Loeffler a Good Hire for the Hokies

by bmann4 on January 20, 2013 · 23 comments

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1.12p loeffler 300x259 Loeffler a Good Hire for the HokiesLate in the season, when it was obvious there would be changes to the offensive coaching staff, Virginia Tech fans were excited about any name mentioned if it meant disposing of the team’s current offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring.

When word leaked in late-December that there could be interest in Stanford offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, Hokie fans became delirious. A young, up-and-coming assistant leaving a top-10 program to come to Blacksburg was reason for fans to get excited.

Once the season ended, head coach Frank Beamer met with Hamilton and it was later determined that Hamilton wasn’t a good fit to lead the Hokies’ offense. There is no doubt Beamer didn’t feel Hamilton was a good fit for the Hokies because he knew Hamilton would always be looking for the next big opportunity. Just this week, Hamilton became offensive coordinator of the Indianapolis Colts.

Give Beamer credit for looking out for the best interests of the Hokies. He knew if he hired Hamilton that he wouldn’t be in Blacksburg long. It is not known if Hamilton was ever truly interested in coming to Virginia Tech.

Once Hamilton was officially eliminated from consideration two other names were mentioned in conjunction with the Hokies’ offensive coordinator position: Chuck Long and Scot Loeffler.

Just hearing those names put Hokie fans in a state of panic. After all, Chuck Long was coaching in high school for goodness sakes. To Long’s credit, he was coaching in high school to be around and coach his son. He was once viewed as one of the top assistant coaches in the country before an unsuccessful stint as head coach of San Diego State. He was also the offensive coordinator at Kansas for two years until the entire coaching staff was dismissed.

Next, fans were asking, “Who the heck is Scot Loeffler?” Once they realized he was the offensive coordinator of an Auburn team that finished 2012 with a record of 3-9 including 0-8 in the SEC, they wondered if Beamer was capable of making a solid hire.

Well, Hokie fans, change is upon us and there are many reasons why this is a very good thing.

Loeffler, 38, was viewed much in the same light as Hamilton just two years ago. In 2011, his lone season as offensive coordinator at Temple, the Owls finished No. 7 nationally in rushing offense. That terrific season in charge of Temple’s offense got Loeffler the more high-profile position of offensive coordinator at Auburn.

Loeffler’s lone season at Auburn didn’t go well. The team finished 115th nationally in total yards per game. They were also 112th in scoring offense.

Much of this wasn’t Loeffler’s fault. He was installing a completely different offense with a group full of inexperienced players. Him being relieved of his duties had more to do with head coach Gene Chizik being fired. A new coach wasn’t going to keep Loeffler. One year isn’t a substantial enough sample size to say Loeffler failed at Auburn.

His track record is quite impressive. He played quarterback at the University of Michigan. Once his playing days were over, he became an assistant coach and one of his pupils was Tom Brady. Perhaps you’ve heard of him. Loeffler and Brady remain close friends to this day.

Can you imagine Loeffler being able to go into the home of a high school quarterback and show him Brady’s number in his cellphone?

Loeffler also coached Brian Griese, Drew Henson and Chad Henne at Michigan. All would play in the NFL. Henne broke many of Michigan’s career passing records while being coached by Loeffler.

After one season in the NFL as quarterbacks’ coach of the Detroit Lions, Loeffler returned to college football with the Florida Gators. In 2009, Loeffler coached Tim Tebow. While Tebow wasn’t and isn’t a refined passer, Loeffler’s experience in the zone-read could be valuable in 2013 and beyond.

When viewing Loeffler’s resume, it is easy to see why he was once considered a top-coaching prospect. He has worked with many future-NFL players.  He has a variety of experience coaching in the SEC and Big 10, and he is still only 38 years of age.

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One of Beamer’s biggest hopes for 2013 is to get the running game back on track. Loeffler’s track record suggests he is the right man. One year at Auburn notwithstanding, teams where Loeffler coached ran the ball well.

His experience in running a pro-style offense will be beneficial to the Hokies, in particular quarterback Logan Thomas. Loeffler will make the running game a priority while also working to further develop Thomas’ immense physical ability.

New offensive line coach Jeff Grimes comes to Virginia Tech via Auburn as well. Grimes had coached the Tigers’ offensive line for four seasons and in 2010 they won the national championship. He helped develop one of the top running games in the country behind an offensive line that featured no future-NFL players.

Grimes has coached the offensive line at six different schools and was once the assistant head coach at Colorado in addition to coaching the offensive line. He has coached 12 players that have went on to play in the NFL.

