BLACKSBURG – Virginia Tech quarterbacks coach and offensive play-caller Mike O’Cain has been fired.
O’Cain said he was informed Tuesday by football coach Frank Beamer that he would not be part of the Hokies’ staff next season.
“It’s just part of this business,” O’Cain said Thursday night. “It’s not a part that you look forward to at all. Sometimes you don’t understand why things happen when they do. Frank’s in charge of this thing. He has to do what he thinks is best for this football program.”
O’Cain was the head coach at North Carolina State from 1993-1999 and the offensive coordinator at North Carolina and Clemson after that, before joining Tech’s staff before the 2006 season.
The Hokies’ offense boasted the Atlantic Coast Conference’s offensive player of the year in 2010 (Tyrod Taylor) and 2011 (David Wilson). In 2011, sophomore quarterback Logan Thomas set the school record for total offense while Wilson set the mark for single-season rushing yards.
“I think we were pretty good,” O’Cain said. “I’m not a big stat guy. I don’t look at how many yards we have. I really don’t care. We all get caught up in that.”
O’Cain, an Orangeburg, S.C., native said the Hokies could have put up bigger scoring numbers some years, but would often focus on running out the clock once they had a two score lead.
“We’d go into the four corners, Dean Smith offense,” O’Cain said. “It’s about winning the game.”
But this season, Tech struggled offensively. The Hokies ranked eighth in the 12-team ACC in scoring offense, averaging 25.1 points per game, and ninth in total offense, at
376.8 yards per game.
Tech went 7-6, snapping a streak of eight straight seasons with at least 10 victories, but did extend its run of going to a bowl game to its 20th consecutive year. It beat Rutgers 13-10 in overtime in the Russell Athletic Bowl to avoid its first losing season since 1992.
O’Cain said he was aware of growing fan unrest surrounding the offense’s productivity, but said he did not know changes were coming until the offseason.
“There was never any indication during the season that anything was going to happen,” O’Cain said. “I’ve been in this profession for 36 years. You know when things aren’t going good and you’re struggling and there’s a disgruntled bunch out there, for whatever the reason, that that could happen. But I had no inclination that it was going to happen.”
The 58-year-old O’Cain said he’d like to remain in coaching and has been “involved” in a few searches this offseason, but “they didn’t quite pan out.”
O’Cain said his age is an obstacle to getting hired as is his primary position. As a quarterbacks coach, he’d need to find a team where the offensive coordinator is not also the quarterbacks coach.
Tech is expected to announce the hiring of three new offensive assistants as early as Friday. Former Auburn offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler and offensive line coach Jeff Grimes will take the same positions with the Hokies. Stanford offensive assistant Aaron Moorehead will become Tech’s wide receivers coach.
Moorehead is expected to replace Kevin Sherman, who reportedly has already accepted a job at Purdue.
Grimes will take over for Curt Newsome. Newsome will become the assistant head coach and offensive line coach at FCS James Madison, where he coached from 1999-2005, sources at both schools said.
Current offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring is expected to be demoted to tight ends coach.