CBS Sports First Year Football Coach Grades

Pry was graded 'F'. I think that is a little extreme, but it's interesting to see what the perception is outside the program.

DISCLAIMER: Forum topics may not have been written or edited by The Key Play staff.

Comments

Pretty lame take. Doesn't consider any of the off-the-field success Pry has had, or the state of the program/roster he inherited. I think one could make an argument for an 'F' grade, but if you're just going to point to the record, I'm going to call you lazy, boring, and ill-informed.

Twitter me

Yeah, I didn't feel like it was a fair take. Also considering that there was a lot of close games where the team showed a ton of fight. They weren't caving and getting blown out. I've always felt that was a fairly common sign of a team being really close and poised for a record turnaround.

1) Horrible year, horrible record, multiple blow-outs
2) Bad year, bad record, multiple close losses <-- *we are here*
3) Decent year, balanced record, close losses and close wins
4) Solid year, lots of wins and some convincing
5) Great year, lots of wins, most not in question

Even being there, to bar1990's point, how much was due to the roster Pry inherited vs his (and his staff's) coaching abilities? The thought exercise should be, "could a proven, excellent coach done better with this roster, and if so, how much better." I'm not convinced much of anyone could have done better, assuming the bad bounces, dropped passes, etc. all play out the same for a different coach. We needed better offensive performers and Pry and Co. went out and got a lot of offensive players. I feel pretty confident we'll have improved play in year 2, the question is just how much better.

Counterpoint - do you feel Duke had a better roster or tougher schedule than Pry?

Agree F would be for a major violation or scandal but D- is probably warranted through December. He inherited a bunch of holes but did nothing with them this year wherein anyone consistently played above those deficiencies. That's poor coaching.

Counter counter point. Teams like Duke and Kentucky have had a couple NCAA tournament games loaded with top 10 recruits and NBA talent where the players were almost all freshmen who lost to teams with no NBA level talent, but 5 senior starters. According to the "who had more talent" question, there should have been zero way that Mercer beat Duke in 2014, but they had all senior starters. Hell, there were a couple seasons where there was so much talent you could argue neither one of those two should have lost a game to anyone but each other, but they did lose. Experience matters and we had precious little of it. If we could field a team of exclusively 5 star players, but they were all freshmen, do you think they'd win every game? I highly doubt it. I doubt they'd win 8 games. Oh yeah, having a year or more in a college level S&C program helps too, and our previous program was shitty also.

And, you also ignored recruiting as part of a coaching grade.

Shit, I was pretty hard on Pry at times and even I wouldn't give him an F. Too many extenuating circumstances for a "grade" like this to carry any weight

21st century QBs Undefeated vs UVA:
MV7, MV5, LT3, Braxton Burmeister, Ryan Willis, Josh Jackson, Jerod Evans, Michael Brewer, Tyrod Taylor, Sean Glennon, and Grant Noel. That's right, UVA. You couldn't beat Grant Noel.

Among the extenuating circumstances is not very much time to put a staff together, imo. That said, has he made any meaningful changes to his staff for this year? I would think/hope that he would or has. Anyone?

F is only a remotely defensible grade if you're evaluating the year in a vacuum. Anyone with a shred of common sense is evaluating it in the context of a multiyear rebuild that is prioritizing long term solutions and not quick workarounds.

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

Over simplistic analysis, based primarily on the win-loss record.

Says more about the analyst than the coach, but was certainly the easiest way to write the article.

If you're looking at the longer term, the first year analysis is different, in my opinion.

By the way, Fuente would have scored very highly using this method.

Pretty sure Fuente would have scored very highly regardless of whatever method was used to evaluate his first year lol

Yes, as long as you weren't measuring where he was actually taking the program.

Nobody knew that after year 1 for him though. Getting us to the ACCCG in that first year made it seem like a program on the rise.

Agreed. I'm pointing out the shortcomings of such an analysis.

I was "all in" on Fuente at that point, and it took me a while to see the light after that. Or rather, the dark.

An over-simplistic sports analysis? Shocking.

Over-simplistic, even by THAT standard.

I'd suggest the average fan can do at least as well as a shoot-from-the-hip-impression from the W/L record. It was clear that Pry is looking at more than the short-term.

Yeah, this is a pretty lazy grade. I honestly don't think these grades should come out until at least 3 years after the hire, but hey, they have to write something🤷‍♂️

Warning- Filter lost.

"Look at this... This is just spectacular.... These people are losing their minds"

To be fair, these folks just look from a sky level view. After the hiring process and year 1, Fuente was graded pretty well. It's a guessing game to get clicks and keep folks paying attention. Time will reveal the truth on Pry. Hoping it turns out well because he seems to be doing all the right things off the field.

The real juicy part of this article is our boy Jerry Kill rocking an A+ in his first year at NM State!

So I was going to ask if the article written by Crad Bornelson, but I'm guessing that if Jerry Kill got an A+, it wasn't.

