In Defense of Logan Thomas

It's been a rough two weeks to be a Hokie fan. After spending an entire week making fun of UVA for losing to Duke, our Hokies turn around and do the exact same thing. One week later, Frank Beamer's squad makes the trip to Boston College and falls flat again. Two weeks ago this season felt like it could end up being a special one. Today, it feels like the team is going to have to rally just to prevent a disaster from occurring. As tough as it has been on the fans, no one has had a worse two weeks than Logan Thomas.

Thomas hasn't played well the past two weeks and the backlash from very vocal part of the fan base has been tremendous. Twitter was a on fire Saturday as a great number of Hokie fans voiced their displeasure at the amateur athlete's performance. The discontent didn't stop there as it bled over onto a number of different VT football forums, including this one. I don't think there is anything wrong with questioning whether a specific player gives the Hokies the best chance to win, as long as it is done in a respectful way. Almost all the comments that I've read here on the matter have gone out of their way to keep their criticism of Thomas focused on his play on the field, and not to attacks on his character. For that, I applaud the community.

The criticism has been fair, no doubt about it. Like everyone else, I recognize that Thomas has played poorly for two consecutive games and his mistakes in both the Duke and Boston College game came at critical moments. If Virginia Tech is going to have a successful rest of the season, they will need more consistent quarterback play from whoever is under center. No one has been more vocal than me in their support of Thomas, but I took Sunday to reevaluate my belief that he is the best the Hokies have at that position. Eventually I decided that yes, Thomas is still the man for the job.

Thomas' Strengths

Although we have gone over exactly what it is that Thomas brings to the table before, in light of the heavy criticism that he has taken over the past week I think it's only fair to start any discussion by recapping what he does well. It always surprises me how some Hokie fans refuse to let go of any Thomas mistake, while also refusing to properly acknowledge his tremendous talents. Thomas is going to have poor plays, but any discussion about his role as starter has to include what gifts he brings to the table.

To keep it simple, Thomas is the most talented offensive player on the Hokies roster. No other offensive player for Virginia Tech is going to make noise in the first 3 rounds of the NFL draft. I'll be shocked if some GM doesn't get seduced by Thomas' skillset and takes him that high. In order to see what Thomas is capable of, all you have to do is turn on the Boston College game tape.

Thomas' arm may be the biggest in college football. As I've noted before, he can fit the ball into places that make it very, very difficult for the defense to defend.

00:08:01–00:08:08

This conversion is major league stuff. Mark Leal can probably do a lot of things well, but I haven't seen anything out of him to indicate he can complete this throw. The defense has a good defense called and they execute it well, but a great throw will always beat good defense... and this is a great throw. Thomas is able to get it over the BC linebacker with enough zip to prevent the corner from coming back and making a play on the ball. The corner is in a cover-4 type of coverage and has deep responsibilities. Thomas' cannon forces him to respect the deep ball, and when the receiver comes out of his break (creating decent but not great separation) Thomas zips the ball to him on time.

As a defensive coordinator, there is not a lot you can do to prevent this pass. Almost every other quarterback that BC will play this year won't be able to complete this ball as consistently as Thomas has this season. The only other option would be to blitz, but then you risk allowing the Hokies to catch the ball short of the marker and then YAC-ing their way to first. In a third-and-long situation, the defense's best bet is to keep the receivers in front of them, make the windows as small as possible by dropping linebackers underneath, and hope that their front-four get some kind of pass rush. The only reason the Hokies got three points on this drive (despite three holding penalties) is because of Thomas.

Loeffler has done a tremendous job at putting Logan in a position to succeed throwing the ball through the air. I've raved all season long about Loeffler's passing system and how it's the most well conceived one that we've seen in Blacksburg in a while. Loeffler's favorite vertical route combination this season highlights Thomas's biggest asset, his arm. Every game, we see multiple instances of an inside receiver running the safety out of the picture only to have the outside receiver break his route into the vacated area. When teams start dropping a linebacker into the outside receiver's break, Loeffler has adjusted by sending another receiver (often the Paperboy) on a drag route for a good catch-and-run opportunity.

Thomas doesn't just cause nightmares through the air though. Thomas's great size and strength allow him to be heavily involved in the rushing game. His ability to fall forward and get that extra two or three yards makes all the difference when an offense is trying to stay on schedule and ahead of the sticks. In the redzone, Thomas has been the only effective rusher for Beamer this season. Defenses have to overreact to the threat of a Thomas run in the red zone because he's too consistent in that area. This has opened up opportunities for his teammates.

00:12:15–00:12:20

A brilliant play call by Loeffler. Hokie opponents have a lot of tape of the Thomas running the inverted veer in this area of the field, so when Thomas gives the play fake to the running back, the defense bites hard. Cline does a good job at running the correct route and catching the ball, but this play was successful because of the threat of a Thomas rush. If the Hokies switch out Thomas for Mark Leal, the running game isn't going to magically improve. The Hokies aren't going to start executing every blocking assignment and the running backs aren't going to start seeing every hole. The issues on the ground will remain. For the Hokies to be successful in short yardage situations, they need to have a QB who is a factor on the ground. Leal is quick and athletic, but I'm not convinced that he is capable of converting many third-and-shorts because of his lack of size.

Thomas' Weaknesses

As talented as Thomas is, watching him play can be maddening sometimes. While he can make incredible throws on 3rd-and-17, he will also miss an open WR in the flat. Thomas can run over a linebacker for a first down and then on the next play hand the ball off when he should have kept it on a read play. This inconsistency has plagued him throughout his career.

Early in the season Thomas struggled with his accuracy, but for the most part recently he has been pretty accurate with his throws. While he will still occasionally miss an open player, his problems now stem more from a lack of consistency in recognizing what the defense is throwing at him. Against Duke, Thomas missed open receivers running free down the field multiple times. Logan did better at finding open receivers against Boston College, but his tendency to throw bad interceptions continued.

00:16:21–00:16:29

There is no defense for such an interception. It was as poor of a decision as I've seen a Hokie quarterback make. At the start of ACC play, Thomas wasn't making these type of errors. He was playing within himself and within Loeffler's system. The past two games have seen multiple poor decisions like this though, decisions that were made when Thomas was under pressure and trying to make a play. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding those mistakes, Thomas knows that he can't make these type of mistakes.

I am a surprised at how often Thomas has rushed the ball this season, considering he isn't a particularly explosive runner. Thomas is very good at picking up positive yardage and moving the pile, but unless he gets lucky and catches a defense out of their run fits, he isn't much of a threat to rip off a large run. He does have good speed, but Logan isn't exceptionally quick and he's not all that elusive. The quarterbacks who have the most success in running systems are those who can pull away from defenders. Braxton Miller, Marcus Mariota, even Vad Lee, these are guys who regularly make a defender miss. That isn't Thomas' game.

If Thomas can't get large chunks of yardage on the ground, then it is going to limit his effectiveness in the rushing attack. There are many things that can go wrong when a team is trying to run the ball. Missed blocks, holding penalties, and fumbles are just a few risks that a team takes when they decide to keep the ball on the ground. If there is little chance that a runner can reward the offensive coordinator for calling his number by making a few guys miss, why take the risk? Even more things can go wrong when throwing the ball, but at least there is a greater average yield as well as a larger chance for a big play.

Logan Optimization

Logan Thomas is going to be the starter for the rest of the season because Scott Loeffler has built this offense around his skills. The vertical passing game, the read option run game, the spread formations... all these were installed to highlight what Thomas does well.

Unfortunately, these very things can also highlight what Thomas does poorly. Thomas can rifle the ball anywhere on the field, but he can also make poor decisions on where and when to throw it. Allowing Thomas to make reads in the running game gives Loeffler a number advantage in the run game, but Thomas is inconsistent with his handoff reads. Thomas can bully his way forward for the first down on third and short when running, but he isn't going to pick up 15 yards on a first down either. I have no issues with Loeffler basing his offense on the best offensive weapon that he has. However, there are a few ways that he could be getting more out of Logan and the offense in general.

