Q&A with Virginia Tech OC Scot Loeffler

First-year Virginia Tech offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler is in a tough spot. He’s got one of the ACC’s most disgruntled fan bases tracking his progress every step of the way. The debut of his offense in the spring game wasn’t exactly an instant classic, but it also wasn’t an accurate reflection of the progress made throughout the entire spring. I caught up with Loeffler recently to get his take on it. Here are the highlights of our conversation. …

You guys took a lot of criticism for the performances in the spring game. What was your take on it?

Scot Loeffler: My take on it was that for the most part, in all actuality, if you could take out practice 14 and practice 15, the last day, the spring game, we had a great spring. We did some things really good. We ran the ball more consistently than what the public has seen. We didn’t put a lot in for lots of reasons. No. 1, we wanted to find out who we are, find our personnel, and find our identity, what we can get away with to be successful. Obviously the last two practices I was furious with the ball security issues and obviously we didn’t run it very well the last two practices.

The biggest thing we have to do, we have to get Logan’s interception ratio down from [16] to around four or five and not turn over the ball. The fact of the matter is Virginia Tech is 54-4 when they win the turnover battle or tie it. We’ve got to protect the ball. With all of the scrutiny about the run game, turnovers is where Virginia Tech has always won or lost the game.

I’m glad it happened. Because you’re able to have an edge walking into the summer time, an urgency to improve. We’ve got some work to do. We have some work to do up front. We have some work to do with the backs. And we’ve got to become more consistent, there’s no doubt, to compete at that level.

How much are you changing?

SL: Pretty significant.

So it’s a lot for the players to digest this offseason.

SL: No question.

Do they like it? Are they excited about it?

SL: Very much so. I think the biggest thing we wanted to get accomplished this spring was a mentality and a toughness. I think we did that, setting objectives of how we wanted things done. They’ve always had an edge on defense. We want to have the same on offense. We worked on that, I think that was accomplished.

How does the offensive line look? You mentioned getting physical, and I know that was a problem for the guys up front last year. How did they look this spring?

SL: At times we were good and at times we weren’t where we needed to be. I think they’ve all made improvement. Are we where we want it? No. But what we did this spring was we shuffled guys around every day. There wasn’t much continuity in terms of the same five guys playing consistently. That’s going to change in the fall. We’ve got a good idea of who our offensive line is going to be. Are we going to announce who’s starting? No. We want them to compete this summer but really early in camp we’re going to identify the five, we think we know who they are, and build some continuity and some chemistry. They’ve got to improve. That’s an area that is a major concern. They’ve got to have a great, great summer and training camp. They’re going to get to experience one of the best defenses in the country right off the get-go, so it will be good for them.

Yeah, no kidding, starting off with Alabama. There’s a sense of urgency for you. What about the receivers? How are they looking?

SL: Youth. Extremely young. Extremely young, at times they do some really good things, and at times they do things a typical 19-, 20-year-old guy does. They need to be more consistent. Way too many dropped balls. If there was one thing I could be negative with, besides the last two practices, the ball was on the ground way too much. We’ve got to catch the ball better. We’ve got to continue with Logan’s accuracy, which I thought really improved, but we’ve got to keep the ball off the ground.

How much did you actually wind up installing this spring?

SL: Probably a quarter of what we’re going to do.

Wow, so you have a lot of work to do yet.

SL: We do, but the thing is, if you establish a foundation you can put in a lot. The terminology makes sense to the kids. I’ve run this offense, the West Coast system, many many years, and whenever you can establish a foundation, you can build and add during the season and it’s never-ending. You can keep adding and deleting. It’s a good system.

Do you feel like the personnel you have fits what you want to do?

SL: Yeah. I do. I think it’s going to take a little bit of time to get to where we want to be completely, but we’re heading in the right direction, that’s for sure.