After Major Recruiting Misses, Time For Changes

Editor's Note: A lot of Hokies are feeling frustrated today after all the recruiting misses and this sums most of it up. We'll never endorse any of our coaches to be fired, but as long as their goals remain to recruit the best players in Virginia and win a National Championship then they must step up and do that.

A few weeks ago I was at work having a conversation with an Oregon alum who was fired up for his upcoming trip to Arizona.

He wore Oregon gear to the office literally two weeks in a row, and who could blame him? I was oozing jealousy.

If my beloved Hokies were preparing for that trip to the desert, you bet your ass I would have been wearing my maroon and orange until my coworkers told me it was annoying. Then I would have ordered those Wes Worsham pants and worn those on top of what I was wearing already.

Said coworker asked me if I was going to the Orange Bowl. I replied that I wasn't and told him that I was honestly tired of the January trip to Miami. I couldn't believe I actually said that. We were ACC Champions again. It was Tyrod Taylor's last game as a Hokie. It was cold as balls in New York and probably much warmer in Miami.

I sounded like one of the spoiled asshole kids on 'My Super Sweet 16.'

But as I watched the game from my New York couch (with a stomach virus, so I actually vomited during the game), I was kind of glad I didn't spend a ton of cash to see Tech get its ass handed over. I was there for Kansas. I went up to Boston College twice. I drove to Jacksonville for Florida State. I flew to Charlotte for ECU. I've had enough of traveling to Tech losses.

However, I still was annoyed that I didn't WANT to go to Miami.

But it's been making sense lately. Why? I was vindicated by a bunch of 17-year-old kids who also didn't care that Mr. Nice Guy Virginia Tech was playing in the Orange Bowl after another year of dominating the conference.

Let's face it: Our recruiting this year does not match our success on the field in 2010 or the years preceeding it. And I think the overall approach is the problem.

But it's clear that conference championships and BCS bowls aren't enough for the elite.

Look at the names that passed us by, particularly the ones in the state of Virginia. Curtis Grant, Travis Hughes, Demetruis Nicholson, Dominique Terrell, Landon Turner, Clifton Richardson (by the way, that's the state's six best players), Quinta Funderburk, etc.

They're not buying what the coaches are selling. Most of those kids didn't even give Tech serious consideration. We struck out big on the biggest names on the table.

Schools like Virginia, North Carolina and Clemson usurped us even though their product has been far inferior to ours as long as these kids have been playing football.

Why?

The ability to walk into a living room and show all of our success on the field isn't enough. Mr. Nice Guy who wins a lot isn't enough. And, yes, I understand Tech isn't for everyone.

So, how does it get fixed?

This is going to be tough for some of you to hear. Yes, you, guy who posts "I, for one, can't wait to welcome the 20 kids who WANT to be Hokies!" Shut up. Go log on to Beamerball.

Changes need to be made. If you're not pulling your weight, adios.

I said earlier that these kids need to be told things they want to hear. And what do they want to hear? For starters, many want to see the field early -- and not in the 4th quarter against our annual ass whipping of Marshall or in game six because everyone else is hurt. They want to be on the field now, like Percy Harvin was at Florida. Not like Ryan Williams.

They want to be winning those big games against Boise State, USC, Alabama, Auburn (traveled to all four of those, too), etc. They want to be in Heisman races, running up the scoreboard, getting on SportsCenter, etc. And, no, this does not mean we need to become some punk program. We can change our identity without changing what Frank Beamer stands for and expects from his players.

We're not doing things to put ourselves in serious consideration as a top football program. We have plenty of wins, but we strangely remain a stiff-arm's length from the Ohio States, Floridas, USCs, etc.

It's time to change the approach to recruiting, playcalling, attitude, etc. It means saying goodbye to people who redshirt blue chip recruits because they can't 'grasp blocking.' I'm talking about you, Billy Hite. You redshirt Ryan Williams. You seriously did that. What are you bringing to the table, hoss? Who have you brought into the fold?

It's not just Hite. What about you, Mike O'Cain? WHAT HAVE YOU DONE? I could have done as good as job as you developing Tyrod. The kid was a winner from day one. And I sure as hell could recruit better than you.