Take the shortest route to the ball and arrive in bad humor.

As someone who deals with grades pretty regularly, the obvious mark to give from any teacher with a heart is I - Incomplete. Student wasn't set up for success by previous teacher, lacked fundamentals, but is on a recovery plan and making good progress. Plus student is earnest, hard working, and well spoken. Give the kid a chance, we can go back and change that grade later!

Go Hokies!

Wouldn't give him an F, I'd def go a D. However anyone who's giving him above a D+ is anticipating success that hasn't happened yet.

We lost multiple games due to coaching errors this year including a stinkburger to an in state low G5 school that shouldn't even be competing with us on the field. We went 3-8 with an embarrassingly easy schedule. Despite bringing back a ton of players on defense and a solid amount on the O Line, and yes upgrading at QB. There's caveats to everything I listed above but all of that is still fact. Roster improvements good, but gotta develop and put a team on the field that wins games

Agree with this take. I think F is a bit extreme considering what he had to work with in year 1, but I would say a D or D+ is probably fair. There was a lot of learning by this staff over the course of the season. Some coaching issues and they basically tried to run an offense they didn't have the personnel for and realized that halfway through the season. If we had marginally better QB play and ran what we saw more by the Liberty game earlier in the year, we probably squeak out a couple more wins.

But looking forward you have to be pleased with the work in the transfer portal basically overhauling all of the offensive skill positions. With the heavily suggested transformation of the offense and the writing on the wall for Drones to be the guy, I think there should be optimism for a big step forward in year two. Some lessons learned in year one for long term success I believe.

For 2023, I think most people would agree that getting to .500 and a bowl should be the expectation. Doubling our win total would be a big step forward, especially since there is no more Coastal and goal of winning the division. Anything more would be gravy, anything less and I think there is real concern and likely needs to be some staff overhauling.

Fair.

Agreed - solid D... There was plenty of poor coaching in addition to the talent deficit.

While he was heading towards an F, I saw some noted improvement in the last couple games with decision making. Also, giving up DC duties to the DC was/is critical to his success.

He's doing all the right soft things, and certainly a culture fit - love that about him.

Beat WVU

Seems to me like CBS doesn't realize the pile of shit that Justin Fuente left this program in.

The seeds of our bad record were sewn over the previous 3 recruiting cycles of being consistently one of the worst performers in all of FBS, let alone the ACC.

This is my school
This is home

Just go back and ask Kirk Herbstreit. "Sooooooooo Bad", I think is how he described it when Fuente was coaching, even before his last year.

A grade of F kinda reinforces the "Instant gratification" society that we have become. With coaches who turn things around quickly (Mike Elko, for example) any coach who doesn't is seen as a failure. Because Instant results are the expectation. That said, even with all the context, and allowing for time to rebuild, his first year was pretty bad. Particularly offensively.

I don't think I could give Pry a grade much higher than F, though. He had a remarkably easy schedule and only won 3 games. The coaches he replaced likely would have won 5 or 6.

The defense looked serviceable for stretches and that makes sense because that's his area of expertise. But as a defensive coach it was a big blunder for him to go out and hire an unproven OC who assembled a hodgepodge of coaches who all come from different backgrounds and likely have different philosophies. And the results on the field prove how much of a blunder that was. We literally fired the last coach for never getting the offense off the ground. Then we hire a guy who has never done it to fix a broken offense. So it's no surprise we had one of the worst offenses in the country and the worst offense VT has had in over 30 years.

I think I'd give him a C for defense, D for special teams and F for offense. D overall.

Onward and upward

The coaches he replaced could have done better? You're basing that off the roster they had. Look at all the roster attrition between the two. We'd likely have Burmeister still, with a weaker line (3 starters declared after Fuente's last year) and the same receivers and running backs. But we'd be running jet sweeps and QB keepers on 3rd and long. You honestly think the old staff would do better? Hell, part of the problem was mentality and giving up. I'd argue that some of the close games we had this year we would have gotten blown out instead. I'm not buying for a second Fuente would have done better.

there's no way to know for sure. I'll concede that. So long as you also concede that the likelihood that they would do better is the same as the likelihood that they wouldn't.

Our schedule was easy and we really should have won more than 3 games. Bad coaching resulted in the difference in at least a couple of games. Our offense was the sorriest I've ever seen. And after Stinespring>Loeffler>Cornelsen that's saying something.

Onward and upward

Okay, but has our roster ever been this bad through all those other OC's? I'd say no, and by a very wide margin. So it's not a good comparison.

Our team that only won 6 games last year lost Turner, Robinson, and Blackshear, by far our 3 best offensive producers, and that with a line that lost 2 NFL draft picks and another OL guy who declared for the draft and left. So we lost the vast majority of the offense that was only able to win 6 games last year, but expected to do better? Yeah, our offense was sorry, but that's what happens when those guys leave and we're left with what we'd all been complaining about in bad recruiting.

