AC In The AM: Loggains Relishes Working With Gase Again

Posted May 15, 2018

You want to know something about the internal make-up of the Dolphins’ new offensive coordinator? You want a snapshot of his dedication and determination?

First, know this: Dowell Loggains wanted to coach football since before he can remember. Even as a freshman in high school in West Texas he would chart plays on a notepad, saving them all for the day it became his livelihood.

But he had to get some playing experience in college in order to complete that journey to coaching, and as a 5-foot-6 inch quarterback there weren’t a whole lot of suitors. There were, though, a whole lot of doubters.

So he walked on at the University of Arkansas back in 2001 and this is where the dedication and determination comes in. Who could have possibly given him much of a chance those first few days in Fayetteville, Arkansas? A walk-on? A 5-foot-6 walk-on? A 5-foot-6 walk-on trying to play quarterback? It wasn’t as if this was Division II. The kid was walking into the Southeastern Conference. The kid never flinched.

Dowell Loggains, as the story goes, earned a scholarship at Arkansas and graduated with four letters, having played in 50 games over those four seasons as the team’s holder. And, yes, he also took a few snaps at quarterback. In fact, he completed the only pass he attempted in his college career. How’s that for a quarterback rating?

But more importantly than that, the experience he gained during those four years, the close-up knowledge he attained, the tenacity that he displayed, paved the way for a coaching career that began in 2005 as an administrative aide in Dallas and included time in Tennessee, Cleveland and Chicago where he worked under Gase as quarterbacks coach and then, when Gase left for Miami, replaced him as offensive coordinator.

“I knew the connections I made (at Arkansas) would help transition me into coaching,” Loggains recalled.

Every stop along the way, Loggains made believers. Back in 2008, he was a quality control coach on the Tennessee Titans, clearly an entry-level position. Ironically, also a quality control coach on that same staff was Matt Burke, now the Dolphins’ defensive coordinator. Two young coaches just breaking in. A mutual respect had clearly been formed.

“How’d my man Dowell do,” Burke asked last Saturday following his press conference and a few minutes after Loggains had his. “We came up in the ranks together.”

Burke smiled: “Don’t let his height intimidate you. He’s a heck of a coach.”

The more I learn about Loggains, the more I am coming to that conclusion as well. There are a lot of reasons to like the fact that he is now this team’s offensive coordinator. He is cutting edge smart. He is a tireless worker. He shares the same “go for it” mentally on offense as Gase. And perhaps most importantly, the time together with Gase in Chicago helped develop an unwavering trust between the two. It’s more than just having his ear; they have each other’s back. They understand how each other thinks, which should serve as an important aide for Gase during the most pressure-packed moments on game day.

You simply can’t discount the right chemistry between a head coach and his offensive coordinator.

“We’re just a lot alike,” Gase said.

Or as Loggains put it, “I’m fulfilling the vision of the head coach.”

They will game plan together, strategize together and work together to figure out what the best fits are for this offense. Both want to run a hurry-up, no-huddle attack. Both clearly embrace the talents of quarterback Ryan Tannehill as the right person to run that offense.

“Hey, this guy can sling it around a little bit,” Loggains said after watching tape of Tannehill.

“The one thing I’ve always been impressed about with Adam is his ability to get guys in position to be successful,” Loggains says. “He takes a lot of pride in that.”

In so many ways, that’s what the time leading up to training camp is about. Put the right pieces in the right places. Mix in the newcomers with the returning players. Continue to establish an identity. Loggains looks at this offense and sees legitimate potential in every area. He sees an offensive line that will be boosted by veteran guard Josh Sitton, a player Loggains coached with the Bears and values as a difference-maker. He sees a deep, talented wide receiver room and a nice mixture of youth and experience at running back. Most importantly, he sees what Gase sees in Tannehill, a player capable of reaching another level in his career.

“I believe in what we’re doing here,” he says.

And now he gets the chance to play an important role, a defining role. The kid that walked onto the Arkansas football team some 17 years ago is now 37 years old with a wealth of coaching experience. He embraces this challenge. He covets the opportunity to work once again beside Gase.

“I’ve been really fortunate to be around a lot of good people at an early age,” he says of his journey. “I’m truly excited to be here.”

Will he succeed and to what degree? One thing’s for sure: Dowell Loggains has beaten far greater odds before.
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