Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

College Sports

July 24, 2012

Thomas looks to lead Virginia Tech to championship

GREENSBORO, N.C. — When you stand 6’6” tall and weigh 262 pounds, most people literally look up to you. Virginia Tech redshirt junior quarterback Logan Thomas knows that his physical presence will generally command that kind of scrutiny. But these days, Thomas is being looked up to for an entirely different reason. It’s his leadership ability, pure and simple, and he is not shying away from a responsibility he says his coaches have groomed him to ultimately accept ever since he became the Hokies’ starting quarterback.

“I’ve always been a (leadership) type of person, but it’s that time for me to step up and do it,” said Thomas during an interview session at the 2012 ACC Football Kickoff.

“I did it more as the year progressed last year, but spring practice was more my time. It’s a testament to what our coaches do. They get you ready for that, and when you’re ready, you take care of it.”

Thomas enters this season as one of the nation’s top quarterbacks, having posted a Tech single-season record 3,482 yards of total offense in his first year as a starter. He tossed 19 touchdown passes and ran for 11 more.

After a dismal showing in his first ACC contest, a 23-3 loss to Clemson in which he threw for only 125 yards, Thomas helped Tech reel off seven consecutive conference wins that propelled Virginia Tech into its fifth ACC championship game.

Thomas credited that early-season loss to the Tigers with helping him become a better quarterback.

“(That loss) was rough, to say the least, but I bounced back the following week and it just took off from there,” Thomas said. “You don’t ever want to have a bad game, but if you do, you reflect on it and get better from it. I learned a lot from that game.”

This summer, as much as he can, Thomas has been working out three or four times a day. Along the way, he has been a mentor to many of the younger players and encouraged by the progress that they are making. In addition to him, others, including Kyle Fuller, Antone Exum, Detrick Bonner, Vinston Painter, Dyrell Roberts, and Marcus Davis, have participated in voluntary summer workouts with one goal in mind, the national championship game.

“We’ve had a completely different mindset this summer than I’ve seen in my first three years here. We’ve had a great showing by the younger guys as well as the older guys, who have shown great leadership. They do not want to settle for second-best and are not taking any days off,” said Thomas. “The ACC championship is something we expect, but we don’t want to stop there.”

Thomas’s road to a hoped-for national title game begins on Monday, Sept. 3, when he and the Hokies face Coastal Division rival Georgia Tech. He contends that his preparation for that game is no different than it was last season when Virginia Tech opened with Appalachian State. Still, he admits to one major difference.

“I just want to be the best that I can be on day one. But there will be extra pressure because you can’t have any slip-ups (in a conference game),” Thomas said. “Georgia Tech is a great team. It will be a great test.”

In a league full of quality quarterbacks, including the Yellow Jackets’ dual-threat senior Tevin Washington, Thomas is hoping to be standing head-and-shoulders above the rest when this season’s ACC competition is over.

“The ACC is a tough quarterback conference. You’ve got (Florida State’s) E.J. Manuel, (N.C. State’s) Mike Glennon, (Wake Forest’s) Tanner Price, and (Duke’s) Bryn Renner. They’re all being talked about very highly,” said Thomas. “They’re mentally and physically tough and competitive. That’s what you want to see and it motivates me. It will be awesome to see how the season plays out. I just want to outplay every single person, every single Saturday. It will be a good competition between us, but I don’t ever want to be second-best.”                         

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