Looking back at what Pry inherited - might have been worse than we thought


I don't know how anyone could have expected any coach to come in and win right away in any P5 conference with a roster like this.

Hopefully, we continue to make good in-roads in recruiting to help elevate the floor, because it certainly looks like Fuente took a sledgehammer to the foundation the last couple years.

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It's difficult for a fanbase who has seen so much success to fully grasp the depths of how far our roster quality had fallen in the latter years of Fuente. I can't blame people for being somewhat blind to what this roster had become.

I've said this a few times now, but we should have fired Fuente after the 2018 season (less realistic). If we failed to do that, he should have been fired the morning after the 2019 Duke game (more realistic, and I still believe wholeheartedly this should have happened). We give Foster the interim HC job to finish out 2019 and move on from there.

It's easy to say with hingsight, but firing him after 2018 or after the 2019 Duke game would have been super interesting. A lot of fans were not on the fire Fuente train yet, and it would have been very expensive. Many people would have criticized the decision, and a big selling point for VT is the "patient fanbase" that won't demand immediate success the way an SEC school does.

We know now that it would have been worth the extra buyout money, but it would have been bold to do it back then.

Since you bring up 2019, I was recently thinking about this, and I think that if all else remained the same except we won that game against UVA, I think Fuente survives the 2021 season and is possibly still our coach today (much more of a stretch). Win that game we win the division, get smoked by Clemson in the ACCCG and likely go to the Orange Bowl.

That would be 2 division titles in his first 4 years, win totals of 10, 9, 6, and 9, and 4-0 against UVA to go along with 2-2 vs Miami and 4-0 vs UNC. Many fans would have been on board with that. And that UVA game was close. 1 or 2 bounces our way and we win. Instead, we all view his tenure as a colossal failure that had 2 lucky seasons out of the gate thank to Bud/Beamer.

Don't get me wrong, I am not suggesting we should have kept him or that he was anything above a failure as the VT head coach. It's just an interesting offseason thought.

Virginia Tech School of Architecture Class of 2014
Fan of Hokies, Ravens, NY Giants, Orioles

In no uncertain terms, Fuente was going to be fired, either when he did or by the end of this past season, because his complete incompetence in the recruiting circuits caught up to him. Look at where the players who have transferred out have ended up. They weren't P5 caliber, and for a large segment of them, weren't FBS caliber. The beatings we took this past season were going to happen no matter who was our head coach.

This is my school
This is home

That is fair; he wouldn't have survived beyond the 2022 season, even if he gets that win vs UVA in 2019. There is no way he was going to win enough games in 2022. I stand by the rest of my points though. We didn't know he sucked at recruiting until 2019-ish. His first few recruiting classes all ranked in the top 30. We also didn't know how bad he was at player development (I still maintain that was his biggest problem, bigger than recruiting and engaging the fanbase) because Hooker was looking great after being recruited by Fu and his staff. Combine that with 2 division titles and fans would have been behind him.
It's just interesting how much a single game can matter. I get that is the point of college football and big rivalries, but still crazy to think about.

Virginia Tech School of Architecture Class of 2014
Fan of Hokies, Ravens, NY Giants, Orioles

My buddy actually does a infrequent feature at our blog about "butterfly effect" games. It truly is one of the more fascinating aspects of college football.

It was easy to say for some of us.

Free Hugh

I mean for all intents and purposes, the bottom fell out under Fuente. He was an absolutely miserable recruiter and he was allowed to destroy everything that Beamer built in the span of a few years.

You are 100% correct that he should have been fired after the Duke game, not just because of how completely broken the roster had so obviously become, but because of how badly he mismanaged the reunion of the 1999 team. Its no mistake that our recruiting went from bad to horrendous immediately after that point. Not pulling the plug then and there probably set ourselves back a decade in our rebuild.

I mean its truly staggering, 22 tranfers out, and only 3 went to what we would consider one of our peers. And of the remaining 19, more than half went to the FCS or to community college. That's disastrous levels of recruiting by the previous regime.

This is my school
This is home

Not letting Fuente go at the end of 2020 was the most inexcusable part to me. Anybody who couldn't see that this wasn't working had to have the orange and maroon beer goggles on. Nobody is going to be able to convince me there wasn't some fuckery going on around that press conference of Whit's. It was so out of character for him.

Once enough time has passed, someone better be writing a book or at least a longform article about that press conference.

BTW I fully agree with your comments above.

"Give me a fuΒ’king beer", Anonymous Genius

Man, I hate to defend Fuente, and I agree in hindsight he should've been gone after 2018, at the time it was not obvious (at least not to me). I saw him at a Hokie Club event in the summer of 2018, and the two things he kept saying was the team was going to take a step back in 2018 until some of the younger guys mature. And those younger guys did mature. The problem was Fuente mismanaged them and underachieved as a result.

Also worth noting that 2018 was the worst Bud Foster defense of all time at 77th per SP+ (for reference, Foster only had two other defenses outside of the top 20 in SP+; 31st in 2010 and 21st in 2016... pure insanity) likely in part because Foster had health issues.

Fuente should've been fired after 2020 IMO (and I am one of the people who believes that Whit wanted to as well but got overruled). He botched the JHam hire (sorry JHam, love you but you weren't ready), landed his first class that was straight doodoo, lost the best QB we had since Tyrod, missed a bowl game for the first time in 20-some years...

Twitter me

I turned on Fuente faster than most, though I was rarely overly antagonistic or aggressive about it (at least in my memory I was making an effort not to be). After 2018 is more hindsight based, which is why I said it wasn't realistic. However, the first month of 2019 was BAD, and losing like that to DUKE at home is the kind of thing big boy football schools don't often let a coach survive. It wasn't just Duke either. We had a terrible game to open against BC, and we played Furman like equals, narrowly edging them by a TD. The turnaround that season was more to do with Hooker and Bud having one last purple patch with the defense as his swan song. I think we could have potentially ended that season in a somewhat similar fashion without Fuente. I agree with you that if you don't fire him after Duke then 2020 should have been the last straw. That press conference was one of my lowest moments as a fan.

Thing is our roster in 2020 was actually pretty good. The J Ham hire was not good (getting rid of Wiles was dumb as shit) and our defense suffered for it. 2020 offseason Fu took what was a pretty good core and destroyed it getting rid of two of our most promising young offensive lineman, a future Heisman contending QB and our best receiver

I wanted to fire him after the 2017 GT game.

By this point his only strike was failing to retain his offensive weapons from 2016 in eyebrow raising fashion. A lot of his receivers set to replace Isaiah and Bucky looked pretty pathetic. Pimpleton and Savoy come to mind.

So then a close game with GT down 6. A little over a minute left. Drove almost 50 yards. 4th and 1.... And we fucking take a shot deep to turn over on downs. Game.

I knew then and there that this man was incompetent.

The the hits kept coming. He chased Dragon out town.

Cornerbacks couldn't cover shit against ODU. This was another instant fire moment in my mind.

GT absolutely dominated Fosters tiny defensive line. I think we forced 1 stop that game.

We get dominated 4 games in a row.

I don't understand how anybody wanted to keep him. I guess recruiting looked a little better at this point, but it was at the least critical positions, and he was already demonstrating poor management of the roster.

Free Hugh

That was a key game for me as well. I remember it more vividly than any game from that season. It's seared into my brain.

Lol it's trauma. Everybody brings up icing the Liberty kicker, nobody brings up that 4th and 1 Hail Mary

Free Hugh

We had the rare "4th quarter pick six to take the lead" in that game yet we still let them beat us. Stroman basically said Fine, I'll do it myself, and we still couldn't get the W against PJ. Ugh.
Agreed, the frustration of that game was brutal and was probably the first moment of the fuente era that had me thinking, this guy is not living up to his job.

Virginia Tech School of Architecture Class of 2014
Fan of Hokies, Ravens, NY Giants, Orioles

"He made, what, two completions and they were both for touchdowns and it ended up being 140 yards?" Johnson said. "We'll live with that. That's a pretty good average."

On its final possession, Virginia Tech converted a pair of fourth-down plays and faced third-and-1 at the Georgia Tech 32 with plenty of time to deal the home team another tough loss.

