“Intelligence” and “toughness.”
Those are two words you hear frequently coming from Scot Loeffler, Virginia Tech’s new offensive coordinator. He wants his players to play smart and be tough. He wants a quarterback who’s smart and rugged, and he wants an offense that plays that way each and every snap.
If Loeffler learned anything during his playing days and early in his coaching career at the University of Michigan in the 1990’s, he learned the recipe to win at the highest level. You win by playing physical, cerebral football … like former coach Lloyd Carr’s teams did in Ann Arbor.
A quarterback for the Wolverines from 1993-96, Loeffler earned his bachelor’s degree in 1998. Then, as a student assistant coach under Carr, he worked on staff during the Wolverines’ 1997 undefeated national championship season and then as a graduate assistant for two seasons. After a stop at Central Michigan, he then spent six seasons as the Wolverines’ quarterbacks coach before moving to the NFL for a season. Stops at Florida, Temple and Auburn preceded his move to Blacksburg.
|1996-97||Michigan (student assistant)|
|1998-99||Michigan (graduate assistant)|
|2000-01||Central Michigan (quarterbacks)|
|2008||Detroit Lions (quarterbacks)|
|2011||Temple (offensive coordinator/quarterbacks)|
|2012||Auburn (offensive coordinator/quarterbacks)|
|2013||Virginia Tech (off. coordinator/quarterbacks)|
Loeffler came to Blacksburg to help install an identity to an offense that’s been wildly inconsistent in recent years. At times, it’s been explosive, and at other times, inept.
After searching the country and vetting out numerous candidates, coach Frank Beamer hand-picked Loeffler, who brings 15 years of coaching experience on the collegiate and NFL levels to Tech. Loeffler, who served as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Auburn in 2012 and in the same role at Temple in 2011, has coached six college quarterbacks who went on to play in the NFL: Tom Brady, Tim Tebow, Brian Griese, Chad Henne, Drew Henson and John Navarre.
When an opportunity came open in Blacksburg Loeffler eagerly jumped on it.
“Coach Carr, who is my mentor still, told me to ‘run, not walk’ for the chance to work for Frank Beamer at Virginia Tech,” Loeffler said.
Even with other college and pro options on the table, Loeffler did eagerly pursue and quickly accept Beamer’s offer.
“Coach Beamer has been here for 27 years, and I’m 38,” Loeffler said. “In my era, Virginia Tech, in my mind, has always been a storybook program. They win. They win by doing things the right way. They’re going to graduate their football players. They’re going to follow the rules and win with integrity.
“Any time you’re at a place that does it the right way, wins on a consistent basis, graduates their kids, and makes sure their kids have a very successful career after football, you run to that place. That’s what Virginia Tech is, and why I’m so thankful to be here.”
Beamer, as many know, is close with Carr. They have similar personalities and goals. Their respect for the game itself, for their staffs, and for their respective fan bases is legendary. Beamer discussed the Hokies’ offensive situation with Carr, and Loeffler’s name quickly came up. Despite a tough 2012 at Auburn, where the Tigers went 3-9, Loeffler is a proven commodity – NFL experience, SEC recruiter, been around demanding fan bases at Michigan, Florida and Auburn and worked for the NFL’s Detroit Lions. Plus, he’ll bring that intelligence and toughness Beamer wanted.
While he visited face to face with other candidates, Beamer knew rather quickly that Loeffler was his man. There was a connection.
“Coach Beamer is very similar to Coach Carr, who I consider a friend and a mentor,” Loeffler said. “He (Carr) was my coach. Every time I hear Coach Beamer talk, it reminds me very much of Lloyd. These places (Michigan and Virginia Tech) have stood for the same values. Win. Do it the right way. Graduate their players. Care about their kids.”
So what will Tech’s 2013 offense look like? What are Loeffler’s ideals?
“No. 1 is I want an offense that will protect the football,” Loeffler said. “It’s amazing the little things – the teams that turn over the football are generally the teams that lose the game. We want to protect the football, and we want to run the football. If you protect it and run it effectively in any league, you got a chance to win the football game.”
But don’t expect Loeffler and the Hokies to be a totally grind-it-out offense. He wants to be able to do both.
“We want to be balanced,” he said. “As much as I like running it, I understand you have to throw the football, especially against today’s defenses. We are going to be very multiple. I’d like us to be a big ‘formation movement’ team and be multiple, and have multiple personnel groupings.”
In easy-to-understand words, what should Tech fans expect?
“We will be a pro-style offense that is multiple, with the ability to run the ball from the quarterback position,” he said. “You have to be able to do that in college football today.”
It’s with the quarterbacks where Loeffler has excelled over the years, tutoring some of the best, such as Tebow, Navarre, Henson, Brady and others.
“My biggest strength is probably the quarterback position,” Loeffler said. “I’ve been very blessed to have great teachers. Lloyd (Carr) was an ex-quarterback. Cam Cameron coached me in college. All the contacts I’ve made throughout my career. That’s what I love to do. Take a guy out of high school, develop him and watch him grow into a great college player and then obviously an NFL player.”
