During the summer of 2003, prior to his senior season at Wilson High in West Lawn, Pa., quarterback Chad Henne attended a camp at which then-Michigan assistant coach Scot Loeffler was an instructor.
“In one day I felt his fundamentals improved me,” Henne told me Tuesday, “and I knew right then that he would improve me as a quarterback and prepare me for the next level.
“It was definitely a lot of footwork, and just your balance. Just kind of going through your steps and reads. I just really felt comfortable within that one day. I was throwing the ball better. I felt more confident in myself. Spectacular how he does fundamentals and teaches the game.”
Henne attended Michigan, played for Loeffler and just completed his fifth NFL season, his first with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Loeffler moved on to positions at Florida, Temple and Auburn and has emerged as the top candidate to become Virginia Tech’s offensive coordinator.
Henne was a five-star prospect in high school, per Rivals.com, and his final college choice came down to Michigan, Penn State, Miami, Georgia and Tennessee.
“Penn State, I was pretty much up there every other weekend, and I felt comfortable there,” Henne said. “Scot recruited me out of high school and was the reason I left Pennsylvania to go to Michigan. Really owe a lot to him, how he developed me as a quarterback, as a young man. He’s a pro-style offensive guy who prepared me for the (NFL). Just think he’s very innovative, very intelligent.”
At Michigan, Henne played as a true freshman in 2004 and set school records for career passing yards and touchdown passes. In 2006, his junior season, the Wolverines opened 11-0 before losing at Ohio State and to Southern California in the Rose Bowl; Michigan went 9-4 and defeated Florida in the Capital One Bowl during Henne’s final year.
With Mike Hart at tailback, those Michigan teams ran 61.7 percent of the time in 2006, 56.1 percent in 2007. Henne threw 39 touchdown passes and 17 interceptions combined during those two seasons, and the Miami Dolphins chose him in the second round of the 2008 draft.
Henne and Loeffler played checkers at Michigan, though not as we’re accustomed.
“He would say the full play, and you place the red checkers where your 11 offensive guys would be, the formation,” Henne said. “On the other side he would have the black checkers, where he would align a defense.
“You’d go through the reads. He would rotate the defense down and ask you where you’d go with the football. I thought it was just great with protections and progressions. I thought it was a unique thing he did.”
Loeffler, 38, also was a Michigan quarterback, though injuries derailed his playing career.
“It was great just relating to him, the way he experienced college, the way he went about his business,” Henne said. “I just really think we developed as young men together and stayed so close.”
Loeffler has only seasons of offensive coordinator experience, one each at Temple and Auburn, but Henne said that during his junior and senior years, Loeffler called all passing plays from his perch in the press box.
“I think he has a full handle on when to mix it up, how to call the right plays,” Henne said. “He’s very intelligent in what he does, reading defenses, learning tendencies. Just puts you in the right place at the right time.”
We should learn soon whether Loeffler will be calling plays for Virginia Tech in 2013 and beyond.
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