Firstly, the lack of handoffs for the running backs is verging on indefensible. Why, oh why, would the Hokies have spent that much time running the ball from under center in the spring, in the summer, and early in the season against our weakest opponents if they were just going to abandon it against ACC opponents? If Loeffler didn't want to rush the ball from under center, the Hokies should have spent far more time working on the read option game. The offense could install a few more counters and looks in the read game, and it could certainly use more reps to increase their execution. It seems to me that Loeffler made up his mind halfway through the season that he was going to put the run game on Logan's back and allow Logan to carry it the rest of the season. This is a mistake for a couple of reasons.

If Loeffler really wants to run the ball as much as he claims, then he should be lining up under center way more than he is. Even if the team is more effective running the ball from shotgun and pistol because of Thomas, Loeffler should take a look at what Steve Addazio is doing up at Boston College. Addazio knew exactly what he wanted his football program to look like and the first day he stepped on the campus he got everyone on the same page. Addazio didn't wait to recruit "his guys" before he installed and ran his offense, he started right away. That's how you create a winning culture in a football program. That's how you create an identity. And that's what Loeffler and Grimes should have done from day one.

The offense will be running from under center more next year, but they should be doing it more this year too. The offensive line needs the reps. The running backs need the reps. The wide receivers need the reps. Even if the offense didn't have much success doing it, the time that they put in this season running the ball in game situations would help them in the future. Next season, regardless who the quarterback is, the Hokies will need a strong running game to win the ACC. Running less read option and more traditional zone and man blocking schemes would go a long ways towards building that future.

I agree with Frank Beamer that this offense needs to run the quarterback, but not as often as they do. Not only could Tech build towards future season by utilizing their running back corp more, but it would increase production this year!

Loeffler should pick his spots to use Thomas in the run game, not use Thomas as the primary workhorse. He has other running backs on the roster who are much more explosive than Logan. Edmunds, Mangus, and even potentially Caleb are guys that can carry the ball 20 times a game. All the running backs in the rotation are more likely to break off a big run then Thomas is. Every great rushing attack picks up yardage in chunks on the ground. Oregon, Georgia Tech, heck look at what Boston College did this weekend. If you don't have backs who can take it to the house then it doesn't matter how often your guy picks up five yards on first down, you won't have a dominant offense.

Frankly, I don't know why Loeffler doesn't trust his ground game more. Here Tech gets into a third-and-5 by handing the ball off to Edwards twice in a row.

00:16:10–00:16:21

Edwards trips on the first one but there was room to get some yardage, and on the second one the offensive line gets plenty of push and Edwards makes it third-and-manageable. I doubt that if Loeffler had ran a read option twice in a row that Logan would have gotten him much closer than that. Running from under center helps the offense in three ways.

  1. It prevents Thomas from getting hit too often
  2. It gives the ball to the athletes best suited to hit a big play
  3. It sets up the defense to get attacked with a play-action pass

Thomas From Here On Out

Thomas absolutely gives the Hokies the best chance to win. Like Beamer, there is no doubt in my mind about that fact. However, I'm not convinced Loeffler is building the offense around Thomas in order to get the best out of him. Thomas' biggest weakness is his inconsistency. When you having Thomas make a critical decision almost every play, whether by deciding who to throw to or whether to hand the ball off or keep it, you are increasing the odds that he'll make the wrong decision. Also, by having him run the ball and take as many hits as Logan currently is will wear him down. In two consecutive games now, Logan has run the ball often and taken a lot of hits. In both games, Logan made critical errors at the end of the game. I'm not saying that Logan wouldn't have made those decisions if he didn't carry the ball as much, but I do think it's a possibility.

If Mark Leal does start at some point this season, Loeffler won't be able to use the same offense he is using with Thomas. Leal won't be asked to make as many reads in the run game as Thomas is because Leal doesn't have the build to withstand the beating that Thomas is getting. Leal won't be asked to throw through as many tight windows as Thomas is because he doesn't have as big of an arm. Loeffler will have to try and take the pressure off of Leal by using his running backs to get Leal in more manageable third downs.

Instead of calling for Loeffler to play Leal instead of Logan, why not call for Loeffler to play Logan like he would play Leal?

Contact the editor about this post anytime by phone: (703) 646-1931 or mail: 3057 Nutley St Suite 633, Fairfax, Virginia 22031.

Comments

Mason just eagled the par four, you guys.

Viva El Guapo

hole
It's in the hole!

RIP Stick It In

When you having Thomas make a critical decision almost every play, whether by deciding who to throw to or whether to hand the ball off or keep it, you are increasing the odds that he'll make the wrong decision.

Money quote, right there. Yes. Hear, fucking hear.

I know I am late to the party here, but this comment by French may be one of the best comments on this site that I have ever seen.

Exit Light, Enter Night....Go Hokies

Instead of calling for Loeffler to play Leal instead of Logan, why not call for Loeffler to play Logan like he would play Leal?

AMEN AMEN AMEN AMEN

Viva El Guapo

So basically the gameplan for Miami would be similar to Western Carolina? Establish the inside zone. outside zone, & stretch runs to set up counter runs and PA passes? Would that work with our OL against the U?

In Beamer & Co. We Trust #Livefor32 #DecadeofDominance

Well, Miami runs a 3-4, which has similar weak points to a 4-4. It should work if executed properly. I trust the OL much more in run blocking than I do in drop back situations or slow developing runs against an athletic front.

It is the skill position guys that have to block successfully to spring those inside and outside zone plays. Every one that Loeffler has called over the last two games has been away from Cline/Redman. He doesn't have much faith for either as a blocker. The wide receivers are hit and miss. One play, Byrn is spectacular. The next, he doesn't get a finger on anyone. Knowles and Stanford are decent, but they are not KOing folks.

Viva El Guapo

Well the WR blocking is probably better than last year and I wouldn't have much faith in Cline in the running game either considering how little experience he has run blocking.

In Beamer & Co. We Trust #Livefor32 #DecadeofDominance

It can't be any worse than last year.

Viva El Guapo

don't curse us

"I like to hit a home run early" ~ Whit "knows how to create a Buzz" Babcock

I thought Davis was playing hurt. I have to imagine the coaches knew Davis was playing hurt. For chrissake my 11 year old daughter plays hurt all the time but I have to figure out ways to know she is playing hurt. I have the luxury of taking her off the field, whereas Davis and the coaches probably did not. Davis and the coaches played the "I'm not injured" charade so that Davis could have a strong SR year to point to and the team would play better. Didn't he have to get shoulder surgery this year to fix what was ailing him?

Frankly without Davis, I think our offense is significantly worse last year. How'd we play that half he was held out? Once defenses started to scheme for our O without Davis, how would that have worked out?

We don't have deep talent at alot of these positions. An injury or a guy playing hurt can really impact the team's performance.

Not sure I understand the hatred spewed toward a guy that was giving his 100% with some pretty messed up shoulders. Separated or dislocated or rotator cuff issues hurt ALOT. I'm pretty sure most of us wouldn't have the balls to play football with those types of issues.

JMHO

Not sure I understand the hatred spewed toward a guy that was giving his 100%

Therein lies the problem. He wasn't giving 100%. Even if he was injured as you are suspecting and giving 100% of what he was capable, it was still a lackluster effort. That is why he gets criticized.

Looks just like the ACA website.

Danny caught that ball.

Friends don't let 5 star friends commit to UVA.

I have inside info. - Whit

I don't know why I re-watched that video. That is painful to watch.

