is certainly worthy of the job.

As I listened to Pry’s press conference and the other public appearances he’s made, I became convinced that Babcock couldn’t have found a better fit for the position.

It helps that Pry’s background helped to groom him for this moment. Pry worked as a graduate assistant with Frank Beamer, Bud Foster and Co. back in 1995, which just so happened to be the year JC Price and the Hokies earned a landmark Sugar Bowl win. Pry gritted his teeth for the next decade-plus before landing at Penn State with his old boss James Franklin.

In Happy Valley, Pry’s defenses were outstanding. He recruited and developed players, a critical combo when it comes to college football.

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Paging Brent Pry....Pick Up The Phone And Give Joe A Call...

While we’re all wondering who the next Virginia Tech offensive coordinator will be, allow me to draw your attention to that train wreck of a pro football team in Charlotte, NC known as the Carolina Panthers.

Today they announced they were parting ways with their offensive coordinator, Joe Brady. Why you would change OCs with only a little more than a month left in the season is beyond me, but they did. And as Brady looks for a place to land, further allow me to point out his background.

Brady is only 32 and has been considered one of the hot young offensive coaches in football land. Before taking the job with the Panthers, he was the passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach of the very wide-open and high-scoring 2019 LSU Tigers, the same LSU Tigers who went 15-0 and won the national championship. He was recognized as the top assistant coach during the 2019 college football season, and was the winner of the 24th annual Broyles Award.

Before that, he was an offensive assistant under head coach Sean Payton with the New Orleans Saints from 2017-2018.

He grew up in South Florida and was a 4-year letterman as a wide receiver at Everglades High School in Miramar, FL, about 22 miles north of Miami. He played collegiately at William and Mary from 2009 to 2012, and then stayed there for another two years, coaching the team’s linebackers.

Where was he between his stint at William and Mary and his time with the New Orleans Saints?

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Recent Comments
Dave Fulton

Please

I hadn't heard news of our offensive train wreck engineer being discharged from his duties here in Charlotte. I hope the rest of D... Read More
Sunday, 05 December 2021 17:27
Doug Johnson

I Want Joe Brady!

Joe Brady was absolutely magical with Wisconsin transfer Joe Burrow down here at LSU. We need to Feature Joe Brady’s offense!... Read More
Sunday, 05 December 2021 18:23
Guest — Johnny Hurst

Good idea

Makes sense to me, matter if fact I might donate to the Hokie Club if it happened. I stopped donating last year after 20 years of... Read More
Sunday, 05 December 2021 18:28
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Pry Seems To Clearly Have A Plan With New Defensive Hires

As it relates to defense, new Hokie Coach Brent Pry is not wasting any time.

On the day he was named head coach, Pry also announced the JC Price would be staying on to coach the defensive line. Today, two more additions to the staff were announced: Derek Jones, who most recently served as associate head coach and co-defensive coordinator at Texas Tech, and Shawn Quinn, who most recently was the head coach at Savannah State.

(Photo Courtesy Of Virginia Tech)

There’s a definite pattern to the hires. In Jones, Pry is hiring a 23-year coaching veteran who has focused on the secondary and defensive backs in his coaching stops at Duke, Memphis, Tulsa, Middle Tennessee State, Murray State and Ole Miss. Pry's association with Jones dates back to the 2007 season at Memphis when Jones coached the secondary and Tech's current head coach worked with the Tigers' defensive line.

In Quinn, a quick look at his background shows his title was usually defensive coordinator/linebackers at stops that include Savannah State, The Citadel, Tennessee Tech, Western Carolina, Charleston Southern, Northwestern State, LSU, Louisiana-Lafayette and Tennessee. Pry and Quinn previously collaborated at Georgia Southern in 2010 when Pry served as defensive coordinator and Quinn worked as the linebackers coach. The duo also worked together at Louisiana-Lafayette from 2002-06 in the same roles.

So Pry has now hired three assistant coaches – Price, Jones and Quinn – that all have experience running the show as either a defensive coordinator/associate head coach or a head coach, yet each specializes in one of the three components of any successful defense: defensive line (Price), linebackers (Quinn) and secondary (Jones).

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John Crawford

Welcome home enthusiasm....

Love the enthusiasm......been missing for a good while!!!! Welcome coach !!!!
Monday, 06 December 2021 18:40
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