Whenever Virginia Tech has had a special season under head coach Frank
Beamer, it’s gotten great quarterback play. Turnaround 1993 season? Maurice
DeShazo. Sugar Bowl winning ’95 season? Jim Druckenmiller. National title game
season in 1999? Michael Vick. First ACC title, 2004? Bryan Randall. Eleven-game
win streak and Orange Bowl in 2010? Tyrod Taylor.
Now Tech turns to Logan Thomas, a towering figure who came to Blacksburg as
the one of the nation’s top tight end prospects.
“His personality and his values and the way he handles himself, all that is
very similar to Tyrod,” coach Frank Beamer says. “I mean, a lot. I like
having that guy as head of the offense. That’s a big, big plus.”
With a new quarterback comes a new play caller. Quarterbacks coach Mike O’Cain
assumes the role Bryan Stinespring has filled for the last nine seasons.
“Our offensive plan is such a team-oriented deal,” O’Cain says. “It’s
a big change, but it’s bigger from the outside than inside the program.”
It’s no coincidence that Frank Beamer’s offenses have most often clicked
with the quarterbacks coach calling the plays. During his tenure, Tech’s
average total offense national ranking with the quarterbacks coach as
play-caller is 39.4. With all other positional coaches calling the plays, the
ranking drops to 67.6.
(That includes the 1994 season, when Tech tried Gary Tranquill as OC for one
season before Rickey Bustle returned. The Hokies finished ranked 64th in
total offense that year.)
“There is an understanding when you work with a guy four hours a day
instead of 30 minutes a day,” O’Cain says. “You understand his likes and
dislikes. For instance, if a player doesn’t like throwing a particular route,
he might not articulate it; he just won’t throw it. You think, ‘I keep
calling this play; why won’t he pull the trigger?’ It’s because he didn’t
feel comfortable. No question, it helps dealing with guys on a daily basis.”
Because of his size (6-6, 254), some will want to compare Thomas to Heisman
Trophy winner Cam Newton. That’s unfair; Newton won a juco title at Blinn
College in Texas before going to Auburn. But he does give the Hokies a physical
presence in running game. And he can see over the middle to throw the quick
Thomas definitely passes the “eye test.” But his numbers so far should
temper fans’ enthusiasm. In two August scrimmages he has completed 26 of 46
passes (56.5%) with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He completed just
46.2% of his throws last season in 26 attempts.
Thomas doesn’t have to be great, but he does have to be good. The Hokies
have too many talented receivers to have them running around the field as
forgotten men. But everybody will have to be patient, too; even Taylor was an
average quarterback his first two years. O’Cain wants to bring him along
slowly, adding to the playbook as the season goes on.
“The first four are important games, but our goal is to win the ACC
championship,” O’Cain says. “Our job is to get Logan ready for those next
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