Thomas ready to make big leap with Hokies
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Logan Thomas isn't afraid to make mistakes. He enjoys learning from them.
Thomas doesn't miss a beat Sunday in discussing Virginia Tech's 23-3 home loss to Clemson last October, a game in which Thomas was served a humble helping of what life is like facing major college defenses.
In Tech's first four games -- vs. Appalachian State, East Carolina, Arkansas State and Marshall -- Thomas had few struggles. Those were his first starts at quarterback, too, but that wasn't ACC competition. In game five, though, the Tigers came to town after defeating Auburn and Florida State in their two previous games. It was ugly.
"I got to open up with Clemson in my first ACC game," Thomas recalled during the ACC Football Kickoff at The Grandover Resort. "It was kind of rough, but I bounced back and took off from there. It's nice to have a bad game to build on -- you don't want to have it, but it's nice to have to reflect on and get better from. I learned a lot that day."
Thomas completed 15 of 27 passes in that game but for just 125 yards and an interception and just couldn't move the offense all night. Yet, he finished with a Tech season record of 3,482 total yards, which included 3,013 through the air on his way to a second-team, All-ACC status. Thomas also passed for 19 touchdowns and ran for 11 more as the Hokies' go-to short yardage runner.
This time around, the junior doesn't anticipate any poor showings like in that Clemson game. His expectations are quite high for the team, which he's more comfortable discussing than himself. But Thomas did acknowledge his play will help dictate a great deal how the Hokies' season goes.
But more so, he believes the team is ready to take it to another level. They've been knocking on the door for so long, and Thomas believes it's time to crash through.
The reason: Attitude.
"We've had a completely different mentality this year, this summer than I've seen my first three years here," Thomas said. "Nobody's moaning and whining about going out there."
Why the improved attitude: Leadership. And Thomas is one of the team's captains.
"I've always been that type of person," he said. "I think it's just that time for me to step up and do it. I did it as the season progressed last year, but this spring was really my time. It's a testament to what our coaches do. They get you ready for it and I was ready."
Thomas is also ready to explode on the national scene. At 6-foot-6 and 254 pounds, he has Cam Newton-like qualities. He has similar specs to the Carolina Panthers star and last year's NFL Rookie of the Year. Thomas has the respect around the ACC.
"He's a big athlete, that's what he is," said UNC linebacker Kevin Reddick, a future NFLer. "He's a tall guy, he's smart, he can run. I feel like he is a threat with his legs, too."
Thomas should be even more dangerous this season. After being named the team's most valuable offensive player during spring practice, he continued fine-tuning his skills. He spent a tremendous amount of time on foot drills. Cones, lateral stuff, and getting feet balanced with the rest of his body when throwing.
He didn't participate in the Manning camp because of a scheduling conflict, but Thomas, who's on the Davey O'Brien watch list, an award that goes to the nation's top quarterback, still got everything he wanted out of the offseason. He's even stronger, but Thomas actually expects the Hokies will be quicker with the ball.
The Lynchburg, Va., native admits Virginia Tech is known for its defense and smash-mouth offenses, but Thomas says the Hokies will play faster this season. He cites an increase in total athletes at skill positions and more of a commitment to change things as why Tech will be more aggressive.
"We won't look different (in alignment), but we will play faster," he said. "I'm looking forward to it."
And Tech fans are probably salivating at the kind of season Thomas can put forth. He's unlike any previous signal caller to play for the program and its legendary coach, Frank Beamer, and he has seemingly limitless potential. Most mock NFL drafts for next spring have Thomas going among the top 12 selections and that's after just one season as a starter. Some national pundits expect him to climb those lists this fall.
Thomas isn't interested in the NFL right now, saying his focus is to improve each day and help Tech win football games. And with his continued growth, the Hokies should do a lot of winning again, too.