But, on a day when he made a number of curious decisions, Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente called a pair of passes rather than running for the first down. Both were incomplete, including a deep pass down the middle for Cam Phillips that Kerr knocked away.

cue TKP argument about effective vs efficient

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)..

If you don't want to recruit clowns, don't run a clown show.

"I want to punch people from UVA right in the neck." - Colin Cowherd

If COVID hadn't effed up 2020 so badly in terms of how bizarre the season turned out, I think Fuente would have been gone.

I'm with this right here.
I didn't know which way was up and the statistics couldn't count no way no how.

After Furman, I really had serious doubts but couldn't codify what those doubts were .

This is going to be great for the ACC.

Sorry, saying Fuente should have been gone after 2018 is something you can only say in hindsight. In the 4 years before Fuente got here, we went 7-6 three times and 8-5 the other year. In Fuente's first year, he took us to the ACCCG and did better against the eventual national champion than Ohio State and like 3/4 of the other teams they played. Then in 2017, he won 9 games. So yeah, he went 6-7 in 2018, but given those 3 years, you can say it looks like a downward trend, but you don't know for sure, and he clearly was capable of winning a lot of games in a season. I mean, MAYBE Whit has a conversation with him, but the easy answer is, "I need time to recruit my guys."

At that point, you're trusting in the fact that he had won so many games in seasons 1 and 2. And 1 bad season doesn't mean you're a bad coach, otherwise Matt Rhule would have been out after his 1-11 season at Baylor and they would have missed out on his 7-6 then 11-1 seasons. We didn't KNOW Fuente couldn't recruit - after all, he'd brought Jerrod Evans in out of the portal to bring us to the ACCCG. It's unfortunate, but we had to learn that he actually couldn't recruit and didn't know how to win without certain players. And nothing but hindsight could get us there in 2018.

There were a handful of folks on tkp saying, after the 2018 season, that changes needed to be made. So it may be hindsight for a lot of people but it was apparent enough to a few at the time.

Fuente did well with Beamer's recruits and a hero-ball qb in Evans. But with his recruiting failures and losing the locker room and the dramatic and blatantly evident lack of production as talent left it was pretty clear by the end of 3 years that Fuente was heading in the wrong direction. There is a lot more to analyzing the trajectory of a coach than wins and losses. The great start and steady decline notwithstanding, there was plenty of evidence that things were going badly after 2018.

I think it's unfair to the folks who saw this coming to say that "Fuente should have been gone after 2018 is something you can only say in hindsight."

Onward and upward

We still won 9 games in 2017 even without Evans. So calling that "hero-ball" is a little misleading. If he was the hero, why didn't we instantly go back to 7 wins? And if it was all with Beamer's recruits, why couldn't Beamer win more than 7 games with them?

You point to bad recruiting, but I just said that Fuente got Evans in and won a lot with him. Yes, with other players, but still, we didn't KNOW that Fuente would be bad at recruiting. Hell, if Beamer had stayed until now, with the recruiting "program" he had (knowing what we now know it takes to run a big-boy program), Our Hall of Fame coach would probably be failing badly at recruiting. We were falling behind when Beamer was still here.

Saying people "saw it coming" in 2018 is a little glorifying. As bad as everyone now thinks Fuente is, and how he can't win, I'll ask them to explain how he was able to win 10 games and put up 35 points to the eventual National camps in the ACCG and then turn around and lose his "hero-ball" qb the next year and still win 9 games. Our whole current narrative about Fuente would eliminate the possibility of him having done so well, and yet he did. Nobody can explain it and that's probably the most frustrating thing, and why you don't fire him in 2018.

FWIW, I thought the change necessary after the 2018 season was to fire Cornelsen, not Fuente. Our offense looked worse and worse every year he was here and Fuente had come in with an amount of offensive cred to justify keeping him. I said at the time it was too early to know for sure that Fuente should be fired but that the only way I could see him saving his career in the long run would be by making a change to the offensive staff. It was clear by then that Fuente had brought the wrong OC with him to Blacksburg and he needed to upgrade to save face.

When he didn't I figured it was only a matter of time before he was shown the door. And it really should have been after 2019 or, at the latest 2020.

Either way, the cracks were showing by the end of 2018. Maybe by then it's too early to clean house but if I'm Whit I have a very serious talk with Fuente that if he doesn't make a change to improve the offense then it better damn well deliver in 2019 or he's at risk of losing his job. 10 points against Duke, at home, at night is absolutely inexcusable. Fuente didn't have what it takes to make the necessary change after 2018 or 2019 and that is why he's not a head coach anymore.

Onward and upward

Don't forget the other thing is that Whit extended Fuente's contract after 2016. Without tons of money to buy out a coach's contract and still afford to hire a new one, you're kind of stuck with who you have. And we've established that Fuente wasn't going to get rid of Cornelson. But again, they both won those games in '16 and '17. It's mind boggling to consider that to some extent they were capable of winning.

to some extent they were capable of winning


Yeah, with Bud anchoring the defense. It's not really hard to figure out why we dropped off a cliff when Bud retired. As long as we had Bud we were able to win lots of games despite having no offense. This was true under Beamer as well as Fuente.

Onward and upward

AGAIN - with Bud coaching D, Beamer was still only winning 7 games a season. The thing that changed when we went to the ACCCG and won 10 games, then won 9 games the following year, was Fuente.

Fuente rode Jerod Evans to that ACCCG. Beamer didn't have the horses in the qb room at the end.

Okay, but then he won 9 games the year after without Evans.

With the best wins being 7-6 WVU and 7-6 BC

Te to qb

Okay, but in the years prior to Fuente, we were 7-6 and squeaked into bowl eligibility a couple of years, including that 0-0 (in regulation, and field goal win against a horrible Wake Forest team that we had the freaking playbook for.

You can point to our win/loss record in 2018, who we played, etc. etc. It doesn't change the fact that our Hall of Fame predecessor coach (WITH Bud Foster) was barely doing better. Getting new coaches is a gamble. We had one that won a fair number of games in the first two seasons. We weren't a hot commodity, if we get rid of Fuente, we have a big contract to buy out, so we'd likely have to get another coach from G5 or FCS or that was an assistant you're going to promote. They are a bigger gamble than the guy you know can win games. After 2018, I don't think there's any way you can really logically move on and take the gamble on a different coach. Because as bad as we think 6-7 is, it's not as bad as 2-10.

There is ZERO guarantee any coach we would have gotten could do better than 6-7. Hell, MOST coaches don't win 10 games. So all those people who thought Fuente should get the boot in 2018 wanted to get rid of a coach we KNEW could win 9 or 10 games, and count on the 20% (made up, but probably not far off) likelihood that ANY new coach we hired could also win 10 games?

Yep 100%. Anyone who "knew" Fuente should be fired that early on needed to have inside information on how fucked our recruiting relationships were, or be able to predict the future on productive players transferring out

Agree..I think there was a rapid loss of support for Cornelson after 2018, as it became clear that our Offensive scheme was never going to evolve in any way whatsoever.

But Fuente was still riding momentum from success of 2016 and he had put together seemingly solid Recruiting classes in '18 and '19 (and had plenty of people granting him excuses for repeatedly losing out on top VA prospects). Also, keep in mind that there was at least some speculation that Fuente was an outside candidate for the FSU job after Taggart was fired..he had not yet gone full lame Duck.

The point being, Hindsight is indeed 20/20. Ultimately the perfect play for VT would have been to fire Fuente after the 2017 season (or better yet had someone hire him away)-- retain a relatively strong Recruiting class of '18 and hire someone with some actual vision for taking the Program forward.

Instead, we got 4 more years of piss-poor Recruiting, poor player and fan engagement, and mismanagement of nearly every important aspect of the FB Program. I think at least 2 of those years were hard to excuse given the clear direction the Program had taken but I highly suspect the decision to keep Fuente thru '21 was almost entirely financially rooted.

