NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — Tunde Fariyike harbors no ill will toward Scot Loeffler.
But Fariyike’s disappointment remains. A backup center for the Tigers, Fariyike played under Loeffler — Auburn’s offensive coordinator in 2012 — before the coach was dismissed along with the rest of Gene Chizik’s staff. It didn’t take long for Loeffler to find another job, however, as he soon accepted the same position at Virginia Tech.
Loeffler avoided the subject of his less-than-stellar one-year tenure with the Tigers until last July, when he finally tackled the topic during a speaking engagement.
“I was a really bad coach last year, and it wasn’t because I got dumb overnight. Recruiting is the world,” Loeffler said during an event at the Roanoke Valley Sports Club and reported by Andy Bitter, who covers the Hokies for the Roanoke Times and Virginian-Pilot.
Fariyike, as one would expect, was not pleased. He then decided to weigh in on his personal Twitter account.
“I hope we play VT in a bowl game this year,” said one tweet. “We'll show you "recruiting is the world."
“What little respect I had left for that man is finished,” said a follow-up tweet minutes later.
Now, Auburn — the same team Loeffler believed was littered with subpar recruits — sits one win away from a BCS championship.
Fariyike admitted he and the rest of his teammates have a sense of vindication, though not as much as one would assume.
“A little bit,” he said. “But I’m more worried about us than I am about him.”
Still, even five months later, Fariyike couldn’t believe Loeffler publicly threw his former team under the proverbial bus.
“When he was here, he was one of us,” Fariyike said. “So you feel like you got stabbed in the back a little bit to hear someone say something like that.”
Worse, the Georgia native recalled the coach never expressed those thoughts in the locker room.
“When he made a mistake, he owned up to it,” Fariyike said. “I made mistakes, he made mistakes, we all made mistakes. It was a 3-9 season. Everybody made mistakes. I thought he felt the same way we did.”
That’s what bothered the junior the most — the fact Loeffler seemed to place all of the blame for the underwhelming 2012 campaign solely on his players. A team doesn’t go 3-9 by accident. When that happens, everyone is at fault. To prove his point, Fariyike pointed to his own miscue.
In a 41-20 defeat against Ole Miss, he snapped a ball over Clint Moseley’s head. It was then recovered in the end zone by the Rebels' C.J. Johnson for a touchdown to push Ole Miss’ lead to 14-0.
“I took that. I owned up to that,” he said. “So when you go 3-9, you’ve got to own it yourself. You don’t point your finger at somebody else.”
While he’s still shocked by Loeffler’s remarks, Fariyike said he wouldn’t avoid talking to his former coach if they happen to cross paths in the future.
“If I see him, (I’ll say), ‘Hey, cool. How you doing?’” Fariyike said. “We can catch up and talk and do whatever.”
One thing they wouldn’t be able to talk about?
Virginia Tech’s 2013 season, which ended Tuesday in a lopsided Sun Bowl loss to UCLA.
Loeffler’s offense mustered just 10 points in a 42-12 defeat to the Bruins — the other score was a safety.
“I’m not even sure how their season ended,” Fariyike said. “I haven’t really followed Virginia Tech that closely. I’m more focused on us trying to win a national championship.”