The ACC Kickoff (aka media days) is fast approaching, something we media members consider the unofficial start of the football season. That’s not until Sunday, however. In the meantime, it’s as good a time as any to start taking a closer look at Virginia Tech.
This isn’t a list of the 25 best players on the Hokies’ roster. It’s a list of 25 things/people/ideas that will determine whether Virginia Tech’s 2013 season is a success or not. Last up is …
No. 1: Logan Thomas, quarterback
We tend to look at things in black and white terms when it comes to sports. Somebody is either the greatest or the worst, with little room in between.
But Logan Thomas currently resides in that gray area. He probably wasn’t as good as everyone made him out to be last offseason, when he was considered a potential No. 1 overall pick in the draft. And he surely wasn’t as bad as everyone made him out to be last season.
I write this because Thomas engenders strong feelings from the Virginia Tech fan base. Has he been as good as Tyrod Taylor, his predecessor and the player he’s often compared to? No. But few Hokies quarterbacks have been.
Did Thomas have a down 2012 season? Yes. But, as I’ve written several times before, it wasn’t nearly as horrible as every wants to remember. How many players in a “down year” would like to set a single-season school record with 3,500 yards, account for 27 touchdowns and earn team offensive MVP honors?
What colors Thomas’ 2012 season more than anything was that he didn’t live up to expectations. That was largely because he wasn’t nearly as efficient as he could have been. A 51.3 completion rate and 16 interceptions aren’t anywhere close to what people are looking for in this age of West Coast offenses and ball protection.
But it’s not like Thomas is a lost cause. Far from it. Offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler raves about the senior’s tools and determination, and considering the two have hit it off so famously thus far, there’s reason to believe that Thomas can still reach the heights he’d like to before he leaves Blacksburg. Having a new position coach, one who has a track record of producing NFL-caliber quarterbacks, might unlock that potential.
Thomas made a number of national preseason watch lists, and the usual response that I saw on posts here and on Twitter were: why? That’s using a very short memory and is a cynical outlook about someone the football experts think has a chance to be pretty good. (And to cut off the ignorant comments before they start, no, he won’t ever play tight end in college. He never has — not even in high school — and never will. So get over it.)
If Thomas is to reach his goals this year, he’ll need to be more efficient in less-than-ideal conditions. His receivers are mostly inexperienced, his offensive line a work in progress and his running backs unsettled. Great quarterbacks overcome such obstacles, however, and that’s why he ranks No. 1 on this list.
Virginia Tech will be successful this year if Thomas is. Simple as that.
Coming Sunday: ACC media days begin.
- No. 25: Ryan Malleck, tight end
- No. 24: Defensive subs
- No. 23: Andrew Miller, center
- No. 22: BeamerBall
- No. 21: Ronny Vandyke, whip linebacker
- No. 20: D.J. Coles, wide receiver
- No. 19: Cody Journell kicker
- No. 18: Tariq Edwards, inside linebacker
- No. 17: Detrick Bonner and Kyshoen Jarrett, safeties
- No. 16: A.J. Hughes, punter
- No. 15: J.R. Collins and Dadi Nicolas, defensive ends
- No. 14: Demitri Knowles and Josh Stanford, wide receivers
- No. 13: Kyle Fuller, cornerback
- No. 12: Derrick Hopkins and Luther Maddy, defensive tackles
- No. 11: Young cornerbacks
- No. 10: Jack Tyler, inside linebacker
- No. 9: Bud Foster, defensive coordinator
- No. 8: Laurence Gibson and Jonathan McLaughlin, offensive tackles
- No. 7: Antone Exum’s right knee
- No. 6: Frank Beamer, head coach
- No. 5: James Gayle, defensive end
- No. 4: J.C. Coleman and Trey Edmunds, running backs
- No. 3: Jeff Grimes, offensive line coach
- No. 2: Scot Loeffler, offensive coordinator