Edit: need more spellcheck

Unfair to the folks on tkp who called for Fu's head before others did? Nope, not unfair at all if you digest the comments to the contrary and believe folks on tkp don't always know all about it, but should, like you. If calling for a coach's dismissal was somehow more important than coming to realize it over time, all coaches would be fired at the first glitch because regardless of who they are, there will always be someone on a fan site who doubts them and wants to be the first to say so.
Apologies for being a dick, but not for my take.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Well said!

regardless of who they are, there will always be someone on a fan site who doubts them and wants to be the first to say so.

If Pry doesn't work out several years down the road, there will be people who say they thought he should be gone after year one. Not many, but like you said, every fan message board has at least one poster who never thought he was the right guy in the first place. Even if it's just retroactive continuity.

Deposit whiskey, receive wisdom.

I think there's a considerable difference between saying a coach should be fired after one year and saying a coach should be fired after 3 years.

Pry's first year was rough, for many reasons. But it's not grounds for firing him. Not even close. But I have maintained that after 3 full seasons with a coach you generally have enough evidence to determine whether things are heading in the right direction. If you look across college football you will see, much more often than not, that the first 3 years are very predictive of how successful a coach will end up being.

Regardless of where they start (10 wins or 3) one year simply isn't enough information. But after 3 you have a pretty good idea of where things are heading (both on the field and off). Each coach deserves time. Each situation is different and it is important to understand the nuances. I'm not saying that a coach should be winning 10 games in year 3. After 3 full years though, you aught to be able to tell whether that coach will ever win 10 games.

I hope Pry moves things forward for VT. I think he's already done better in the portal Than Fuente ever did. But we still need a couple more years of data on recruiting and on field performance to really know where he's headed. Fuente only went backwards for 6 years. But after 3, we could have predicted the next 3.

Onward and upward

I don't disagree with anything you said. My point was that if we do end up firing him some day, there will be fans who claim they thought he was a bum from day 1.

Deposit whiskey, receive wisdom.

and you are absolutely right. Every fanbase has those fans. I've been attacked in this thread for saying changes should have been made after 2018. I just wanted to clarify that I didn't think that after 2016 or 2017. In fact, I quite liked the Fuente hire at the time and I hoped that he would be great for us. But things didn't work out.

I'm more guarded with the Pry hire than I was with the Fuente hire and Pry's first year certainly left a lot to be desired but I really strongly believe that we can tell a lot about where we are headed after 3 full years. I think the end of the 2024 season will be a good time to look back at what has changed since Pry arrived and gage how he might do going forward.

Onward and upward

I'm more guarded with the Pry hire than I was with the Fuente hire

Of course, once you get catfished you're a lot more careful on the dating apps.

Deposit whiskey, receive wisdom.

Pain is Temporary, Chicks Dig Scars
Glory is Forever, Let's Go Hokies!!

This is a reasonable take. So far, with Pry, the only things lacking are on-field results. Lots of good things seem to be occurring. If things start to go south, there may be red flags. There's always a chance that what you see may be an isolated event/one-off, but when they start to mount up, the pattern becomes clear. Likewise, if good things start to mount up, the patter also becomes clear.

French can weigh in, but I think his in-person observation of Fuente hosting a top-level recruit at dinner was one of the first red flags we saw. I don't remember how far into Fuente's tenure that happened, but it was a big one. Haven't heard about anything like that by Pry.

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

My ears are burning

Free Hugh

Not hindsight for me. I posted after ODU- days after- not my in game meltdown- that he should have been dismised. He lost control of the program and did't have a DL or LB on the roster that could make a play- even with Bud as his DC. I said it at the time- Whit should send a message to fans, recruits, etc that losing to ODU was not acceptable in the way it happened. There are losses and then there is that loss- and the aftermath. Make bud interim HC and send a message.

You were calling for Bye Fulicia to be fired after his first loss!! /s

"Give me a fuΒ’king beer", Anonymous Genius

I'm hopeful that Whit has developed a more cut-throat mentality after these mistakes

Hokie Club member since 2017

I still think if it wasn't for Hooker coming in and somewhat salvaging the 2019 season by winning that Miami game (which we still almost gave away at the end), Fu might have been fired then. The animosity was palpable and even the media was speculating he might get fired and saying things just weren't working out. I hate to say it but winning that game and going on that run until the UVA game likely put our program further in the hole in the long-run. Having to keep a lame duck staff for two more years was painful.

Yeah, when you look at each season with a broader lens, you can see why he wasn't fired sooner. (Well, mostly.)

2016-2017 were good seasons.
2018 was bad, but no worse than the four seasons prior to Fuente. Also, the QB broke his leg in the third game.

VT isn't one of those cutthroat schools where you get fired for one bad season, especially if there are extenuating circumstances.

2019 started off bad, but Hooker and the 6-1 run in the middle of the season saved things. At the time, you have to gamble as to whether or not there is legitimate progress or just a bandaid on a bullet hole. Unfortunately for us, it was the latter. I think it would have been hard to justify firing a coach that had won 10, 9, 6, and 8 games, especially with that earlier contract extension. But it should have been clear that something needed to change at this point. Corn shouldn't have survived past this season.

By the end of 2020, I think all of the flaws were noticeable, and we probably would have seen them much sooner that year if not for COVID and Herbert. (COVID screwed everything up, and Herbert alone probably gave us an extra 2-3 wins that we shouldn't have gotten.)

So I think there were only two earlier points where firing Fuente was a realistic possibility:
-late 2019 if we didn't go 6-1 in the middle.
-end of 2020, but we all know about that press conference.

Yeah but I said it at the time with the 2019 Duke game. It wasn't just that we lost, it was the complete disregard and disrespect that he showed to the 1999 team that was actively celebrating their 20 year reunion that week that raised all the red flags. It showed he didn't understand the VT culture and did not have the capabilities of being a coach at a program with a proud history. He actively chose to ignore it, and that was damning.

Combined with how 2018 went and how 2019 was going to that point, that should have been the moment we realized just how in over his head he was at VT.

This is my school
This is home

I just want to throw this out there and remind everyone - As much as I praise the guy, Whit was the one that immediately extended and restructured Fuente's contract after his first season before ANY recruiting results could be observed. If i'm recalling correctly, that extension significantly changed the buyout. Had that extension not been signed, a sacking in '18 or '19 would have been much more doable financially.

EDIT: https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2701599-justin-fuente-virginia-tech-...

That extension was because there were vacancies at UF, FSU, and one other place that was tied to him. The dude went 19-7 in his first two years, and almost got us a win over Clemson. It looked like a smart move to extend him at the time.

Little did we know then that Fuente's best 'win' would be a 'quality loss' to clemson.

Twitter me

That extension happened after year 1. We had a great year, and there were vacancies elsewhere that could offer more money. In hindsight, Whit should have waited for a larger sample size to make that kind of investment. Fuente had a lot of success with Beamer's team, but Whit should have waited to see what Fuente's team shaped up to be.

Hopefully Whit learned his lesson

Onward and upward

Counter: We don't extend Fuente, he gets poached after going 19-7 over 2 years, and the entire fanbase is up in arms because we lost a (seemingly) great coach because we were cheap.

All I'm saying is that Whit didn't have the benefit of hindsight in 2017.

Twitter me

If we let Fuente walk, though, we hire someone else good (lets say Jamey Chadwell) because suddenly we look like a place that can really catapult a coach into the coaching stratosphere. Then over the next 3 years we get a lot better and wherever Fuente goes gets a lot worse and then VT looks very desirable to everyone

Onward and upward

If we lose a head coach because of 6 figures (if I recall correctly, Fuente got a 250k raise or something?), we're far less attractive to other good coaches.

My point is - it wasn't a bad move knowing what we knew at the time.

Twitter me

That's fair. I don't think the mistake in the extension was the raise. I think it was the length and the buyout for only one year's worth of results

Onward and upward


No disagreement. I'm just hopeful that the experience has a future net-positive impact and doesn't eventually cost us a great coach because the buyout wasn't large enough.

should have been fired the morning after the 2019 Duke game (more realistic, and I still believe wholeheartedly this should have happened). We give Foster the interim HC job to finish out 2019 and move on from there.