So, yes, our offense sucked. Bad. But was it the OC's fault or the players he was playing with? Maybe some of the former, but I argue it's more of the latter.

I think it was definitely both. Our talent was down. No doubt about that. But we also played against teams with similar or worse talent situations and couldn't move the ball on those teams. Don't forget all of the procedural penalties that plagued this team for 3/4 of the season. The coaching was pretty dismal, regardless of the talent situation. I think we had the talent to beat ODU and GT. We just didn't have the coaching chops to do so. I'm not saying talent wasn't an issue. But our schedule was really soft and coaching was absolutely a big problem for most of the season. Especially on offense. These coaches need to improve dramatically over the next couple years if we want to see our offense get out of the basement and become even half-way decent. Based on what we saw in year one, I'm having a hard time seeing how this current mix of guys can get it done. I think good coaches do better than ours did even with really poor talent.

Onward and upward

I think there's a couple things to consider, and lumping everything under "talent" probably isn't fair. We had a LOT of problems coming into this year. Our S&C program sucked the past how many ever years, our talent was all over the place (10 RBs), team mentality sucked (between the guys who WANTED to lose a game (vs winning the game and opting out) to not HAVE to go to a bowl is pretty freaking bad, on top of what apparently was a bad work ethic amongst team members (at least that's what I took some of Pry's comments to mean) and no "fight" in a lot of the games where it seemed like the team gave up.

So this year, the coaches had to identify what players could make an impact, because most of those guys (on offense at least) had left. And coaching is tough - and I think the thing is, and what a lot of people said they'd look for this year, did we get better through the season? Yes, the beginning of the year sucked from a lot of different perspectives that you can attribute to "coaching."

BUT - penalties decreased, maybe not all at once, or in an obvious decline since they bumped up and down, but by the end of the season, they were substantially less than at the beginning. Play calling? It seemed like that improved, and even for that, I wonder how much of it was still trying to identify what receivers could be counted on to make plays, coupled with our RBs being injured on and off, which seems like a lot more adapting and changing, and having to figure things out even throughout the season as opposed to having 3 receivers stand out as the clear starters in fall camp. How many calls we took as bad were because the coaches didn't feel they could rely on certain players? Even clock management is based on what you think you can do.

And maybe we had talent, but how many games that we feel we could have or should have won was partly because our defensive starters were good, but their backups weren't, so we were playing the starters most of the game and they just didn't have enough gas in the tank to play the whole game? But even then, did we question the effort? Did guys give up? Did they fight even when things started to get bad? That seemed like an improvement from last year also.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - my approach to expectations was taking last year's 6 wins, then taking away Turner, Robinson, Blackshear, 2 NFL draftee linemen (and a third starter who declared, wasn't drafted, but left anyway). There we no obvious producers (maybe we could have expected Thomas since he did fairly well, but again, that was behind a line that lost 3 starters). The talent we counted on to even get 6 wins was gone, with no glaring options to replace it.

And even now, who are the WRs that played for us that we feel like are the future, that could be 700-1000 yard producers? Smith was the only really solid receiver we had. I think King can be excellent, especially behind an improved line, IF he can stay healthy. So, given what feels like a lot of uncertainty on O, Pry went out and recruited a lot of receivers, some RBs, a QB, etc. Going out and getting what feels like the players we'll need to compete better on O next year feels like a big win to me. Oh, and recruiting for leadership, which will also help on field performance next year, and hopefully work ethic off the field.

Overall, even though the W/L columns may not have been what some wanted or expected (again, what players did they expect to get us back to those 6 wins we had last year?), stepping back, it feels to me like we did make progress, across a lot of different areas that can be difficult to quantify. I really do think we should wait and see what the coaches do next year - I have a feeling a lot of us will be pleasantly surprised.

I sure hope you're right. I've said all along that Pry deserves 3 years before we really know which direction we're headed. That said, I think it's pretty fair to say that his first year was a bad result.

My biggest concern is the offensive coaching staff. The offense looked like the type of mess you'd expect with a new OC and a hodgepodge of guys from differing backgrounds. Bowen is going to have to really earn his keep over the next 2 years and I'm not sure he'll succeed.

I think it was a big mistake for a first year HC with a defensive background to hire a guy with no real track record for OC. Blind leading the blind. We'll see what happens but my gut tells me the offense will continue to struggle.

I would not be surprised if the offense finishes in the bottom 3rd in the ACC in 2023 and the bottom half in 2024. And that simply isn't good enough. If our offense manages to finish top 3rd in either year I'll be pleasantly surprised. And I'll happily eat my crow. I like Pry and I think he could be a great coach. But I'm not sold on the offensive coaches.

Onward and upward

I guess we'll agree to disagree on this year's results. Based on what I said above, my expectation was 2 wins, so he exceeded that. And the close games to some better teams felt more like icing on the cake to me. So clearly expectations color perception of the results this year.