I purposefully watched it because now I know how to watch it more intelligently than the last time I saw it. Back when it came out, I was like "Yep, he's sort of just walking around," which I guess is the point. After having several months of education from French and Mason here, I wanted to see if I could recognize what he was supposed to be doing rather than what he was actually doing. I think I did pretty well. Thanks TKP!

haha..I'm EXACTLY the same way..all though I'd say you've probably had a little more education from french and mason

"I like to hit a home run early" ~ Whit "knows how to create a Buzz" Babcock

Turkey leg for the backup. Sometimes I suck at the internet.

If I was designing the game plan against Miami (a MUST WIN game for this program) I would:

Run the ball early and often from under center

The offensive line hasn't been terrible in run blocking, despite the poor rushing numbers. Given how little the Hokies have ran from under center recently, it might actually catch the 'Canes off balance. Even if it isn't terrible effective, it'll keep Logan from getting hit and open up the best big-play opportunities for the Hokies... play action. Loeffler has a really good play-action package from under center (see Knowles early play-action touchdown vs UNC?). Also, you never know, Edmunds may get lucky and break one like he did vs Bama.

Also, I'd run mostly from a one running back formation. Sam Rodgers is already one of my favorite Hokies, but he hasn't been incredibly consistent in run blocking from the I-formation. I'd rather have the slot receiver in the game to increase the odds of popping one up the middle. If Loeffler wants a lead blocker, he can flex Cline off the LOS and Wham block with him coming across the formation.

Run Edmunds the majority of the time

Time for Shane to pick a back and stick with him. Edmunds has the goods to be an every down back. I love JC Coleman, but it's been two years and I've seen zero evidence that he has the Warrick Dunn quickness needed to effectively run in between the tackles (Yes he had that one great game... against Duke). Give Edmunds a chance to get into the flow of the game.

Throw from under center

I don't even know if Tech has any quick-hitting throws from under center in the playbook. I don't recall any non-screen three or five step drop passes this season. Lining up under center presents a good "triple threat" to a defense. Threat of a quick hitting run play, of a deep throw, of a quick throw. Impossible to defend against all three.

Pick your spots to run Logan

Logan is too good to NEVER run, and if used as a change up (instead of the work horse) Thomas could be devastating. If Miami sees a lot of traditional runs early in the game, their defenders will allow their eyes to start taking them to the running back on the read plays later. This opens the door for Thomas to pull the ball and pick up yardage in critical situations. There's no need to run Thomas on your 30 yard line in 1st and 10 with 10 minutes to go in the 2nd quarter... but when you are on the opponents 30 and it's 3rd and short and there's five minutes to go in the game? Yeah, let's go ahead and give it to the big fella.

Limit Thomas's short throws

Loeffler has a good pass design for his short yardage throws (TRIANGLES!) but he fall in love with it too often. Yes, Scott can get someone open in those situations... but Thomas still has to find the right guy and then make the throw. Too many things can go wrong, especially at this point in the season when the opponents are familiar with your passing game. Opponents have been able to disguise their coverage and fool Thomas into throwing interceptions this year. Limiting the number of times Logan has to throw it short (a play that has a fairly low reward) will help lower the turnover numbers.

seems legit

"I like to hit a home run early" ~ Whit "knows how to create a Buzz" Babcock

Hi Mason, question on the game plan. Is there a conflict between Throwing from Under Center and Limiting Thomas's short throws?

Our pass blocking is not fantastic and if from under center he would have mostly 3 step drops and very quick reads to make before throwing. So quick slants, curls, outs and fly routes are likely in this scenario but these would all be quick short yardage passes right?

Logan struggles making the outside throw on outs, screens and anything in the flats so those are definitely out. That only leaves quick slants, curls and fly/seam routes. If we could establish the run game you could play action this and make it work with limited routes, but if we cannot get the run going then it would get incredibly predictable I think.

I guess what I am saying is I agree with what your saying but not sure we are capable to do that.

Is there a conflict between Throwing from Under Center and Limiting Thomas's short throws?

Yes and No.

When I typed "limit thomas's short throws", I meant limit his short throw progressions. So when Loeffler goes five wide and sends a ton of receivers out, he doesn't have a specific receiver he believe will be open. The idea is that with those WR's route combinations, one of the five will always be open. It's up to Logan to pick out which one is open and then make the throw. Asking Thomas to make these decision 20 times a game and then psuedo-blaming him by saying "we didn't take care of the ball" is a little unfair, IMO. There are other ways to attack the defense with the short pass without having the Quarterback go through five progressions.

Having quick hitting patterns like Double slants would allow Thomas to decide PRE-SNAP where to throw the football based on a defenses alignment. This means post-snap movement by the defense wouldn't be as big an issue when figuring out where he wants to put the football.

If a defense is going to stop the run by dropping a safety into the box and cover against the deep pass by having their corners give the WR a big cushion... well you need to have a quick hitting pass play that a quarterback can either audible to (a little "last decade") or have the WR and QB sight adjust too (modern football).

This is a brilliant article describing ways to package short yardage pass routes to defeat a defenses alignment. It's a much simpler read for Thomas, as he can key on a single player based on a defenses tendencies.

http://smartfootball.blogspot.com/2006/05/packaging-concepts-putting-bea...

Isn't the elephant in the room the question of whether or not Logan has issues operating from under center? Why have I gotten the impression that he may have issues with it? I mean there has to be a reason we haven't run more plays from under center either last year with BS or this year with SL.

Not that your suggestions are obvious, but at this point they kind of are, aren't they? So if they are so obvious(for lack of a better word) why aren't we doing it?

Isn't the elephant in the room the question of whether or not Logan has issues operating from under center?

I absolutely refuse to believe that any person athletic enough to account for over 400 yards of offense isn't capable of bending down and receiving a snap from under center. I refuse. It's absurd.

It's not like Logan has NEVER taken snaps from under center. Hell, his first season starting he did just fine turning around and handing the ball off to Wilson. If I recall correctly, Wilson had a pretty good year.

Like I said in the article, the lack of rushing from the running backs is bordering on indefensible. I have no explanation for it, other then to say it's a mistake.

Sorry I meant passing from under center. I agree he can receive a snap and hand the ball off clearly.

Is there a chance we decided to basically go all shotgun so as to not tip of a play was run (center) or a pass (shotgun)? I don't know, I'm just throwing stuff out there trying to make sense of it all...

I absolutely refuse to believe that any person athletic enough to account for over 400 yards of offense isn't capable of bending down and receiving a snap from under center. I refuse. It's absurd.

But you know it's not that simple. After you get the ball, then you have to drop back, keeping your eyes downfield and ball in ready position while you cross your feet repeatedly in your drop. Then you have to stop your drop at the right spot ready to fire out at that exact moment. Failing that, you need to then have a sense for what and where the rush is, without moving your eye level down, so that you can chop step your way through the pocket looking for a man. It's a vastly different set of responsibilities than is receiving the snap from the shotgun, and taking two seconds to process all those elements of the defense from a fixed point.

And I have to think that the reason we don't see more under-center action is because it compromises us too much, and Logan is not mechanically consistent enough to execute where we need to be to have a credible sense of balance on offense. Think about how much he sprays his throws high, low, left, and right - now ask yourself how that possibly gets any better with him having to think about his drop in addition to everything else. I believe everything about his mechanics would devolve before our eyes. Loeffler had one offseason to clean him up, and in so doing minimized the number of moving parts so that he could be serviceable in a limited number of important areas.

Perhaps the problem is not Thomas and the snap under center, perhaps it has something to do with the center.
We know the snapper had to use his other arm in practice. We also know that one of the few snaps under center resulted in a fumble. It was on the goal line.

Danny caught that ball.

Friends don't let 5 star friends commit to UVA.

I have inside info. - Whit

I would say that Wang's lack of girth (oh come on! These just write themselves!) is why we don't run the LT QB Sneak as much as we did in 2011.

