Quarterback is the most visible position on the field. They will always get the star treatment; people love to build them up when they succeed, and tear them down if they don't meet expectations. For a sophomore first year starting quarterback, Logan Thomas came into the season with unrealistic, and quite frankly unfair expectations. However, he has emerged from of a rocky start, and has taken ownership of the team.
The Logan Thomas Hype-O-Meter documented instances of articles that pushed Logan's expectations in the off season. A lot of Hokies thought LT would immediately play like Heisman winner Cam Newton because of their physical similarities. Virginia Tech fans were also spoiled by Tyrod Taylor who performed great the last two years. Last spring, and the clutch pass in the '10 Miami game helped to justify all the Logan hype.
The pass that started the Legend of Logan Thomas
Going into 2011, LT hadn't started a game since AA Virginia high school. Thomas performed well this spring. He showed off his impressive arm strength and improved accuracy due to a change in his throwing motion. However, to start the season LT completed less than 50% of his passes against Appalachian State and ECU. LT's completion percentage dropped to 40% versus ECU, then the Hokie faithful started to waver and grumble. He was able to rebound the next two games, and we saw a glimpse of what we had hoped for. The young signal caller had a completion percentage above 60%, even with 33 attempts in each game.
The first real test of the season came against Clemson. Of course. VT lost to a battle tested team that had just beaten Auburn and FSU. The offense could only muster up 3 points and LT didn't play well. From around the nation there were quips that Virginia Tech needed to stop playing a TE at quarterback, and some in Blacksburg wanted to see what Mark Leal could do. Lucky thing that Tweets and Facebook comments don't determine depth chart decisions.
Logan's first memorable play came against Miami in 2010, and coincidentally his reign as the leader of the offense began after a stellar performance against Miami this year. It was the best Hokie QB performance I've had the pleasure of watching.
|Game||COMP||Pass ATT||INT||PCT||Pass Yards||Pass TD||EFFIC||Rush ATT||Rush Yds||Rush TDs|
The best part of the game wasn't even his insane video game numbers, but it was the last drive of the game which he finished off by running in the final score. He displayed poise and confidence beyond a first year starter, and proved he did have the clutch gene.
Being in the north endzone for the Miami game was incredible and I'll always remember this run to win the game. Credit to Techsideline for posting this youtube I've watched a million times.
What impressed me as much as his on the field performance, is that it came right after Clemson. That showed resiliency in the face of a lot of criticism. That was Logan's turning point.
A Tale of Two Seasons
There's a Chinese proverb that states "the strongest steel is forged from the hottest fire". Logan Thomas has played lights out since falling on the national stage against Clemson.
|Pass ATT / Game||INT||PCT||Pass Yds / Game||Pass Yds / COMP||Pass TD||Rush ATT / Game||Rush Yds / Game||Rush TDs|
|First 5 Games||26.4||5||56.82%||177.2||11.81||4||7.8||26||1|
|Last 6 Games||27.7||2||63.25%||242||13.83||12||13.2||42.8||8|
In interviews after the Clemson game the offensive staff said they would put Logan in a better position to succeed. The offense certainly has been clicking. LT is essentially attempting the same amount of passes per game, but improved accuracy has lead to a higher completion percentage, yards and points. He's completed 6.43% more passes since the Clemson game, is averaging 64.8 more passing yards a game and has 8 more scores (12 touchdowns). LT has limited his mistakes too. He's thrown just 2 interceptions over the last 6 games. Both came against Duke.
Third and Logan
Every week it's been amazing to see would-be tacklers getting bowled over trying to stop a 6-6 250 pound pain train. Logan Thomas has been crucial to the running game especially when tough yards are needed.
When not considering negative yardage from sacks, Logan has rushed 106 times for 479 yards. Only 12 of those carries (11.3%) have been for 0 or less yards. Positive yards are good yards, and 64 carries, a hair over 60%, have been for three or more yards. He's averaging 4.5 yards per carry. He's carried the ball 40 times on 3rd and 4th downs. 30 of those attempts (75%!) have been for first downs or touchdowns. For the Hokies 3rd and short might as well be called 3rd and Logan. Every week this season we've seen Logan "Truck-Stick" Thomas punish would-be tacklers, all while having one of the greatest passing seasons ever by a Hokies QB.
A Record Season Through the Air
In the summer I wrote it would realistic to expect LT to have a similar season to Marcus Vick in 2005. I am happy to say I was wrong with that comparison. If the season ended today it would be a very appropriate comparison between Marcus Vick's 13 games and Logan Thomas's 11, but fortunately it's looking like we should have 3 more games (BEAT UVA!).
|Games||Pass Eff||Comps||Atts||Ints||Comp %||Pass Yards||Pass TD||Rush Yards||Rush TDs|
Logan Thomas is on pace to have a season that will place him in the VT record books. Through 11 games he has only 17 less pass attempts than Tyrod did last year through 14 games, and is only 405 pass yards away from his mentor's season high. If Thomas was to continue on pace with his season average over three games, he would reach 2,976 passing yards. That would be more pass yards in a season than any VT quarterback since 1972, Don Strock, and the second highest total ever for a VT QB. LT is on pace to beat the completions record in the season for a Virginia Tech QB (228), and also for the total offensive yards in a season record set by Tyrod Taylor last year (3,402).
In Logan I Trust
There's still a lot of football left this season; a lot of opportunities for Logan Thomas' offense moving forward. The Hokies most important game of the season is this week, thus it's the biggest game in Thomas' young career. I'm looking forward to Logan bulldozing defenders, hopefully trash talking Aaron Taliaferro, flashing his NFL talent as a passer, and adding an 8th win in a row over the Hoos.