I think it's apparent now that Foster should've gotten the job from the jump

Looking back with what we know now not even close. He almost died from coaching I'm glad he didn't if he had been HC.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

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He almost died from coaching I'm glad he didn't if he had been HC.

Source on this? Must've missed this when it came out.

Edit: just found the 2019 SI piece. Holy smokes.

Get your ass on the ground and we'll party

I logged on to share this also. For everyone who kept saying our roster wasn't that bad, all sorts of stats and everything. This is BAD. But the fact that they're transferring out I take as a good sign. Pry is getting guys to transfer out rather than keeping them and making use of the portal and also trying to build relationships that will (hopefully) pay dividends with better recruits in the next year or two.

I use the eye test. We still look small and pedestrian on TV

it's the black socks/shoes, you look slower in them

Same concern I had re: the spring game. We look small across the board.

it will take time to get the 4-5 star guys but Pry is doing good getting some solid 3 star guys. Breaks my heart everytime the top 10 Virginia guys go out of state

Hokies, Local Soccer, AFC Ajax, Ravens

Fuente truly set the program back a full decade, considering the progress the rest of the sport made while we moved backwards

I just sit on my couch and b*tch. - HokieChemE2016

I think this is a very good point, and possibly explains why we put up with CJF as long as we did (other than the co$t of the buyout). Much of the rest of college football moved ahead by leaps and bounds during the same period we were languishing, but in a vacuum it didn't seem like it was that bad to some people.

It's not all on Fuente though. We lost a single recruiter that tanked an entire class, that shouldn't happen at a major football school. The fact that the university (Whit, Fuente, Beamer, Weaver, Ballein) as a whole let that position be single fault tolerant was bad. Fuente asked for more but the investment was kid of weak. Pry has like 15 more people on his staff than Fuente did and it's not my understand that Fuente didn't want more staff.

Some of this goes back to the funding that was never raised under Weaver because we just shoe stringed everything. Growing up I never met some one that went to WVU that didn't donate to WVU, half the graduates of VT don't even know what hokie club is. There were systemic issues that were made very apparent after a top 5 all time p5 coach left. Unless we get a top 5 all time coach again we will have to run the program like a big boy instead of playing hero ball with talented coaches like Beamer and Foster.

Fair points, but I think it's clear most other coaches would have been able to do more with what Fuente did have

I just sit on my couch and b*tch. - HokieChemE2016

I dont think most other coaches would have done much better. Fuente is currently on the Rushmore of VT coaches, he won at a better rate than most did here. I think he was 1 game off VTs all time win rate. Pry didn't do well with an all Mac QB while Fuente won with a San deigo WR as qb.

Who was going to walk through that door and do better? Chad Morris? DJ Durkin? Dino Babers? Barry Odom? Maybe we get lucky and hire Matt Campbell but maybe he doesn't work here, maybe we get Matt Rhule, who knows. But to say that most other coaches would do better, its not clear to me.

I'm sorry you lost me at the VT Mount Rushmore

I just sit on my couch and b*tch. - HokieChemE2016

Name 4 better coaches, Claiborne, Dooley and Beamer are the only 3 unequivocally better than Fuente and Dooley left us in a mess. The next best coach only coached 3 seasons prior to the AP poll. And he left us to be a position coach at Pitt. And is better known for being Miami's head coach.

We're talking about hiring some one to go 8-5 every year to edge out Fuente as the 4th best coach at VT. The bar for being a good coach at VT is pretty damn low.

Beamer, Foster, Arians, Stinespring, Lefty are all on there before Fuente.

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Only one of them were a head coach at VT

No one in the previous comments said "head coach" though. You said name a better coach.

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the context tho πŸ€¦β€β™‚οΈ

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

Oh I am aware of what he implied. I just think we have had at least 3 better assistant coaches than Fuente as a head coach. That aside, there's no way you create a VTMR without Foster.

If we want to argue context, the context of Mount Rushmore is it's the four people that were most important to long term success, not the four measurably greatest. See https://www.nps.gov/moru/learn/historyculture/why-these-four-presidents.htm

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Bud Foster, also not a VT head coach

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

So... could Shane be on there? How bout JC Price? Both undefeated!

JC was 1-2 as interim head coach.

We only count the UVA game for JC, it's the only one that mattered

Mount Rushmore is still 4 presidents - not VPs or cabinet members.

Ok. Just make it who is on VT's printed bills. Those aren't all presidents. It also doesn't really fit with the socially accepted "who's on the Mount Rushmore of x?" But, why play by the rules?

Although Jefferson should have been disqualified from being on Mount Rushmore based on the fact that he founded UVa.

Recovering scientist working in business consulting

Just because we don't have a long and storied past doesn't mean that Fuente is on a short list of our best coaches just because he won a few games.

In the grand scheme, with the expectations, resources, and conference that any coach had, it's hard to find any coach in our past who did less than Fuente. He actively made us worse, and did so with his own incompetence. The end result is he basically put us on scholarship reduction and probation by offering full rides to players who did not belong at a P5 school. He's not just one of the worst head coaches in VT's history, he's one of the worst head coaches in all of college football, at least in recent years. He's so toxic he's not even on the radar for any coaching vacancies since he was fired and it took a year for any of his assistants to be picked up, and even then it was at a low FCS or community college position to do it.

Yeah the bar is low at VT, Fuente still fails to clear it.

This is my school
This is home

Players hated Fuente. He ruined the culture. He ruined recruiting in the state. He burned bridges. And he ruined what national reputation and recognition we had left.

He lost to Old Dominion as a top 25 program. He lost to Duke by 40 at home. He lost to Liberty before they were even decent, and in spectacular fashion. He lost by 33 to Pitt. He broke the UVA streak. He ruined Hendon Hooker and started basically a D-2 Julian Edelman in his place. He managed to make fans who adored Beamer hate his guts simply because of his personality. He kept an OC worse than Bryan Stinespring and Scott Loeffler for his entire tenure. And he forced more transfers in 2020 than any other Power 5 program that season, and blamed the players. And he hasn't gotten a job ever since he's been fired.

Nah, Fuente was no Mount Rushmore.

I just sit on my couch and b*tch. - HokieChemE2016

Maybe he meant Mount CRUSHmore? πŸ€” as in our hopes and dreams

Yup, I agree he did all that and is still one of the best coaches VT has ever had, it's a low bar.

And there's so little competition bc who here really remembers Orville Neale, Branch Bocock, Jerry Claiborne, or Benjamin Dunn

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

Claiborne coached Frank Beamer and led the Hokies of the 60s to multiple bowl games, at a time when that meant a little more.

Frank Moseley was at the helm for the 1954 squad that finished undefeated.

Bill Dooley broke some rules, but he still got Bruce Smith to Blacksburg and got the first bowl win in program history.

As long as we're talking about stuff no one cares about, and as long as the only acceptable parameter is former head coach (which I also disagree with), I'd put all three of these guys ahead of Fuente. I just have a very hard time entertaining the thought of putting him on any sort of hypothetical "Mt Rushmore." Bare minimum, if he belongs, so does Dooley.

No, I don't remember any of those coaches. But I read about them.

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.

You read about Benjamin Dunn? Or did i miss understand? because i made the name up to prove the point that VT head coaches are generally unknown beyond a very small few.

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

Okay, but what about the guys that DO exist, whom I made cases for in my previous comment? (And yeah, FWIW I devoured anything and everything VTFB that I possibly could as a kid, including reading a bunch of books about program history. I was obsessed)

I don't care how known or unknown any of our coaches are. Fuente still doesn't belong on a "VT Mt Rushmore," and I don't think it's that unreasonable of a take to put a bunch of guys from history over him. Fu probably goes right next to Charlie Coffey, Jimmy Sharpe and Benjamin Dunn

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.

and is still one of the best coaches VT has ever had

He may have had one of the best win/loss records of any BT head coach, but he is not one of our best coaches. There's more to being a good head coach than winning games and Fuente is the case-in-point.

Deposit whiskey, receive wisdom.

Fuente's burner? /s kinda

This is a weird hill to die on. Someone said above that just because we really only have 1 great coach doesn't mean Fu deserves to be on the VT Mount Rushmore. Get out of here with that nonsense.

