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Elliott announces hire of Terry Heffernan to coach the Virginia offensive line

Chris Graham
Terry Heffernan
Photo: Stanford Athletics

Tony Elliott finally has a new O line coach, announcing Saturday that he has hired Terry Heffernan, late of Stanford, to lead the rebuild of the depleted position group.

Heffernan worked under David Shaw at Stanford for the past two seasons.

Shaw resigned in November after Stanford stumbled the last two years to back-to-back 3-9 records.

Prior to his time on The Farm, Heffernan spent two years with the Buffalo Bills as the assistant offensive line coach.

He also spent time in the college ranks as an assistant at Eastern Kentucky and Wayne State and as a grad assistant at Louisville and Michigan, around a three-year stint in the NFL with the Detroit Lions.

“We are honored and fortunate to have Terry join the Virginia football family,” Elliott said. “His reputation proceeds him. He did a great job at Stanford under the leadership of David Shaw. He has a wealth of experience on both the college and NFL levels that he will bring to our program.

“The other thing you consistently hear about Terry is his character, his ability to teach and how good of a family man he is. We’re excited he’ll be with us early next week to meet the team and get to work,” Elliott said.

“My family and I are very excited for the opportunity to come to Virginia,” Heffernan said. “It is not very often that you have the opportunity to join a program, and a University, with such rich tradition both as an institution and athletically. I am very excited to be a part of what Coach Elliott is building and about the possibilities of where the Virginia program can go.”

Heffernan will have to hit the ground running with the O line group at Virginia, which is losing four of its starters from the 2022 season –  Logan Taylor, a four-star recruit from the 2021 recruiting class, is headed to Boston College; John Paul Flores, a transfer from Dartmouth in 2022, is on his way to Louisville; and Jonathan Leech and Derek Devine just decided not to return for what could have been their final year of eligibility.

The guys on their way out accounted for 68.1 percent of the offensive line snaps in 2022.

The O line does return centers Ty Furnish (505 snaps in 2022) and Jestus Johnson (194 snaps), guard Noah Josey (277 snaps) and tackle McKale Boley (135 snaps).

The position group currently has 12 student-athletes on the roster. Elliott told reporters at a Dec. 21 presser that he would like to have 15 offensive linemen heading into training camp in the summer.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].