But, I thought long and thin gets it in.?

Danny caught that ball.

Friends don't let 5 star friends commit to UVA.

I have inside info. - Whit

There are other ways to attack the defense with the short pass without having the Quarterback go through five progressions.

thanks. Clears it up for me. I think the issue is just how much the run game can be relied on to be even a sell for opposing defenses. They need to bite on it as a real threat. As you said below, the lack of run game is most concerning and the most indefensible part of our game plan.

"Logan is too good to NEVER run, and if used as a change up (instead of the work horse) Thomas could be devastating." - this sums it up pretty well. French and Mason make similar points.

We have had some spot success with our RBs and the plays are in the playbook, but Loeffler seems to have thrown that part of the Offense out. Using Logan as virtually the entire offense doesn't give us the best chance for success. Hopefully we will see a "balanced" attack this week and Logan puts it all together as well. Go Hokies - Beat Miami!!!

Texashokie

For some reason I feel pretty good about this game plan...

Mason drops the mic, walks away. Fucking nailed it.

I would UPVOTE this 5,000 times if I could, but I completely agree with what Mason said here.

I support Logan Thomas and make no apologies for it.

The offense will be running from under center more next year, but they should be doing it more this year too. The offensive line needs the reps. The running backs need the reps. The wide receivers need the reps. Even if the offense didn't have much success doing it, the time that they put in this season running the ball in game situations would help them in the future.

Strategically, I'm a big advocate of this philosophy. I'm not prepared to abandon Logan as starter, but I am ready to abandon the Logan-centered offense experiment.

THANK YOU MASON. Very well said.

I would say the fan base (at least from my perspective) is more frustrated than angry. We've seen Logan make phenomenal plays, we know he knows how to get the W. But, all these little, frequent mistakes are as you said "maddening" and can / have costs us games. I still have faith in him.

It was a catch!

Nailed It!

Outstanding work. My brain now hurts. A Good hurt though. Like waking up with a hangover, next to a supermodel.

Tweedy can run like a dadgum antelope or whatever. I like to use scalded dog. Do antelopes lumber? Cheetah, OK. He runs like a cheetah. He's fast. - Bud Foster

Amen to all of this.

Excellently stated opinion and well written.

It seems like Logan Thomas presents the ultimate of Catch-22s. He's the player who "gives us the best chance to win." At literally the exact same time, he's the player who gives us the best chance to lose with his turnovers. It's the #1 rule of a defense-oriented, ball-control football team: don't turn the ball over, whatever you do, don't turn the ball over! So, he's the guy most likely to make the play, but he's also the very same guy who is most likely to turn the ball over - in all of D1, in fact.

Given that, why aren't we playing ball like BC is? I understand that fundamentally we are a different kind of team than they are offensively with our blocking and run schemes, but it was clear what they were doing to us: run, run, run. Throw if you have to, but they were limiting they punishment their QB was taking from us, they were max protecting and moving the pocket, and they were limiting the chances that he could throw the ball to us. Why arent we doing that with Logan? Why does it feel like we are doing the exact opposite? It seems like we are putting him in positions that increase his chances of turning the ball over by making him throw it so often and carry it so much. Why don't we relieve some of that burden and hopefully minimize the turnovers in the process?

Only Scot Loeffler and Frank Beamer know the answer to that question. The cynic in me can't help but wonder if there was a concious or sub-concious desire to put Logan on display to increase his draft stock after last year, and it just ended up completely blowing up in their face. Maybe they honestly and truly think this is the best course of action for the offense, but if that's the case then I start to get concerned about the coaching staff and their decision making/game planning. Either way, there is no longer anything to lose and everything to gain by gameplanning to get the turnover problem under control. The first step has to be limiting the chances LT has to turn the ball over. Stop making "Logan the Offense" we suit up 11 guys on every offensive down, let some of those guys be the offense too.

One way to put Logan Thomas into an analogy is to liken him to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, yet he is the same person.

I support Logan Thomas and make no apologies for it.

So are Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?

RIP Stick It In

Is this a for real post? I can't tell.

Don't deny his pussy touchdowns.

Along similar lines, I don't understand why we can't be the team that BC is and why we aren't playing ball like BC is. Frank and Scot were all about getting back to the basics and establishing a hard-nosed downhill running game reminiscent of years past. How did BC accomplish that (besides a RB with freakishly large thighs)? They padded the line with extra linemen and TE's. They outsized and outmaned our defense with double team blocking. And just to prove a point that this does work, we did this during one of our games. It was either pitt or UNC. Scot was quoted at the end for confessing that we put an extra linemen in and ran the same rushing play up the middle like 4 or 5 times in a row just to prove that we could score the touchdown that way which we did. I remember watching it and thinking "golly, we just ran the same rushing play 5 times and it worked". If you can get a first down rushing up the middle 3 times in a row, why not do that more often. It drives me nuts when scot calls up the middle on first down, Trey barely picks up 2 yards, then we spread it back out.

At the end of the day, I just want to win. And I am definitely thankful that Logan has been able to throw the ball the way he has to pick up countless impossible 3rd-down conversions. But the expectation for interceptions is really starting to take a toll on my heart/blood pressure. With the exception of the Bama game, I haven't seen a true commitment to the run game that I was expecting all summer.

Go Hokies!

We cannot play offense like BC because we do not have the personnel for it.

We'll play like Loefler wants us to play once he has a recruiting class or 2 under his belt.

Danny caught that ball.

Friends don't let 5 star friends commit to UVA.

I have inside info. - Whit

So for all the stat junkies out there, what are the most prevalent methods of measuring a WAR (Wins Over Replacement) value in football? And after reading this post and others concerning LT3, I figure we need an EINT (Earned Interceptions) to indicate when the QB *seems* to be primarily responsible. I know that football doesn't translate as well to statistical analysis as baseball, but it seems like these have been the primary concerns of the fanbase the last two weeks.

For the record, I am pro-Logan. This year was always going to be a rebuilding/restructuring year and the last few weeks, while painful, are not wholly unexpected. Enshallah, we will beat the piss out of Miami and LOLUVA.

Welcome and have a turkey leg on me.

@AMB4VT

Enshallah, well then Alhamdulillah. Turkey leg for you.

6-5, 10-1-1, 2-9, 3-8, 6-4-1, 6-5, 5-6, 2-8-1, 9-3, 8-4, 10-2, 10-2, 7-5, 9-3, 11-1, 11-1, 8-4, 10-4, 8-5, 10-3, 11-2, 10-3, 11-3, 10-4, 10-3, 11-3, 11-3, 7-6, 8-5.......

Wa salaam to both of you!

What's Important Now?
The Lunchpail. The Hammer. BeamerBall.
Deal some damage boys

Here's my one thing, while I agree with the notion that we all knew this was going to be a re-building or re-structuring year...I don't know, maybe it's just me, but you don't "Expect" a R-Sr 3rd year starting QB to turn the ball over 8 times in two games. Not in a Frank Beamer offense, it's like the Cardinal Sin. That's what's so frustrating, we're losing these games primarily because our one strength on offense is doing the one thing he's not supposed to do. Not only that he leads the entire nation in it over the last two years, and we're 13-11 as a result.

I expected the offense to be a work in progress, I didn't expect our QB to continute to turn the ball over this much. Certainly not after it looked like he got that under control for GT-UNC-Pitt.

Again, 2 of the 4 turnovers had little or nothing to do with Logan. The third (the final fumble) was a fluke play and the 4th, well let's just say that there are some very highly regarded Hokie QB's that made similar poor plays.

He was awful against Duke. Against BC, I noted four plays where I dropped a "what the hell." For a college kid, that isn't terrible. Not elite, but not terrible.