Adios, Curt Newsome. It's been one joke OL after another. And the best part about your hire a few years ago? Your solid ties to the Tidewater area. Laughable. But because I'm pretty sure you're not going anywhere, I can't wait for you to inherit a whole new class of tight ends to turn into out-of-place linemen.

Bud Foster? You can stay. But start recruting more. You want to be a head coach one day -- learn what it takes to hit the road and recruit your ass off.

If your name wasn't mentioned, you can stay. Especially you, Coach Gray.

If I could sum up the approach I long for, it would be in the four-second clip from 'Independence Day' below:

If you don't know what that means, then you're the guy that's OK with us missing on players because we have 20 kids who want to be Hokies.

Go Hokies.

Comments

I believe

O'Cain has either signed 1 or 2 recruits during his whole tenure

Let me just say

that billy hite is a pretty damn good running backs coach who has had a TON of good backs play for him. lets not fire him for redshirting ryan williams.....yeah, it sucks that we only got to watch him for 2 years, but which of those 4 losses in 08 turn into wins with williams playing? we lost to ecu because tyrod was "redshirting", lost to BC because our o-line sucked ass (not sure jim brown was going to help us in that game) and we couldnt throw the ball, same as miami loss, and we lost to f$u because we lost our top two QB's and macho got burned by 2 deep td's. im not arguing about o'cain and newsome, but lets not group hite in with those two guys

Livin the Dream

Follow me @HokieBarek

I am disappointed too.

The fact is if the goals of the program are to recruit and sign the best players in Virginia then the coaches absolutely missed on this class. I think it does say something negative about our recruiting philosophy when we aren't among a kid's final selections even though he grew up a Tech fan. I get your and everyone else's frustration.

I still think this is going to end up being a pretty good class. Marshall, Harley and Vandyke all could be special and as always there we be a couple of diamonds in the rough. The problem is it could have been our best ever if we got the players in our own backyard. And that's what's hurting everyone right now, that UNC, the SEC, and to an extent UVA came in and ate our lunch.

I am not worried about the longterm effects of a down class. We are one of the best, if not the best programs in the country at developing talent, furthermore the '08-'10 classes were all very good although we are now without Ryan Williams the best player of the bunch. In my opinion, if we swing and miss in '12 then it is time to get worried about where we are at.

As far as the coaches go they need to be able to both recruit and coach. I think it's pretty well known that of all the coaches Cav and Gray do both of those extremely well. The rest are either stronger in one area and weaker in the other. While Hite hasn't pulled top talent he has utilized it very well. His development of the backs and their success on the field speaks for itself.

But yes it is extremely fair to say everyone needs to step their games up if the ultimate goal is to fill the trophy case with something other than air. If that's not the goal, if the Frankinator is happy and content just winning 10 games, the ACC and doing things the "classy" way then I'm fine with that, but just say it.

Changes

I totally agree with you on all aspects except for Billy Hite, he has produced some damn good running backs, I just think that Stiney has screwed up the potential for them to be the best they can be with his outstanding playcalling. I do think it is time for a lot of changes though. Im talking relieve stiney of his playcalling duties but keep him as a recruiter. Bring in the Fridge and let him bring our offense to life. Bring in Shane Beamer, he brings new life and new ideas and hes young and who knows maybe after Foster steps down as a coach we could have the next Beamer in line for a head coach. Something tells me that Stephone Anthony will commit to us today, i sure hope he does, but if not, thats a sure sign that some changes are needed.

There are wolves and there are sheep, I am the sheep dog

Reality

As much as I would like to changes to the Hokies staff (Stiney, Newsome) it just isn't going to happen anytime soon. Sure we can all bitch, moan, groan, complain, and everything, but unless some rich alumni walks into Merymann with a fat sack of cash and tells Weaver that he wants changes, (Maryland, Ok State to a lesser degree) nothing is going to happen. Beamer is too comfortable with where he is at and the people surrounding him that he doesn't want to rock the boat. Half of me doesn't blame Beamer, as he build this program from nothing into a perennial conference champions. The other half of me wants serious changes so that last remaining empty trophy case will be filled. As I see it, Beamer has traded elite status (with violations, high staffing turnover) for consistency greatness. Yes we are the only school to have won 10 games for the past 7 years running and gone to a bowl game since 1994 (Thank you Insight and Diamond Walnut bowls), but I don't see us achieving higher. It requires more than a great team to make it to the BCSNCG and even more to win the game.