As a player at UTEP, Andy Reid and Dirk Koetter coached Grimes. Reid was his offensive line coach while Koetter was the offensive coordinator.

Texas coach Mack Brown thought so highly of Grimes that he offered to make him the highest-paid offensive line coach in 2010, but Grimes chose to remain at Auburn.

Aaron Moorehead also joins the Hokies as the new wide receivers’ coach. Moorehead, 32, has spent the past three years as a graduate assistant/assistant wide receivers’ coach for the Cardinal.

Moorehead played for five years in the NFL, winning a Super Bowl with the Indianapolis Colts. Beamer’s interest in Hamilton likely led him to Moorehead so that actually worked in favor of the Hokies.

Each of these three coaches represent a fresh change for the Hokies. Stinespring, a strong recruiter, will stay on as recruiting coordinator and tight ends’ coach.

The average age of the coaching staff just went down quite a bit. That will go over well in recruiting. You need coaches who are more in tune with today’s athletes. Shane Beamer will still likely be the Hokies’ best recruiter but these three will each have their own strong selling points.

In addition to Loeffler’s friendship with Brady, Moorehead played with Peyton Manning for five seasons. These things may sound trivial but in recruiting it will go over well.

Expect the Hokies to have a more diverse offense now. They will continue to build the offense around the running game but Loeffler will help improve a stagnant passing game. The Hokies have the talent at the skill positions to be successful in 2013.

So, Hokie fans, it is time to embrace a new era in Blacksburg. Give these coaches a chance. The Hokies got better this week and it will show on the field in 2013. 

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

justinc January 20, 2013 at 9:13 am

Good stuff Bryan!

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LJ January 20, 2013 at 2:05 pm

Not even close!

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hokiegrad January 20, 2013 at 4:12 pm

Be nice, LJ…

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bmann4 January 21, 2013 at 10:31 pm

Thanks, Justin!

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LJ January 20, 2013 at 2:54 pm

Com-on-Man…Our two prospects for OC was a High School and an unemployed Assistant and no other program was interested in either, except us. Wow, talking about the bottom feeders! Yea I have heard about Tom Brady, one of the best QB’s of all time and Loeffler really helped him…not at all. He was a 7th round pick..Not until he got some real coaching at NE did he show everyone he was a #1 pick and a hall of famer, Loeffler did little for TB. Did you happen to look at Temple’s schedule the year Loeffler was there? They beat nobody in the top 75 that year (Maryland was the biggest win and they won 2 games) ..so then Scottie tries his hand at SEC Auburn and according to some articles I read HE was the problem on offence and Chizik went from a National Championship to 3-9 and out of a job. Bad hire for UA. They had 8 offensive starters that were 5 or 4 star athletes last year and wide-out Emory Blake may go in the first round of the draft. They also had top players on offence like OG John Sullen, RB Onterio McCalebb and TE Phil Lutzenkirchen who will also be drafted high. Go look at the 49-0 Alabama game…the worst play calling since Stiney was in his prime! As for Tim Tebo we all know he did not teach him to pass as a number of coaches have tried to work with him after college to correct his looping motion, little avail. You guys make it hard for reader’s to buy in to what you are saying because of over the top bias. Now just because he was not a national top 50 assistant coache mean he will not do some good thing at VT but to say he was a good hire is overly optimistic at this point. He has had little success thus far in his career, but I personally think we are more like Auburn and less like Temple on the national stage and hold our coaches to higher standards.

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hokiegrad January 20, 2013 at 4:11 pm

AU (Auburn University).

There are plenty of things to like about the Loeffler hire and just as many things to be worried about. We’ll just have to wait and see how it goes. I’d prefer to be cautiously optimistic than pissed… it’s a lot more enjoyable (and healthier). There will be plenty of time to get upset later if things don’t go well.

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bmann4 January 21, 2013 at 10:33 pm

Thanks for reading, hokiegrad.

I totally agree with you. About being cautiously optimistic, my thoughts exactly. Let’s just see this play out. He deserves some time to see if he can be successful or not.

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bmann4 January 21, 2013 at 10:30 pm

First of all, thanks for reading and your reply.

Now, where do I begin?

First off, our two prospects for OC (Long and Loeffler), I covered Long in the article. He isn’t coaching high school because he couldn’t get a college job. I, too, wouldn’t have been happy with him as OC but it is unfair to think he is relegated to high school coaching because he is so bad. He is a former Broyles Award winner, like Bud Foster.