Viva El Guapo

That's fine, but at some point the number have to speak for themselves, don't they? One game in a vacuum, or two sure. But isn't the total number over the last two years 33 total turnovers? Like they said in that TSL article, he literally leads all of D1 in turnovers the last two years.

I understand that we are rebuilding an offense, but for a R-Sr third year starter i na Frank Beamer offense, I just didn't "expect" that. Maybe you did and that's cool, you definitely know a lot more about football than I do. I did not expect it.

Maybe none of those turnovers are solely or mostly his fault, maybe 25% of them are and he's just the most horrifically unluckly player in the history of college football. But the reaility is that there are a lot of them and they are most certainly not putting this team in the best position to win. I think in order to put this team in the best position to win, we need to put Logan in Positions where we are minimizing his risk of turning the ball over (through his fault or not) and I think the first step in that is actually running the ball with our running backs.

I think you have well voiced my frustration. I'm not frustrated that we are 6-3, I'm frustrated that we are 6-3 because LT is doing the things he should not be doing.

To that end, he's got a history of it. Why? I don't know, but I can tell you that he's literally not a natural QB. The Malcolm Gladwell "10,000 Hours of Practice" for mastery is part of it. LT has all the physical tools in the world, but he still throws crossing patterns too hard or 3' behind his receiver. He still struggles with his checkdowns until he gets anxious in the pocket and makes bad decisions. We will never know this, but he may get mixed up on routes or he may see option routes and read them incorrectly compared to a wide-open Josh Stanford.

We don't know why Logan Thomas leads the NCAA in turnovers the last two years. But we do know two things:

1. Its not his physical skills,
2. He has played less QB than practically every other college QB out there.

I don't know that you #2 is correct, didn't he play QB all through HS? That said it only serves to make #1 all the more confusing.

He famously played one year, maybe two, of QB in HS. If I recall correctly, someone got hurt his junior year and he had to step in and played it his senior year even though he was the #1 TE recruit in the country. Then Stiney and Beamer liked what they saw.....the physical tools.....and asked him if h wanted to play QB. He agreed, played great his first year when surrounded by elite talent (especially the RB who took the load off of him) and focused on a very simple offensive scheme.

So there are a lot of factors. Is this offense too complicated for him? Is the other offensive talent that much of a dropoff from the 2011 team? I would say this offense most definitely is more complicated, but last year's was not...or at least not by much. The offensive talent around him is less, but it's not this bad. In fact, most of us are now more comfortable with at least how the receivers have improved.

LT never played TE in high school. He was PROJECTED by the recruiting services to be the #1 TE coming out of high school because of his desire not to have to play QB at the college level.

LT did play two years at QB in high school - his junior and senior years. He played WR as a soph in high school.

As far as his playing experience as a QB, he is now in his 7th year - 2 years in high school, and now in his 5th year in college. He was starting his third year at Tech, a R-Soph, when he first started at QB for Tech.

LT never played TE in high school. He was PROJECTED by the recruiting services to be the #1 TE coming out of high school because of his desire not to have to play QB at the college level.

This needs to be stated over and over and over again. It's so funny to hear fans say, "But, but Logan was a tight end," when evidences provides the contrary. I have gotten into a debate with a stubborn fan who insists that Logan has a future in the NFL as a tight end, and I gave up trying to explain that one cannot simply flip a switch and gets the tight end position down pat. Now, Logan could probably get away with being a tight end based on his athleticism, but there's so much more in being a tight end, and it takes times to get that.

This is similar to the arguments some fans made that for Tyrod to be successful in the NFL, he should be moved to wide receiver to take advantage of his blistering speed, but the Ravens drafted him as a back-up quarterback to Joe Flacco. So, I think some fans simply don't know what the heck they are saying without considering the other side of the coins.

I support Logan Thomas and make no apologies for it.

I'd agree with your statement about not being able to jump in the league and get the tight end position down pat, but isn't tight end a place where basketball players end up? I mean, wasn't that how Miami's Jimmy Graham got into the league? A year or two of TE at Miami, then a draft pick and now he's great. I thought...who was it...Antonio Gates?...was a basketball player, too, and now is one of the best TE in the league (or was, I don't know if he's still playing or not). My point being that if he was going to make a transition in the league, TE seems to be a spot that is willing to take big, athletic guys, even if they don't have a lot of experience at the position under their belt.

Same for the Thomas kid from Denver - he only played one year of Collegiate level football at Portland State, but was a standout basketball player. Heck of an athlete, but also has a heck of a QB!

"And it is caught, it is caught for a touchdown"

I fully agree with you guys, but allow me to play devil's advocate. The QB's throwing them the ball are some of the best in the NFL:

Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, and Phillip Rivers

Oh, Phillip Rivers? Crap, never mind. Theory busted.

I'll see myself out.

Only played QB Jr. and Sr. Year in HS. Played WR his So. year

"And it is caught, it is caught for a touchdown"

2. He has played less QB than practically every other college QB out there.

One year of starting in the ACC is more valuable the four years of playing High School football. It's a totally different sport. There is no comparision. It's literally like comparing checkers to chess.

With THREE YEARS of starting experience, Logan Thomas has more practical experience than almost every other college QB out there.

You have to think hard about that comment. He has 1/2 a year of TRUE experience. I am talking from the coaching standpoint. We all know O'cain was a moron and he spent no time trying to fix Logan's problems ie: chopping his feet, follow through after throw, getting through his progressions, and other simple things.

If O'cain had spent just 1 hour a week trying to fix things Logan would be much better instead he is learning on the fly. I bet for him its like learning to ride a bike all over again. He was told one thing and followed that for years and now its incorrect.

"I'm high on Juice and ready to stick it in!" Whit Babcock

If that's the case, Tyrod Taylor has exactly zero years of "true" experience. He's now regarded as one of the best QBs we've ever had here.

Look at who Tyrod had on offense and lets compare. Danny Coale, Marcus Davis, Wilson, Boykin, Greg Booooneee, Ryan Williams, Josh Ogelsby... Also Tyrod was a better QB out of HS than Logan.

"I'm high on Juice and ready to stick it in!" Whit Babcock

I'm just saying that we should all have a greater appreciation for Tyrod Taylor. He was a great QB who made a ton of plays with few mistakes, despite having to learn on the fly with zero "real" coaching assistance. Most of those plays were made by his natural ability at quarterback.

Tom Brady

VT offensive incompetence

No running game

VT new system

Three sets of leading receivers in 3 years.

OL play that is beyond inconsistent

Defenses who aren't afraid of the running game

Defenses who aren't afraid of the receivers

Defenses who want LT to run so they can beat the hell out of him (like VT does to GT QBs)

Anyone who thinks this is all on LT is not capable of complex thought. And thats ok. Or it was until we decided to outsource all those jobs to China. Point is it takes 22 players to play a football game. It takes at least two decent offensive coaches to put that same game on. Putting it all on one kid is weak sauce intellectually.

If I could give you a turkey leg I would but I don't have my 20 yet. But that was spot on, couldn't agree more

"I'm high on Juice and ready to stick it in!" Whit Babcock

Its the nature of the position. If you're going to get an unfair amount of the credit when things are going good, then you're going to get an unfair amount of the blame when things are going bad, it's just how it works.

In 2011 people weren't falling all over themselves to give credit to the "team" when the offense was performing really well and attempting to donwplay Logan's contribution thereof. Everyone was too busy with their eyes bugging out of their skulls talking about what a beast he was and how high his ceiling would be in the next two years, and how he was a #1 draft pick and how he might leave early, and...

It's just how it works, it's a double-edged sword.

I don't know about EINTs, but we ARE tracking FAINTs (Fuller Adjusted Interceptions). Logan is currently at 3 for the season.

Haha yeah those are the best ever. Love your column every week.

