Auburn has hired Scot Loeffler as its offensive coordinator. Just what is the school getting with him?
A difficult name to spell.
People have a hard time with even simple names. I could have bought a car if I had a nickel for every time I saw Urban's name spelled "Myer" or "Meyers". I could upgrade the interior with only one season of "Charlie Weiss".
That's Scot: one T. That's Loeffler: an oe, two Fs, and pronounced "LEFF-ler". Don't expect people to get it right regularly.
A guy who's been around some good quarterbacks, and developed a couple more.
Loeffler's claim to fame is as a quarterback guru. If you read his bio from Temple, his previous coaching stop, you see names like Tim Tebow, Chad Henne, Tom Brady, and Brian Griese. Some places will attach Ryan Mallett's name to him as well.
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.
Henne is the only one of that list he truly developed. He also coached up John Navarre at Michigan. Both of them hold assorted school records for passing. That's pretty good, but he sounds a lot better if he is allowed to bask in the reflected glory of Brady's NFL career.
One year of offensive coordinating experience.
Loeffler has only a single year of offensive coordinating experience from this past year at Temple. Excluding data from I-AA games, Temple was fifth in the MAC and 39th in the nation in scoring offense at 29.7 points per game. It was also seventh in the MAC and 68th nationally in total offense at 375.5 yards per game. Those figures are up about five points and 40 yards over 2010, but the ranks within the conference are nearly the same as in 2010 (fifth in scoring, sixth in yardage).
The offense was heavily run-based, with 636 carries versus 198 pass attempts (no allowances for sacks there). Principally, it was geared around handing the ball off to Bernard Pierce, who had 1,481 yards on 273 carries (5.4 YPC). He served under an offensive head coach in Steve Addazio, which makes it quite likely that he didn't have full control of the offense.
Two years of SEC experience.
For however much value you want to place on it, Loeffler had two years at Florida under Urban Meyer from 2009-10. That's it, though it probably doesn't matter.
A lot of questions.
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.