At 32 years old, Dowell Loggains has ascended to new heights, being named the Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator this week to replace Chris Palmer, who was fired on Monday.
The five-game run here at the end of the 2012 season looks like an audition for the job permanently, and the Titans are no doubt hoping Loggains will prove himself worthy of the role.
“You never envision your first opportunity coming like this, but it’s a great opportunity for me to help this football team. That’s my objective is to help this football team,” Loggains said Thursday.
Loggains’ approach has seemingly rejuvenated an offense that was inconsistent under Palmer, weighted down by players not completely bought into his scheme and a disconnect in communication as well.
Loggains says his goal is to put the players in position to succeed. An offense that was counting on Jake Locker, Jared Cook, Kenny Britt, Nate Washington, Chris Johnson and others to be playmakers this year has largely underachieved as Tennessee has slumped to a 4-7 record.
“The most important thing for me going forward is to put our guys in position to succeed. I think that’s our job as coaches. We’ve got good playmakers and we need to find ways to get them the ball,” Loggains said. “I’ve been here for seven years. I know Cookie, I know Kenny, I know Nate and I know Damian (Williams). I know what these guys do well, and now it’s on me to get them the ball and get them in position to succeed. Our job as coaches is to create as many one-on-ones as possible and they’ve got to win them.”
Loggains has never called plays before, but says he is eager for the challenge.
“I think it’s trial by fire. There’s so many things we’ve done here simulating game situations. We’ve gone through drills like this before. … I’m excited about this opportunity. It’s something I wanted to do when I got into coaching and envisioned doing. I envisioned that process happening at a fast rate and that’s what I expected,” Loggains said. “I have confidence in my own abilities and I’ve been fortunate to be around a lot of good football coaches and I’ve had an opportunity to learn from a lot of really good people.”
One of those he learned from was the late Mike Heimerdinger, whom Loggains worked with on Jeff Fisher’s staff in Tennessee. When ‘Dinger was diagnosed with cancer during the 2010 season, more responsibility fell on Loggains, who was quarterbacks coach then as well, and the other offensive coaches during that time.
“The last four weeks (that season), I did all the game plan work, but of course, Mike, being the man he was, was not going to miss on Sundays,” Loggains recalled. “So I have been through this process before. I was very involved in that last game at Indy where we lost on the fumbled snap. But the play-calling, that was the one week that ‘Dinger didn’t show back up until Saturday, so I’ve been through this. As a quarterbacks coach, you’re so involved in the passing game, red zone and third down, and you’re always game-planning. It’s not one guy. It’s the offensive staff picking their ideas and putting their ideas up and you choose the best one.”
As such, he considered Heimerdinger one of his mentors.
“Mike, I would consider one of my biggest mentors, outside of a couple of guys here – Coach Fisher, Coach (Jim) Schwartz and Munch. ‘Dinger, I was with him for however many years and we were extremely close. There’s definitely a thought process and an offensive philosophy that ‘Dinger and I did share,” he said.
Now, he is carrying over some of ‘Dinger’s philosophies and incorporating them into his own system.
“It's exciting just to see the kind of plays that we're bringing to the table and the things we're practicing. It's kind of like Dinger's offense. It has a lot of Dinger in it, which is pretty cool. This is going to be another different story on Sunday,” said Titans tight end Jared Cook.
Loggains’ ideas has the players excited. He is eager to see where that leads.
“There were definitely things that I believed in that I wanted to share with the players, as far as my philosophies and where I wanted this offense to go,” Loggains said.