I also believe that the entire ranking business is some giant pile of manure. Some 5 star recruits pay off (Tyrod), others you grimace at what they do on the field (Marcus). Other lowly recruits and turned out excellent...Danny Coale, David Clowney, DJ Parker, Rock Carmichael were all 2 star recruits. Look at the quarterbacks playing in the Super Bowl in a couple of days. Neither Rodgers nor Roethlisberger were highly recruited candidates and both spend time in lesser divisions before becoming excellent quarterbacks in the NFL. One of the VT beat writers said that only Percy Harvin (class of 2006) has been a successful #1 recruit from VA this decade....(Marcus was another). If recruiting ranking is all that mattered to be successful, USC and ND would be playing in the BCSNCG every season.

Even with the staff that we have, VT will develop the we can get and will going to continue to excel at beating UVA yearly, and constant contenders for the ACC crown; however, until that trophy case is filled, we will have trouble recruiting.

I almost forgot, but to leave things on a happier note, ESPN recently re-ranked the 2007 recruiting classes now that they have all graduated. The Hokies were moved up to the #4 position with USC (then #1) dropping out of the top 10. http://sports.espn.go.com/ncaa/recruiting/football/news/story?id=6059178

Some random thoughts on recruiting

- If Frank is so concerned about not getting Anthony, or Hughes, or Grant, then why not show up at their schools or houses in an orange-and-maroon-pinstripe-suit with Hokie Bird, Nick Acree, Bud Foster with an ax, a bowl/championship ring on each finger, and most importantly, a highlight film of VT destroying UVA, UNC, and Clemson since they joined the ACC. Why isn't this happening with each kid.

- Rivals and HD can gush all they want over FSU pulling the #1 recruiting class, but they've been landing 5 star players and signing top 10 classes since Tech joined the ACC and only have one championship to show for it.

- Look at the defensive ends we have on the current roster who will see the field this year: Drager, Collins, Gayle, Perez-Means, Mcray, and Wilson (special teams). We only lose Drager at the end of the year and no one else is a rising senior. WHY go after nothing but defensive end prospects in this class? I can't think of anyone outside John Graves who has come in as a defensive end and bulked up enough to play tackle (and even John was a little undersized there). There are FIVE defensive ends in this class, none of whom I think can realistically play tackle. Couldn't these scholarships have been put to better use? After the Orange Bowl whipping, playing undersized defensive lineman is not going to get it done.

- Why not look around and find talent outside of the region? There was no pipeline to Warren HS in Indiana but lo and behold, we found Darren Evans

- If "limited scholarships" prevent us from offering everyone that we want, then take some away. I know JuJu is our back-up QB this season, but I wouldn't trust him to lead us out of a paper bag and don't think that he necessarily deserves a scholarship. What does he add to the team? For crying out loud, he was a 2-star out of high school. Why throw a scholarship at the kicker Journell if he didn't even compete last year, when all other kickers are walk-ons who earn scholarships?

- We may have a nice haul of receivers, but what do you do with them? No room on the depth chart for them to get any real playing time next year. But if you redshirt them all, it's going to be 2008 all over again with a green receiving corps. We have the benefit of Davis/Boyce/Coles the following year, but outside of Davis they haven't contributed much at all.

- So UVA, UNC, and Clemson ate our lunch this year. Signing 5-star players, pulling the best talent out of VA, etc. If you buy into the "momentum" idea for UVA, then what happens next year when UVA starts landing the top-talent in VA again? Even after losing to VT in the regular season? What's your excuse them, coaching staff?

