As he went through his normal Sunday season routine of absorbing bits and pieces of as many NFL games on television as possible, the ice packs Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas had hanging off his 6-foot-6 frame were more therapeutic than usual.
In the aftermath of Saturday's 35-17 loss at Pittsburgh, an opponent Thomas admitted Tech overlooked because of its 0-2 record entering the game, he had plenty of real bumps and bruises to address in addition to significant blows to his confidence level.
"I took probably two of the hardest hits I've taken since I've been here probably in my football career, but I'm good and I'm able to walk away from it," said Thomas, who will lead Tech on Saturday against Bowling Green State (1-2 overall, 0-2 Mid-American Conference). "I feel pretty good and I think I'm 100 percent."
The physical pain will go away. Now, Thomas has to work on erasing any negativity lingering from one of the worst statistical outings of his career.
He completed 14 of 31 passes (45 percent; second-worst completion percentage of his career) for 265 yards, a touchdown and a career-high three interceptions. He was sacked twice, but hit on numerous occasions.
Without a running game (114 yards per game; 96th in the nation) to support Thomas, Tech (2-1, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) is discovering just how dependent it is on Thomas' production.
Thomas said Pittsburgh had so much success stopping Tech's running game (26 carries for 59), the Panthers completely ignored the Hokies' play fakes to running backs and continued to go after Thomas.
Beamer said Tuesday he and the coaches are re-evaluating the running game this week. He wouldn't specify if there would be changes to the rotation of his four primary running backs — redshirt freshman Michael Holmes (leads team with 100 yards on 31 carries), true freshman J.C. Coleman, senior Martin Scales and junior Tony Gregory — or if roles would change.
"I do think we've got some talented freshmen, but we've got to remember that they are just freshmen," Beamer said. "We're talking about how we want to do our back rotation right now."
Thomas said it's up to the coaches to determine the identity of the offense, but he said he's not feeling any out-of-the-ordinary pressure to lead.
"I feel fine," said Thomas, who added he hasn't run as much this season because he has been determined to spark the passing game. "I don't have a problem with it at all. Honestly, I feel there's a little pressure on me just because it's up to me to put the pieces together, I guess, and get everybody flowing in the right direction."
Despite his struggles against Pittsburgh, Tech coach Frank Beamer isn't concerned about Thomas' progression.
"Logan is going to be fine," Beamer said. "The throws got him on a couple (of plays against Pittsburgh). The receivers got him on a couple. Pressure got us on a couple. It was kind of a combination of things. He had people around him a lot — too much."
Thomas, who has completed 54 percent of his passes for 707 yards, five touchdowns and three interceptions this season, started slow last season, but finished the regular season strong.
He completed 57 percent of his passes for 986 yards, four touchdowns and five interceptions while running for 130 yards and a touchdown in Tech's first five games.
In Tech's last seven regular-season games, he bounced back to complete 63 percent of his passes for 1,639 yards, 14 touchdown passes and two interceptions to go along with 280 yards rushing and nine touchdowns. In the ACC championship game and the Sugar Bowl, he completed a combined 57 percent of his passes for 488 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions, while running for 55 yards and a touchdown.
Of course, Thomas' supporting cast last season, which included an experienced offensive line, running back David Wilson and wide receivers Jarrett Boykin and Danny Coale, was much more talented than what he has had around him thus far this season.
While Thomas said he discovered more positives about his own play from watching film of the Pittsburgh game than he expected, he said he doesn't necessarily mind knowing what it feels like to lose again.
"I guess it's something you don't really want to forget," Thomas said. "It's something you want to have stick with you so you can do better in the next couple games or the rest of your games."Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times