New Gamecocks OC Dowell Loggains makes strong impression

When South Carolina quarterback Luke Doty found out his new offensive coordinator was going to be Dowell Loggains, he picked up his phone and texted Connor Shaw.

Doty knew Shaw — the winningest quarterback in Gamecocks history — had played for Loggains in NFL stops at Chicago and Cleveland. Before Loggains was ever officially hired, Shaw was vocal in his support for him on Twitter.

But Doty wanted to hear it from Shaw directly.

“He was like, ‘Yeah, man, he’s awesome. You’re gonna love him, and he’s gonna do some great things for you also,’ ” Doty recalled Tuesday.

“If the GOAT says he’s all right, he’s probably all right.”

Hired to fill the void left by Marcus Satterfield’s departure to Nebraska, Loggains hasn’t yet had an opportunity to work with the Gamecocks in a coaching capacity. He won’t be calling plays at the Gator Bowl on Dec. 30. But the former Arkansas tight ends coach has already made a positive impression on Doty and other offensive players in his brief interactions with them.

Doty called Loggains “very genuine” and a “great guy.” The first word that came to running back Juju McDowell’s mind about the 42-year-old Loggains was “charisma.”

“He personally walked by and greeted every person — I think not just on offense — but the team,” McDowell said. “That said a lot to me about him as a person, as a man, because it takes a lot for a man to single-handedly greet everybody in the organization on the first day.

“We’ve had a couple of conversations, and he’s a cool guy. I’m really ecstatic about what we can do here, especially witnessing some of the things he did at previous schools and programs.”

Before working the last two seasons with his alma mater Arkansas, Loggains had spent the previous 16 years coaching with six different NFL teams. From 2010 to 2020, he was an offensive coordinator and/or quarterbacks coach for the Tennessee Titans, Cleveland Browns, Chicago Bears, Miami Dolphins and New York Jets.

Because the offenses he coordinated ranked near the bottom of the NFL, Loggains’ hiring didn’t thrill some portions of the Gamecocks fan base. But an impassioned Shane Beamer talked up Loggains’ resume and NFL connections during his introductory press conference, and former NFL quarterbacks like Shaw, Jay Cutler and Matt Hasselbeck threw support behind Loggains on social media.

Loggains’ experience working with Shaw and Cutler is something that excites Doty, who also said Tuesday he “absolutely” plans to return to South Carolina next season after sitting behind Spencer Rattler this season. With Rattler’s future still up in the air, it’s possible Doty could play a bigger role for USC next season.

Either way, he expressed optimism for Loggain’s offensive scheme.

“I think he’s gonna bring a lot of juice,” Doty said. “He’ll definitely bring a lot of good stuff that will take the kind of playmakers that we have and fit the system around them and what they’re good at.

“So I think that’s what everybody’s excited about.”

Michael Lananna specializes in Gamecocks athletics and storytelling projects for The State. Featured in Best American Sports Writing 2018, Lananna covered college baseball nationally before moving to Columbia in 2020. He graduated from the University of North Carolina in 2014 with a degree in journalism.
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