Saturday, October 08, 2011
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Sports columnist Aaron McFarling: Hokies need to let QB Logan Thomas run free

This week's Q&A-Mac is brought to you by Logan Thomas: If he's going to look like a tight end, Virginia Tech might as well let him play like one.

Q: Are you suggesting a change at quarterback?

A: No way. But it's time to turn Virginia Tech's triggerman loose in the running game.

Q: Didn't coach Frank Beamer say Thomas' shoulder was sore last week and that's why he didn't run more?

A: He did, but Thomas didn't shy from contact during his limited rushing opportunities against Clemson. In fact, he seems to be seeking out people to hit once he crosses the line of scrimmage. Let him do it. Unleash the fundamental competitor in him, and maybe he'll feel a little more comfortable than he did against the Tigers, when he said he never really settled in. The opportunity for yardage is there; Kansas State's quarterback had a lot of success running the ball against the Hurricanes.

Q: Doesn't everybody have success running the ball against the Hurricanes?

A: So far, yes. Miami's 105th in the nation in stopping the run. Somewhere this morning, David Wilson is smiling.

Q: Does Tech's offense need to take more deep shots downfield?

A: I've heard that a lot this week, and I don't necessarily agree with it. Focus on connecting on the short and intermediate routes, moving the chains, getting Thomas into a rhythm. He's ranked last in the ACC in passing efficiency among starting QBs. I expect that to change by the end of the year, but this is one of those walk-before-you-run situations.

Q: Will Miami running back Lamar Miller rush for 100-plus yards for the fifth straight week, even against a stingy Tech defense bent on stopping him?

A: Yes. Don't underestimate the loss of defensive tackle Antoine Hopkins. As a group, those guys up front have been the key to Tech's early success defensively.

Q: Prediction on the final score?

A: I'll say Hokies 27, Hurricanes 20. But I thought Miami coach Al Golden had a great quote this week. "Blacksburg," he said, "is a momentum place." It really is, more so than a lot of venues. Run Thomas. Run Wilson. Be physical. Get some grass clumps in those face masks. See if you can tap into some of that Lane Stadium energy that never got a chance to percolate last week.

Q: Moving on. Game 1 of the American League Championship Series is tonight. Does the fact that the Yankees aren't in it remove some of the luster?

A: For some people, I'm sure it does. But the Yankees weren't exactly running Whitey Ford out there in the ALDS. Those of us who like great pitching get a treat this way -- at least two more chances to see Justin Verlander, including tonight.

Q: Who wins Sunday's Sprint Cup race in Kansas?

A: Kevin Harvick, taking that big step toward the title (have to stick with that prediction). Speaking of racing, if you've never checked out the big Late Model Stock Car race at Martinsville, I'd recommend it. That's on Sunday, too.

Q: Best comment on the blog this week?

A: Tough call. The gang really brought it from Monday on. Let's go with this one from Trevor, regarding the squirrel that ran past the plate and aggravated Phillies pitcher Roy Oswalt in Game4 of the NLDS: "Distracted by a squirrel?" Trevor wrote. "That's a new one. Hope Beamer takes note for the next time Tech gets slapped with another false-start penalty."

Q: Ahh, because of the whole band thing, right?

A: Right. Trevor, a Tech fan, added, "Sorry, couldn't resist." And I'm glad he couldn't.

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