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Thursday, September 15, 2011
Catching up with VT QB coach Mike O'Cain

By Heather Dinich

After two games and a 2-0 start, it's time to check in with Virginia Tech quarterbacks coach Mike O'Cain about how his first-year starter, Logan Thomas, has fared so far. Here are the highlights of my interview with him yesterday:

How would you assess his play through the first two games?

Logan Thomas
Virginia Tech quarterbacks coach Mike O'Cain is pleased with what he's seen from Logan Thomas so far this season.
Mike O'Cain: I've been very pleased. I think he's done exactly what we've asked him to do. He's done a tremendous job of managing the game, getting us in and out of plays, doing all of the little things you have to do, reading signals, and getting the play called properly, getting us to the line of scrimmage in time. He's done a wonderful job of that. That's the way it starts. Overall, he's thrown the ball well. I know his stats right now don't look particularly good, but he's had seven dropped balls in two games and another six that he's had to throw away because of either pressure or not having anybody open, or whatever reason. If you put those 13 throws as potential completions, it looks good. He's not forcing the ball, he's not making the critical mistake. Even though he had an interception on the goal line on Saturday, it wasn't a stupid error as I would call it, a crazy error, it was just one of those things that he threw the ball outside on a fade and the safety made a great play on the ball. Logan didn't get it quite outside far enough, but he was going where he should have gone with it. Does he have to get better? Yeah, and we have to get better offensively in all phases. But I'm pleased with where he is so far. We've been able to bring him along, not ask him to have to win the ball game. He ran the ball very well on Saturday, we put the ball in his hands nine or 10 times. I think he had 11 carries, but two or so may have been runs in the passing game. He had to make a decision in reading it, either he would keep it or give it to the back or whatever. He had five or six opportunities to do that. He's done well and played well.

You guys had committed to the run against ECU, ran it 45 or 50 times. Did that have anything to do with what Logan wasn't doing?

Mike O'Cain: Absolutely not. There were a couple of things in our thought process. Early in the game we threw the ball a fair number of times and somebody said, 'You know, David Wilson has only touched the ball four times.' We were probably midway through the second quarter, and that's not good. So that was part of it. At the same time, we were able to run the football. We were able to take the football down the field and run the ball, which, in turn, their offense was very explosive. We wanted to keep the ball away from them. We were able to run the ball. We were getting 5 yards on first down, 6 yards on first down. It seemed to be the right thing to do. Will we be able to do that from here on out? I probably don't think so. But we were able to Saturday. It worked, and we had the ball for about 38 minutes. That's 38 minutes they don't have it.

Ideally, how much do you want Logan to be running with it?

Mike O'Cain: We don't really put a number on it. What we have to do to win the game. The opportunity presented itself Saturday where we felt like there were several times he had an opportunity to help us get 5 yards, 6 yards, 7 yards, and all of those weren't necessary designed for him to carry it. It was an option for him to carry the ball. It just happened to be the way he played, he ended up carrying the ball. But probably 11 times is too many, to be honest. At the same time, going back to Tyrod [Taylor] a little bit, Tyrod we didn't necessarily design for him to carry the ball very many times a game, because he's going to get six, seven, eight carries a game, just pulling the ball down in the passing game. Logan's a little bit different. He's probably going to stay in the pocket a little bit more, probably won't get quite as many runs in the passing game as Tyrod did for a difference in styles. So we may create a few more ways for him to carry the ball and play his part in the running game.