As valuable as Logan Thomas’ leadership skills will be to a Virginia Tech offense that will feature new starters at the offensive tackle and wide receiver spots, there’s more to be gained from Thomas’ return for his senior season.
Sure, his passing statistics were less-than-appealing during his junior season, but Tech would’ve been in a huge bind at the quarterback spot if he’d left. Now, that’s assuming rising junior Mark Leal wouldn’t be ready to provide as much to the offense as an experienced Thomas can offer, but that’s not much of a stretch given Leal’s lack of playing time to this point in his career.
Here’s a look at a few intangibles Thomas’ return provides Tech’s offense:
No pressure on the young guys
If Thomas hadn’t returned for his senior season, Tech would’ve been left with Leal, rising redshirt freshman Brenden Motley and incoming freshmen Bucky Hodges and Carlis Parker as scholarship quarterbacks on the roster. Obviously, Leal is the only one of those guys with any college experience, and he’s attempted just 19 passes in five games of mop-up duty. No Thomas would’ve meant at least one of the trio of Motley, Hodges or Parker would’ve had to get ready in a hurry to be the primary backup. Now, Hodges and Parker will likely have the luxury of redshirting, which is a positive for any first-year player – especially a quarterback.
More play-calling versatility
With Scot Loeffler likely destined to become the new offensive coordinator and preserve Tech’s traditional pro style attack, it’s not as if Tech is suddenly going to become some Mike Leach-inspired passing bonanza. On the other hand, the new coordinator should feel far more comfortable taking some deep shots to inexperienced wide receivers and including some wrinkles in the offensive sets with Thomas at quarterback. If the new guy calling the plays feels he has an offensive line athletic/intelligent enough and a running back savvy enough to handle a few read option, pistol or spread looks, Thomas has ample experience out of those sets. Of course, versatility doesn’t automatically equal success. Tech learned that this past season when too many looks failed to produce results and stifled the running game.
Bring back the running attack
Thomas has proven himself to be a contusion waiting to happen for any linebacker or defensive back standing in his way when he’s on the move with the ball tucked under his arm, but he can do big things for Tech’s running game outside of his own running ability. One of the areas Thomas talked about wanting to improve in during the offseason is his accuracy while throwing the ball on the run. If he gets more comfortable with those passes, and can improve his consistency on deep out patterns (the toughest throw that can be asked of a quarterback), opposing defenses will be forced to respect Thomas’ arm. A defense that’s required to devote more attention to the passing game means there will be more room for Tech’s running backs. Of course, this intangible is the one that's completely on Thomas' shoulders - make the improvements, and the running game will re-appear.
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