BLACKSBURG — Virginia Tech’s worst football season in two decades has led to an overhaul of Frank Beamer’s offensive coaching staff.
Beamer announced Friday that he’s hired former Auburn offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler to lead the Hokies’ offense, former Stanford wide receivers coach Aaron Moorehead to take over the Hokies’ wideouts, and another Auburn assistant, Jeff Grimes, to coach the offensive line. Grimes was Auburn’s O-line coach.
Virginia Tech finished 7-6, in large part because of their inability to run the ball consistently and a regressing passing game. The Hokies’ streak of eight consecutive 10-win seasons came to end and they had to win their last two regular-season games just to qualify for the Russell Athletic Bowl — in which they beat Rutgers 13-10 in overtime.
The moves mark the second major overhaul of Beamer’s offensive staff in seven years, and the departures of three staffers brought on during the last one. Quarterbacks coach Mike O’Cain was fired, receivers coach Kevin Sherman left for the same position at Purdue and Curt Newsome left the program, reportedly to head back to James Madison, although the school has not said if he was fired or resigned.
Bryan Stinespring, the offensive coordinator since 2001 and a 20-year member of Beamer’s staff, has been moved to recruiting coordinator. Considered the Hokies’ best recruiter, he will also continue to coach tight ends.
The new coaches will be introduced on Jan. 25, the day they officially start work.
Stinespring held the coordinator’s title, though O’Cain called the plays for the past two seasons.
The Stinespring-O’Cain combination directed a record-setting season in 2011, largely on the legs of NFL first-round draft choice David Wilson at tailback and the arm of emerging quarterback Logan Thomas. Wilson ran for a school-record 1,709 yards, and Thomas had a school-record 3,482 total yards.
But 2012 marked a return to the inconsistency that often prompted Hokies fans to call for change. Virginia Tech finished 81st nationally in both total offense (376.7 ypg) and scoring (25.08 ppg). Thomas had 3,500 yards of total offense, but completed just 51.3 percent of his throws and had 16 interceptions.
Beamer, who is intensely loyal to his staff and often cites the absence of significant turnover for allowing the Hokies to climb the ranks into college football’s elite, decided change was in order.
Loeffler, 38, has coached for 15 seasons in the NFL and in college. He was the offensive coordinator at Temple in 2011 when the Owls finished 9-4 and ranked seventh in the nation with an average of 256.5 rushing yards. He moved to Auburn last season, and the inexperienced Tigers struggled mightily. They averaged just 305 yards, 115th out of 120 teams at the FBS level, and were 112th in scoring (18.67).
He has also coached six quarterbacks who went on to play in the NFL, including New England’s Tom Brady and Florida’s Tim Tebow, who left the Gators with five NCAA and 14 Southeastern Conference records.
Grimes, 44, spent five seasons at Auburn, including the national championship year in 2010, and worked with Loeffler last season.
Moorehead, 32, has been an assistant at Stanford for the past three years.