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Why it took so long for Tyler Bowen to be announced as Virginia Tech’s offensive coordinator

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Jaguars Rams Football

Jacksonville Jaguars tight ends coach Tyler Bowen works with the players before a game against the Los Angeles Rams in December.

BLACKSBURG — Virginia Tech coach Brent Pry hit a speed bump in hiring an offensive coordinator.

Pry told reporters on Thursday he had no problem identifying his “absolute first choice” candidate in Jacksonville Jaguars tight ends coach Tyler Bowen, but the Jaguars declined to release Bowen from his contract early once the two sides agreed to terms.

Bowen wasn’t introduced as Tech’s offensive coordinator until after Jacksonville’s season ended on Sunday with a 26-11 win over Indianapolis.

“It was just with everything that had gone on in their organization,” Pry said, on Thursday.

The first reports linking Bowen to Virginia Tech came out on Dec. 10 and Jacksonville fired coach Urban Meyer six days later. That presented a bit of a challenge for Pry, who wanted Bowen’s input on the rest of the offensive coaching staff and get him involved in recruiting.

Pry worked with Jacksonville’s general manager Trent Baalke to come up with a suitable arrangement that gave Bowen an allotted amount of time each day to work on Virginia Tech-related business.

“They were excited for Tyler, they were proud of him,” Pry said. “I wanted to work with them…It was a working relationship, not ideal, but it worked out. I think they got what they wanted from T-Bow and he helped us with what we needed to do.”

Bowen, who also coach Tech’s tight ends, was able to vet all the candidates on the offensive staff — a lengthy process that didn’t wrap up until the addition of receivers coach Fontel Mines to the staff on Wednesday.

The 32 year old offensive coordinator will now turn his focus towards recruiting and putting a plan in place for spring camp.

Pry thinks Bowen will be well-suited to both tasks.

Bowen first impressed Pry while the two were on James Franklin’s staff at Penn State. Bowen spent three seasons (2018-20) on the staff before his one-year stint in the NFL.

“He first impressed me as a recruiter,” Pry said. “He was one of our ace recruiters at Penn State.”

According to Pry, Bowen had a “heavy hand” in Penn State’s recruiting success in the DMV during that time. Bowen also proved to be a knowledgeable on-field coach with a “very high football IQ.”

“Coach Franklin and myself felt very strongly about Tyler and what his future looked like,” Pry said. “I had the opportunity to see it first hand in our Cotton Bowl. He did a tremendous job, we scored 50-plus points, as the play-caller in that game. And he’s very familiar with the offensive style that I wanted to run.”

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