The search for the Hokies next Wide Receivers Coach began immediately after the staff learned of former Coach Aaron Moorehead’s intentions to accept the same position with Texas A&M. With signing day just around the corner Coach Beamer and co. were eager to fill the position quickly, after some delays they finally did so with the hiring of ODU WR Coach Zohn Burden.
Coach Zohn Burden, which I enjoy saying very much, brings a lot more than an enjoyable name to the Hokies staff and looks to fill some very big shoes left by Coach Moorehead. While Burden didn’t play for a ‘Power 5′ school or make it to the league he had a solid career at VMI and has made a name for himself in the state of Virginia. So much so that, by 247Sports, he is considered the #2 recruiter in Conference USA. Again, Conference USA isn’t a Power 5 conference but they do have quality programs like Marshall, Southern Miss, and Western Kentucky who aren’t going to be nationally relevant on a consistent basis but are known to put together talent in 3-4 year spurts. Do not forget that ODU’s football program was only started back up again in 2009 and made the jump to the FBS in 2014 finishing 6-6 in their first season and amassed the 16th most Receiving yds in the FBS. Burden has been coaching, at a handful of schools, since graduating in 2006. He has been at the college level since 2007 when he began his first stint with the Monarchs as the Defensive Backs Coach. He made his debut as a Wide Receivers Coach with Richmond in 2011 before returning to ODU in 2012 to become their Wide Receivers Coach and Offensive Pass Game Coordinator. The first thing that strikes me about Burden is his enthusiasm and talent for recruiting as well as his Virginia ties. Just looking at his resume he has ties to VMI, Richmond, Fork Union Military Academy, and ODU. He was born and raised in Virginia Beach, VA and has strong ties to the southside of the 757 where he has recruited well for the Monarchs. The Hokies have made their name in the 757 and over the years this relationship has fluctuated. There are highs and lows and many are based on perceptions but many are based on relationships. Relationships with coaches, with handlers, and with former players. Can Burden fix some of those broken relationships and can he bolster some of the pre-existing relationships and use his knowledge of the area and his position with a Power 5 in-state school to strengthen his recruiting resume? I don’t know, but I sure as hell hope so.
“Well, holy shit Drunken Gobbler, you think I’m gonna read all that?”
No. I don’t expect you to so here’s a happy little list I made:
- Young and energetic
- Good recruiter in his current situation
- 8 years experience in a variety of situations
- ODU’s recent success in the passing game
- Unproven recruiter at the next level
- No ‘Power 5′ experience
How this will work:
The passing game gets a boost from Burden’s experience with a pass happy offense.
- Recruiting ties and relationships are healed in certain areas of the 757.
- Current WRs and recruits “buy in” on a young, energetic guy.
How this will fail:
- His coaching and recruiting don’t translate to the next level.
- The coaching staff gets blown up after 2015 season. (i.e. He’s not given a fair shot)
MY SCORCHING, BLAZING HOT TAKE:
I like the hire. Do I love it? I don’t know. I think this is the right time and the right coaching position to give a guy like Burden a shot. He’s young and hungry and he’s recruited well in an area that we like to find a lot of talent. Can I speak to his coaching abilities? No. The numbers ODU put up in their first season as an FBS program were impressive to me and our passing game has never been much to talk about. Can he change that? Certainly not by himself, but, he can be part of the solution. No WR Coach is going to come in and cure all the issues that we have but he can certainly be a part of the cure. I’m going to strongly back Coach Burden until he gives me a reason not to. Welcome to the Hokie Nation Coach Burden! We’re happy to have ya.