At 38 years old, Loeffler has 14 years of coaching experience. Six of the quarterbacks under Loeffler’s tutelage were NFL draft picks, and one of those went in the first round—his name: Tim Tebow.
Even with Loeffler’s experience and track record at churning out pro quarterbacks, Auburn will be his first time leading an SEC offense. He spent 2011 as the Temple Owls’ offensive coordinator, and previously he had quarterback-coaching stints at the University of Florida, Detroit Lions, Central Michigan University and the University of Michigan.
Loeffler said his offense isn’t one specific system, but a mixture of several.
“I like them all,” he said.
Loeffler has installed many different formations apart from the shotgun, which the Tigers primarily used the past three seasons, but the multiple looks don’t equal confusing schemes.
Sophomore quarterback Kiehl Frazier, who is competing with junior Clint Moseley and true freshman Zeke Pike for the starting job, said he’s picked up Loeffler’s offense quickly.
Moseley agreed with the contrasting offensive styles.
“It’s completely different,” Moseley said. “Completely different pretty much sums it up.”
Loeffler has referenced “installs,” or the process of teaching the offense pieces of the playbook in small doses, after almost every practice and in answering questions regarding the progress made in implementing his full offense. He said so far, the offense as a whole has learned on the fly.
Concerning Loeffler’s quarterback specialty, while he doesn’t have a proven signal-caller returning, he does have three different quarterbacks to choose from. But Loeffler doesn’t want the competition between Moseley, Frazier and Pike to overshadow the job of who will take the snap on opening day.
“They’ve had great attitudes; they’re working their tails off,” Loeffler said. “Our job is one thing—it’s not how many touchdown passes; it’s not how many of this, how many of that—it’s to do our job and help Auburn win.”
Loeffler said he was impressed with the way Pike has transitioned from high school to college.
“Any time that you make that step from being 18 years old and going to basketball games in the wintertime at your high school to all of a sudden you’re in an environment that’s demanding,” Loeffler said. “We demand that these guys do great academically; we demand that they’re on time and go to class; we demand that they do a great job with football and with (strength and conditioning) coach (Kevin) Yox(all).”
Moseley said he knows his experience from last season holds no bearing on this year.
“I can promise you that’s one thing about coach Loeffler: If he says it’s wide open, it’s wide open,” Moseley said. “He doesn’t owe me anything; he doesn’t owe Kiehl anything; he doesn’t owe Zeke anything. He really doesn’t know us. He’s going to pick the best one.”
One transition all three quarterbacks must make is moving about four yards closer to center Reese Dismukes.
Each have been shotgun quarterbacks their entire careers, but Loeffler has said he will run roughly 55 percent of his offense under center.
“It sets up the playaction really well,”
Moseley said. “He just wants it to look at the exact same, everything the same, no wasted motion.”
Frazier said going under center allows for more freedom at the line of scrimmage pre-snap, but it still is taking time to perfect.
“I like it,” Frazier said. “I haven’t done it much ever in my career. We’re working on it a lot with coach Loeffler and I’m getting the hang of it. We’ll have a little more freedom at the line to pick the play up. Loeffler will call 95 percent of the plays, but we’ll have more leniency.”
Frazier said the more repetitions he takes, the more comfortable he feels running the offense.
“I don’t think I can say how much better I am, but I’m definitely a lot more comfortable knowing the system and the reads and the checks we do,” Frazier said.
The first look at Loeffler’s offense will be Saturday at 2 p.m. at the A-Day scrimmage.