There appears to be some fire to all the smoke. CBS Sports’ Bruce Feldman tweeted that he’s hearing Stanford offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton is meeting with Virginia Tech today.
The meeting would be in Nashville, Tenn. Hokies head coach Frank Beamer and several coaches are there for the American Football Coaches Association convention until tomorrow night.
Rumors have been swirling in Blacksburg that Hamilton is the top choice for Bryan Stinespring‘s offensive coordinator position at Virginia Tech that, bizarrely, considering all the talk, is still not vacant. In fact, despite an imminent sense of change, the Hokies haven’t announced any coaching moves yet this offseason.
Hamilton, a message board favorite already, would be a young, energetic choice. The 38-year-old Charlotte native who played college ball at Howard and still has Washington, D.C., ties, has been at Stanford since 2010. He served as a wide receivers coach under Jim Harbaugh and was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2011 after Harbaugh left for the NFL and David Shaw replaced him as the Cardinal’s head coach.
Hamilton, who also serves as the quarterbacks coach, had eventual-No. 1 pick Andrew Luck for one year and molded McLean native Kevin Hogan into a solid starter this season. (Pep’s position is now called — seriously — the “Andrew Luck Director of Offense,” a name that was endowed after Luck moved on to the NFL.) With Hamilton on staff, Stanford has been to three straight Bowl Championship Series games, including a 40-12 thrashing of Virginia Tech in the 2011 Orange Bowl.
Hamilton’s run-first offensive philosophy would seem to fit what Virginia Tech likes.
“We want to control the line of scrimmage,” Hamilton told Pac-12 correspondent Bryan D. Fischer prior to Stanford’s Rose Bowl victory against Wisconsin. “We consider our offensive linemen to be playmakers. … We’ve got to be able to run the football and that opens up our passing game.”
Stanford didn’t put up eye-popping stats this year on offense. Its 374.3 yards per game were 84th nationally, three spots behind the Hokies. But the Cardinal were effective with what they tried to do, controlling the clock and line of scrimmage.
The Football Outsiders’ S&P rankings, which grade success on a play-by-play basis and take into account down and distance and field position while eliminating garbage-time stats and accounting for strength of schedule, has Stanford as the 49th most efficient offense this year and Virginia Tech 88th. Last year, with Luck, the Cardinal were 8th nationally.
It’s unclear how serious Hamilton would be about the position, which would be considered a lateral move — and generously at that — from a Stanford team that could be highly-ranked next year. Hamilton, though, could be in line for a significant pay raise. Stanford, as a private school, doesn’t have to publicly disclose its salary information.
He appears to be in hot demand too. The former Chicago Bears quarterbacks coach from 2007-09 has also been mentioned for some NFL jobs, making one wonder if a head coaching opportunity isn’t too far down the line.