I thought more about it and I think another thing is that it FELT different to me. Like under CornFu, if we got down in a game, especially by the half, I just felt like turning it off, and I think I might have a couple times. Like I felt like they couldn't win their way back. This year, it felt like the team fought even when down, and still made good plays. It just felt different to me. Maybe I'm wrong, and maybe it was the excitement over a new coach, but apart from 3 games, I didn't feel like it was watching a train wreck in slow motion like seeing a QB keeper on 3rd and long, or the 17th jet sweep in a game.

I think the other thing I felt good about was Pry acknowledging the stuff we saw on the field and the improvements that need(ed) to be made after the games. With Fuente (and even other coaches I've seen), they either cover stuff with coach-speak, or in Fuente's case the last year or two, the impression that he understood that things weren't going well, but he had no idea how to fix them.

I do think Bowen had by far the toughest job and by extension the other offensive coaching staff this year. I don't think I'm as down on them as others because of how bad a shape I felt like the O was coming into this year. But, like you said, we'll see what happens in years 2 and 3. Beyond that, I get the feeling like Pry knows the expectations on him from the fans and administration, and even for himself, and if Bowen turns out to not be the right guy, I think Pry will make a change.

We're getting into semantics. I thought we could agree 3 wins is a bad result. It doesn't really matter if you expected 0 or 2 or 6 or 12. 3 is objectively bad.

I expected a bad result. That doesn't make it any less bad when it's what I expected. And it's not necessarily an indictment of Pry that we all expected a bad result and he delivered.

But I do have very real concerns about his OC hire. I don't think you hire a guy with basically no experience to come into a buzz saw of a situation like we had(have?) unless you think the guy is some type of savant or (cynically) you plan on having a fall guy to buy yourself more time in a very what-have-you-done-for-me-lately industry. And given the shear ineptitude we saw offensively, I don't think it's the former.

Onward and upward

I think if we end up with a bottom half of ACC offense again next year, there will be a change at OC.

It's not semantics. It's context. If Georgia or Alabama win only 8 games, most programs would say 8 wins is "objectively" good. But for them, with the talent they have on their teams, that would be a bad result. Same for us, my expectations were based on the context of having 75% of our offensive production and 60% of our OLine leave off a team that only won 6 games last year. Similarly, if you had a team full of 25 clones of me, you're going to win exactly zero games, no matter how hard you argue the coastal is weak, and even if you had Saban, Smart, or any Coach of your choice coaching my clones. Do you grade those coaches with an F for not being able to win with 25 guys who are 5'9" and a buck fifty? No, you evaluate them on other metrics, because anything above zero wins is so far beyond realistic. Yes, zero wins is bad, but it's exactly what you should expect, and in my book, meeting expectations, or exceeding them isn't bad.

8 wins might be "bad" for Alabama but it's still fairly good for college football at large. I think it's pretty widely agreed that winning 12 games is good and winning 0 games is bad. Regardless of talent. It's basically a linear scale from there. That is why if your team is 6-6 they generally qualify for a bowl game. That is, all teams that are roughly average to good make bowls. All teams that are roughly average to bad (i.e. fewer than 6 wins) stay home for the holidays.

If you take the names away from the results entirely you can pretty clearly see that teams winning fewer than 6 games are bad and teams that win more than 6 are fair-to-good. Teams winning 10+ are nipping at the heels of great.

If Alabama wins only 8 games that is still, relative to the rest of college football, good. Not great. Not meeting their expectations, but good nonetheless.

Objectively, anything less than 6 wins is bad. Subjectively, anything less than 12 wins is bad*

If you expect your team to win X games and that team wins X-Y games then you have a bad team, contextually. But whether or not you have a bad team objectively is dependent on whether X-Y is greater than or equal to 6. Similarly, if you expect your team to win X games and that team wins X+Y games then they are better than expected; but unless X+Y > 6 they are not objectively good.

I don't care what your expectations were for VT. Or anybody else's for that matter. If you expect a bad team and then you get a bad team it's still a bad team. If you expect a bad team and they do better than you expected, but still bad, then they are still a bad team. VT was a bad team, objectively, regardless of your "context" or expectations based on roster makeup and schedule.

VT had an objectively bad team. And, objectively, the worst team in like 30 years. Any coach worth his salt would give himself, if he's being honest, a bad grade commensurate with the bad result. If you have a coach who thinks they did a B+ job in a year they won 3 games because "context" they have the wrong mindset. I'm not saying that Pry did a D job and we should fire him. I'm saying his first year's grade is a D, because the results were bad. Lets hope that he improves (recognizing that nothing is guaranteed). But we should absolutely not be satisfied with the job he's done so far.

