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When Virginia Tech junior quarterback Logan Thomas faced Clemson last year and even in going back and reviewing the tape of either game, he sees some familiarities.
Though the Tigers have an abundance of playmakers and more of a spread attack, there's some similarities with the Hokies. Virginia Tech hasn't had the success overall that Clemson has, but Thomas sees the similar traits.
"Any team that's gonna go four-wide and do a little bit of motioning and handing off to receivers and stuff like that, they're gonna have some of the same elements," he said. "We have some of the likeness that they do and they have some of the likeness that we do. But both offense are kind of the same. They would like to establish the run first of all, to open up the past."
After yet another slow start against Duke Saturday, the Hokies' offense showed what it was capable of, piling up 525 yards, mostly in the second half. Freshman running back J.C. Coleman himself accounted for 183 yards rushing.
"JC's a heck of a back, just like the other three are for us," Thomas said. "I guess it wouldn't just be JC, it's just the running game in general helps out a quarterback so much inwards of where they have to expect the run and have to play the run and not rely on us to just go to the pass. When the run game is working, we're able to open it up downfield, able to pretty much do what we want. When we're balanced, we're tough to beat and it keeps them off-balanced. That's the way we need to play, that's the way we've played in the past and hopefully that's the way we'll continue to play."
Thomas also got moving through the air again, hooking up with senior wide receiver Marcus Davis for five catches and 144 yards before Davis left with a shoulder injury. Thomas also had a connection with tight ends Ryan Malleck and Randall Dunn on a few big catches over the middle.
"That's just where my read took me," Thomas said. "Those two guys, Ryan Malleck and Randall Dunn, I kinda expect them to win pretty much every time they're matched up on a linebacker or on a safety for that matter. Both of them are great route runners, good pass catchers and have a lot of heart. Both of them made some huge plays for us down the field and we need to continue to keep that production going."
But Thomas lost his starting center in the third quarter against Duke as junior Andrew Miller fractured his left leg and will miss the rest of the season after having surgery Sunday. Michael Via steppend in at center, albeit with a few immediate flubs.
"Mike Via is a great player and he's played all four positions on the line, I guess," Thomas said. "I have full faith in him. I've worked with him for a couple of years now. We had a couple of mis-snaps and stuff on Saturday, but he was kinda just thrown into the role since Caleb Farris went down with his injury. But we had a great day yesterday, no bad snaps and everything went smoothly. In front of me, I expect Becton, Painter, Via, Benedict and Arkema to be the five unless Wang or Caleb can come back."
After the Hokies' offensive outburst Saturday, Thomas hopes to continue the momentum, especially right off the bat against Clemson. The Tigers' taking both games against Virginia Tech last season still resonates with Thomas, even though they try not to overthink about it.
"We don't really need to talk about it," Thomas said. "All of us were here and we all understand. We know what we need to do and we know what's expected and what to expect when it comes to them. We know they're gonna give us their all, just like they did last year. Yeah, we keep it in the back of our minds just so we can pull it up when we need it. It's extra motivation and hopefully, we can go down there and steal one from their home turf, like they did from us last year."