No introduction needed defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder. Everyone knows his hair helmet, mustache and bona fides with Georgia in the SEC and the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons.
He has a Broyles Award, and he speaks the language of dreamers sold on their ability to reach the NFL.
VanGorder was a home run hire, by any measure that can be taken before he ever coaches a game at Auburn.
But just what to say about Scot Loeffler, the new offensive coordinator hired Sunday, so late in the recruiting game?
For starters, let him talk. He can name drop quarterbacks in his past, starting with Tom Brady, and they all say he’s the Egg McMuffin of quarterback gurus.
Based on what we hear, Brady and Loeffler have each other on speed dial.
But from Hall of Famers to all-the-samers, Loeffler can rattle off a lot of guys he tutored on their way to NFL paychecks in a coaching career. Quarterbacks will want to hear it, and that’s the most important position in any offense.
Running backs, wide receivers and tight ends will have other questions, like what kind of coordinator is this quarterback guru? What kind of system will he run, and how do I fit?
What to take from one year as a coordinator at Temple?
And how is it that such a rising star — a guy who became Michigan’s quarterbacks coach in his 20s —wound up bouncing around and waiting until his mid-30s to get a coordinator shot?
They’re all fair questions, and Auburn head coach Gene Chizik has made the system question scarier by leaving it open. The system, Chizik said during Monday’s news conference to introduce Loeffler, will be whatever fits the talent.
Perhaps Chizik and Loeffler are telling recruits something more concrete. They know as well as anyone that players like to be able to see themselves in something specific.
For the record, Loeffler ran a pro-style offense at Temple and coached in one at during his six years at Michigan.
Tea leaves say that Auburn is going pro-style, a departure from the fast-paced, spread-style offense Auburn ran under Gus Malzahn. Chizik said he wants an offense more helpful to Auburn’s defense and special teams, and why else would a top fullback like Illinois’ Jay Prosch choose Auburn as his transfer destination?
Why else would Chizik make a quarterback guru be such a priority? Pro-style offenses are all about the quarterback’s ability read and throw into tight spots.
And speaking of tight spots, there’s a good explanation for how Loeffler wound up in a few during his career. It just requires a recruit’s attention span to soak in how he bounced through four jobs since 2007.
After Lloyd Carr retired at Michigan, Loeffler became the Detroit Lions quarterbacks coach. He walked into an 0-16 team with John Kitna as its best quarterback and wound up looking for work again.
So he goes to Florida before Tim Tebow’s senior season. Tebow was done after one year, and Urban Meyer tapped out a year later. Loeffler was back on the market.
The St. Louis Rams called, but the NFL was facing a lockout. Loeffler followed former Florida offensive coordinator Steve Addazio to Temple.
That happens in the coaching racket, and it brings us back to the present.
Loeffler’s career appears to be back on something resembling its original schedule. He’s the coordinator in college football’s top conference, the SEC, and his new employer stands a year removed from a national title.
Assuming his new roof doesn’t blow off, he has a chance to raise it.
He also has a compelling case to make for recruits. It just requires some selling on Auburn’s part until results at Auburn can sell themselves.
Joe Medley is The Star’s sports columnist. He can be reached at 256-235-3576 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @jmedley_star.