I'm particularly concerned about offense. Pry has proven to be a great defensive coach and our defense showed some some real flashes this past year and looked fairly serviceable most of the time. With better recruiting and development I expect our defense to be pretty good. It's not, yet, but I can at least see the signs that it could get there. Offensively, however, it was a complete mess pretty much all year and I don't see any real signs that things are going to improve any time soon. The team was bad. I don't feel good about that unit getting markedly better with these coaches. They will have to make dramatic improvements in year 2 for me to feel confident they can ever turn that F into a C or better.

*if you're Alabama

Onward and upward

Do you grade those coaches with an F for not being able to win with 25 guys who are 5'9" and a buck fifty?

And yes, I would. I also expect that those coaches would give themselves an F if they won 0 games. That is an absolute failure. But if the expectation is that they would fail, given the context, then you give the coaches more time to recruit players who can perform the jobs they are meant to do. They may start with an F in year one and two (if they're working with 25 players who are 5'9"-150) but if they are good coaches and recruiters they will turn those Fs into Cs and Bs over time.

In a vacuum, Pry's first year is a failure. Offensively, it was the worst offense we've seen in O&M in a few decades. Defensively the team looked competent more often than not. Special teams was not special. Overall, the team was bad. We expected that, and that's what we got. If he had hired an actual OC who built a staff that was cohesive and fielded an offense that aligned more with the talent we DID have (so maybe top 80 instead of top 110) they probably earn a D or a C instead of an F and Pry's first year looks more like a C than a D.

Onward and upward

But there was no need to grade Pry in a vacuum. There is context, and it's not so difficult to find. It wouldn't have been too difficult to have considered it.

As people on this forum have done.

Also fair.

Someone on reddit asked me to grade Pry a couple weeks ago and this is what I put. You could maybe argue I'm being too generous with a C instead of a D, but I feel confident in my positives/negatives and whatever grade you want to interpret from those is fine with me.

C or 70

Positives:

Recruiting (so far). He set out a clear plan to focus on VA (and a 5hr surrounding footprint), repair broken relationships with HS circles and coaches, create pipelines to new talent beds as the talent focus has shifted in VA, and rapidly turn over the roster. He has gotten off to a great start on all three fronts. The class wasn't "elite" but it addressed needs, reflected our area heavily, and showed an ability to take advantage of opportunities when they presented themselves. The weeks leading up to ESD were full of wins, and positive momentum.

Defensive improvement. Staying in all games into the 4th qtr with the exception of UNC. Took largely the same group of defensive players and made them play significantly more sound assignment football, with much greater consistency.

Seems to be a culture fit at VT.

Negatives:

Offensive coaching staff have allegedly been excellent recruiters, but they have not proven they can build a top half P5 offense, yet. Too soon to call but this was not a good start, even with a dearth of talent.

Portal misses/bad evals in his partial cycle to open.

Bad management/capitulation of late games with leads (NC State and Georgia Tech).

This is revisiting the first point because the offense was that terrible. Even with a talent disadvantage, most of the year seemed to be a lot of square pegs in round holes schematically. Then suddenly against Liberty, we started doing all these things that fit our personnel way better that we hadn't shown much all year.

Bad losses - You can't lose to ODU (again), and you can't blow multi-score leads to GT and NC State in back to back weeks. NC State was excusable as they were a much better team than us, on some level, but it occurring in back to back games showed it was a bit of a lesson in game management for first time HC Pry.

--

Perhaps more importantly, a combined grade from years 1-3 is probably a better gauge. I would have given Fuente an A or A- for his 2016 season. While he showed some things that worried me against Syracuse and GT, I was still very excited about the future. That started fading with our offensive performances against P5 comp in 2017, and all but evaporated by the end of 2018. I would much rather have a C this first year IF, the outlook and projection is trending positive in years 2 and 3.

and now we go to a live look of Hokie nation's reaction:

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

No way he should get an F. That had to come from someone that is truly clueless. An "A", no. A "B", no probably not that either. Honestly an "I" would be best as you can't turn a boat this big around this fast. Probably a C. I did not think we would be as bad as we were, but we knew the team would not be good and, if anything, I was probably overly optimistic hoping for 6 wins. So about what was expected. Just a bit below on the field. But the improvements off the field would be laying the foundation. So D on the field, B off = C overall to me. And cautiously optimistic for the future.

Recovering scientist working in business consulting

I understand throwing Elliot an N/A given the circumstances, but that was an F coaching job. He took a 5k yard QB and made him look like he shouldn't be starting on a JV team

Yes, the N/A for Elliot was generous.

Yeah I'm D- on Elliott close to F. UVA is a tougher job than people give it credit but he made some moves that flat out didn't make any sense. Hiring Des Kitchings at OC was a plain awful move. That guy had no business being promoted to co-OC at NC State (along with George McDonald, another bozo) and the Pack suffered heavily for it in 2019. Not sure if he's supposed to be a good recruiter or what, but if that's the best you can do to try and emulate the Clemson offense for a team playing in the same league, I'm seriously questioning what planning went into the Elliott hire and assembling of staff etc.

