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Posted at 10:22 AM ET, 03/31/2011

The Logan Thomas era begins for Virginia Tech football

Before he could accomplish anything during his first spring practice as a starter, Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas said he needed to focus in on what exactly his goals were. So the redshirt sophomore jotted down a few notes on the first page of his playbook before Virginia Tech’s first spring practice Wednesday as a reminder of what he still has to overcome.

He decided his main focus should be improving his accuracy and command of the offense, getting used to the players around him while also allowing them to grow comfortable with him and, in general, just gain the respect of everyone involved with Virginia Tech football.

But after essentially a two-year wait, the overwhelming emotion Thomas gave off Wednesday evening following the conclusions of the Hokies’ first formal practice session was more relief than anything else now that his time in the spotlight has finally arrived.

“It’s just like a burden off my back,” Thomas said. “It’s so nice to know you’re gonna be able to go out there and play every down unless something tragic happens. I could have played tight end right off the start, but I think it’s better now that I’m getting this chance to get up there and showcase my quarterback abilities.”

Thomas was the talk of Wednesday night’s media availability, whether it was quarterback coach Mike O’Cain saying his new starting quarterback “hasn’t proven anything at this point, other than he’s a physical specimen. ... He needs to feel the weight of carrying the football team on his shoulders.” Or former running back Ryan Williams, who made an appearance at the first spring practice following a workout for the Miami Dolphins in Blacksburg, proclaiming that, “It’s really not gonna be a big step off,” when Thomas officially takes the reins from Tyrod Taylor this fall.

Thomas, though, seemed to take it all in stride. He said he had no jitters entering his first huddle as starter, and O’Cain confirmed that Thomas had a strong practice under center. Thomas even described his relationship with O’Cain as, “He’s a lot like my grandfather, so we get along pretty well.” (We didn’t get a chance to ask O’Cain how he felt about that statement.)

But what’s becoming abundantly clear is that Thomas’s physical tools will be something to behold. Not only is he 6 feet 6 and 245 pounds, he wears size 18 shoes and has huge hands. Coach Frank Beamer indicated that even though Thomas doesn’t have the make-something-out-of-nothing quickness that his predecessor Taylor did, folks may be underestimating just how fast he is.

There is a reason, after all, why he came to Blacksburg as the top tight end recruit in the country. But perhaps Thomas’s most notable statement involved his arm when asked what he’ll add to an offense that set a school record for points a year ago.

“I think we’re really gonna throw the ball down the field better than we did last year,” Thomas said. “Of course, a lot of that’s on my back, but with the weapons that we have — [wide receivers Jarrett Boykin, Danny Coale and Dyrell Roberts] on the outside — we should be able to throw it around the yard.”

Whether that’s the case remains to be seen. Thomas does seem share one thing with Taylor: His off-field habits appear modest. He said he doesn’t read blogs (so I guess he’s not a big Hokies Journal fan) or watch ESPN, and that he spent much of the offseason in the film room as he tries to improve his ability to read defenses before the snap of the ball.

But maybe the best news out of Wednesday was that Thomas sounds like an unlikely candidate for pay-for-play allegations that have dogged other programs. When asked if he planned to take his new offensive line out for dinner, Thomas laughed and said, “Not right now because college students don’t have the most money.”

And then the topic of his car came up. He drives a 2003 Mitsubishi Galant around campus. Or at least he used to, before it broke down.

“I’m not driving it any more,” Thomas said, shaking his head. “It’s just parked now.”

It’s a good thing, then, that he now has the keys to Virginia Tech’s offense to keep him busy.

By Mark Giannotto  |  10:22 AM ET, 03/31/2011

 
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