Two Names Emerge In Coaching Search

by JustinC on January 13, 2013 · 10 comments

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10004539 large 300x239 Two Names Emerge In Coaching SearchFrank Beamer has made it his mission this offseason to give the offense an entire overhaul. With that, will come three new coaches. An offensive coordinator who will likely double as the quarterbacks coach, an offensive line coach, and a wide receivers coach. All three of Virginia Tech’s current coaches (Mike O’Cain, Curt Newsome, and Kevin Sherman) will likely resign and take other jobs. If you read our message board then you know Kevin Sherman has already done so, officially taking the job at Purdue this week.

Obviously, the Hokies are going to have to fill their offensive coordinator spot first before moving onto the position coaches. Right now, two names have emerged out of the pack as the finalists for the offensive coordinator position. As always, these rumors are subject to change.

We’ve talked on our message board about Scot Loeffler, who spent this past season trying to make sense of a promiscuous Auburn offense. Overall, Loeffler would be a good hire. He’s a young guy (38 years old), solid recruiter, and he has a good resume. He’s spent time at Michigan under Lloyd Carr as a quarterback’s coach. He spent a few years down in Gainesville under Urban Meyer in the same role. And, he has two years of coordinator experience at Temple and Auburn.

To me, Loeffler would be a solid hire that could modernize our offense.

The next candidate that has emerged seems to be Joker Phillips who was recently relieved of his duties at Kentucky. This would be an interesting hire and one that I would be a fan of personally. Obviously, Kentucky is not an easy place to win at, especially since they’re one of the worst football schools in the conference. To compare that to the ACC, it’s like trying to win at Wake or Duke. Without a lot of resources it’s not going to happen.

That said, Phillips has spent most of his career at his alma mater. He’s done two tours at Kentucky spanning from 1988-1996 and again from 2003 to 2012. In the between years, he coached at Cincinnati, Minnesota, Notre Dame, and South Carolina.

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The downside to Joker is that he’s not a coach that’s had a whole lot of success in his career. Obviously, when you coach at Kentucky for over 10 years, you’re not going to build an impressive resume. Also, he’s primarily a wide receivers coach so you would have to hire a quarterback’s coach, which is tough to do. Most QB coaches double as offensive coordinators.

Loeffler and Phillips seem to be the two that are sticking out in this search for an offensive coordinator. I cannot confirm that either have been offered the job or have accepted the job. So, a new name could easily surface today and be hired officially tomorrow.

That said, I like both candidates above and I think the Hokies could do well with either of them. On one hand you have Loeffler who’s a young up-and-comer who led a Temple team to a 9-4 record and the 7th best rushing offense in 2011. On the other hand you have Phillips who’s an SEC guy with head coaching experience. Either way, I think the Virginia Tech offense will be improved over the next few seasons.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

sparko January 13, 2013 at 3:14 pm

joker may not have a lot of success in the win-loss column but look at his offensive stats at kentucky (remember that he’s playing against sec defenses). balanced pro-style perennial top 25 offense. he is a solid choice as OC and if he is trully in the running, the best candidate IMO. he’s known for being a great recruiter and a great WR coach (he coached randall cobb up from being a 2/low 3* athlete to a WR who left a year early to be drafted in the second round of the NFL. a very solid choice and would probably make a good HC somewhere with better circumstances (kentucky in the sec is too big of an uphill battle). the only drawback is finding a GOOD, capable QB coach (this is where i could stand to have chuck long).

that being said, i’d be happy with loeffler too

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LJ January 13, 2013 at 6:41 pm

