New head coach Brent Pry is assembling an impressive selection of coaches for his squad at Virginia Tech. One of the newest additions to the Hokies’ coaching staff is former Wisconsin assistant head coach/offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Joe Rudolph as the new assistant head coach/running game coordinator/offensive line coach.
Joe Rudolph has spent the last seven at Wisconsin continuing the long line of highly efficient rush offenses and stout offensive line play. Rudolph has helped create a Badgers offense ranked in the top 25 in rushing yards per game in three of the last four years.
In the 2018 season, the Badgers had the sixth-ranked rushing offense, where they rushed for an average of 273.4 yards per game. Running back Jonathan Taylor, now with the Indianapolis Colts, became the third Badgers to rush for 2,000 yards in a season. He was also a consensus All-American that season. Rudolph helped develop four offensive linemen named to the first-team All-Big, with center Beau Benzschawel joining Taylor as an All-American selection.
While at Wisconsin, Rudolph has developed five offensive linemen selected to the NFL Draft. Offensive tackle Ryan Ramczyk was a first-round selection in the 2017 NFL Draft to the New Orleans Saints. He has also seen one running back in Jonathan Taylor, and a fullback in Derek Watt get drafted since he took over.
Rudolph will be taking over a Hokies offense that has been depleted of veteran players from an underwhelming 2021 season. Quarterback Braxton Burmeister has entered into the NCAA Transfer Portal. Running back Raheem Blackshear, left tackle Luke Tenuta, and center Brock Hoffman has declared early for the 2022 NFL Draft.
There are some young talented players that Rudolph and new offensive coordinator Tyler Bowen will attempt to turn into a potential top 25 total offense. Rudolph’s responsibilities will be to develop the Hokies’ game, ranked 43rd in the nation in rushing yards per game (185.3) in the 2021 season. This was an offense that failed to create a consistency of trying to establish the running and passing game simultaneously. With one coach developing the passing game and Rudolph developing the running game while building the stability of the offensive line, the Hokies’ offense will likely be more focused and efficient.
There are some stellar young players coming back for the 2022 season, including running back Malachi Thomas, who rushed for 440 yards and three touchdowns on 93 carries as a true freshman. The Hokies will also return three offensive linemen that have shown potential throughout the season. Two of the returning starters in guard Kaden Moore and tackle Parker Clements were starters on the right side of the line and freshmen.