Logan Thomas was mystifying in 2012. After beginning the 2011 season with average or below average results for a Hokie quarterback, Thomas finished the season with what is possibly the best statistical season for a Tech quarterback in the history of the school. Over a nine-game stretch to end the season, Thomas went 160-259 (62%) for 2,147 yards with 16 touchdowns and 6 interceptions (counting the Danny Coale catch). He also ran for 339 yards on 114 carries (3 ypc.) and 10 touchdowns. Which is why his 2012 was so inexplicable. Not only had he looked like a budding superstar, one that was often picked to be a top-5 overall draft choice after the season and drew over 20 NFL scouts in the Hokies' first game, but he was also on a roll from the midpoint of the previous season.
But Logan is far from the only player who has failed to meet the high expectations of a season at Virginia Tech. You may remember Tyrod Taylor's painfully bad 2008 season as a passer. This was after a year that saw the team become one of the most dangerous teams in America simply due to his insertion into the lineup, albeit in a two-quarterback system. We all know how Tyrod's story ended, placing him within the realm of elite names in the history of the Virginia Tech football program. But too many gave Tyrod a pass at the time for what was really a woeful season by him. So why is Thomas not getting that pass now? And how similar were those two seasons? We take a look below:
Tyrod threw 7 interceptions in just 173 passing attempts in 2008, that's an interception on approximately 4 percent of all the passes he threw. By comparison, Thomas, who was asked to throw a lot more in 2012 than Taylor was in 2008, threw 429 passes and 16 interceptions. Percentage-wise, that was only 3.7 percent of his passes, a lower number than Tyrod's 4 percent in 2008. Also, Thomas threw 18 touchdowns in his 429 passes in 2012, good for 4.2 percent of his passes. By comparison, Taylor threw 2 TD's in his 173 passes in 2008, or 1.2 percent.
There are several major differences between the two seasons though. For one, despite having his worst year as a passer in every other respect, Taylor completed over 57 percent of his passes. By comparison, Thomas only hit on just over 51 percent. Also, Taylor was a true sophomore in his bad season with only about a half a year of starting experience under his belt, whereas Thomas was a redshirt-junior, suffering his bad season AFTER his breakout year in 2011, a full year as a starter. Taylor also began his season as a redshirt, only to be burned in the second game of the season for the second year in a row. It also is worth noting that 4 of Taylor's 7 interceptions in 2008 came in wins over Duke and North Carolina, whereas 12 of Thomas' 16 interceptions in 2012 came in losses, often at crucial junctures of the game.
But there were also some similarities. For one, both quarterbacks experienced the loss of, at that point, big parts or all of the best receiving corps in school history (Thomas the best two receivers statistically at the school, Taylor the top-four WR's on the team). They also both lost established running backs (Thomas a record-setting one and Taylor a solid two-plus year starter). Taylor, however, had the vastly superior offensive line, and also the vastly superior backfield complement (Although that's only counting that one year. The verdict is still out on J.C. Coleman).
Looking at efficiency rating, Thomas also had the higher number by over 12 points, though both of those numbers are (or would be) among the worst in college football. Thomas finished No. 94 nationally in that rating per qualifiers, and if Taylor had produced that stat last year, he would've finished No. 113 in the nation out of 116 qualifiers.
While there's no way to accurately predict what to expect from Logan Thomas given the volatility of his performance, the fact that Tyrod rebounded from such a poor statistical season in 2008 (despite the sample size and what he was asked to do) it so closely mirrors Thomas' 2012 that it suggests a Thomas resurgence could occur. Whether or not he has ironed out the mechanical issues (or whatever else they might be) is important, but the experience factor, much like Taylor used to his advantage, may give him the upper leg necessary to post a year more similar to his 2011 season.
Ultimately, the difference in accepting the two players' bad seasons may come down to wins. Despite the season Taylor suffered through in 2008, the Hokies finished with 10 wins and a BCS bowl victory, whereas Thomas' Hokies in 2012 had the worst record (7-6) of the last 20 years in the program.
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