Justin, I can sense you don’t have an idea of how good Joker Phillips was as an offensive coordinator at Kentucky under Rich Brooks. In 2006 Kentucky beat Clemson in the Music City Bowl 28–20 for Kentucky’s first bowl victory since 1984. In 2007 Kentucky compiled a 8–5 won-loss record overall and 3–5 in the SEC East including wins over the #1 ranked LSU Tigers and intrastate rival #8 ranked Louisville Cardinals. Kentucky rose to as high as #8 in the AP Poll. The Wildcats closed out their campaign in the 2007 Music City Bowl, this time defeating the Florida State Seminoles by a score of 35–28. In 2008, the Wildcats went 7–6, defeating favored East Carolina, the Conference USA champions, in the 2009 Liberty Bowl. During that span Kentucky beat Florida, South Carolina and Auburn all as ranked teams in conference play. Joker was very also very successful with developing receivers as OC with Jacob Tammie, Stevie Johnson and Randal Cobb to name a few. He is head and shoulders ahead of any other name that has surfaced to date as a VT OC…hope we can get him.
Joker Phillips as an OC at Kentucky
2006 Kentucky 8–5 4–4 T–3rd (East) W Music City
2007 Kentucky 8–5 3–5 T–4th (East) W Music City
2008 Kentucky 7–6 2–6 6th (East) W Liberty
2009 Kentucky 7–6 3–5 T–4th (East) L Music City

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justinc January 13, 2013 at 7:32 pm

That’s a good point LJ. To be honest, Joker is probably the one guy I know very little about. I’ve never watched a Kentucky football game, at least not one I can remember. But, he is well respected amongst coached in the SEC and I like the loyalty he’s shown to Kentucky. I think that will speak loudly to what Frank Beamer wants. Now that said, there’s no guarantee that he’s the one we hire. But, I think he is in the final two or three.

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Gbd January 13, 2013 at 9:14 pm

Joker would be my #1 choice, way ahead of Loeffler. He’s proven that his system works in the best conference and he has good connections in the recruiting world and he’s a semi- big name. I’ve never heard of Loeffler untill his name came up, considering he was at such a big-time school last year like Auburn that isn’t good. Would love to have joker as offensive coordinator and Receiver coach and Loeffler as QB coach and the syracuse o-line coach. This would get Tech over the hump in big games in my mind!!

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Sparko January 13, 2013 at 11:35 pm

Now that would rock but not gonna happen …joker isn’t even confirmed to be in the running but how couldn’t he be? All things point to loeffler

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rvahokie January 14, 2013 at 1:47 am
justinc January 14, 2013 at 9:40 am

No, he was let go from Kentucky and took a job at Florida. He’s just a WR’s coach there. However, it’s looking less likely that Phillips is the candidate. I think it’s Loeffler’s to lose at this point.

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VTShane January 14, 2013 at 10:44 am

Something that I don’t think anybody is considering or thinking about on ANY of the Blogsites regarding our coaching debacle is the $$$. There is NO way that Weaver is going to pay what a former head coach is going to require! Bud makes around $500K with bonuses/incentives etc. and is by far the highest paid assistant at VT! Now, what do you think Bud would do if (just hypothetically speaking) Weaver and Beamer brought in a new “Hot” OC for more $ that Bud??? I really think that if anything is going to happen at all that Frank will make either a minor change or bring in a low cost no-name who is controllable. The big deal to me is how this is not giving Logan help with his decision!

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justinc January 14, 2013 at 11:27 am

That’s true but how many OC’s make over 500K? Very few unless you coach at Alabama, Clemson, or a school who has the boosters willing to pay these coaches. Remember, the school can only pay 250k of a coaches salary. The rest has to come from boosters.

That may be why this hire is taking so long. But, I think you’ll see VT shell out some money to get a good OC. The football product is the lifeline of Virginia Tech. If that died off, you have no idea the dire consequences it would have to the school. Our entire Athletic Department knows that. I don’t think money is much of a problem here. Plus, Bud got a wee bit of a raise this year.

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Mark January 14, 2013 at 2:18 pm

We may hear something really soon!!

Looking for big announcement at Virginia Tech. New OC has been hired! #VT, #Hokies— Bill Lawson (@Bill_Lawson_TX) January 14, 2013

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