Now about Brady. Where, at all, in this article did I say Loeffler had ANYTHING to do with Brady’s success? Exactly, I didn’t. Read the article before making such outlandish statements. I said he coached him, was good friends with him and that would be a good recruiting tool. Perhaps you don’t understand how impressionable 16, 17 and 18-year old kids are. That stuff matters. I said he did help Henne, which, in fact, he did. Henne has been garbage in the pros but he sure was good at Michigan under Loeffler.

Oh, and Tebow, again, I didn’t say he helped develop him. Anyone knows anything about Tebow would know he has never developed as a passer in the first place. I merely stated that being around Urban Meyer’s zone-read offense was good experience he could bring to Blacksburg. Again, a prior relationship with Tebow won’t hurt recruiting either.

And your point about Chizik proves nothing. Loeffler, as OC, deserves partial blame for Auburn’s struggles in 2012. Even though it was one year and he didn’t have time to fully implement his offense. Go study Chizik a little. He was one of the worst coaches in big-time football. His national title was the closest thing to a one-man show the game of football has ever seen. That’s an average team without Cam Newton. I actually traded messages with Sage Rosenfels, a former Iowa St. QB several months ago about Chizik and his former school was happy to see Chizik leave for Auburn. Chizik is a bad football coach and if anything, Loeffler should have never taken that job. It is asinine to say Loeffler got Chizik fired.

Also, if you’re saying play-calling is why Auburn lost to Alabama, honestly, I can’t even reply to that. 49-0, a roster loaded with future-NFL players, need I say more about why Alabama destroyed Auburn?

I will close my reply with this. I was a little skeptical with the Loeffler hire. I have opened up to more each day, though. We have no choice but to accept it. For years, everyone wanted Stinespring gone, well, guess what, he is gone and now you want the replacement gone before he has ever has a chance?

About the over-the-top bias, you won’t find that here. Go back and read my stuff here and on other sites. I am honest in my assessment about VT football for better or worse. I want them to win, obviously, but I am honest in what I see. And after all, this is a Virginia Tech site.

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VTnyc January 20, 2013 at 3:34 pm

LJ will be here all off season bursting our bubbles. Unfortunately after the past couple of off seasons we do need to be brought down to Earth. Now when I hear reports that our D-line looked great in practice all I think of is what is wrong with out O-line.

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bmann4 January 21, 2013 at 10:33 pm

VYnyc,

Thanks for reading. I am in complete agreement with you.

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69HOKIE January 20, 2013 at 5:02 pm

I am optimistic. ANYBODY would have been an improvement. If these guys don’t get it done, the next AD can clean house.

GO HOKIES!!!!

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ben January 20, 2013 at 5:14 pm

was grimes our offensive line coach in the mid 90′s and if so why did he leave?

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Brian January 20, 2013 at 6:00 pm

No, in the mid 90′s, Grimes was at Rice and Texas A&M doing grad assistant stints.

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justinc January 21, 2013 at 9:41 am

That was J.B. Grimes, who is ironically now the OL coach at Auburn.

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chachi January 20, 2013 at 8:11 pm

Bryan, you might be a tad too optimistic in your evaluation of Loeffler’s track record, but if he can figure out how to run the ball well, then we should see a solid offense. LJ, you are a hard-core, reality-based evaluator (I applaud your logic and courage to call it like you see it), and you need to keep in mind that every program is a different situation. Immediate success for Loeffler happened at Temple due to the cupcake schedule is likely true, but look at the talent he had to work with there. Immediate failure at Auburn happened because of the dysfunctional team that had no discipline and played in the toughest conference in the country. Chizik is highly to blame for the Auburn debacle that was their 2012 season because he did not bring down the hammer. Loeffler shares the blame, but as a first year coach in the program, he was never going to put out that tire fire.

Why is VT unable to hire a top OC from another successful program? Likely because we play in the stinking ACC and are in 5th place in the national perception of conference strength among NCAA FBS conferences. Face facts, as you are wont to do LJ, that until we get to the SEC (if we ever do), we will never have the status to pull a top OC out of any school in the FBS or even the FCS cuz the top OC guys want to play for schools in the top 4 conferences. So take your complaints to John Swofford and tell him to get his people working overtime to get us a daggone TV network so that we can catch up with our big brothers and have the cash as a conference to compete for the top coaches by building better facilities, recruiting better, and winning the MNC once in a while.