Hasn't Kyle been out/just special teams last two games? That problem has a negative effect on the FAINTs, thus Logan is doing worse, thus we haven't been able to win.

2 Fullers > 1 Fuller.

Twitter me

Now THAT'S some math I can get behind.

As far as I know there isn't a WAR for college football. Football Outsiders has DVOA (Defense-Adjusted Value over Average) and DYAR (Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement) for the NFL but Bill Connelly hasn't figured out how to make it work for college yet.

There are some decent sabermetrics for football, and they all deal with the quarterback. None are as good as WAR, which is a great sabermetric with a terrible name (the statistic has nothing to do with wins), but passer rating and total QB rating aren't bad.

Passer rating simply is based on completion percentage, yards, TDs and interceptions. It's good for determining which QBs are best, but not necessarily which QBs are running their offense the best, as QBs in passing offenses will typically have higher ratings.

Total QB rating (QBR) involves situational statistics, such as expected points, pass blocking, receiving, over throws, and clutch situations (how one performs in the redzone in a tie game, 4th quarter). The scoring is 0-100 with 50 being average. It is completely based off film observation and thus has some inherent bias in the viewer awarding the rating. Nevertheless, it is definitely the most comprehensive way to judge a QB. According to ESPN, Logan has a QBR of 49.8, placing him at 86th in the nation. Sadly, that's only one above UVA's David Watford. Furthermore, there are 12 QBs in the ACC better than Logan, with Jameis Winston leading the way (3rd in nation).

Stats don't lie, Logan's only an average QB. His physical skills are at least top 3 in the ACC, but his skills do not translate to being a good QB. Is he the best QB on the team? I don't know, maybe. In terms of draft potential, if I were an NFL GM, I wouldn't even put him on my draftboard. And I love Logan.

Hear Hear

It's all about The VPISU
VT '10, Born & Raised in the 804. Also go Keydets, Army Black Knights, NY Giants, NY Rangers, and ATL Braves.

Been silent since the BC game, because there wasn't anything substantial to comment on. However, Mason, I found what you said accurate and fair. Thanks

Instead of calling for Loeffler to play Leal instead of Logan, why not call for Loeffler to play Logan like he would play Leal?

I....didn't know I was allowed to think about this. Eye-opening line. Well in, Mason.

So have any reporters asked Loeffler why he hasn't been running Edmunds the last couple of weeks despite glimpses that there could be success to be had there? I'm assuming that Loeffler is smarter than the majority or armchair coordinators out here in Hokie Land calling for it. He's done a lot of good and sure seems to be. What is the reasoning? Lack of success against ECU? I'm dying to hear the answer to this in the weekly coordinator interviews.

I think it's pretty much what French said above. Every one of the stretch plays we've run have been away from our TE and our WRs are inconsistent, to put it gently, blocking on the edge. I'm not saying the read option game doesn't require your skill position players to block, but you can get away with a little more in that department. I think the short answer is that Loeffler doesn't trust his young TEs in the running game, and there is very little doubt in my mind this offense would look much different if Malleck was still in the lineup.

Bah. Isn't it more difficult to hold a block for the extra time required for a QB to make a read, pull the ball out, and then get started up field rather than hold a block for a RB who already has momentum toward the LOS when he receives the ball? I see what you're saying in some instances (the TE is taking an influence step rather than blocking and the QB reads how the DE is handling that, effectively taking the blocking responsibility away from the TE), but as covered on the film reviews here, it's not working. The defenders aren't being influenced by the player movement and are just attacking the ball. As a result we have a slower developing play dealing with additional attacking defenders. Overall, that seems a much less desirable situation than quickly getting the ball in the RB's hands and only asking your blockers to get "a hat on a hat" for some positive yardage, even if they can't hold their blocks for a big play (note we're not getting ANY big plays out of veer or read option packages anyway).

For the line, yes. But the line's been playing well, for the most part. The reason we don't see more big plays off of the veer package is that the skill position guys struggle. We can get 4-7 yards all day long, but second- and third-level players come in to clean up the play, which is the responsibility of the WRs and TE.

Instead of calling for Loeffler to play Leal instead of Logan, why not call for Loeffler to play Logan like he would play Leal?

A Hall-of-Fame sentence.

Add it to the Memorable Quotes feed.

"And it is caught, it is caught for a touchdown"

Quite possibly my favorite sentence ever posted here on TKP. My jaw dropped when I read that - it's so perfect.

In both games, Logan made critical errors at the end of the game. I'm not saying that Logan wouldn't have made those decisions if he didn't carry the ball as much, but I do think it's a possibility.

I'm not saying that Logan wouldn't have made those decisions either, but you can bet that every D Coordinator in the conference is thinking it's a possibility. That's why on every read option play somebody is assigned to hit Logan Thomas whether he keeps the ball or not.

Logan is one of those types of quarterbacks that drives people nuts.

I apologize for bringing this up, but there's a reason for it. This whole love/hate relationship with Logan is very similar to Sean Glennon. I remember bitching about Glennon because, his arm is one of his strengths and accuracy, but man, he was turnover prone (does this sound familiar at all?).

What is the biggest difference between Glennon and Thomas? I could make a chart, but I think it comes down to two things: Thomas could move and truck somebody while Glennon was moving like he was wading in cement. And Glennon had a stud quarterback right behind him who eventually unseated Glennon. Thomas doesn't have that type of threat in spite of fans howling for Leal.

For the record, I think that Leal brings a different asset to the table, but I do not think he will scare defensive coordinators the way Thomas does. Leal is probably the best in short range games (his touchdown pass to Malleck in the spring game comes to mind), but I cannot recall his long passes being on the money like Thomas' pass to Knowles in the UNC game this season (that was a thing of beauty, the type that makes NFL scouts change their shorts). Another thing about Leal is he can buy time with his feet, something that Thomas struggle to do because of his size makes it awkward (don't try to say, "But, but Cam! But, but RG3! Those kids are freak of an athlete) for him to keep chopping while on the run. I also think that when Thomas throws on the run, the ball tend to come out of his hand very awkward.

Thomas is an outstanding athlete and I believe that Thomas knew the game was in his hands and he blew it. There's no doubt in my mind that if Thomas had a chance to do it over again, he would have taken the sack and let AJ take care of the field position because #puntingiswinning.

I would also argue that even if Thomas took the sack and AJ gave the defense plenty of grasses to defend, there is no guarantee that the defense would force a quick three and outs with the abuse Boston College laid on the defense all day long.

Football is indeed a number game, and sometime, the odds are simply not in the Hokies' favor. That's why I like Loeffler and he clearly understands how to make the numbers work in his favor. The red zone interception against Duke, something French and I was discussing on Twitter this afternoon, is something that eats at Loeffler because he said he did a study. He said if you don't make the completion in the red zone, the percentage of success drops dramatically, and therefore, it becomes a point of emphasis to make the completion. Maybe that's why we are seeing more shotgun formations near the red zone because Loeffler is playing with the number in his head.

This is something I have never heard from Stinespring or O'Cain. Clearly, Loeffler seem to have a great grasp on what to call, but sometime, the numbers don't favor him.

Sorry for the long winded tl;dr post, but I just have thoughts that come outs like a train.

I support Logan Thomas and make no apologies for it.

I think Glennon had much better talent to work with then Thomas did. Glennon could throw the ball to an NFL receiver and let him do work. Thomas doesn't exactly have that luxury.

I do remember Glennon struggling with first year receivers, someone like Dryell Roberts I think, and it was his game against ECU that caused Beamer to reverse course on redshirting Tyrod (again) and yank it off.

To be fair, Thomas did have the luxury of throwing to two of the best receivers in school history in his first season as starters, but then that production dropped off last season. This season, I think the potential are there for there to be a dynamic corps. The hiring of Moorehead has paid off already this season with the emergence of Joshua Stanford and Willie Byrn. It's Knowles that has me nervous because most of Thomas' interceptions has targeted Knowles.

