After nearly a month an a half of searching, Gene Chizik has found his choice for offensive coordinator. Auburn hired Temple offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler on Sunday, getting the man that coached Tim Tebow at Florida in 2009. Loeffler will likely also serve as quarterbacks coach for the Tigers. He replaces Gus Malzahn, who announced he would leave Auburn to become head coach at Arkansas State on Dec. 13.
"Auburn is one of the special jobs and special places in college athletics with a tremendous amount of history and tradition," Loeffler said. "I'm excited to get started and look forward to beginning recruiting, meeting the players and staff, and interacting with the Auburn family."
Loeffler's Owls offense averaged 30.6 points and 383.2 yards per game in 2011, good for fourth and seventh, respectively, in the MAC. Temple led the conference, averaging 256.4 rushing yards per game and compiling 38 rushing touchdowns on the season. Owl running back Bernard Pierce finished the year with 1,481 yards, 27 touchdowns and an average of 5.4 yards per rush. While Temple's running game was great under Loeffler, its passing game did not produce much at all. The Owls averaged just 126.8 yards on 15.2 attempts per game. Quarterbacks Chester Stewart and Mike Gerardi split time running the offense and combined to throw 11 touchdowns and four interceptions.
"Scot is a rising star who has worked with some very good quarterbacks, and has achieved a tremendous amount of success," Chizik said in a statement. "He is a tireless worker, is an outstanding recruiter and knows the rigors of competing in this conference. We're very excited to have Scot join our staff and we welcome him to the Auburn family."
Prior to joining head coach Steve Addazio as offensive coordinator at Temple, Loeffler served two seasons under Addazio as quarterbacks coach with the Gators. While Loeffler's quarterbacks put up great numbers in 2009, largely thanks to Tebow, 2010 proved to be more of a struggle. The Gators finished the season ranked 10th in the SEC with 184.3 passing yards per game, and John Brantley's 10 interceptions outweighed his nine touchdowns. It's hard to tell just how much Loeffler had to do with Florida's woes in 2010, as Brantley was out of his element playing in a run-based spread offense.
Loeffler spent his career prior to Florida coaching throughout the state of Michigan. He served as quarterbacks coach for the Detroit Lions in 2008, University of Michigan -- his alma mater -- from 2002 to '07 and Central Michigan from 2000 to '01. During his time at Michigan, Loeffler mentored quarterback Chad Henne to school records in passing yards (9,715), passing touchdowns (87), completions (828) and attempts (1,383).
Loeffler is a bit of a curious choice, only because of the timing of the hire. With Temple's season having been over for more than a month, most believed that Chizik has been waiting on an NFL coach still in the playoffs. Whether or not he was holding out hope for someone currently in the NFL is not known, but it had become clear that Auburn's head coach needed to make a hire. With National Signing Day a week and a half away and the recent de-commitment of Ricardo Louis, an offensive coordinator was desperately needed to shore up this year's recruiting class.
Loeffler has a mixed track record, but if he can live up to his past successes, Auburn's offense should become potent again sooner, rather than later.