This purpose of this post isn’t to bash Auburn’s new offensive coordinator, Scot Loeffler. Promise. For all I know he’s a great guy and all that stuff.
Instead, I’ll use this space to point out the differences in media coverage of Loeffler.
You’re first up, Kevin Scarbinsky:
Is it a coincidence that Loeffler and Nussmeier both showed up, at different times, on the short list of the best coach in college football? Nope. Saban knows good football coaches when he sees them. He and Gene Chizik have that in common.
Chizik added the final piece of his coaching staff Sunday night when he chose Loeffler as Auburn’s new offensive coordinator. If the hire wasn’t met with the same public acclaim as the choice of Brian VanGorder as defensive coordinator, it was praised behind the scenes by more important observers.
Coaches who know coaches.
Know this about Loeffler: He may be just 37 years old, but he’s worked his way onto the radar of several national championship coaches with job openings in recent years.
That list includes Chizik, Saban, Urban Meyer and Les Miles.
So, this is a good hire because Nick Saban thought about hiring him? Or because he once worked for Urban Meyer? That right there is some hard-core analysis.
On the other hand, take the few well reasoned comments of Year2 like these…
I am not a quarterback guru, so it’s difficult for me to say exactly what he did for these players. However, he was only a GA and student assistant when Brady and Griese were in Ann Arbor. He spent one season with Mallett, who then spent three seasons with Bobby Petrino and Garrick McGee. He spent one season with Tebow, one in which all of the quarterback’s bad habits got demonstrably worse (though a concussion likely had a lot to do with that). One name conspicuously missing is that of John Brantley. Loeffler spent two seasons with him with little to show for it.
Loeffler’s background largely came from the traditional stylings of the Lloyd Carr regime at Michigan, though he has spent the past three years learning spread option from Meyer and Addazio. In theory, that experience would give him the ability to mix and match the best of both worlds to maximize the potential of his roster in any given year.
However, he’s quite young a 37. His only year as an offensive coordinator came in a situation where he didn’t have the kind of autonomy that Gene Chizik is likely to give him. He won’t be doing a hurry up offense, as his “protect the defense” comments probably indicate. Beyond that, he was evasive about what precisely he’ll run.
The best case scenario is that Auburn got in on the ground floor of a true “rising star” (Chizik’s words) in the coaching profession. The worst case is that it got a less sanctimonious version of Charlie Weis: a guy who cannot focus an offense and tries to do too much. It’s a calculated risk, but Auburn certainly could have done a lot worse than hiring a quarterback guru after the issues the team had at that position in 2011.
As Scarbinsky points out, apparently Loeffler has worked his way onto the radar of such folks as Saban, Miles, Meyer and, now, Chizik. But you can also view that another way: neither Saban or Miles hired him and he’s not on Meyer’s new staff at Ohio State.