His most positive impression on Tech was playing eventual national champion Clemson that close...and that was with Beamer recruits and multiple guys with NFL pedigree.

Otherwise, as someone above stated, he burned lots of bridges with HS coaches, the players generally hated him, he kept his best friend as OC when it was clear he wasn't fit, he was recruiting COMMUNITY COLLEGE players and trotting them out.

Mount Rushmore? Lol that's hilarious πŸ˜‚


^^^your comment x infinity!!

"Give me a fuΒ’king beer", Anonymous Genius

I never wanted to give a comment -1000 legs down more than this damn comment πŸ˜‚

I must have read a thousand faces
I must have robbed them of their cause
Sickened thirst, Sickened thirst
Keeps it together
Soft white glow in the cranium
A bullseye made sedated

We didn't lose one recruiter, we lost the one guy who apparently had everything in his head. AND Beamer didn't have the kind of recruiting program that a lot of other P5 programs were putting together. We can point to funding, but part of the problem was probably that our head coach had been doing the same thing (and previously very successfully) and probably just didn't know that the rest of college football was advancing. That's one downside to having a coach stick around for 20+ years.

Great illustration of the state of the roster.

I would guess that no P5 school has had more transfers to FCS than VT in the last 18 months, either by % or total.

For those wondering, 1-11 Colorado had 4 players transfer to FCS since the '22 season ended (although there are 24 players exiting who don't have a landing spot yet).

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Thank you for posting this as context. I was wondering if where the people leaving VT ended up was really that much worse than elsewhere. I remember reading a while back how a large chunk of people who entered the transfer portal either dropped down or never got picked up by anyone. But those were overall numbers. Including people already in lower level programs to start with. Not looking just at P5 places.

Knew Fuente was terrible and Pry had a real tough job. But not sure if it was tough like us trying to beat the British in the 1770s or impossible like the Germans trying to stop the Red Army in 1945.

Recovering scientist working in business consulting

I'll also add... I agree the roster was in a terrible spot, and could still improve but it's not like Pry coached flawlessly last year either.

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No, he didn't, but we won't get much better at this point. We have no program capital left. We're probably bottom 4th of P5 jobs right now. He seems to be doing the best anyone could ask in terms of recruiting and relation building (with high schools, recruits and alumni). Maybe it's apathy, but i don't see the harm at this point in letting Pry stay a while.

We're broke from our shitty tv contract in a shitty conference, squeaky clean to a fault, not historically successful, what little historical success we did have is approaching too old to matter, we're too cheap to go out and buy proven coordinators and position coaches, our school is out in the middle of nowhere, we have agents of influence in the high school football circles that are paid to act against us, and our current roster situation screams 5-6 wins max.

I don't see what anyone else could do at this point. VT admin squandered our relevance because they were cheap and too pussy footed to make bold moves that were necessary. And we alumni didn't hold them accountable.

Free Hugh

We're probably bottom 4th of P5 jobs right now.

No we're not. Of 71 P5 teams (including ND and the 4 new B12 schools) were probably 30-45th best program depending on what you value. Bottom 4th would put us in the bottom 17 P5 teams.

squeaky clean to a fault

We're you not at school when Tyrod was driving an Escalade and David Wilson had a tricked out car? We were/are no cleaner than any other program.

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I'd like to hear which 17 programs you think are beneath us.

Also, if that's the case, it seems like that behavior stopped around when Weaver passed

Free Hugh

2/3 of the Big 12, most of the current Pac, wake, GT, UVa, Cuse, BC, Duke, any SEC or Big Ten team that prioritizes basketball spending over football...

Just because we are struggling right now doesn't mean VT isn't a desirable job for a competent coach. We have the resources and dedication to win, and the wholesale buy-in within the AD to make it happen.

Hell, we are probably a better job overall than a UNC. With VT you aren't playing second fiddle to shoot hoops for funding.

This is my school
This is home

Disagree. I replied to the other two and don't feel like retyping everything, but I think you have a really strong bias with your stance. I think you should ask Reddit or some other neutral forum if they agree.

Free Hugh

Here's 29ish programs (not teams) that are 'beneath' us in college football pecking order

  • Oregon State
  • Washington St
  • Cal
  • ASU
  • Arizona
  • Stanford - The school is refusing to make any adjustments to support ESD, NIL, or the transfer portal. In less than 10 years I think they went from being a high end program to the bottom of the P5 barrel
  • Colorado - they were definitely below us, but the Deion factor changes things. The thing is, as soon as Deion leaves, CU is back in the dumps.
  • Kansas
  • Iowa State
  • WVU
  • Texas Tech
  • BYU
  • Cincinnati - this might be controversial, but I think they lost a great coach, made a mediocre hire, and don't have enough talent to succeed in a Texas-centric conference. I think they'll go the route of WVU
  • Houston OR UCF - Houston might be able to thrive in a texas-centric conference. UCF might be able to survive off Florida talent. I bet life gets way harder for one of these two schools
  • Wake
  • Duke
  • BC
  • Syracuse
  • GT
  • Louisville - they just nabbed one of the better sitting B10 coaches, but that was due to a hometown connection, so I left them on this list.
  • NC State - some might disagree with this, but they have one 10 win season in program history.
  • UVA - there's talk that UVA is a more desirable realignment target than us. Until they get snatch up by a P2 conference, they are lesser than us because... gestures at last 30 years
  • Vandy, Rutgers, UMD, Northwestern, Illinois, Indiana - more TV money than us? Yes. Still set up to fail.

I think K-state, Ok-State, and (until recently) TCU are our peers. Both schools have only had a single coach who's had sustained success. Pitt kinda belongs here - feels like a place that has proven that any decent defensive coach can come in and win 8 games, but still a lower ceiling in the modern game than VT.

This isn't an easily quantifiable thing - it's kind of a combination of history, prestige, and future potential - there's some teams here you could disagree with me on. There's also more teams you could make argument should be here - I think UCLA fails in the B10, similar to WVU in the B12. I think the elimination of divisions is going to hurt half the SEC and B10 - but I think the average recruit or (mildly informed) college football fan would agree with this.

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I forgot to account for all of the Big12 minor league call ups. My mistake.

And I disagree with NC State and UVA, I'd honestly put them as peers if you weigh current trajectory and potential for realignment.

I 100% disagree with the Big10/SEC schools. We won't beat out any of those schools for a coaching candidate again under the current structure.

So I guess we're solidly bottom half of the P5.

Free Hugh

Is the question "right now" or based on trajectory?

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

The conversation was about: "could we hire someone better than Pry?". So both.

Free Hugh

I 100% disagree with the Big10/SEC schools. We won't beat out any of those schools for a coaching candidate again under the current structure.

Louisville just beat out Purdue for a head coach, so this theory isn't completely true. Granted, there were existing ties to the university. But I agree this will become an issue in the next 5 years.

And I disagree with NC State and UVA, I'd honestly put them as peers if you weigh current trajectory and potential for realignment.

I agree that NC State and UVA are equal from a realignment perspective, but VT has a richer football history than both schools. Additionally, we are more (financially) committed to football - from 2018-2021 (complete data not yet available for FY22), VT is spending between $5m and $10m more per year than NC state, and $3-$7m more per year than UVA (source: custom report I created on the knight commission website). In that time VT has spent more than just under $30m more than UVA and ~$34m more than NCst.

For what it's worth, VT was the 20th in total spending amongst public schools from 2018-2021 (source). Is spending a perfect indicator of commitment to football? No, it's not perfect, but it's decent. Will maintaining this position be a challenge in the future. Yes, unequivocally.

To summarize my stance - Today, VT is solidly middle class in the 'Power 5' land scape, and middle/upper class in the total FBS landscape. Have we fallen from 15 years ago? Yes. Can we compete in the new era of college football? It remains to be seen, and depends on how conference realignment and NIL shake out, and how Whit/Coach Pry perform.

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Can't disagree with any of these. And you might even be giving Colorado and Cincinnati a little too much credit. If you're a fan of NC State, Louisville or WVU you probably don't think you belong here, but it's at least debatable.