- I realize that not landing the big-ego types who are normally 4 or 5-star players is a benefit to Tech and has kept us out of the NCAA's scope. But what the hell? What good are the "best facilities in college football", ACC championships, and 10-win seasons doing for you if you can't convince the top talent in your STATE, let alone your region, to go with you?

Thus ends my disorganized rant

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It's cool, Coach London

Your university has brought in great players like Chris Long, D'Brick, Brandon Albert, Peter Lalich, Chris Cook, Ras-I-Dowling...how did those recruiting classes fare against your in-state rival?

What sums up VT's current Football philosophy?

Cody Grimm. No star walk-on to NFL starter as a rookie. He is not the only one that has done that at Tech.

I believe CFB plays guys that bust their tails and earn their time on the field. He doesn't make promises to guys that they will play because of their "star" status. Maybe that puts off some of these "top" talents. He redshirts guys because they are not top recruits and are not ready to play. This extra development is what helps us win so many games. He does play guys, including freshmen, that are ready and show they can play.

Despite the less than stellar recruiting classes we are still very successful. How many teams with better ranked recruiting classes have we beat? There are no guarantees that high ranked recruits will pan out.

All this being said though, to be a top 5 team we do need to have more top recruits. Even if some don't work out we would still be ahead of where we are now.

I don't know the solution to this. That we don't easily get top recruits, despite all the success on the field and the players that go on to the NFL, shows there is something else going on. If the coaches knew the answer they would have changed something. Maybe it is our mascot.

Recruiting does not just involve the player. It also includes the families and the high school coaches. If the parents or coaches don't know or like VT they can impact a player's decision. So it could really come down to the school's image in the general public.

Why are there Dallas Cowboy, Pittsburg Steeler, and Green Bay Packer fans all over the country? Those teams have won championships and people like to be associated with winners. People jump on the bandwagon. Our association with winning is tenuous. Most people don't understand how difficult it is to win 10 games a year or to win a conference championship. They only remember National Championships. This is what the coaches fight when they are out recruiting against other top teams. You are good but.... I think the only way to get over that is to win a NC. That might take a change in the coaching staff to inject some new excitement in the program. Either that or everyone, the coaches, players, and us fans develop an attitude that we will not be denied and will win it despite the odds. In other words, stop making excuses. Do the work to prepare to win. There is no quick fix coming. As Yoda said (I think), "Either do or do not, there is no try."

from KT@theVP:

To my knowledge, this is the first time CFB has even hinted in this direction:

ON RECRUITING, WHETHER HE WOULD AGREE THAT TECH NEEDS TO GET MORE OF THE TRULY ELITE RECRUIT – 5-STAR AND TOP-100 CALIBER PLAYERS – TO REACH HIS STATED GOAL OF A NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP: “Yeah, to get to the next level, to take another step...But yeah, I think the better players you’ve got, the better you’ll be. And generally speaking, as far as rating things goes, if there’s a lot of people after that kid, generally he’s going to be a very good player. So, yeah, it’s a situation that we need to get as many of those as possible. As we continue to be successful, it’s just a gradual process that it happens.”

What I could not determine from the rest of the interview is if the 10-win soundbyte is being used in the "keep-knocking-on-the-door and it will eventually open" type analogy or it is being pitched as the recruiting solution, which I think we've established probably won't work given where the chips fell so to speak yesterday.

He knows it and we know it takes more talent

So what does he plan to do to get better talent? It seems like he is hoping for some luck.

In the typical Frank Beamer fashion...

I can't understand a single thing from that vague, pre-made, "one block away" type of speak he has. It's gotten to the point where I just won't listen to CFB talk post-game or on Tech Talk Live because I know I won't learn anything new. Don't get me wrong, I love his old-school mentality and his professionalism, but you need to counter that with a young, edgy type who will get recruits excited about facilities, uniforms, the draft, and all the other stuff that may ring hollow from a VT staff that pushes consistency and tradition.

Please hire Shane Beamer already to do this. Tech has the facilities, has the NFL players, has the TV exposure. We just need the right kind of guy to sell it.

Nothing more than rumors and wishful thinking but there is a lot of chatter that some coaches could be retiring very soon.