Virginia Tech's Scot Loeffler among ACC coordinators to watch

Scot Loeffler_130731_ToS

Not counting schools with new head coaches, there are seven new coordinators in the ACC this season.

Both coordinators are new at Virginia, and Florida State, Georgia Tech, Miami, Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech have one new coordinator apiece.

The most scrutinized will likely be Virginia Tech offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler, who has to get senior QB Logan Thomas back on the beam. Thomas was good in 2011 as a first-time starter (3,013 yards, 19 TDs, 10 picks) but regressed last season (2,976 yards, 18 TDs, 16 picks). His completion percentage fell from 59.8 percent in 2011 to 51.3 percent.

Loeffler is at his third school in as many seasons. He oversaw Temple's offense in 2011 (the Owls could run but couldn't throw at all), then Auburn's last season (the Tigers were, to be kind, awful offensively, ranking last or next-to-last in the SEC in pass offense, total offense and scoring offense).

The Hokies will remain a pro-set offense, but it won't be a simple tweaking. For one thing, Loeffler has installed some "West Coast" offense tendencies. He also wants to increase the tempo at times by using some no-huddle looks. In addition, he wants the Hokies to get back to their physical ways when running the ball.

Loeffler also is the quarterbacks coach, and his work with Thomas will determine how the offense performs. It's vital that he gets Thomas' mechanics straightened out. Thomas has said he too often was off-balance in the pocket last season, and his throws suffered as a result.

Here's a quick look at what to expect from the other new coordinators.

Florida State: Defensive coordinator Mark Stoops left to become Kentucky's coach and offensive coordinator James Coley left for the same job at Miami. Stoops' replacement is Jeremy Pruitt, who had been Alabama's secondary coach. Pruitt is a relative neophyte, beginning his coaching career in 2004 as a defensive assistant at Hoover (Ala.) High. FSU's defense will be more physical and more aggressive under Pruitt than under Stoops. The new offensive coordinator? There isn't one. Coach Jimbo Fisher has called plays since his arrival at FSU, and former Kentucky OC Randy Sanders will take over quarterbacks coach duties.

Georgia Tech: Veteran assistant Ted Roof, who was Penn State's defensive coordinator last season, will oversee the Yellow Jackets' defense. Roof is a Tech alum and will be the school's DC for the second time. He has switched Tech to a more conventional 4-3 scheme from the 3-4 utilized by former coordinator Al Groh, who was fired midway through last season. Roof has said his unit will be aggressive and less reactive than it was under Groh. He has moved All-ACC LB Jeremiah Attaochu to end, and Attaochu could become the most feared pass rusher in the league.

Miami: Coley, a Miami native and Florida State alum, takes over for Jedd Fisch, who became the OC for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Coley will be calling plays for the first time since a one-season tenure as FIU's offensive coordinator in 2007. Coley is known as an excellent recruiter, especially in talent-rich Miami-Dade County, but his play-calling acumen is a question. He has some good talent with which to work, including senior QB Stephen Morris and sophomore RB Duke Johnson. Coley only tweaked the playbook and kept much of the terminology.

Pittsburgh: Dave Huxtable left to become defensive coordinator for North Carolina State, and Matt House was promoted from secondary coach to replace him. House will have his secondary play more zone than it did under Huxtable, and some 3-4 looks seem likely, as well, because of the versatility of star DT Aaron Donald and better depth at linebacker.

Virginia: Fourth-year coach Mike London has a 16-21 mark with the Cavs and is feeling some heat, which explains why there are new coordinators on both sides of the ball. Steve Fairchild, who spent last season as an offensive assistant with the Buffalo Bills, is the new offensive coordinator -- he was Colorado State's coach from 2008-11. Jon Tenuta, who was the linebackers coach at North Carolina State last season will oversee the defense. He has a vast resume as a coordinator. Also new to the staff as the tight ends coach/associate head coach for offense is Tom O'Brien, who was fired as NC State's coach after last season. Tenuta -- who replaced the fired Jim Reid, now an assistant at Iowa -- might be the most blitz-happy DC in college football. He'll blitz anywhere on the field, on any down, with a wide variety of players. The Cavs should be vastly more aggressive across the board. Fairchild replaces Bill Lazor, who now is quarterbacks coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. There won't be a scheme change -- it's up to Fairchild (and O'Brien) to simply ramp up the attack. While the Cavs were 37th nationally in pass offense, they were 98th in rush offense and 95th in scoring offense.

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