But I also agree that there's no point in thinking about alternatives to Pry right now. Has he made me super optimistic about the future of VT football? No. But he deserves at least a couple more seasons before I break out the pitchforks (if we go 2-10 this season I reserve the right to flip flop on this).

The doll's trying to kill me and the toaster's been laughing at me.

Lets add Utah and UNC to the discussion.

Without Whittingham is Utah considered a better job? It's a solid one in the PAC 12 but considerably smaller fan base, brand, less investment and harder to recruit to than VT

People are flat assuming UNC is a better job, but who cares more about football and is willing to spend? Recruiting is probably a push because they have location and NIL while we have the much bigger football brand and fan base. But as far as potential to grow and sustain VT is the way better option. (Another note on fan base, if you left it up to Carolina's student body and recent alumni over the last 20 or so years they would rather abolish football for player safety rather than win a national championship. Not saying thats wrong either but probably a larger percentage don't care for the sport than would say they are Carolina football fans)

UNC is weird. Everyone agrees that they have a very high ceiling - possibly much higher than VT - but no one (except for Mac Brown v1) was able to capitalize on it.

UNC is more attractive in realignment than it is to coaches IMO. Could a new conference throttle UNC to new heights and help them realize their potential? It's definitely possible.

So how does one define the college football pecking order? Is it a program's ceiling? What they've done to date? What recruits thing? What other conferences think?

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They don't care about football though. If the basketball fanbase applied to football their stadium would be 80k capacity and sold out every game. Not the 40k ish with a large amount being opposing fans. Heck even if you talk to a Carolina fan at a football game they'll admit it's just a nice warm up for basketball season.

If they go Big 10 or SEC you can guarantee they will use a larger percentage of their budget on the basketball program than on football. Meaning even with the boost they will not be able to compete with the actual good football programs in those leagues.

One thing I don't get about the valuations for realignment is why does Carolina get this crazy bump for basketball fan base while Duke doesn't? Carolina football does have more support, but you aren't selling anyone on their football program, everything you're selling them on comes from hoops. Carolina's basketball fan base isn't any less bandwagon or sidewalk than Duke's (the vast majority anyway). The line of thinking seems to be that Carolina can somehow turn their basketball fans into football TV viewers, but if that's case why is no one saying that about Duke as well. It's just as likely to happen for Duke as it is UNC (extremely unlikely in both cases)

UNC's enrollment >> Duke's

bigger alumni base, not rocket science

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

Only by about 10k. Duke isn't small like people think and UNC isn't even top 2 in enrollment in the state of NC. Although they have the advantage, enrollment isn't the driver for brands or realignment. If it was ASU, UCF and FIU would be viewed as a whole lot more valuable.

Furthermore as I mentioned before UNC's currently students and alumni don't watch or care about football. Their university culture is remarkably different from VT, NC State etc. That alumni base does not equal a large football fan base and new alumni care less about the sport, not more.

I'm not arguing that Duke is an equal, just that they're very similar and have the same selling point that UNC does. Just nobody will buy it for Duke but everyone seems to be all about it for UNC

UNC has twice as many alumni as Duke. Enrollment differences and enrollment growth add up over time.

UNC's enrollment is about 2:1 undergrad to grad, Duke's is about 1:2. Grad students are less likely to identify with university athletics for many reasons.

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

If we're addressing the initial topic, I think you might be under the wrong impression about how much of both Duke and Carolina's basketball fan bases are alumni or have any ties to the institution

Yet the size of the respective pools of people who do have ties to Duke and UNC can't just be thrown out because it's convenient for you. You asked why Duke's basketball branding doesn't drive any narrative regarding the marketing of their football team like UNC's does. You got an identical answer from two different commenters almost immediately. UNC's reach is more pervasive

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

because it's convenient for you

It's not because it's convenient to me, it's because the whole premise that UNC's value is set on has to do with their basketball (mostly non alumni) base not the size of their alumni base. If we were going purely based off that there would be no argument between which of VT and UNC are more valuable. No one would choose UNC.

You asked why Duke's basketball branding doesn't drive any narrative regarding the marketing of their football team like UNC's does. You got an identical answer from two different commenters almost immediately

Right and the whole purpose of the comment is pointing out that despite that, UNC's basketball brand will not drive it's football brand. If enrollment is the prevailing theory then okay that makes sense. But anyone who believes that makes their basketball fan base any more likely to support football than Duke's is kidding themselves

UNC's enrollment is almost double that of Duke's.



Onward and upward

Glug glug chump!

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

17k vs 28. Not really double. Enrollment /= athletic success or branding power (although it definitely helps some).

Enrollment aside people are giving Carolina's basketball program an outsized value in realignment discussion compared even to the similar Duke program and fan base.

17k vs 28. Not really double.

1.65x vs 2.0x. I think "almost double" is an accurate statement. "One and two thirds times" would be more precise than "almost double", but either way it's kinda pedantic to single that out.

Deposit whiskey, receive wisdom.

Duke, Wake, BC, Wazzu, Oregon State, Cincinnati, UCF, Houston, Colorado, UVA, Vanderbilt, Georgia Tech, Syracuse, West Virginia, Purdue, Indiana, Illinois, Rutgers, Maryland (yes), Northwestern, Iowa State, Missouri, Texas Tech, Cal, Stanford, Minnesota, BYU, Kansas, Pitt (yes), Arizona

Dang that's 30 some odd jobs that are definitely worse. Would've been easier to just list the ones that are better.

I'll add:

Arguable: Utah, Arizona State, UNC, Kentucky, Mississippi State, Oklahoma State, Kansas State

Arguable but probably at least the same or better: Baylor, NC State, Louisville, Iowa

You're an absolute fool of a coach to turn down any program in the SEC or Big10 for us. Hard disagree.

It's not fair, it's not earned, but it's reality. They have 10s of millions of dollars more than we do to throw at coaches every single year.

Free Hugh

And more than likely you will be fired in 1-3 years for but living up to some insane standard. If ND weren't cheap bastards I would bet Brian Kelly would earn more money from ND than from LSU. He could have stayed at ND until he retired, but now he will be fired at some point.

At this point I don't Brian Kelly is too worried about security and how much he's making. He's more worried about winning a national title somewhere. And because Notre Dame is being cheap, they've capped their potential. So Kelly left for LSU.

"That move was slicker than a peeled onion in a bowl of snot." -Mike Burnop

Right, which is even more of my point, if you're going to the SEC for money then you're short sighted. Fuente made more money than a lot of SEC coaches. Barry Odom has probably made more as an assistant than a HC. There are the 6 programs that can win, the 2 that don't care about winning and the the other 6 that think they're just like the first 6. Well maybe Mizzou doesn't think it's like Bama, so 5 ...

Yea but you just proved your point wrong. He left a cushy safe job for the SEC. It doesn't matter if your points are valid, it matters what coaches are actually going to do.

Free Hugh

As said above, he didn't leave for money, he left to win a title. He didn't go to Ole Miss or Miss st. He went to LSUwhere their last three head coaches all win titles. VT cannot compete with the opportunity that coaching UGA, Bama, LSU, UF, Tenn, and Auburn offer. OSU, USC, OU are also on that list. We have never been able to compete with those jobs, they will always be better than VT. But you can win a conference at VT, you can make a lot of money at VT. When you start comparing VT to Arkansas, Ole Miss, Miss St, South Carolina, Mizzou I can't say that any of those jobs offer anything VT doesn't.

He'll I would not want to be in Fisher's spot as he has not met fan expectations. His contract is large enough that you can start creating conspiracy theories on cheaper ways to remove him from his position than firing him. And there are some fucking lunatic fans out there. Another bad season and I'd be walking around with private security guards.

Well a lot of coaches clearly hard disagree with you. People in the business consider VT a top 30-40 P5 job. Go ask Godfrey, one of the Cover 3 guys or whoever else if you disagree.

No one is choosing Vanderbilt Northwestern Purdue Indiana Illinois Rutgers or Minnesota over VT.