Or…#VT4SEC (my preference)

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bmann4 January 21, 2013 at 10:37 pm

Chachi,

Thanks for reading. That is a good analysis. Especially regarding the TV network.

About Loeffler, I agree I am being optimistic. Mainly, because I have tried to keep an open mind about it. The man deserves a chance. Everyone wanted Stinespring gone from OC, well, now he is. Let’s see how Loeffler can do. I can’t say he is the answer or that he’d be my first choice. But, he is here.

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fernleyhokie January 20, 2013 at 10:07 pm

Bryan may be optimistic but he is not necessarily wrong. Those quick to judge Loeffler based on two 1 year stints forget that Beamer wouldn’t even be Head Coach in today’s coaching climate. He would have been fired early on in his career just like Chizik/Loeffler was last year. It’s impossible to say the Loeffler was bad at Auburn. He had an inexperienced team that was trained to play spread, not his pro-style offense. The question is if he was given the chance to go through a recruiting cycle would he have been able to right the ship. Beamer may have stuck to Stiney too long but he gave him enough time to prove, or in this case, not prove himself and the AD and boosters supported him. No one should take that lightly because it’s rare to have a stable program.

I think Grimes is an excellent OL coach. I think he would never go with Loeffler if he didn’t believe in him. I also think Adazzio (sp) is also a good head coach, as well as Carr, and they both speak very highly of Loeffler. He may have been an out of work coordinator but no way he’s a bottom feeder. Like it or not, it’s hard to attract coaches to Blacksburg. It’s not a city and it’s no where near a city. Sorry Roanoke. Loeffler was being considered for NFL gigs and was a hot ticket item just two years ago. He got into a bad situation that didn’t work out. Beamer had that same issue when he took over the Hokies.

I don’t expect Beamer to only give him 1 year and fans shouldn’t either. But we have great kids now, and great kids on the way.

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Jay January 21, 2013 at 3:17 am

Good points. My concern is Grimes.. He coached the OL to play spread, and was very successful. The one year he had to coach a pro style run offence, well we know the train-wreck AU offence became. Its true he is a great recruiter, but is he a good pro style offense OL coach?
Btw, imo FB thinks the only thing lacking in the program to fill the empty case is good talent and hence the push for younger better recruiters. I would have been much happier had BS been shifted to OL+TE duty, and Shane to a recruiting coordinator + Special teams, and we got a good RB coach. Special teams play from VT fell off the cliff, more so than the offence from 2006-2012. Wonder if FB ever considered making changes to RB and ST coaching scene.

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fernleyhokie January 21, 2013 at 6:46 am

Grimes had a lot of attrition on his roster from the year before. Part of that is obviously his fault but I believe, and I may be wrong, that over the course of 2 – 3 years he had repeated attrition of starters leaving. So it decimated his depth and left him with young kids that were forced to learn a new system. Disaster in the making. But I wouldn’t consider him a specialist for spread system. He was at Boise St, Arizona St and BYU when they ran pro systems and others. But he is considered an exceptional recruiter for OL, and has ties to Texas and throughout SEC country. He is known for bringing in multiple 4 star recruits and being a very intense, attitude coach. That’s what you want on your OL, attitude.

I would have liked for Sbeams to take over special teams but I wouldn’t discount him at RB. He has coached it before his time at VT and he had mostly young inexperienced kids at the position last year. I hope Harris keeps his commitment because I would love to see Edmunds and Harris punish defenses, and have JC Coleman and Magnus out at slot or h-back.

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bmann4 January 21, 2013 at 10:45 pm

Jay,

Thanks for reading.

Grimes hasn’t coached the spread his entire career, though. Just for a few seasons at Auburn. So, I don’t think that is too much of a concern.

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Matt January 22, 2013 at 10:59 am

Jay- Grimes is an outstanding coach and recruiter. The guy will bring in OL talent and coach them up. If you look at Auburn’s running game this year, it was outstanding. The issue was Frazier was just an awful QB. Watch the Clemson tape. See if you would trade AU’s running game vs Clemson for ours… they absolutely manhandled Clemson in the running game. then with guys running open on play-action Frazier misses them by 10 feet.

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bmann4 January 21, 2013 at 10:43 pm

Fernleyhokie,

Thanks for reading! You hit on a number of great points. You’re right on not being too harsh on Loeffler for his two 1-year stints. The body of work isn’t there to draw a full conclusion, be it positive or negative.

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fernleyhokie January 22, 2013 at 9:13 am

no worries man. good article. looking forward to the next one

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