Eric Russell

Logan Thomas Faces High Stakes This Season

Created on Jun. 05, 2013 2:42 AM EST

Around a year ago at this time Logan Thomas was riding the wave of a decent sophomore season and being touted as one of the top NFL quarterback prospects. At the start of last season he was listed at No. 4 on Mel Kiper's big board. After a season in which he saw his numbers drop slightly and Virginia Tech struggle its way to a 7-6 record, Thomas is faced with a crucial senior campaign. Not only will he be fighting the dreaded quarterback slide down the draft board after returning, but much of the burden will fall on his shoulders for Virginia Tech to have a shot at the ACC crown. 

Much has been made about the offense in Blacksburg this offseason, and the team's performance in the spring game didn't do much to quiet the chatter. After the game head coach Frank Beamer was also critical of the performance. 

"On offense we've got to get more consistent. We've heard that before," Beamer told the media after the spring game. 

That starts with Thomas. The Virginia Tech offense has yet to show any signs that their rushing attack will foster any results greater than last season, making the passing game all the more critical. Thomas was named one of the team's most valuable players of the spring, giving him one more thing to live up to. In an interview last month with the Roanoke Times he spoke about being a better leader of the team. 

"As the quarterback you're supposed to be the person that leads no matter what... I have to have that in the back of my mind, make sure I'm leading the guys in the right direction," Thomas said in the article.  

Leading by example will be one of the goals Thomas needs to accomplish. Last season Thomas' inconsistency in the passing game was a major reason for the team's slide. He finished the year ranked ninth in the conference in passing efficiency, while completing just 51 percent of his passes. The eight percent drop in completion percentage combined with 16 interceptions and the team's poor finish left Thomas with a bad taste and convinced him to return for another year. 

The arrival of Scot Loeffler, the Hokies' new offensive coordinator, should help the quarterback immensely. Sports Illustrated reported that one of the first moves Loeffler made was to watch each of Thomas' passes from last season and see what improvements he could make. Loeffler will also bring with him a more sophisticated offense. 

The change in offensive play-calling may be just what Thomas needs. Although the 2012 campaign was bad for the Hokies' offense, Thomas didn't perform too much differently than he did in the 2011 season. Thomas only threw one more touchdown as a sophomore than he did last year and only 37 fewer passing yards. His arm strength and mobility are on par with some of the top quarterbacks in the nation. It's just a matter of turning that into greater success. Thomas and the Hokies are hoping Loeffler is that missing piece. 

The two have been building a relationship throughout the spring and seem quite fond of each other. Loeffler's pedigree as an offensive coordinator and quarterback coach is solid — despite last season at Auburn. Thomas certainly expects Loeffler to help him progress his passing game and increase his draft stock. The quarterback told Sports Illustrated that he is happy to have a guy who has spent time in the NFL. Loeffler spent a year with the Detroit Lions as the team's quarterback coach. 

"He's going to prepare not only me but the rest of the guys as if we were training to play in the NFL. He brings a different type of energy and some excitement to the program that's different and definitely well-needed," Thomas told Sports Illustrated's Brian Hamilton.

Loeffler has constantly said his offensive system requires quarterbacks to do several things. He believes Thomas is that guy. As it was prior to last season, the lofty praise for Thomas persists into this year. Now it is up to the senior quarterback to deliver and make Hokies fans forget the 2012 season. 

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