How can this be if they have more money? Well 1) They don't necessarily have more money for football, just more from the TV deal. 2) Recruiting. Most of the Big 10 schools are in absolute recruiting dead zones with decreasing populations and less kids playing high school football. In Vanderbilt's case, try selling recruiting when no one outside the kids parents and a few casual fans will show up to games. It's a high school environment, doesn't matter what conference you're in. Plus you're doomed to lose, takes all of that TV money not to get blown out in every game but you're still 2-6 in conference in a good year and can't compete with P5 nonconference opponents either.

You're framing this as if TV money is the only thing that matters, and while it's important there are a ton more factors. Inconvenient fact: the Big 10 has made around 10 million more per school than the SEC for several years now. Does that mean Northwestern is beating Bama now? The importance of TV money is incredibly overrated. I'm not saying the predicted 30+ million disparity is okay, but without anything close to that the whole "left behind" narrative is nonsense. The media talking about TV deals and causing panic is affecting more than the actual numbers are right now

  • Most FBS coaches are insanely competitive and want to win a national championship. Thus, they 'rank' schools by how likely they are to do so. There are exceptions (Matt Campbell, David Clawson, Mark Stoops).
  • Most recruits want get to the NFL and make money in the process

When it comes to those two things, I think VT is better than roughly 1/2 of the ACC, B12, P12, 1/3 of the B10, and 1/4 of the SEC. We'll see how the new TV deals and 12 team playoff impact this.

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No one is choosing Vanderbilt Northwestern Purdue Indiana Illinois Rutgers or Minnesota over VT.

You're stating your opinion as a fact. To my knowledge we haven't gone head to head with these schools for a head coach and I wouldn't want to push our luck.

It is a fact that these schools have tens of millions more dollars per year to pay their coaches and staffs and that is a major consideration.

Free Hugh

You're an absolute fool of a coach to turn down any program in the SEC or Big10 for us.

Honest question - do you think it's easier to win a national title at VT or Indianna?

Twitter me

If VT doesn't get into the SEC or Big10? I'm picking Indiana. We're in a near peer conference and already can't recruit anyone over a .90. I can't imagine even begin to imagine how bad it will be if we are in the ACC until until 2036 or join the Big12. Then factor in future "players are employees" stuff with universities paying players directly.

I love VT, with all my heart, and we truly are a sleeping giant under the right conditions, but I wouldn't go here if I was an elite talent right now.

Free Hugh

Right now. Today. We are part of the ACC, maybe we leave before 2036, maybe we don't. You don't know.

Twitter me

The premise of this discussion was my position saying I do t think we should for Pry because I don't think we will hire someone better. The speculation of realignment and how doomed the ACC appears is certainly a factor to hypothetical coaching prospects.

Free Hugh

Literally just an empirically false post in order to disagree.

Why would elite talent not want to come here?? TV revenue affects them zero! If you say NIL, remember that can't come from the university right now

Idk. If it's all sunshine and rainbows, why aren't they lining up?

Free Hugh

There is a point in between those two stances that more accurately reflects reality than either of them.

VT has a real and challenging rebuild.
Such a rebuild is not an impossible task.

Both are true

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

I'm not saying it's impossible. I am saying that I don't think anyone else that we could/would hire would do better than Pry.

Free Hugh

....but you think thats true because VT is a bottom 20ish P5 job, not because you have any confidence in him?

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

Little of both. I think he would have been super successful post Beamer. But I think the recruiting landscape has shifted so much and that we've lost so much program status, that his job is nearly impossible. It seems like he's doing everything right (besides hiring experienced coordinators, but I don't know enough to place blame), but I don't think he's in a winnable position atm.

If I'm Whit I keep him until realignment shakes out.

Free Hugh

Definitely, but the idea that elite talent isn't or shouldn't be coming here because of TV contract revenue can only be explained by terminally online offseason brain. It has zero basis in reality

TV money is the rising tide that lifts all boats -- it's hard to recruit well without an investment in recruiting, and investments don't make themselves πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈ

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

I agree with that, but it doesn't make the claim a top recruit should consider Indiana over VT any less ridiculous.

The Big Ten made close to $10 million more than the SEC per school last season. Should a top recruit go to Northwestern instead of Alabama?

Could you point out which comment said that Elite talent isn't coming here because of the tv contract?

Free Hugh

The comment I replied to you said you wouldn't come here if you were elite talent, and implied they would be more likely to go to Indiana. And the only advantage Indiana has over us is TV money

So you made an incorrect leap in logic

Free Hugh

As much as there are commenters around here whose rah rah O&M attitude might give them a pro-VT bias, i think there are some times where your Hokie Trauma (if you will) can come across anti-VT bias

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

I love VT. I wouldn't torture myself being on these forums and going to all the games if I didn't.

Free Hugh

squeaky clean to a fault

If you ain't cheatin', you ain't tryin'. (Unofficial official motto of the SEC).

Deposit whiskey, receive wisdom.

Contrary opinion, and I'm in no way defending Fuente or his terrible recruiting ability, but these numbers are definitely affected in some way (large or small) by survivorship bias. You're talking about players who are transferring out of a P5 program. The very reason that they're transferring out is because they aren't making the two-deep in a P5 program. Of course the majority are not going to get another P5 shot.

Until I see some numbers from other similar programs that show that more than a handful of transfers land P5 gigs, or far more than half transfer to FBS programs, then I'm thinking this is survivorship bias.


If you're not sure if my comment warrants a "/s", it probably does.

Until I see some numbers from other similar programs that show that more than a handful of transfers land P5 gigs, or far more than half transfer to FBS programs, then I'm thinking this is survivorship bias.

Here's some numbers I pulled together:

School Record Last year P5 Transfers G5 Transfers FCS Transfers No Destination Total in Portal
VT 3-9 3 9 10 12 34
Colorado 1-11 11 16 4 24 55
Louisville 8-5 12 3 0 6 21
Auburn 5-7 6 6 3 6 21
Miami 6-7 7 11 0 3 21
Arkansas 6-7 8 10 0 13 31
Texas Tech 8-5 4 3 2 9 18
Georgia Tech 5-7 6 6 1 7 20

To compile this data, I picked a few schools towards the top of On3's Team Transfer Portal Ranking, and then picked a handful of other schools that I thought were similar to us or interesting for one reason or another. Then I went to 247's Transfer Portal page and navigated to the page for each and counted where players went.

A few quick callouts:

  • Admittedly, It's possible that I miscounted or something (I did create these counts manually by... ya know, counting).
  • I based all numbers based on where the team is playing in 2023 (eg; Houston, Cincy, BYU, etc are all P5). ND is P5, uConn is G5.

Anyways, the immediate conclusion one would arrive at after first glance is that Outbound VT Transfers are going to 'lesser' football programs at higher rate than outbound transfers at other schools, and that suggests that our roster talent is lesser.

That said, there are a lot of assumptions baked into that conclusion, for example:

  • It assumes that all players are of equal importance to their previous team - meaning that it's possible that VT is losing third stringers who want playing time while other teams are losing first stringers who hate their coach.
  • It also assumes that (a) a P5 destination is always better than a G5 destination and (b) all programs at a certain level are equal. We know this is false. Is Memphis a better landing spot than Indiana? Is NDSU a better landing spot than UMass? I'd argue yes for both of those examples. Is it ridiculous to count transferring to Alabama the same as transferring to Cal? Yes.

But even with those caveats, I think it's pretty clear that our roster was in a pretty bad spot last year.

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Thanks for putting these number's together and great analysis.

The one thing I'd point out is the P5 vs FCS rates. Like, WOW we have a lot of guys going to FCS, but your point about the relative importance of players is valid to some extent, but should we really have that many going to FCS even if they weren't important?

should we really have that many going to FCS

Nope, we should not. It's an indictment of the roster imo.

The caveats I listed were more counter points/ddevils advocate. Think *some* of the variation between teams can be accounting to things other than roster talent, but overall I think the tweet in the OP is pretty spot on

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And I'm curious how the other 12 "no destination" players shake out.

Nice work outta you. The original tweet was mine, and you went the extra mile here. Impressive.

Yup. Fuente let it slip through his hands like so many Hardees coupons expected outcomes

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.

