Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Hokies reportedly choose new offensive coordinator
CBS Sports says Scot Loeffler will replace Bryan Stinespring, the first change at the position since '02.
Scot Loeffler was at Auburn last season.
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BLACKSBURG - It appears Virginia Tech is close to making a change at its offensive coordinator position for the first time in 11 years.
CBS Sports' Bruce Feldman tweeted Monday night that former Auburn and Temple offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler has been hired for the same position with the Hokies, although Virginia Tech and sources with knowledge of the situation would not confirm that a hire has taken place.
If the report is true, it's the most radical change Beamer has made to his offensive staff since handing play-calling duties to quarterbacks coach Mike O'Cain prior to the 2011 season. Bryan Stinespring has been the Hokies' offensive coordinator since succeeding Rickey Bustle in 2002.
Loeffler and former Auburn offensive line coach Jeff Grimes were in Blacksburg on Monday to interview, according to a source, the latest indication that an overhaul to the offensive coaching staff is imminent, despite no formal announcements that there have been any staff departures or vacancies.
The apparent change is coming just in the nick of time. The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the NFL Draft is today. Quarterback Logan Thomas, who presumably has been apprised throughout the search process, will announce his decision in a news release at 4 p.m., according to a source.
Loeffler, 38, has the kind of coaching resume that might be enough to persuade Thomas to stay. He's worked with six future NFL quarterbacks in his college coaching career, including Tom Brady at Michigan as a graduate assistant and Tim Tebow at Florida as a quarterbacks coach.
His bigger task will be fixing a Virginia Tech offense that frequently has been at the center of fans' complaints for the past decade. The Hokies' offense was a major part of the problem in the team's 7-6 season, its worst in 20 years. Tech finished the season ranked 81st nationally in both total offense (376.7 ypg) and scoring (25.08 ppg), although those numbers have been worse in the last decade.
Loeffler's preparedness for the job remains a point of debate. A quarterbacks coach at Central Michigan (2000-01), Michigan (2002-07) and Florida (2009-10), he's only been a coordinator the past two years, at Temple in 2011 and Auburn in 2012, with vastly different results.
Nevertheless, he's been hired by Lloyd Carr at Michigan, Urban Meyer at Florida and Gene Chizik at Auburn and reportedly interviewed with Nick Saban at Alabama several years ago.
Loeffler thrived at Temple, when the Owls went 9-4 in 2011. The rushing offense ranked seventh nationally (256.6 ypg), in large part thanks to running back Bernard Pierce, who was sixth nationally with 123.4 rushing yards per game.
Loeffler rode that success to become Auburn's offensive coordinator, replacing departing Broyles Award-winning coach Gus Malzahn. But just two years removed from a national championship, the Tigers struggled through one of their worst seasons ever, going 3-9 overall and 0-8 in SEC play, leading to the firing of Chizik and the rest of his staff in November.
Loeffler's pro-style offense never took hold at Auburn, which operated in a hurry-up, spread for three years under Malzahn and lacked an SEC-quality starter with any experience at quarterback.
The Tigers finished 2012 ranked 115th nationally in total offense (305.0 ypg), 112th in passing (156.6 ypg), 78th in rushing (148.2 ypg) and 112th nationally in scoring (18.7 ppg).
The slide had begun before Malzahn left, however. Without Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton and a number of key starters, the Tigers' offense sputtered and finished the 2011 season ranked 100th nationally.
The 44-year-old Grimes, who was known for his recruiting prowess at Auburn, spent four years on Chizik's staff, including the national championship season. The UTEP grad had previous stints at Colorado (2007-08), BYU (2004-06), Arizona State (2001-03) and Boise State (2000) and turned down an offer to coach at Texas for Mack Brown in 2011.
Virginia Tech has yet to acknowledge any vacancies on the staff, although sources have confirmed wide receivers coach Kevin Sherman (Purdue) and offensive line coach Curt Newsome (James Madison) have other jobs lined up. O'Cain has been mentioned as a possible candidate for the Charleston Southern head coachingjob.
Stinespring is expected to remain on staff, although it's unclear what his position would be.