The Hokies are coming off of a statistically great 2011 season but ultimately one that left a bitter taste in the mouths of Virginia Tech fans. The Sugar Bowl was the ultimate letdown.
The Hokies outplayed Michigan in every category of the game, but still came up short in overtime. The problem was the fact that while the offense was able to march up and down the field, they couldn’t punch it into the end zone.
That has been Virginia Tech’s problem for quite a while now; you can’t win games settling for field goals. The offense will be facing an uphill battle in 2012 as the Hokies are replacing four of five starting offensive lineman, two of the school’s greatest receivers ever and an All-American running back.
Despite having to replace so many contributors from last year, the Hokies will have an improved offense in 2012 for three reasons: the play-caller, new creativity and the quarterback.
Fans have been begging Frank Beamer to replace offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring for years. Last year fans got the closest thing to a replacement they will probably ever get.
In 2011, Beamer promoted quarterback’s Coach Mike O’Cain to offensive play-caller. O’Cain isn’t the coordinator, he is still working in Stinespring’s system, but he provides the Hokies with more unpredictability.
Last season, O’Cain was making play calls with a rookie quarterback at the helm, but the Hokies still had a fairly good offensive season (by their standards) in 2011. It is only fair to believe that a seasoned play caller with a seasoned quarterback will improve in their second year together.
Say it ain't so.
The terms Virginia Tech football and offensive creativity have never been synonymous with each other. The Hokies, under Stinespring, have always run a fairly simple pro-style offense, but new play caller Mike O’Cain appears to be slowly changing the approach in Blacksburg.
Virginia Tech’s offense experimented with the pistol formation this spring. Fans still aren’t sure what to expect from the new wrinkle but it is a welcome change and already has people thinking about the spread offense in the future.
Thomas is coming off of one of the greatest statistical seasons a Virginia Tech quarterback has ever had. He threw for over 3,000 yards and 19 touchdowns. He was also a threat in the running game, totaling 11 touchdowns on the ground last season.
If those numbers aren’t scary enough for opposing defenses consider this, he was a rookie last year.
Thomas’s only drawbacks last season were his interceptions (10) and his completion percentage (59.8%).
Neither of those numbers are truly awful for a quarterback, especially in their first year as a starter. It is safe to assume that Thomas will only get better this season. If he can improve his completion percentage by even a few points, he may be impossible to stop.