It's an F. His staff is trash and somehow not getting Anthony Poindexter on staff was a whiff. He damn near lost to an awful ODU team too, his signature win was Richmond, a GT team that was on it's "post coach firing" roll, and almost beating a trash Miami squad. Compounding with walking around campus to beg students to show up and having like 3 kids show up to a recruiting event, we dodged a massive bullet not hiring Elliot

Good points. But also hate you reminded me that his two unimpressive FBS wins were against teams we lost to 😭

F is fair in my opinion, although I'd probably go with a D or D-. We had our worst season in 30 years, lost games we shouldn't, and didn't pick up any signature wins. We hired very green coaches, and it showed.

The transfer portal additions are nice, but almost all are guys that have been playing at the FCS or G5 level. Can't expect all of them to come in and instantly elevate the roster.

I like Pry for the future, but yeah F is totally fair, especially from someone who isn't following the program every single day.

I think your opinion will be unpopular, but I agree with it.
You don't get points for trying really hard or off-the-field performance.
Some of his in-game coaching decisions were baffling.

F is fair for this year. If his "outside the W-L record" metric is good, then he gets credit when it translates into wins (and visible improvement).

I'm not sure if there are any measurable achievements that warrant anything better than a 2022 Season "F" grade

You can see some of the other things I wrote above, but yeah, so what we had our worst season in 30 years. The 3 years of recruiting prior to this year were horrible and most of our really good players transferred or declared for the draft. In the thread leading into this year, where people were talking about expectations for this year, a number of people guessed at 2 wins because of the roster.

Then somewhere along the way, the incessant "coastal is crappy, we should win" mentality crept in, and people started deluding themselves into thinking we should have won 6 or more games. The problem with that thinking is that a lot of those other "crappy" teams have multi year starters and producers returning when we had very, very little, especially on offense.

The argument that we should have won close games, I'd argue based on the roster and the defeatist mentality we had last year, shouldn't have even be close and those games being close in the first place is a positive sign. Winning with a shit roster is hard. A shit roster with bad mentality is harder.

And on-field results ignore the importance of recruiting. How do you ignore recruiting when giving out coaching grades for college football??? Given what recruiting had been the previous few years, the fact that Pry recruited and kept almost all the players he recruited is big. Recruiting all those offensive players given that was our big weakness this year is bigger. Given the recruiting relationships (or lack thereof), our recruiting was a mess. I don't know what we could have potentially brought in or expected to, but the recruiting felt like an overall success to me.

So no, I don't think an F is fair. Something in the C-D range seems most fair.

I won't address every point, but winning 6 games was a totally reasonable expectation and we should have. We should have beaten ODU and GT, which would have gotten us to 5, and not completely collapsing against NCSU or had the UVA game happened that would have put us at 6-6 or 7-5.

I know that's a lot of what-ifs, but the point is this team had the talent to go 6-6 at least with our schedule. The fact fact we went 3-8 means to me that yes, the grade of F is definitely fair, without considering recruiting or other factors.

A reasonable expectation??? Expectation implies what you thought going in to the season. Who were the receivers you were "expecting" to put yards and TDs on the board? Same with the RBs? Smith was good, but had a much smaller role last year, and Holston I guess as a RB, but also behind a much better line. Who were the other playmakers? And behind a line that lost 3 starters - who did you think would step up and be as good as 3 guys who didn't just leave, but 2 of whom got drafted. So we lose 2 NFL caliber linemen. I seriously don't know how anyone could "expect" to win 6 games with what we had to start the season.

Yes, we could have won a couple more games this year, but there is absolutely no way anyone should have expected to win 6 games this year. I'll repeat, especially since most of the other teams we perceive to be crappy had more, better returning production than we had.

We picked up a QB that went for 300 yards a game the year before, had two solid RBs in Thomas and King, WRs we were super thin, both lines were pretty thin, defensive roster was average to pretty solid all around.

Vegas had us winning 6, FPI had us favored in 7 or 8 games. I know it's hard for fans to look at the situation reasonably, especially the ones with a weird obsession/hatred toward Fuente, but overall yes the expectation should have been 6-6 or better.

Edit: And heck, Duke/Elko proved that a roster with top-end talent isn't necessary to come in and compete day one. They had a roster that was expected to win one or two games... and went 9-4.

Good grief. Let's start the discussion this way. How many of the past 3-4 years was everyone on here complaining about the recruiting and how we couldn't win games and be competitive with the players Fuente was bringing in? That seemed to be an overwhelmingly popular opinion of just about everyone on here. So now, we get a new coach, with all those players we said we wouldn't be competitive with, the best of which pretty much left at the end of last year, and we somehow expected the team to be competitive and win 6-8 games?

One of those two narratives is flawed. Either the recruiting was good enough (even with all the players that left) to win us 6-8 games or it wasn't. If it was, then we were all whining for no reason. Or it wasn't good enough, and the narrative that the coastal is weak somehow deluded us into thinking 6 wins was the expectation.

