On Monday, Boston College named Kevin Rogers its new offensive coordinator. He spent the past five seasons as quarterbacks coach of the Minnesota Vikings. Before joining the Vikings, Rogers spent the 2002-05 seasons at Virginia Tech, where he guided Hokies quarterbacks Bryan Randall and Marcus Vick. He spent the 1999-2001 seasons at Notre Dame as the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach and coached at Syracuse from 1991-98. He was already settled into an office at BC when I spoke with him on Monday. Here are the highlights of our conversation:
What made you decide to come back to the college ranks?
Kevin Rogers: I always thought it would be an option, even when I was in the NFL, if the opportunity was right. I’m an Eastern guy. Being out in the Midwest was different. The opportunity to come to a great university like this, working for a guy like Spaz, and Gene D’Filippo, was really exciting for me.
You’ve worked with some great quarterbacks, including two at Virginia Tech. What’s it like coming back to the ACC?
KR: It’s different. It’s different in that I still have great allegiance to Virginia Tech. They were terrific to me there. I had four great years there, but I think it’s a benefit, too, in that I feel like I know the league pretty well. I kind of know what it’s all about. I think that’s some help.
Have you had any time at all to look at film of Chase Rettig?
KR: No, not at all. I saw the bowl game. You really can’t tell too much from the bowl game, but he’s a young guy. I thought he was competitive. He looked like he had good arm strength. He looked like he moved around pretty good, but I haven’t really had a chance to evaluate him. Even on film, I’d like to have a hands-on experience before I make any kind of evaluation on him.
What’s your offensive philosophy? How would you describe your style?
KR: I think it depends on what your talent level is, what your strengths are. Obviously everybody wants to be wide open and throw the ball all over the field and run trick plays, and things like that. You’ve got to fit the round peg in the round hole. Find out what you’re capable of doing and go from there. I feel like I’ve had a lot of experience in a lot of different aspects, whether it’s running the option or the West Coast offense, a lot of different directions.
Is that entirely up to you?
KR: Well, the head coach has the final say, and I’m going to really lean heavily on the offensive assistants here. I’ve heard nothing but great things about them and what we’re capable of doing here and what direction we want to go.
What’s the timeline for you in terms of how you decide that, when you look at the personnel? Spring football is right around the corner and obviously you guys have a lot of work to do.
KR: It is. We’ve got to figure the scope of the package we want to work on, and try to push the envelope as much as we can in terms of what we put in, but I think there’s going to be some carryover, too, with what coach Tranquill had done the previous couple of years. Some of the principles will be the same, we’ve just got to get better at them.
How aware are you of some of the struggles BC has had?
KR: To be honest with you, I really don’t know that much. Obviously we’ve got to get better on offense. They’ve had situations here at quarterback that have been really, really difficult for the coaching staff, whether it’s guys leaving school or having to play a freshman. It’s been tough, but God bless them. It was a situation last year they had to play to their strengths, which was playing defense, don’t turn the ball over. Hopefully we can turn it around a little bit, put some points on the board and take a little stress off the defense.
Overall what’s your career been like? You’ve got Favre, Donovan McNabb, a Vick … pretty impressive name-dropping there.
KR: That just happens to be the way it is. Most of the good things that have happened to me in this sport are related to No. 5 at Syracuse. I had the opportunity to coach him. From there I went to Notre Dame. … Most of the fortunate things that have happened to me in my career are duly responsible to No. 5 at Syracuse.
In terms of recruiting, a lot of guys in the NFL don’t like to do that, but clearly you know what it’s all about, having spent so much time in college. What’s your take on recruiting, and have you been assigned an area?
KR: It hasn’t been specified, but one thing good about getting old is that I’ve got experience recruiting up and down the East coast, from Massachusetts all the way down to Florida. I’m certainly willing to do that. It’s kind of a forte of mine. I think I’ve done a decent job of that over the years. Whatever they want me to do, I’m going to get done.
What was your time like at Virginia Tech?
KR: It was terrific. I love coach Beamer. I love the guys I worked with. It was a great experience. Football down there is kind of a religion. It was a fun place to coach. It was the first time in my career I’d ever worked for an icon where you didn’t have to worry about your security. You can enjoy your life and you did and coach Beamer enjoyed his life, but always made you a part of it. After every bowl game we went on a cruise or a trip. In fact I saw my first NASCAR race with him. He brought me to Bristol, and I was sitting on the start/finish line. I got in the pits, I went to the drivers’ meeting, it was great. It was a lot of fun. The thing about that place was it was a good state in terms of high school football. You go in there and you were like Norm on "Cheers" in most places. You could recruit.