The time it has been sharpest is when quarterback Logan Thomas runs the 2-minute attack.
Coach Frank Beamer said he and the coaching staff planned to try to figure out why this week as the Hokies (2-0) prepare for their first road trip of the season. They play Pittsburgh (0-2) on Saturday.
"I think when we hurry up like that and Logan is in charge, he seems to function very well in that kind of setting," Beamer said. "So we are going to look at all that here this coming week."
Wide receiver Dyrell Roberts thinks he knows why.
"It's really like he's doing his own thing in the offense," Roberts said. "We look to him to what plays he wants to run because it's ultimately up to him in the 2-minute situation, so I think that's kinda what he's comfortable with, being able to give us the signal and ... he kinda already sees what he sees with the coverage and knows where he going with the ball and being able to not second-guess himself.
"I mean, he really just knows where it is that he wants to go because he's calling the plays."
Thomas directed a 51-yard drive in 38 seconds to Cody Journell's game-tying field goal in the Hokies' season-opening, overtime victory against Georgia Tech, a game when the offense had essentially stalled all afternoon after a crisp opening drive. He then led a 71-yard touchdown drive in just 66 seconds just before halftime last week, giving Virginia Tech a 21-0 lead against Austin Peay after a slow start.
Quarterbacks coach Mike O'Cain calls the plays for the Hokies. He said Thomas doesn't get to call all the plays in the 2-minute offense, but has done a good job taking advantage of the situation.
"It's a totally different scenario" than at any other time during the game because prevent defenses give opponents more leeway, O'Cain said. "But he has done a wonderful job with it. He's made the throws, and that's the important thing about the 2-minute—completing passes and hitting open receivers."
Thomas was only 21 for 38 overall against Georgia Tech, but 4 for 4 on the game-tying drive.
"Sometimes ... you put yourself in a pressure situation, it's nitty gritty," O'Cain said, searching for an answer. "You've got to make the play. Some people respond to that kind of pressure. Some people don't respond to that kind of pressure. Logan does, but I can't say that his focus is any different."
For the Panthers, reeling after losses to Youngstown State and Cincinnati, the focus this week has been on finding a way to prepare for 6-foot-6, 260-pound Thomas, who runs very well.
"After watching the tape, it's easy to see that he's very talented," said defensive back Jarred Holley, who is eight inches shorter and 70 pounds lighter than Thomas. "He's big, and he's strong, and he's a really good quarterback. He can make all the throws. I think it's going to be a big challenge in front of us this weekend. It's not just the secondary, but the whole defense is going to have its work cut out for it."
In preparing to stop the Hokies, Holley said, it all comes back to Thomas.
"They have a lot of skilled players, a lot of team speed," he said. "They're big up front, and they block really well. But that quarterback, he's obviously their heart and soul."
Particularly when the Hokies most need him to be.
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