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New Tech Offensive Coordinator Has Big Challenge Ahead

Much maligned Logan Thomas will look to improve on a year in which the Hokies went 7-5.
Much maligned Logan Thomas will look to improve on a year in which the Hokies went 7-6.

Scott Loeffler has been around; such is the life of an assistant football coach. The former Michigan quarterback has coached at his alma mater, at Temple, at Auburn, and in the NFL with the Detroit Lions. Now he has landed in Blacksburg as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for Virginia Tech, which opens its season against national champion Alabama on August 31.

Loeffler (age 38) talked about his career and the challenges ahead this season with the Hokies at a recent meeting of the Roanoke Valley Sports Club. He also mentioned his coaching encounters with Tom Brady (Loeffler was a graduate assistant at Michigan when the future NFL star was a quarterback there) and with Tim Tebow at the University of Florida as a quarterbacks coach. Chad Henne and Drew Henson were two other future pros that Loeffler has worked with as a coach.

Loeffler said Brady was one of the most competitive people he had ever seen – Loeffler had just spoken to “Tommy” the week before – and generously said of Tebow that he just needs “more time” perhaps to mature into a true pro style QB. Loeffler will also call the plays this season, part of his duties after Brian Stinespring (often criticized by fans) was bumped to another position to focus on recruiting.

One new wrinkle is that Virginia Tech will use a version of the no-huddle offense at times. “We want to confuse the defense and we want to be fast,” said Loeffler, who expects to be 50-50 pass-run. He’ll call plays most likely from the press box.

“We’ve mapped the whole thing out,” said Loeffler of his pro-style offensive scheme, which he said should aid the development of senior quarterback Logan Thomas who is expected to be a high NFL draft choice next spring.

Thomas had a less than spectacular junior season, marked by too many interceptions. Loeffler is encouraging Thomas to step up and take charge as the leader of the offense. “We’re going to throw a lot [at the players],” he also promised. Thomas has “improved immensely” since spring camp, and “is driving the ship.”

With running back Michael Holmes banished from the team for disciplinary reasons, Virginia Tech, which did not have a great ground game in 2012, will turn to J.C. Coleman as the top projected running back. “You always have to have a plan [based on] losing a skill player,” said Loeffler. “We had contingency plans.”  Solidifying an offensive line that also had its problems last season is another goal. “There’s a sense of urgency in that group…they heard the criticism. Those guys have some great pride.”

Loeffler was almost late for the Sports Club meeting, which is held monthly at the Salem Civic Center, since he was out on the recruiting trail. He couldn’t talk about the new signee but promised that, “Virginia Tech got better today.”  Loeffler said he chose to come to Tech because he believed in head coach Frank Beamer, and how he went about his business.

“I’ve bounced around the country a lot and I can tell you this – Virginia Tech does it the right way. I’m honored to be here as a Hokie,” said Loeffler. No other program in the country has won ten games in a row for eight seasons, like Tech did before slumping to 7-6 last year, according to Loeffler. “Nobody understands how hard that is to do. It’s my job [to help] get back on track. That’s what we’re going to do.”

Loeffler said he isn’t approaching the Alabama game in Atlanta with trepidation: “It’s a great opportunity for our kids. They have great coaches, great players. It’s a great challenge. [Until then] we’re just going to try and get a little bit better each day.”

 By Gene Marrano

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