Loeffler is inheriting a guy who will rewrite most – if not all – Tech quarterback records during his career. Logan Thomas is back for one more year in Blacksburg, and that means it’s one year with Loeffler.
“I’m excited about Logan,” Loeffler said. “He wants to be great. He loves Virginia Tech, and these are going to be eight great months with Logan.”
He likes Thomas’ brain, and he likes Logan’s competitiveness.
“Exactly, intelligence and toughness, that’s Logan,” Loeffler said. “You never lose with intelligence and toughness. Moving forward, if we can find another guy who is super smart and who’s tough and has some talent, we’ve got a chance. Leadership is right up there, too. That’s what we’re looking for.”
He’s 38 years old, working with college football’s winningest active coach, at a program that reminds him much of his alma mater in Michigan. Loeffler isn’t just excited because he’s here – he’s excited because of the potential of Tech’s program.
I don’t understand the delay that occurred in hiring new assistant football coaches here at Tech. This is something that could’ve been done right after the bowl game as to not affect recruiting. We dragged our feet here, and I think it might have cost us big time. Bert, Alexandria, Va.
Coach Beamer vetted out several candidates for these positions. Some were still coaching in bowl games or NFL playoff games. There was no impact whatsoever on recruiting since the kids who had given verbal commitments were kept in the loop during the process. Coach Beamer wanted to “get it right,” not just “get ‘er done,” and I’m personally thrilled with the three new members of our coaching staff. Hope you are, too.
The new ACC football schedule rotation is unfair to Tech. Starting this year, the Hokies will play at Miami and at Georgia Tech (not to mention Virginia on the road) every odd year. It doesn’t seem right that the Hokies will have to play the Hurricanes AND the Yellow Jackets on the road in 2013, ’15, 17, and so forth. There should be balance. Henry, Roanoke.
It’s almost impossible for the league to keep every team and every fan base happy. For example, since expansion, Miami has been forced to play Florida State and Virginia Tech every year (the ’Canes are the only team that has that annual challenge), and under the previous breakdown, Miami played both in Tallahassee and Blacksburg during the odd years (2005, 2007, 2009, 2011). I’d suggest that moving forward, having North Carolina and Miami split as home/road foes each year will help Virginia Tech. It’s hard to predict who will be very good in coming years, and remember, Syracuse and Pittsburgh join this year, with Louisville (and Notre Dame) on the horizon. Hopefully, every ACC team improves. The league needs that to happen!
I would love to see the Hokies go out and play on the West Coast, and I can understand the logic of Jim Weaver's statement of driving the two hours to Greensboro and flying out. It’s not optimal. That being said, however, the team could easily fly out of Roanoke to the West Coast on a charter that is not fully fueled at takeoff, stop in Charlotte for a short layover, refuel and be on your way. I know this is what we did when we played a preseason game in Australia. The plane took off from San Diego, stopped at LAX to refuel and use a larger runway, and we were on our way. Just saying it is possible. Take care, John Burke
Good point, and one that I mentioned to Jim Weaver in our discussion But two takeoffs and two landings gets cost-prohibitive for any team – not only the Hokies, but also a team that would agree to a return game the following year. Conference swapping has made scheduling really tough for administrators at all schools. You can check out our future schedule page to see where Tech is going and who is coming to Blacksburg in upcoming seasons right here: http://www.hokiesports.com/football/schedule/future/
Congratulations to you and Cornell Brown on your nominations to the Virginia Hall of Fame! Well deserved, and Hokies everywhere are happy for both of you. My questions? Where is the Hall of Fame, and can we attend the ceremonies? Also what other Hokies are inducted? Any other Tech announcers? Congratulations again to both of you guys. HOKIE PROUD! David, Roanoke.
Thank you so much. Cornell and I are very humbled to be in the Virginia State Hall of Fame Class of 2013. The Hall of Fame is located in Portsmouth, and you can get tickets to the many events here: http://vshfm.com/. Hope to see you there.
Other Hokies who are in the Hall of Fame include: Allan Bristow, Dell Curry, Carroll Dale, Karl Esleeck , Antonio Freeman, Frank Loria, Sally Miles, Charlie Moir, Johnny Oates, George Preas, Monk Younger and a bunch more. Cornell and I are really honored to join them all. As for broadcasters, Marty Brennaman, who called Tech games in the 1970’s, was inducted in 1999. One of the best ever!
I like what I heard in your interviews with Scot Loeffler and offensive line coach Jeff Grimes, but who are our linemen? And who is going to run the ball? What does that look like for spring and then the Alabama game? Dee, Savannah, Ga.
Here is the depth chart that lists most of the players in VT’s program – http://www.hokiesports.com/football/depth/. Keep in mind this chart is from the week of the bowl game, so seniors such as linemen Vinston Painter and Nick Becton are no longer in the picture. Once spring ball begins, and the new coaches can evaluate the progress each player has made in his own personal winter conditioning (which is going now), we’ll have a better sense of who might fit where.
For updates on Virginia Tech Athletics, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@hokiesports).