The two stories are inexorably linked.
Thomas almost certainly would have bypassed his final college season and headed to the
Not to suggest that Thomas had veto power over candidates. But rest assured he spoke with candidates, including the probable choice, former Auburn, Temple, Florida and
With Thomas back for his senior season, fans are pining louder for official word on staff. But given state red tape, that may take time.
Still, all signs indicate that Loeffler will replace Bryan Stinespring as coordinator, with Stinespring, who served that role for 11 years, remaining as a position coach and perhaps recruiting coordinator. Moreover, former Auburn offensive line coach Jeff Grimes appears ticketed for the same gig at Tech, with Stanford offensive assistant Aaron Moorehead becoming the Hokies' receivers coach.
Thomas' decision seemed clear to those who've watched him the past two seasons as Tech's starter. Yes, blessed with a 6-foot-6 frame and big-league arm, he has NFL potential. And yes, in a lean draft year for quarterbacks, he might have been drafted within the first three rounds.
But Thomas, a second-team All-
The regression wasn't totally on him. The Hokies' line, running backs and receivers weren't as talented as in 2011, and the offensive coaches never developed a coherent strategy.
Still, Thomas shoulders some responsibility. His throwing was erratic, often wild high, and some of his misreads led to critical interceptions.
Now Thomas wasn’t a bust by any stretch. He led a fourth-quarter comeback against
Then there was Thomas' brute strength. Absent dependable tailbacks and blocking, he often bulldozed his way for important yards and third-down conversions.
None of which makes him the next
Though far from NFL-ready, Thomas wouldn't have been wrong to declare. He has his degree in human development and might have preferred NFL practices and game-day observation to another college season, one in which he'll be learning a new offense.
But that was not the case. In announcing his decision on ESPNU, Thomas said the Hokies' 7-6 record this past season, their worst in 20 years, "kind of left a bad taste in my mouth. I want to come back and have a better season this year."
In a press release, Thomas said: "I'm deciding to come back to Tech to better myself and this team for the future. I'm looking forward to what this upcoming season holds. The NFL has always been a goal of mine, but the NFL will always be there while college is only a five-year experience that you can't get back."
If Loeffler is Beamer’s eventual choice, Thomas will get a heavy dose of pro-style offense. That was the word Tuesday from
"Really owe a lot to him, how he developed me as a quarterback, as a young man," Henne said. "He's a pro-style offensive guy who prepared me for the (NFL). Just think he's very innovative, very intelligent."
Michigan went 20-6 during Henne's final two seasons, 2006 and '07, and he said Loeffler called the Wolverines' pass plays.
"I think he has a full handle on when to mix it up, how to call the right plays," Henne added. "He's very intelligent in what he does, reading defenses, learning tendencies. Just puts you in the right place at the right time."
Music to Logan Thomas' ears, I suspect.