Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas “is doing what they are asking him to do,” he said. “They manage the game with him and they win with defense.”
That’s the identity Virginia Tech has forged through six games and it has propelled the Hokies to five-straight wins. What stood out about Saturday’s latest victory? Here are five observations:
1) Virginia Tech’s WRs have rebounded nicely from a disastrous season opener.
Remember all those JUGs machine drills Virginia Tech wide receivers coach Aaron Moorehead had put his troops through since the Hokies’ drop-fest against Alabama a month ago? They seem to be paying off, and the latest proof came Saturday.
Nine Hokies caught passes from quarterback Logan Thomas, and Virginia Tech gained a season-high 293 yards through the air. Sophomore Demitri Knowles looked sure-handed and used his speed to burst past North Carolina’s secondary for an early 45-yard touchdown. Junior Willie Byrn had a career-high 123 receiving yards.
Perhaps more importantly, sophomore Josh Stanford recovered from an early drop to haul in a crucial third-down conversion that iced the game in the fourth quarter.
“Logan has confidence in us and that gives us confidence to go out there and try to be as good as we can be,” Stanford said. “We get better the more we play.”
The Hokies have also figured out the best way to utilize senior D.J. Coles given the limitations his balky knee imposes in terms of extensive playing time. Coles had two touchdown catches Saturday, and appears to be Virginia Tech’s most potent red zone option.
“At the snap of the ball they just disappeared. That’s the easiest touchdown I’ve had all season right there,” Coles said about his first touchdown. “I’m taking that role. [Twenty five yards] in, that’s where they’re giving me more plays, calling my number more, so I guess I can be a red zone threat now. I’ll take it. That’s where you make your money.”
Coles has just 11 receptions through six games this season, and five of them have been touchdowns. Stanford and Byrn both praised Coles’s leadership skills after the game, and Byrn even mentioned Coles helped him play through his own MCL sprain this week.
“We all follow behind D.J.’s lead,” Stanford said. “He sets the tone for us.”
2) Logan Thomas has found his stride in Scot Loeffler’s offense.
The passing numbers say more about Thomas’s comfort with Virginia Tech’s first-year offensive coordinator than anything. After going 10 games without completing better than 60 percent of his passes — a span that dates to last season and also included 14 interceptions — Thomas has gone 38 of 53 for 514 yards, five total touchdowns and no interceptions the past two weeks.