Pugh, as I’ve written before, started 45 games in his Auburn career from 2007-10. The Hoover, Ala., native played some tackle early in his career out of necessity but settled in at his natural position, center, as a sophomore and thrived, earning a reputation as an ornery (some opposing fans would say dirty) but extremely smart leader on the offensive line.
He was a Rimington Award finalist as a senior and was a key cog during Auburn’s national championship run in 2010 (he also once dressed up as Reno 911′s Lieutenant Dangle at a team Halloween function).
Pugh signed as an undrafted free agent with the Carolina Panthers the following spring briefly before starting his coaching career. He was a GA with offensive line coach Jeff Grimes last year at Auburn, following him to Virginia Tech this year.
Here’s what Grimes had to say about Pugh last week: “Ryan, No. 1, is extremely intelligent. Like all great centers, he knows the game. He grew up in a football family. His dad’s a coach, so he knows a great deal about the game. Has got a tremendous work ethic. Not only is he helping me from the standpoint of just the logistics of coaching guys, but also helping establish the mentality that we want.”
I haven’t had a chance to talk with Pugh at Virginia Tech (and media opportunities are limited in the spring, so I don’t know if I will), but here are a few articles I found about Pugh from near the end of his senior season in 2010 and right before the BCS title game against Oregon: