On second down at Marshall’s 12-yard line, Thomas had an open receiver in fullback Sam Rogers who could’ve walked in for an easy touchdown. Instead, Thomas was late delivering the ball and overthrew Rogers.
“They brought edge pressure, so I ended up stepping up and throwing it quick,” Thomas said. “I tried to lead him and let him run underneath it, because I knew if I hit him it was a touchdown, but I put it about three inches too far in front of his hands.”
But Thomas came right back on fourth down to hit Josh Stanford with a perfect pass for a first down on the one-yard line.
“Stanford made a great catch in the middle of the field and he turned up the field and just pounded it home,” Thomas said. “He’s one of those guys, if we can get him confident and get him going, he can be a really, really special receiver.”
The sequence perfectly demonstrated why so many see so much potential in Thomas, yet also why the Hokies offense has struggled this year.
“If you look at this game, even on the long drives, there was too many mistakes. Last week was our biggest mistake game hands down,” said offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler.
“We made more mistakes, left more yardage on the field than any game we’ve played so far. There was way too many mistakes in that game that left major drives that stopped, and also the ability to score.”
It goes without saying that Thomas’ athleticism, size and arm strength make him an NFL scout’s dream. But his mechanics have been called into question, as has his accuracy and decision-making, ever since the middle of the 2012 season.
Again, it’s not as though Thomas is incapable of producing – it’s just that in order for the Hokies to be successful in 2013, he’ll need to do it more consistently.
“I think that’s how we’re built as an offense,” Thomas said. “We’re not a big, explosive-play offense. We’re going to have to keep drives going, keep making drives happen. You know, you got to start it all off with a first down.”