– 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. Virginia Tech would not confirm the news, nor would several Hokies sources with knowledge of the situation. That’s not to say the original report is wrong, just that there might be some red tape to get through before anything is official.
I do know that Loeffler and former Auburn offensive line coach Jeff Grimes were in Blacksburg to interview Monday. Here is my story today on the Hokies’ coaching situation, which might be finalized soon.
– That leads directly to the big news of today, which is that quarterback Logan Thomas will announce whether or not he’ll submit his name in the NFL Draft. Today is the deadline. Thomas, I’m told, will issue a press release with his decision at 4 p.m. I don’t have any insight as to which way he’s leaning at this point.
I adapted yesterday’s blog post into a newspaper story, listing the pros and cons for Thomas’s NFL decision. You can read it here.
If he comes back, this will be the first time since 2009 the Hokies haven’t had a player leave early for the NFL. Running back David Wilson and cornerback Jayron Hosley did it last year. Running backs Ryan Williams and Darren Evans did it in 2011, and defensive end Jason Worilds did it in 2010.
– There are three coaching positions expected to come open at Virginia Tech — offensive coordinator/quarterbacks, offensive line and receivers. According to Kyle Bailey of Fox Sports Radio, Stanford’s Aaron Moorehead is a candidate for the receivers job. Here’s his bio.
– Cornell Brown, a former Hokies linebacker and current whip linebackers coach, and Bill Roth, radio play-by-play voice of Virginia Tech football and men’s basketball, were chosen for the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame on Monday. Congrats to both.
– Back to the coaches, having covered Auburn from September of 2008 to October of 2011, I can add a little perspective to the recent hires. I offered a few thoughts in a previous blog post, so I figured I’d reiterate them here.
Although I was not around for Loeffler’s year with the Tigers, I’ve spoken to a few Auburn people who were. The stats speak for themselves. It was an unmitigated disaster in 2012. 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 in scoring (18.7 ppg).
I don’t know if that can entirely be blamed on Loeffler, who sounds like he was in a bad situation. His personnel wasn’t great, he lacked a viable starting quarterback and Auburn was trying to transition from an up-tempo, spread-based attack under Gus Malzahn to more of a pro-style scheme under Loeffler. Obviously, it didn’t take.
But I will point out that Auburn’s offensive decline had started the year before Loeffler arrived. Lacking a quarterback once Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton left and needing to replace a number of key starters, Auburn struggled in Malzahn’s final season as a coordinator, finishing 2011 ranked 100th nationally in total offense. Malzahn split after that year for the Arkansas State head coaching gig and Loeffler was hired.
That’s not to say that Loeffler will be good hire. He’s inexperienced as a coordinator (only two years running offenses) and is coming off a year in which Auburn scored 13 or fewer points six times (including a 49-0 shellacking by Alabama in the regular season finale). Still, this is a coach that was considered a rising star in the business only a year ago.
– As for Grimes, no news has broken that he has been hired, although it figures if he interviewed with Loeffler, there is a decent chance. He had a reputation as a good recruiter and teacher at Auburn, a guy who could be stern but also cerebral.
His veteran group was an underrated part of the Tigers’ national championship season in 2010 (after which he turned down an offer to coach for Mack Brown at Texas). Four seniors graduated, however, leaving Auburn thin and young the last two seasons, which led to struggles. By season’s end last year, the Tigers’ two deep on the o-line featured one senior, three sophomores, four redshirt freshmen and two true freshmen.
Grimes can recruit. Just look back through Rivals’ year-by-year database. It’s not to say he was solely responsible for bringing in all of these multi-star linemen — Auburn always did well recruiting-wise under Gene Chizik — but Grimes had a hand in it, which should count for something.
This has been posted elsewhere, but here’s also a nice video about he and his wife adopting a girl from Ethiopia.