The ACC Kickoff (aka media days) is fast approaching, something we media members consider the unofficial start of the football season. That’s not until July 21, however. In the meantime, it’s as good a time as any to start taking a closer look at Virginia Tech.
This isn’t a list of the 25 best players on the Hokies’ roster. It’s a list of 25 things/people/ideas that will determine whether Virginia Tech’s 2013 season is a success or not. Next up is …
No. 2: Scot Loeffler, offensive coordinator
Scot Loeffler the quarterbacks coach seems to be held in high regard. High school coaches sing his praises. Former players do too. He’s got a roster of NFL-caliber quarterbacks – Tom Brady, Chad Henne and Tim Tebow (at least when he was drafted) to name a few – that speak to his success in tutoring young signal callers.
Scot Loeffler the offensive coordinator is much more of a mystery. Is he the guy who rode Bernard Pierce and a limited passing attack to a successful season at Temple in 2011? Or is he the guy who was dealt a bad hand at Auburn in 2012 and couldn’t do much to help the inexperienced Tigers’ season spiral out of control?
That’s the fundamental question for the Hokies this season: which Scot Loeffler are you going to get?
It’s too hard to answer right now. Loeffler seems to have made a great impression on quarterback Logan Thomas from the get-go. They’re kindred spirits, a couple of perfectionists who obsess about the little things — which can be both a good and bad thing.
But Loeffler has to do more than just deal with a quarterback. He has an offense to run and doesn’t have a long, storied history of doing so.
Don’t judge too much from the spring. That’s like deciding whether or not to buy a house that’s under construction when it isn’t much more than a basement. The Hokies installed the most base things of the offense and ran them repeatedly, regardless of whether the defense knew what was coming. The point was to drill home those basics until they became second nature, then expand on them in August.
Everyone has heard the broad strokes, though. Under Loeffler, Virginia Tech is going to be a pro-style attack built on hard-nosed running, a physical offensive line and what he hopes will be an NFL-caliber quarterback. It’ll put a lot on Thomas (or as Loeffler emphasized in the winter, “I mean, a lot“) and probably will rise or fall based on his performance.
That’s all in theory, though. On the field, nobody’s seen anything close to a finished product (and probably won’t until early in the season). It’s tough to tell exactly how Loeffler will react the first time things don’t go exactly as planned, and that alone is reason enough for him to rank so high on this list.
Coming Saturday: There’s only one person it could be.
- No. 25: Ryan Malleck, tight end
- No. 24: Defensive subs
- No. 23: Andrew Miller, center
- No. 22: BeamerBall
- No. 21: Ronny Vandyke, whip linebacker
- No. 20: D.J. Coles, wide receiver
- No. 19: Cody Journell kicker
- No. 18: Tariq Edwards, inside linebacker
- No. 17: Detrick Bonner and Kyshoen Jarrett, safeties
- No. 16: A.J. Hughes, punter
- No. 15: J.R. Collins and Dadi Nicolas, defensive ends
- No. 14: Demitri Knowles and Josh Stanford, wide receivers
- No. 13: Kyle Fuller, cornerback
- No. 12: Derrick Hopkins and Luther Maddy, defensive tackles
- No. 11: Young cornerbacks
- No. 10: Jack Tyler, inside linebacker
- No. 9: Bud Foster, defensive coordinator
- No. 8: Laurence Gibson and Jonathan McLaughlin, offensive tackles
- No. 7: Antone Exum’s right knee
- No. 6: Frank Beamer, head coach
- No. 5: James Gayle, defensive end
- No. 4: J.C. Coleman and Trey Edmunds, running backs
- No. 3: Jeff Grimes, offensive line coach