I support Logan Thomas and make no apologies for it.

Ok I read in the paper today that Logan is tied for 1st in the fbs with 33 turnovers since the beginning of the 2012 season...I can't defend anybody who is giving away games like this!

We run va!

I can't defend anybody who is giving away games like this

To each his own. I find it rather easy to forgive a player for turning over the ball frequently if he is asked to do more for his offense then almost any other player in CFB.

There are 13 QBs with more passing attempts than Thomas this year. All but one have fewer INTs than Thomas, and the one with more INTs (Connor Halliday) has a better Attempts/INT ratio. All but one have a higher completion percentage as well. 9 of the 13 have higher YPA. He has been sacked 16 times this year, so subtract those and he has 104 rushing attempts. That puts him at 404 touches, which is less times than Halliday, Sean Mannion, Derek Carr and David Goff have thrown the ball. There may be other QBs with more touches, but it's after 1 AM. My point is that of the high-usage QBs in college football Thomas is among the worst at protecting the football (WKU's QB has a worse INT/attempts rate).

Thomas is asked to do a lot because he's a 5th year senior in his 3rd year of starting and the most talented player on the roster. If the offense took the ball out of his hands, we'd complain that they weren't using the most talented player enough. He makes the offense go. Unfortunately Thomas continues to make mental errors that less experienced QBs don't make. Physical errors are one thing- even the best QBs miss passes. You can live with those if he's making the right read. The mental mistakes are the ones that cause fans to either a) scream for Leal or b) fire up the Logan Thomas Excuse-O-Matic to explain why somehow it's not Thomas's fault and it's really the fault of (pick whichever apply) the backs/the receiver/the line/Loeffler/Stinespring/the weather/Flying Spaghetti Monster. Neither of those are healthy choices. If Miami fans wrote similar things about Stephen Morris (that they likely repurposed from the Jacory Harris era) we would laugh at them. At this point in his college career, what you see is what you get with Thomas. So far this year he's a 55.7% passer who averages 6.9 yards/attempt. For his career he's a 55.2% passer who averages 7.1 yards/attempt. This is who he is.

What's your point?

I've already acknowledged that Thomas is inconsistent with his decision making. There are a lot of words in the posted article criticizing his play.

I think you missed the point of the piece. It wasn't to excuse Thomas mistakes, but rather to explain why the staff shares part of the blame. You throwing stats around like there only being 13 quarterbacks with more passing attempts only further solidifies my point that Thomas is being asked to do to much by the coaching staff, and then the fan base turns around and bitterly blames him for a lack of production.

If leal started on Saturday, do you think loeffler would ask him to throw the ball 40 plus times? Or lead the team in rushing attempts? Hell no. Loeffler would go out of his way to protect him. Why isn't he doing the same for Logan?

WHY ARE THERE ONLY 13 QBS WITH MORE PASSING ATTEMPTS THAN LOGAN!?!?

I'm not Loeffler, but I would guess that Logan has as many passing attempts as he does because the rushing attack is anemic/inconsistent. He's calling passes and putting the ball in the hands of his best player rather than repeatedly run ineffectually for 2 yards/carry and set up 3rd and long. VT is 109th in the country in yards/attempt rushing. They're 107th in rushing yards/game. The rare times the offense has had a rhythm this year (first half of GT, 2nd quarter UNC, first quarter against Pitt, intermittent stretches against BC) they have succeeded by passing. If VT were pounding the ball into the teeth of defenses loaded up to stop the run then the complaints would be that the coaching staff was not trusting its best player and was putting the offense in negative down/distance situations.

Loeffler treats Thomas differently than he would treat Leal because, as has been pointed out numerous times by you and other staffers whenever someone says to play Leal, Thomas is far more talented and the best option on the team. That's a red herring. You're trying to have it both ways. Either Thomas is the best QB on the team and should be given the responsibility of leading the offense, or he's not the best option and someone else should play. If the two QBs are interchangeable then there's no reason for Thomas to be out there. However we know they aren't interchangeable. It would be foolish to use QBs with different skill sets the same way. Also, as has been pointed out, Thomas has far more experience than Leal, so of course you would protect Leal more. If we're now saying that a 5th year senior with 36 starts should be treated like someone with no career starts, I think there's a larger problem.

My point was that other, less heralded QBs seem to be able to handle the load of making lots of decisions without being as turnover prone/inefficient, so the "he makes mistakes because he has to make so many decisions" excuse rings slightly hollow. He makes mistakes because he's a mistake-prone QB.

Curious play-calling at key moments, inexperience at key positions, blown assignments, missed blocks, dropped passes, bad routes, missed FGs, and RBs missing the hole have had a major impact on LT's performance this year, as they did last year. Those aren't excuses, those are facts.

I will hold LT responsible for the plays he personally screws up, but he's not the only guy on the field making mistakes. All of those guys, including the coaches, have to do their jobs well to help LT be successful. It's still a team game, win or lose.

I did not realize that the Flying Spaghetti Monster was a real thing.

I understand that but when you have a redshirt year and then you sit the bench a year and then you start 3 years,in which this year you have no classes so you have all day to eat ,sleep, think about football.There is no excuse to not learning the art of throwing on target and or throwing it away when there is no play.8 turnovers in 2 weeks is not the result of having the ball every play,it's the result of not paying attention and detail,

We run va!

He has classes. He has to take classes. That's part of being a student athlete. He's taking grad-school classes. Just because he already graduated and has a degree, it doesn't mean that he and all the other graduated seniors are sitting around all day when they aren't in practice.

8 turnovers in 2 weeks is not the result of having the ball every play,it's the result of not paying attention and detail,

Actually a lot of those turnovers were the results of tipped passes, and one was the result of a blindside sack. I think it's kind of silly to blame a player for causing his team to lose when he accounted for 96% of his team's offense.

Thank you Mason for stating what I have been pondering for the past 2 seasons. Why has HCFB been content to allow his QB to carry the ball more than his RB's? 2012 might have been a bit of an anomaly with so few RB options, but this year there is no valid reason for LT to lead the team in rushes in any game. I do not accept that LT is the best running option on the team, and your analysis proves that point, I believe. VT has had such a streak of success b/c the offense was always committed to a ball-control, run first with the tailbacks, play action pass for big gainers, style of offense. I now loathe the read-option, since LT keeps the ball the majority of the time when he truly has the option to keep it, and our opponents know how to defend that play all too well. As you have made clear, LT needs to line up under center MUCH more often and hand the ball off the scholarship players who are at VT to be running backs. That should help LT be a better passer, and the RB's will improve through the learning that only game reps can provide.

The BC game made me nostalgic for VT football, sadly it was BC playing our brand of football, not the Hokies.

VTCC '86 Delta Derelicts, Hokie in Peru

I agree about the read-option. I throw up a little bit in my mouth when I see us run that now.
When I see the decision to keep 9/10 times and watch the RB have a clear lane and LT get crushed after 2 yards because everyone is keying on him, I am sitting there thinking-'Ok, so I don't know much, but the RB could have gotten more yards.......'
Coaches: go back to the outside zone hand-off, inside zone hand-off, play-action pass. Please.
And I found myself strangely jealous when watching BC on offense just running the damn ball. Is that bad?

The read option is good in theory. I wish we had used it even more with Tyrod Taylor in the past. His shiftyness and ability to quickly determine whether to pitch it or not was very effective and entertaining to watch.

It's easy for defense to game plan against the Hokies..blitz blitz blitz..seems like this is always the game plan against Hokie QB's. Mike Vick use to get blitz every down to keep him in the pocket..Tyrod was as well and now Logan is getting blitz from all directions. The Canes probably won't blitz as much as they sit in that Tampa two zone all game..there should be plenty of underneath throws wide open.

