Hokies story lines

Logan’s encore: Ever since he concluded a record-setting first year starting at quarterback for Virginia Tech, Logan Thomas has seen his name thrown around with the elites of college football. Some pro scouts consider the 6-foot-6, 260-pound signal caller a potential top-five pick if he chooses to enter next year’s NFL draft, and others have mentioned him as a dark-horse candidate to win the Heisman Trophy. But Thomas has more on his plate than ever after losing established weapons such as ACC player of the year David Wilson and wideouts Danny Coale and Jarrett Boykin to the NFL. If the fourth-year junior delivers on all the hype with a new cast of characters, there’s no telling how far he could take the Hokies this year.

Will secondary survive?: The Hokies shuffled their defensive backfield in the offseason in hopes of putting their four best players on the field. That meant moving fourth-year junior Antone Exum from safety to cornerback and shifting cornerbacks Kyshoen Jarrett and Detrick Bonner to safety. Along with preseason all-ACC cornerback Kyle Fuller, they’ve adapted well to new positions. But beyond those four, Virginia Tech has no room for injuries with a depth chart featuring no players in the secondary who have any college game experience. The Hokies are supposed to be a defensive juggernaut this year, but the coaches know that might not be the case if the starting secondary can’t stay healthy.

Paving the way: Though all five players expected to start along Virginia Tech’s offensive line have been in the program at least three years, only one — center Andrew Miller — is a returning starter. The line has been a trouble spot for Virginia Tech’s offense in the past, but Coach Frank Beamer is impressed with this group’s athleticism. It should come in handy with Virginia Tech moving to a more up-tempo approach. But grinding out yards in the running game remains a staple of Beamer’s philosophy, and the offensive line must gel quickly with the Hokies breaking in a new stable of tailbacks.