By Zach Mariner, sports editor
Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas spent about an hour on Sunday afternoon fielding questions from reporters from around the ACC.
I spent half of that hour listening to cornerback Kyle Fuller do the same, but I was still able to gather a good bit of what Thomas said. Enjoy.
How are you feeling coming into this season?
I would say it’s no nerves and no worries. Last year I didn’t really know what to expect going in, this year I do. I’m pretty confident in myself, I’m pretty confident in what this team can do. We’ve got athletes at every position, even up front on the offensive line, we’re athletic there. I think that can lead to us being a more dynamic offense, as well, which is always a blessing for me. You’ve got position players everywhere: Marcus, DJ, Corey, Dyrell — it’s nice to have Dyrell back — that can get the job done. Especially the young guys in the backfield — young’s not always bad. We’re pretty excited about it.
How has it been stepping into a leadership role this season?
I’ve always been that type of person. But I think it’s just that time for me to step up and do it. I did it as the year progressed last year, but the spring was really my time. It’s just kind of a test that our coaches do to get you ready for it. When you’re ready, you take care of it, and I was ready. I think the guys look up to me, and I can still look up to my guys, they understand me, I understand them. It’s a team thing, a team game. But you follow that one person. And I’m honored to be that one person.
You had a rough start to ACC play last season, but seemed to progress as the year went on:
It was nice. I guess I opened up with Clemson as my first ACC game, which was rough to say the least. But I bounced back the next week and it kinda took off from there. It’s nice to have a bad game under your belt. You don’t want to have it, but it’s good to have to reflect on and get better from it. I learned a lot from that day.
How long did it take you to nail down a weekly routine last season?
It took about three weeks to fully understand what was going to be asked of me every single day, game in, game out, day in and day out. Once I kind of got a grasp of it, it made it a lot easier. Things started slowing down. It was one less thing I had to worry about.
Changes in the offensive game plan:
I feel like it’s gonna look the same, but maybe a little bit faster. Hopefully we can spread it out a little bit more with the speed that we have and the experience that we have. Hopefully we can add a couple more dimensions to the offense and just be better. We want to get better every year, every day. Hopefully it picks up quick.
What has this offseason been like for you?
I’ve been working out two, three, four times a day, as much as I can. It’s been good helping the young guys come along, helping them learn. It’s kind of satisfying being able to know that you’ve taught somebody younger than you to understand it. When you see that light bulb go off in their heads and it clicks, you’re like, ‘Yes, that’s another reason why I’m here.’ It’s very nice, I’ve seen the young guys get a lot better. If something happens, hopefully they can hop in and not miss a step.
Are you worried about working with a new group of go-to receivers?
Our top four right now, there’s really no step off. Pretty good fluidity with those guys. But I wanted to get better with the younger guys, because they’re the ones that might have a big role if anything ever happens. But I feel pretty confident with those guys, I’ve been with every one of them for three years now. It’s been good. I’m excited to see what they can do and what this offense can do.
What is quarterbacks coach Mike O’Cain expecting of you this fall?
He hasn’t given me any idea of what he’s gonna ask me to do. But there’s one thing that he wanted me to work on in the offseason and that was getting my footwork right, because it’ll make me more accurate. I’m trying to improve on that as much as I can, I’ve been working as much as I can, drills after drills to get better. And he’s right. I can feel the difference as I step into the pocket. Hopefully it translates over to the season.
Is your preparation any different, opening the year with a tough opponent like Georgia Tech?
I wouldn’t have done anything different if we were playing Appalachian State. I just want to come in and be the best I can when day one hits and just progress as the season goes on, hopefully get through that gauntlet of a schedule that we have at the end of October, beginning of November. But yeah, I wouldn’t approach it any differently.
Is there any added pressure playing a big game so early in the year?
Of course there’s the extra pressure, you know you’ve gotta bring your A-game from day one. You can’t have any slip ups and Georgia Tech’s a great team, they’re tough. It’s always been us two coming down to the end, the last four years or so, to go to the ACC Championship. It’s a great test right off the jump, so hopefully we’re ready to go.
Working on footwork:
It’s kind of alone. I just throw a couple of cones out there and just step up and go through my release. Obviously you don’t throw the ball, you’re just going through the motions. It’s just memory. Foot memory… It’s hard to explain if you haven’t been there.
Where have you been doing that?
It doesn’t even matter. Wherever it is. I do it a little bit when I go back home and I’ll do it up there on the practice field, as well.
Last season, Thomas took a punch from Georgia Tech’s Jeremiah Attaochu during a 3rd & long play, a turning point in the Hokies’ victory.
How are things with Attaochu?
I just talked to him right before we came in here. There’s no hard feelings between me and him, he’s a good guy. We talked after that game when we played them last year. He texted me… Funny guy. He’s a good dude.
What did he say to you?
He was just messing around, saying, ‘You’re a D-end playing quarterback, you’re bigger than I am, how am I supposed to take you down? I was just acting out of frustration, no hard feelings.’ I was like, ‘Man, I understand, I’d probably do the same thing if I was you.’ There’s no hard feelings. I don’t really hold grudges anyway.
When it comes time to send in paperwork to the NFL draft advisory board, will you go to someone specific for advice?
I probably will when the time comes, but right now it’s too far away for me to think about. If it starts coming around December, whatever it is, I guess I’ll start paying attention then.
On becoming a superstar:
I’m not one to really go out and be in the limelight. It’s kind of weird to see myself on TV or have people come up to me and want to take pictures and get autographs, it’s still weird for me. I’m still getting adjusted to it, but I guess I’ve gotta get used to it. I’m more of a homebody than anything else. I like to hide a little bit. But, it’s not bad.
Did you play against EJ Manuel in high school?
I didn’t. I think he was AAA from the beach and I’m from central Virginia, which is a good ways away.
Do you guys have any sort of relationship?
We’re good friends. This is actually the first time we’ve really met and been able to talk.
What do you think about the caliber of high school football in the state of Virginia?
I think Virginia football is a little bit underrated. Obviously behind Florida and Texas and California, but I think we’re right behind those guys. We can absolutely play. We’ve had great football throughout the years.
Do you get pretty down after losses?
I’m pretty level-headed. I guess the one that hurt the most was the Sugar Bowl, because we had a chance to win it and just didn’t capitalize. Those last two games just give me a motivation factor for this season. I just want to get better and never have that feeling again, never have that letdown again.
Have you seen the Sugar Bowl tape?
I don’t think any of us have watched the film from the Sugar Bowl.
What about the Danny Coale catch/no-catch?
Obviously it’s replayed, obviously I’ve seen it. I mean, I’m biased, so I’m gonna say it was a catch. But I could’ve made a little better throw, made it a little easier catch for Danny.
On losing David Wilson:
We’ve got three guys steppin’ in for David. It’s gotta be running back by committee. I’m not worried about that at all. Michael Holmes, JC Coleman, Martin Scales can carry the load back there. They’ve got different styles, Martin will run through you, JC will run around you and Michael Holmes I kind of compare to Ryan Williams, a one move type of guy. That 1,700 yards can be made up by three guys pretty easily and you’re gonna have to respect those guys.