Light schedule by Virginia Tech's standards

PINEHURST, N.C. -- Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer said he will show his players film of Appalachian State's monumental upset of Michigan in 2007. He will remind them of their loss to James Madison last year. And he will hope that those examples prevent the Hokies from another flop in what should be one of the most manageable nonconference schedules they've had in years -- and will have in years to come.

"Regardless of who you start out with, whether it's Appalachian State or Boise State, you get your starting point and go from there," he said. "A lot of things can happen in that opening ballgame."

Virginia Tech has faced Boise State, Alabama, Nebraska and LSU in recent years, and not since 2006 have the Hokies escaped playing one of the nation's elite teams. This year the lineup includes Appalachian State, East Carolina, Arkansas State and Marshall, which combined for a 25-25 record last season and one bowl appearance.

While the soft nonconference schedule could hurt the Hokies' strength of schedule, it could also make for a friendlier debut for first-year starting quarterback Logan Thomas. The best thing for Thomas, Beamer said, is the talent that surrounds him this year. With a veteran offensive line, deep and talented group of receivers and rising star in tailback David Wilson, Beamer said Thomas won't have to carry the load.

"I think Logan is going to be fine," he said. "I think the best indication for Logan was when he came in the Miami game last year, third-and-14, and he throws a bullet down the middle of the field. Comes in cold. That says, 'Hey, this guy answers the bell.' He looks forward to that."