And Vegas doesn't know everything or there would be no point in betting in the first place. And, as I have previously pointed out, some of the metrics used to predict wins include talent on a roster, but does not take into account if all that talent is all focused in one or two positions, and whether the talent is all redshirt freshmen vs seniors.

I don't know if any of our games would have set us up for signature wins.

But, going into the season, I was expecting 6 wins, although it was a razor thin margin of error. At the time, I was expecting to beat Duke and GT, but that was based on their 2021 performances. The problem is that Elko energized Duke, and GT managed to turn their season around when they fired Collins in September.

I guess what I'm saying is that expectations are a bit of a fluid target.

Yeah that is true- though part of my expectation was that Pry would energize us similar to how Elko did, if even a little bit.

In terms of signature wins, I think NCSU would have been a big turning point and signature win. Top 25 team on the road, national TV, etc. I think giving up the big lead there really hurt the morale of the team.

I think the problem is Duke actually probably had a healthier locker room than we did for Elko to step into. Cutliffe left on his own. Fuente was fired, and it really appeared he checked out halfway through the season. A lot of the early season and practices was Pry trying to fix locker room attitude while still installing discipline.

Penalties and effort got better as the season went on. I would definitely have given him an F or D- for on field performance (we were close in a LOT of games), but B to A for recruiting and installing culture.

It did take him too long to hand over the reins of the defense. But that is also learning about being a first year coach. Next year should be better on all fronts. If he doesn't bowl qualify, there won't be rumblings, there will be storms.

The bloom will be off that fucking rose by october next year, thank god. Mike Elko is not Saban. They will be "duke" again very shortly.

You seem to be forgetting the insane number of penalties, the poor game management decisions, the inability to scheme to the few playmakers on the roster, and maybe most importantly the lack of showing identifiable progress in righting the ship until Liberty.

Yes, the roster was bad, but there were plenty of things to warrant a D or even F grading, let's not kid ourselves.

New starters, especially when they are young new starters commit penalties. Often a lot of them. Yes, it wasn't good at the beginning of the season, but did it or did it not get better over the course of the season?

Okay, game management - do you grade a new head coach the same as you do coaches with lots of experience, just at a new school?

Again, in a vacuum, it doesn't look good. But he was a new head coach, with a shit roster, bad mentality, dealing with inconsistent play from his receivers, injuries to his two best RBs throughout the season, but sure, let's scheme to ... whoever was healthy and could catch a pass that game - so, like, Smith? Who were the other playmakers at receiver? I'm talking consistent playmakers. Were there any? Nobody jumps out at me, which is probably why he went and recruited an assload of receivers. We had one good, solid receiver, and two good RBs who were dinged up, but also behind a line that had to replace 3 starters all at once.

Only problem with this line of thinking is it wasn't a shit roster.

The defensive roster was pretty solid, and they played well. Our offense had been much better the year before with a somewhat similar roster. Not sure who could've predicted the massive step back by the offensive line starters (only being 6 (or 5.5) deep factored in for sure, but even then the starters played much worse than expected). That was really the main thing that held us back roster wise, that and the talent + development in the WR room being worse than expected

There were a lot of players back, but we lost the core of the Oline and our main 2 RB's didn't play for over half the year.

Really?

Check this link/thread question and the first comment.

Everyone sorta seemed to agree the roster was shit.

Our good players were bad. Our bad players were worse.

21st century QBs Undefeated vs UVA:
MV7, MV5, LT3, Braxton Burmeister, Ryan Willis, Josh Jackson, Jerod Evans, Michael Brewer, Tyrod Taylor, Sean Glennon, and Grant Noel. That's right, UVA. You couldn't beat Grant Noel.

Personally I'd grade Pry's first season as a D. Losing to an ODU program that ended up with 3 wins was just about the worst start imaginable and a really bad look, regardless of the state of the program. Getting the doors blown off by a WVU team that finished with 5 wins also didn't help. We didn't really show much offensive flexibility throughout the season and struggled to cover our weaknesses and build on our few strengths, and we didn't look competitive at all sometimes.

Pry has some trending B+ potential though with the recruiting improvements and solidifying relationships with Virginia high schools. I have faith that our coaches will continue to improve their position groups, plus we seem to be getting a higher overall level of recruit now compared to what Fuente was pulling in. All we need is a smattering of 4* recruits and I think we will be back on track.

A lot of these comments seem to be outside the scope of the topic. This was 100% an F season. This grade only reflects the current season, not the previous one, nor the future one. We all agree Pry inherited a disaster but I do not think that is a metric they used. They likely weighted expected W-L to actual W-L the most.

Updog for life!

They weren't rating the season, they were rating the coach.

Seems that this kind of analysis can take a step back and try and understand what the coach is attempting to do.

Did Elliot do better? Nope.

