BLACKSBURG, Va. — Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas entered this spring fully aware the experienced weapons that propelled him to a record-setting first season starting under center were mostly gone. The consensus Saturday, however, is that he will head into his redshirt junior season more comfortable than ever.
The Hokies were forced to cancel their annual Maroon-White spring game because of inclement weather, but the absence of this glorified scrimmage didn’t stop Thomas from declaring the spring a success.
Virginia Tech’s offense has been a popular point of discussion over the past month, with the Hokies in the middle of replacing running back David Wilson, the two most prolific wide receivers in school history (Jarrett Boykin and Danny Coale) and four offensive linemen.
Virginia Tech has also tried to play at a faster pace this spring, introducing schematic changes like the pistol formation and other spread principles to its play-calling. The changes have thrust more on Thomas’s plate, and it seems he has taken it in stride.
“I think he’s very much in control,” Coach Frank Beamer said. “We’ve done some things with our offense and there’s a lot of stuff going on before that ball is snapped and he’s the one who’s got to be in charge of it, and I think he’s done a good job with that for the most part.”
Last week Thomas’s cousin, Hokies defensive lineman Zack McCray, said he’d seen the quarterback relax more this offseason because “he’s not going out there stressed out about having to learn it, all the pressure on him. I think he’s just being himself finally.” Thomas confirmed as much Saturday, noting that last year “I’d be uptight during practice.”
“I wouldn’t say I changed a whole lot,” added Thomas, who was named the team’s most valuable player this spring along with defensive tackle Luther Maddy. “Just trying to become more consistent every play, do it the same way.”
But Thomas’s steadying presence has been a boon for a team that has several questions that remained unanswered. Neither redshirt freshman Michael Holmes nor true freshman J.C. Coleman emerged as a clear-cut starter at running back. Position coach Shane Beamer said the competition will stretch into the summer when three more recruits will join the fray.
The Hokies’ revamped offensive line, meanwhile, struggled at times during open scrimmages, but they were up against a defense that could be one of the best in recent memory. Linebacker Jack Tyler said defensive coordinator Bud Foster brings up his defenses from 2005 and 2006, which both finished ranked No. 1 in the country, often these days.
Virginia Tech also must find a consistent place kicker and punter, developments that prompted Frank Beamer to note, “a lot of our kicking game is still in high school getting ready for the prom.”
And though there was no actual football played Saturday, the afternoon wasn’t a lost cause for the Hokies. Virginia Tech received verbal commitments from at least six prospects — the most the Hokies have gotten on one day since 2005 — including quarterback Bucky Hodges of Virginia Beach.
Rivals.com considers Hodges to be the No. 2 dual-threat quarterback prospect in the country this year, and it’s widely assumed he will be Thomas’s heir apparent once he arrives on campus.
Hokies notes: Among local players, former All-Met linebacker Ronny Vandyke (South County) and Holmes were named the team’s top newcomers this spring. Offensive lineman David Wang (Stone Bridge) was also honored for having an exceptional spring.