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The Eagles used, as expected, a grind-it-out ground game.
Associated Press | File September
Boston College head coach Steve Addazio gestures from the sidelines in Boston. Addazio and Tech offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler were kindred spirits as assistants at Florida.
Saturday, November 2, 2013
It was first at Florida under Urban Meyer, then later at Temple that Virginia Tech offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler and Boston College coach Steve Addazio first forged a bond.
Addazio, a former offensive line coach, and Loeffler, a former quarterback with an offensive lineman’s mentality, were kindred spirits with what they wanted to accomplish: be physical and run the ball.
“He’s a man’s man,” Loeffler said of Addazio, who gave him his first offensive coordinator gig with the Owls in 2011. “Tough as all get-out. And you can see that on the tape. His personality is showing up on the tape.”
Virginia Tech is hoping the same happens with its offense in the near future.
The Hokies (6-2, 3-1 ACC) travel to Chestnut Hill, Mass., today to face Boston College (3-4, 1-3), hoping to get their lagging offense in gear.
While Addazio’s ruggedness has shown up with the Eagles, a run-first team that has a veteran offensive line and 1,000-yard rusher Andre Williams, Loeffler’s Hokies have been stuck in neutral.
Although Virginia Tech has been better at controlling the ball, its offense now ranks 110th nationally overall (335.8 ypg), 105th in rushing (124.5 ypg), 83rd in passing (211.3 ypg) and 100th in scoring (21.5 ppg) through eight games, numbers that are down from last season’s mess that led to an overhaul of the offensive coaching staff.
The Hokies had one of their worst offensive games of the year in a 13-10 loss to Duke last week, a game in which quarterback Logan Thomas threw four interceptions and the offense scored points on only one of three trips to the red zone.
For a team that’s played with a small margin of error all season, it was enough to put it on the losing side.
“We’ve got one of the best defenses in the country. If we just take care of the ball, we’ll have a chance to win,” Loeffler said. “There were ample opportunities to make plays and we didn’t do it. The two things, the reason we stumbled, was we didn’t take care of the ball and we didn’t make plays when the plays presented themselves. Period. End.”
Thomas had his worst game of the year. One of his interceptions came on a ball he forced into coverage in the end zone, taking points off the board in a game where they were a premium.
But he also didn’t read coverages well. On his final pick, he threw a checkdown pass across the middle when receiver Willie Byrn was running free deep.
Despite those struggles, Loeffler was confident his senior quarterback would pull out of his funk.
“I thought he would,” he said. “It’s just like any great quarterback. If you go outside the box — and what I mean by that is maybe break a progression rule, break a footwork rule, have his eyes in the wrong spot in a particular scenario —those are hard to overcome. I don’t care who you’re playing.”
Loeffler hoped Thomas would stick with his mechanics and progressions and eventually something would hit.
“That’s what he’s been doing,” Loeffler said. “At times it’s been ugly. At times, there’s receivers covered and he’s weaving through it and throwing the ball away and then whenever those opportunities come about he makes the play. That just didn’t happen on Saturday.”
It would help the passing game if the ground game was consistently getting yards from its backs. Virginia Tech had some success against Duke, running for 173 yards after gaining only 179 combined in its first three ACC games.
But that load was again shouldered by Thomas, who took a pounding keeping the ball in the read option game. He ran for 101 yards but took a beating doing so. Tailbacks Trey Edmunds and J.C. Coleman, meanwhile, combined for 22 carries and only 72 yards.
The struggles have already ended Loeffler’s honeymoon period in Blacksburg, although head coach Frank Beamer remains confident that with time, he’ll sort things out.
Addazio, who knows him well, seems confident he will, too.
“I think that Scot Loeffler is really one of the young, bright minds of football,” Addazio said. “I’ve been around a lot of football guys, and Scot Loeffler knows football now.”
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