After the first quarter of Saturday’s game against Bowling Green, the score was tied 0-0 and it was beginning to look like another dismal performance from the offense.
At this point I can bet that either you or someone around you was talking about benching quarterback Logan Thomas and putting in backup Mark Leal.
Let me try to put this in perspective for you: Thomas gives the Hokies a better chance to win than Leal. Period. The coaches know what they are doing — that is why they get paid. Just in case that statement is not enough to persuade you to stop berating the starting quarterback when he makes a mistake, let me try to break it down for you.
First and foremost, if you follow Tech football at all, then you are sure to already know this: Thomas does not have the supporting cast he had last year. Four new offensive linemen, one receiver he has thrown to before and the starting running backs are seeing their first major playing time on the field. He simply does not have the experience around him to take off some of the load.
This brings me to my next point for the initial struggle for Thomas, which is Tech's lack of a running game. Now I am a little reluctant to say this after the Bowling Green game where the Hokies had 246 total rushing yards. If you watched the game you could probably tell that after Tech began running the ball effectively, the passing game was much better.
When the defense does not have to respect the run, they only have to focus on the air attack. The defensive backs will get on the line and jam receivers every play making it hard to run the correct route. The defense will also only have to send the four down lineman to rush the quarterback. Linebackers are then free to drop into coverage since they do not have to clog up running holes.
In theory, this should give a quarterback more time to pass the ball, but once again the Hokies have an offensive line that is still trying to break in four new starters. The line really has not given Logan more than a second or two to pass the ball. This past weekend Logan was either scrambling outside the collapsing pocket, or getting hit as he threw the ball on most of the passing plays.
Now I am not trying to put the blame on everyone else on the offense — some of the problem is Thomas’ fault. As most have already pointed out, he has been throwing the ball off his back foot too much, causing many of his throws to sail past receivers.
Thomas has had a tough start to this season, but if you compare his first four games this year to last year, he is performing better against more challenging opponents. He has thrown more touchdowns, more passing yards and the same number of interceptions.
All I am saying is, before you go out and attack Thomas for not living up to your standards as a quarterback, remember this is a completely different team from last year. I implore you to stop criticizing the offense for not being high-scoring and flashy. Tech is a ground-and-pound school that will see much better results from its quarterback throughout the year, so long as it can make defenses respect the run.