So yeah, I give this first year coach analysis an "F".

So based on the outlook of anonymous ACC assistant coaches, Pry hit the nail right on the head. This was the expectations of a number of ACC assistants. So if the people that know the conference the best called outVT for what it has become and Pry meet those remarks head on, that's a solid C.

Yeah...as much as I'm willing to give Pry time, we should also be honest and admit that he didn't do a good job as a head coach. He held on to the Defensive play calling reins longer than I thought he should, especially after 7-8 games where it was obvious that he needed to be more involved with the overall team. Additionally, he hired an offensive coordinator who literally had to change their scheme halfway through the season because they must not have scouted their own personnel, and didn't really know what the 2022 team was capable of (which as we all know, wasn't a lot thanks to the mess left by the previous staff). I also remember multiple in game coaching gaffs by Pry, and there were moments where he seemed out of his depth.

Now that the season is a few months removed, we've had a few recruiting wins and some optimism is returning for 2023, as it should. I think it's dumb to grade a coach after one year, because we don't know how the long term will turn out...our previous two head coaches are examples of that both for the better and the worse. What I do like is that it seems that Pry and his guys seem like they have learned from their 2022 gaffs, but of course we won't know that for sure until 2023 kicks off.

I don't care where he went, I care where he's going.

Record: F
Competitiveness: D+
Roster Management: C- (roster was a mess)
In Game Adjustments: C-
Recruiting: A- (better than anticipated, has brought the floor up, done a lot to repair bridges)
Public Interactions: A+

Overall: C+

Never Forget #1 Overall Seed UVA 54, #64 UMBC 74

Edit: never mind, missed it in initial read.

Beating Liberty should have given us the D.

TKPhi Damn Proud
BSME 2009

Phrasing? /s

From the 2018 VT-uva game-"This is when LEGENDS are made!"

I think a lot of the discussion is indicating that some people think the grade should be based on what Pry did.
Some people believe the grade should be what Pry ACHIEVED.

I'm in the latter camp and think "F" is appropriate. Debating whether or not he should get a "D" or an "F" is kind of asinine.

I believe that if that stuff he "did" was so great, it'll show next season. And someone will grade that.

The only way I can justify giving him an F is if we are pulling up the schedules of the first year coaches and looking at results. If I look up our schedule out of context, I'd stamp a big red F on that test too.

I can't do that though. I know too much about the state of our roster, the lack of a proven QB option, the damage Fuente did in the state of VA in terms of how our program was perceived by recruits and coaches alike.

Perhaps it is best to have a complete outsider weigh in on a coach's first year devoid of context. However, if you look at my comment earlier in this thread I point out how everyone gave Fuente a B+ or A- at the lowest in the same articles after the 2016 season, and it got worse in year 2, and the floor fell through in year 3. I'd much rather revisit this in year 3 and see an upward climb from a F, D, or C, which I think are defensible grades depending on how you want to view/weight certain aspects, rather than an A- that rapidly devolves to a D/F.

What we've all learned is that coaches should be evaluated in year 3.

And I suppose contractually, they are.

Except Fuente was given an extension after year 1 based on it looking like he was elevating the program.

Yeah, it's because we all gave him an 'A+'.

Hokie fans learned from this.

Okay, but then I'm confused why you said coaches are contractually evaluated in year 3? Most coaches don't have 3 or even 4 year contracts. Pry's was 6 years and I believe 5 or more is the norm. So maybe schools evaluate them after year 3 to determine if they were a good hire, but I don't think that's contractual.

I think they're continually evaluated, and there is always a potential to extend their contract. Fuente got this in year 1, which turned out to be a mistake - though we didn't know it until later.

Edit: I guess what I'm saying is that for all practical purposes, I wouldn't bother evaluating them until year 3. This is something I learned from Fuente.

Totally makes sense to evaluate after year 3. And I'm really hoping/guessing that come the end of year 3 won't require a discussion with Whit to tell him if any of his staff need to go. Given the roster we had, I don't think it would be fair to get rid of any of the other coaching staff without 3 years to judge also.

An outsider looking in. Not much insight. Needed to fill a column.

Even when you get skunked; fishing never lets you down. 🎣

So he filled it with BS.

Deon Sanders's recruiting grade so far...A++ 😂 gahhhd damb

I'm fine with an F grading simply because I want to see how he reacts.

Feel slighted and/or perceived as a failure and the right kind of people turn that into a motivational tool.

If he even cares/sees this kind of stuff, hopefully he's the type to prove a point.

VT Marketing Class of 2009
Current Roanoke-Hokie
Go Hokies!

Not a bad point.

Give him a chip on his shoulder.

Pry got an F. He did look deer in headlights at times. He has done a great job on recruiting in this cycle. I would love it if he sat down with beamer and talked in game coaching and picked his brain. Maybe we get some wins on those close games this year.

If nothing else, he'll have some more pieces to move around this year.

Last year was painful to watch.