For all the people who want to define Fuente and his tenure at VT by his inability to recruit, I think you're overlooking his skill in making players also want to leave the program.

The doll's trying to kill me and the toaster's been laughing at me.

That's what you call "positive pessimism". Like "I may be overworked, but at least I'm underpaid" or "this bridge might be falling apart but at least it's swinging in the breeze".

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I can't remember if someone posted it it here or on another board, but I saw a comment to the effect of "Fu and Co caught lightning in a bottle at Memphis and tried to act like the lightning was their idea." Pretty well sums it up. The offensive guru we thought we were getting was a sham, and he had absolutely no idea/willingness or combination of the two how to recruit for and run a major college program. Combine that with the golden parachute he got and frankly doesn't deserve, glad he is very far away from the VT program now. He did a ton of damage in a very short period of time, and because it's the VT way and we just created this media hype storm of how Fu and Beamer had some special bond and he was the perfect fit blah blah, combined with the financial difficulty of the premature buyout, we couldn't get rid of him when we should like a major program would have. Even when it was painfully obvious by 2019 at the latest it was not going to work out to anyone being honest with themselves. Infuriates me, but here we are.

Any idea the rate for P5 players to transfer to other P5 schools?

Basically we knew the roster was bad and i dont think the landing spots of outgoing transfers makes it worse than we thought -- there is a national roster crunch as players have covid years, etc. So if "the numbers always work" across the P5 (and FBS), it's significantly harder to find a landing spot. It's maybe it's not all that surprising to see players drop to G5/FCS just by virtue of having a landing spot where they have a chance to get on the field?

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

The Covid eligibility angle is very interesting imo. It will normalize eventually.

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Bud needed to spend time as at least interim head coach so he could be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

And it's stupid that no coordinators could be inducted.

This is going to be great for the ACC.

Need more legs to give.

Doesn't that rule require ten years as HC? That's a long time to wear an interim tag.

Completely concur that the rule is bad. Bud absolutely deserves to be there, and I presume there are other coordinators that I just don't know because I only follow VT.

Yep, minimum 10 years as HC.

Micky Andrews FSU Defensive Coordinator is one of the top ones

Totally agree, and don't see why they can't add a coordinators category or something. There a plenty of examples of coordinators who had major impacts on their school(s) and the sport as a whole who never wore the big whistle. Don't see why they can't be recognized as well.

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Some more info from Bitter


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Interesting...so we essentially pulled off an RB Trade with NC A&T?? Might be a first.

But yes, this paints a pretty clear picture of where the Roster was at when Fuente left...simply not enough P5 level talent to hope to be competitive.

I maintain that it would be very difficult- meaning you'd have to actively do it- to recruit worse at a school like VT- P5 conference, path to the ACC Champ game with Duke, UVA in your division, sold out stadium, proud tradition, football school than what Fuente did. It is very very hard to recruit worse than he did here. It really is. His best players were transfers and Beamer guys- by far. That shows you how poorly he recruited. Most of these guys landing at small football siberia schools re-enforces it.

Every game for the last 2-3 years of Fuente, I would be always telling/thinking to myself about 4-5 times, things like "man, he looks small" or "why does it look like we are so slow compared to them?"

There was a lot more than a handful of guys on our roster you could tell they were clearly not D1 players, let alone P5 lol

Bleeding burnt orange and chicago maroon

And this right here is why he isn't even on the radar for any potential coaching vacancies right now. His absolute inability to recruit has caused his brand to absolutely plummet to the point where he's flat out too toxic to even interview right now.

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He was supposedly being considered for both the UAB and North Texas jobs. I doubt he gets a sniff at a P5 HC job for a while (if ever), but he's not "too toxic to interview."

"That move was slicker than a peeled onion in a bowl of snot." -Mike Burnop

Yeah I agree - it's not like he mistreated players/staff/fans and left under a gigantic scandal or shadow. He's a football coach who was ill-suited for Virginia Tech. I hate where he drove our program, but I'd never call him toxic and I don't have any ill will towards him personally.

"Now Miami wants to talk about it." *Cue Enter Sandman*

He's a football gym rat. He likes to call ball plays. He has little personality. He's not a bad guy or toxic and maybe even not a bad football "coach". He's just not a CEO/Face of the program guy. And his biggest issue with recruiting was thinking he could coach up anyone on offense, thus wouldn't kiss asses of high school coaches. That was his downfall. I think Jon Gruden (racist emails etc notwithstanding) would have also been a shitty recruiter for the same reason- he thinks he can coach up anyone.

Difference is Gruden has a history of being able to do the coaching up.

not at the college level though. it's a lot different working with raw 18 year olds than it is working with NFL-caliber talent.

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

Definitely agreed.

Toxic is the wrong word, for sure. But he's not going to be a well thought of candidate for many jobs. Ill-suited is accurate.

Onward and upward

I think he'd still do pretty well in the G5 as a head coach. You don't need to kiss as much ass when recruiting the lower levels.
Or if you let him just run an offense he'd probably be fine. But he can't do the CEO type stuff that's required of a P5 HC.

"That move was slicker than a peeled onion in a bowl of snot." -Mike Burnop

Agreed. Especially in todays ultra demanding win at all cost culture. No P5 school is going to hire Fuente until he goes to G5 or lower and wins- big. I could see him getting a P5 OC gig though

I could see him getting a P5 OC gig though

I honestly think he would be happier being an OC or QB + Associate Head Coach at a school that recruits itself than being a head coach (P5 or G5) ever again.

Whatever school hires him does so knowing he's not going to do a thing to actively recruit, and you cannot trust him to evaluate talent.

But in terms of a pure X's and O's coach where everyone does all of that for him, sure, he could be good.

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The issue wasn't with 'actively recruiting'; the issue was with not having a recruiting strategy. If he's at a place where an HC tells him the strategy, when to visit which high schools, etc, I think he'd do much better.

I also thought he did a decent job of evaluating talent. Just couldn't land it because he couldn't put together a cohesive recruiting strategy.

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or when he did land the talent, his bozo of an OC ran them out the door

Onward and upward

I also thought he did a decent job of evaluating talent. Just couldn't land it because he couldn't put together a cohesive recruiting strategy.

He went with Grant Wells over Hendon Hooker

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I question how much of this was Fuente vs Cornelsen. The sense that I got was that Fuente ceded all control of the offense to Cornelsen, including personnel choices. I think the Wells/Hooker situation was Cornelsen's mistake that Fuente just never stepped in to correct.

Onward and upward

Fuente was trying to prove that he could be a "big picture" coach, even at the cost of his own success. I felt that the more involved he was with the offense, the better it was. I don't know if that was because he was really that good, or mostly because Corn was just so bad that anyone was better than him.

Definitely the latter

Onward and upward

I think you mean BB or Ryan Willis, but they're all the same (unless Wells proves otherwise) so I get your point.

However, I will say, HH also lost a QB battle at Tennessee and only got a second chance because Milton got injured. Losing QB battles was a trend throughout his career, under different coaching staffs. Maybe he looks bad in practice, idk.

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My theory is that the more mobile QBs can't fully show off in practice because they are limited contact. (It's one of the reasons I believe Drones didn't look nearly as good as Wells in the spring game.) But then they get in game situations and they can elude pressure better than they do in practice because it's not one-hand touch.

I'm responsible for the original tweet, and I don't think I had registered Dallan Wright at the time (not sure when that news came down). So he transferred to a 2022 FCS school, Jacksonville State, but they are an FBS school for 2023. Not exactly sure how we should score that one, but I guess we have to give it FBS credit. CUSA is on the board!

OT: wait, you work at the USPTO? which art unit?

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3746 - I'm a pump guy

I've listened to your podcast several times. Had no idea we are in the same field (on opposite sides of the coin). I'm a patent attorney focused on life sciences, but I recently did some apps for some medical devices involving pumps. So, there is a small chance our paths will cross professionally (if you do med devices).

If I ever have a chance to meet you in person, I'll definitely have to buy you a beer. Cheers!

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Oh yeah I get tons of blood pumps, etc. I'll kept my eye out for you name coming across my desk (if your name on here is close). Cheers!