Touchdown Tech - Bill Roth

Duke didn't really blitz at all.

And that's where Willie Byrn & Co. comes into play - he's gotten a lot of catches on those crossing routes.

In Beamer & Co. We Trust #Livefor32 #DecadeofDominance

AMAZING POST!!!! Great insight and perspective. What we need is the LT3 from two years ago against MIA where he had an almost perfect game after several poor performances. Time for a reprise.

“I hope that they’re not going to have big eyes and pee down their legs so to speak,” -- Bud Foster

I will be the first to say that I am not a Thomas supporter. And I also think Thomas should stay in as QB for now. Here is why.

It was a mistake from the beginning to anoint Thomas to the QB position. It was a high risk decision, with an unproven entity. Sure he is tall, athletic, and competitive and so on. That was the bait. But his consistency has been a struggle and it is an area he has not shown measurable improvement. In fact, in some games it is debilitating.

The problem with consistency is just that -- when he was selected, there was no track record and the hope was that through coaching and experience, he would arrive. He has not. And he probably will not, given what is left in the season.

That being said, nevertheless Thomas must be the QB for the rest of the season.

Loeffler is trapped. HE MUST STAY WITH THOMAS EVEN IF DEEP DOWN HE DOES NOT WANT TO. Leal and Thomas are just too different. Thomas is a read-option, pound it, running QB. Leal is more of a finesse pocket passer. The current offensive structure is indeed built around a QB running the ball. Leal could NOT go in with the same formation and same play calls that we see today and be successful. And there is not the time to completely overhaul the offense to adapt to pocket passing.

Loeffler is obviously trying. Progressions, safety valves, swing passes trying to do things to avoid bad decision on the field. But in the last two games, Thomas has continued to stumble.

As much as I do believe the Thomas era has been a big mistake, and his legacy as a VT QB will not be good, in reality folks, with where we are right now, there is no choice but to have Thomas finish out the season. The entire offense is built on a running QB and that cannot change.

So, two things going forward: (1) let us just trust that Thomas makes more mature decisions on the field in the next few games, and (2) please do a better job selecting a QB in the future.

If breaking most of the school records for a QB and getting to a BCS at large bid not good then I guess I need to raise my standards.

I also don't get the "He's a tight end, not a qb" thing. He played qb at Brookville. He didn't play tight end. That is just where he was projected to play.

Here's what LT said according to Scouts.com coming out of Brookville..."I don't care which position I play as long as it's on offense."

He also said this to Scouts.com

"I'm real athletic and I have good field awareness. I study film and I remember it. I play smart and I know what to do. I have great hands and will catch anything that is thrown to me. I just don't let anything stop me."

Also, he was not a highly touted recruit for QB coming out of high school - every school recruited him as TE or WR. Lesson learned: recruit GOOD QB's in High School, to play QB in college. Tyrod, Glennon, MV2, Randall, Noel, MV1, Clark, Druck, DeShazo - All were QB's in High School, and recruited as QB's in each school that sought them in college.

"And it is caught, it is caught for a touchdown"

I agree with some of what you're saying (stats, BCS, etc). For your reference, he was referring to either WR or TE when he made the "I don't care which position I play..." statement..

Link...

http://recruiting.scout.com/2/738693.html

"And it is caught, it is caught for a touchdown"

Thomas has also broken the record for picks in the FBS. And that is the problem.

No he hasn't. Not to be mean but did you just make that up??? Maybe writing in sarcastica?

The record is 80. EIGHTY INTERCEPTIONS. Timmy Chang - Hawaii. FCS record is 76 INTs. Single season record - 34 INTs.

We won't have to worry about Logan breaking that record.

Link to the NCAA Record Book

I was writing in hyperbole ..

He's doesn't even have any of the Hokie records for interceptions, let alone all of FBS. Strait from the Record Book on Hokie Sports:

Most Interceptions Thrown
Game: 5 Maurice DeShazo vs. Virginia - 1994
5 Will Furrer at NC State - 1991
5 Don Strock vs. Houston - 1972
5 Steve Casey at Duke - 1981
Season: 27 Don Strock - 1972
Career: 47 Don Strock - 1970-1972

LT3 by comparison has thrown:
Game: 4 (Duke 2013)
Season: 16 (2012)
Career: 38 (2010-Present)

That means that to get to the Hokie records for Interceptions, Logan would have to throw:
Game: 5 or more interceptions in one of the remaining games.
Season: 15 more interceptions in 4-5 more games
Career: 9 more interceptions in 4-5 games

So far this season he is averaging averaging 1.33 interceptions per game. To set a new Hokie season record he would have to throw 3.0-3.75 interceptions per game over the last 4-5 games. For the Career Number he would have to throw 1.8-2.25 interceptions per game over the last 4-5 games. To reach any of the numbers he would have to consistently be worse his current season average on Interceptions per game.

The whole "TE, not QB" thing comes from that projection..but that projection is there for a reason. It doesn't matter if he played QB in high school or not. If you look at him as an athlete he fits the mold of a TE much better than that of a QB. I would argue that he's not a "natural" QB, but that is the position he's been playing for the last 7 years or so (even with minimal direction...thanks O'cain) yes, TECHNICALLY, he is a QB. But he probably shouldn't be. I think he would be a much more effective player and would probably have way higher draft stock if he HAD played TE in college instead of QB. Perhaps, if he had the proper coaching from the very beginning he would be a pretty good QB. I stand by the sentiment that he's a TE playing QB regardless of where his experience actually lies. It's about his physical tools.

I would also argue that he doesn't have the mind of a QB. He's not the most cerebral QB playing college ball right now. I think part of the reason he makes the mistakes he does is because he can't handle the quick thinking required for the position. I'm not trying to say he's dumb...that's not the case at all. I just don't think he's quick enough mentally to be a top notch QB.

All that being said, I'm not going to push for Leal. I think LT is the best offensive weapon we have and he needs to be in the game. I truly believe that he gives us the best CHANCE to win...if he plays well. It's a shame that we couldn't have recruited better on the offensive side of the ball...just imagine what kind of offense we would have had if we got a more natural QB to toss passes to LT as a TE. Scary!

"I like to hit a home run early" ~ Whit "knows how to create a Buzz" Babcock

But if he had stayed at Tight End, Stienspring and Newsome would have inevitably moved him inside to guard.

Stat wise I heard that our offense is worse than last year,is this true ?

We run va!

Well, the single important stat is wins and losses, so no.

#thingsiblamethemvsfor

That could have something to do with the defense being significantly better this season.

To me, it doesn't matter how it happens. If A.J. Hughes going all #PUNTERSWAG on other teams every game is the reason they've been winning more, I'll take it.

Just win!

#thingsiblamethemvsfor

Sure, but that's different than saying that the offense must be better since the team's record is better. The offense is slightly worse, while the defense is significantly better.

It may be true - but it is not telling.

Think of the games we lost last year. We were down by a lot early in games (Pitt/UNC come first to mind). We had to play from behind which led to a lot of passing attempts in the second half. Now look at the UNC/Pitt games from this year. We played conservative football in the second half in order to eliminate mistakes, keep our defense fresh, and run the clock.

So yes- the stats may be worse, but you can not go just by stats. From my eyes, and it seems like French and Mason agree, the offense seems to be progressing, despite the last two games.

Here is a stat for you:

LT, in the '12 and '13 seasons to date, he has thrown a total of 28 INT's. Of the 38, 13 have been between VT's own 20 - 39 yard line.

'12 - 7 out of 16 INT's were thrown when VT was in between their own 20 and 39 yard line.
'13 - 6 out of 12 INT's were thrown in the same field position.

Logan is a hard worker - he will make better decisions and it will start this weekened. GO HOKIES

"And it is caught, it is caught for a touchdown"