QB Thomas promises “meaner” Tech team in 2013

BLACKSBURG – Logan Thomas said he and his offensive teammates are ready for a fresh start after last season’s frustrating 7-6 football season, a disappointing record that led to a major makeover for the Virginia Tech offensive coaching staff.
“This for us is kind of a new start,” Thomas said. “We get to wipe away the bad record we had last year and make the best of the one coming up. Obviously, we’re leaving that in the back of our head. We never went to be 7-6. That’s just not how we are.”
Thomas, who considered leaving Tech early to enter the NFL draft before opting to return for his senior season, said he deserves a large part of the blame for a failure of leadership during last season. He said he needed to be a more vocal presence on and off the field.
“I take a lot of blame for that, last year,” Thomas said. “As the quarterback, you’re supposed to be the person that leads, no matter what. I’m trying to take a big step for that this year. Everything I do, I have to have that in the back of my mind. Make sure I’m leading the guys in the right direction and I’m saying the right things. They’re focused on the things I have to say and we’re doing it right.”
Thomas said that, while his message last year was the right one, he needed to be more assertive in delivering it to his teammates.
“I did but I didn’t make it vocal enough,” Thomas said when I asked if he said the right things last season. “I let things slide and I can’t let things slide anymore.”
He’ll get help with that this season from new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Scot Loeffler, who Thomas and others describe as a perfectionist. And one who’s not shy about being vocal with his thoughts.
“They don’t sugar coat things,” running backs coach Shane Beamer said of Loeffler and new offensive line coach Jeff Grimes and wide receivers coach Aaron Moorehead. “They tell you what they’re feeling, players and coaches both.”
Thomas wouldn’t answer when I asked him if he thought Tech needed the changes to the offensive staff. But he did acknowledge that Loeffler’s style is a dramatic departure from that of deposed play-caller Mike O’Cain, who is gone from last year’s staff along with offensive line coach Curt Newsome and wide receivers coach Kevin Sherman. (Offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring was demoted to tight ends coach.)
“It’s completely different,” Thomas said. “Coach O’Cain, he was more laid and he’d talk to you. Coach [Loeffler] he’ll raise his voice and yell at you when you’re doing bad and he’ll also yell at you when you’re doing good. He’ll pick you up. And he won’t just do it off to the side, he’ll do it in front of your teammates. And it think that brings camaraderie and brings everyone together.”
During Wednesday’s first spring practice, Loeffler could be seen – and heard – perfecting the way the Hokies lined up in and broke the huddle. He had a tape recorder in the offensive huddle to work on Thomas’ cadence.
“They put a lot on my plate but at the same time it’ll make me a better football player, it will make this team a better team,” Thomas said. “And at the end of the day, it will put us where we want to be.”
Thomas said Loeffler makes it clear he has the highest of expectations for the senior signal-caller.
“He always says he’s on a mission from God to make me the best quarterback in the nation.”
And together with the new coaches, Thomas is trying to make Tech’s offense one of the country’s toughest. Head coach Frank Beamer said that’s one of the focuses this spring – and the reason he held five straight days of 6 a.m. workouts last week.
Thomas agreed that, looking back, the 2012 Hokies weren’t tough enough.
“I think it’s going to be a different mental aspect,” Thomas said of this year’s team. “I think we’re going to be a lot tougher, a lot meaner.”