The Justin Fuente File

For those schools looking for bright young coaches, Justin Fuente can’t be ignored.  An offensive background has not warped his sense of solid football fundamentals and defense.  Fuente is sure to be pursued by many well-funded suitors.  Here is a look at his background.

Age: 41

Played: QB OU and Murray State

High School All American At Tulsa Union


2001–2003 Illinois State (QB)
2004–2006 Illinois State (OC/QB)
2007–2008 TCU (RB)
2009–2011 TCU (Co-OC/QB)
2012–2015 Memphis
2016–present Virginia Tech

Head Coaching Record:

2012 Memphis 4–8 4–4 T–3rd (East)
2013 Memphis 3–9 1–7 T–9th
2014 Memphis 10–3 7–1 T–1st W Miami Beach 25 25
2015 Memphis 9–3 5–3 3rd (West) Birmingham*
Memphis: 26–23 17–15 * Did not coach bowl game

Virginia Tech Hokies (Atlantic Coast Conference) (2016–present)
2016 Virginia Tech 10–4 6–2 1st (Coastal) W Belk 16 16

Key Questions and Analysis

Went 10-4 in Year 1 at VT with a team coming off back to back 7-6 seasons.

Known as the assistant who helped revamp the TCU offense and make Andy Dalton a good college qb

He’s the rare guy with an OC background who’s goal is to run the ball successfully and win the game, more than trying to set scoring records. Understands what tempo really is. and what its NOT. (a race to run the most plays)

Took over a terrible Memphis program that had won 5 games over the previous 3 seasons. Won 10 games and a league title in year 3.

Always been pretty balanced run/pass in terms of attempts, even at memphis. thus far at VT, he has run more than he has passed.

Hired Dave Odom to be his DC at memphis. Odom got the Mizzou HC job and had memphis playing top 25 defense.

Even as a career offensive guy, his time under Patterson, with Odom, and now with Bud Foster have to lead me to believe he damn sure understands good defense and philosophically why it is important. Is very much a hands on HC. Very involved with offense, defense and ST. Hes not the career OC who stays on one end of the practice field. Coaches hard and can be hard on players.

His personality is tough. Is it tough love on his players or is he an asshole? He has a way of coaching that reminds me of Billy Gillispie. Tough, sarcastic, nothing ever quite good enough. Not a lot of feel good moments. More old school than what is currently popular. Do players respect him? Is he a strong leader?

Says “mmmkaaaayyyy” alot. Could infuriate players if losing. Jeff Bridges voice double. Really sounds like Jeff Bridges.

Not exactly charismatic. Fairly middle of the road in personality.

Straightforward and honest with the media. Professional, more insightful than average. Tries to actually answer questions. Seems fair.

Does an incredible job with formations. Will use many unconventional formation throughout a game to get a matchup he wants.  Understands 1 on 1 football extremely well.  (My player is better than your defender so let’s get him 1 on 1)


His highest ranked class at Memphis was #77

1st full class at VT finished #26, #4 in ACC
This current class is ranked #25, #4 in ACC

slightly better than Beamer’s final classes. but pretty close to a standard VT recruiting class. Hasn’t signed a 5 star, yet.


Has a $6m buyout in his VT contract. Goes down about $1m each year through 2021.

Guaranteed Money: 
$3.2 million in 2016. Under the extended contract, $3.25 in 2017. He stands to make $3.4 million in 2018, $3.5 million in 2019, $3.65 million in 2020, $3.75 million in 2021, $3.9 million in 2022 and $4 million in 2023 in base salary and supplemental compensation.

Players Drafted:

Paxton Lynch, QB 1st round

Lynch started for Fuente as a freshman. He’s the only high draft pick that came out of his Memphis classes. Fuente is known as a really good evaluator of talent, its what people have said about him. But, at least during his 4 years at Memphis he won with kids that really never showed a lot of NFL upside. His WRs, RBs, DBs…the types of spots where you might expect a school like Memphis to have some better players…not really. he won with a great qb and very solid schemes and fundamentals.

Key Staff

Bud Foster, DC
brad Cornelson, OC/QBs
Galen Scott, Safeties and AHC
Brian Mitchell, CBs
Vance VICe, OL

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Talking ball for ball fans.

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