Some New Looks In Virginia Tech Football’s Offensive Scheme


In the Virginia Tech football media guide, the offense is listed as “multiple.”  This means that multiple formations and styles are used to move the ball up and down the field while on offense.  This “multiple” offensive philosophy has been the bane of Virginia Tech’s existence over the years.

Last year in particular at times it seemed like Virginia Tech wasn’t exactly sure what they were trying to do on offense.  The Hokies would line up out of the spread formation one series, ace formation during another series, and the power-I all over the span of one game.  At times it seemed like Virginia Tech was trying to be different for the sake of being different, especially against better teams.  This was most apparent during both games against Clemson, where pressure by Clemson’s defensive line ruined any sort of gameplan that Virginia Tech had.

Despite the occasional struggles, the Hokies flourished under one of the best Virginia Tech offenses statistically in school history.  Logan Thomas threw for more than 3,000 yards and David Wilson rushed for more than 1,700 yards by himself.  This year the offense will belong solely to Thomas as he enters his second full season as the starting quarterback at Virginia Tech.  With Thomas’ potential realized last season, the coaching staff plans to implement some new looks into the offense this season.

Firstly, the Hokies will utilize more up-tempo plays and formations.  During the ACC Kickoff Media Day, Logan Thomas says he expected a bit of an increase in up-tempo play on offense. Mike Barber of the Richmond Times-Dispatch Tweeted:

"“VT’s Logan Thomas says he’s comfortable with & likes uptempo offense. But he won’t be lobbying for more of it. Expects to use it 10% of time”–Mike Barber, Richmond Times-Dispatch"

You would expect that the majority of the up-tempo plays being utilized will occur from the spread formation with Thomas working out of shotgun.  This will allow the Hokies to get back to the line of scrimmage quickly and keep the defense on their toes.  Plays will likely include quick slants and outs to allow Virginia Tech’s receivers to utilize their speed in open space.  A speedy receiver like Marcus Davis and a scat-back type player in J.C. Coleman could be very efficient out of this system.  It will also be nice to see a Hokies offense that can execute a proper two-minute drill.

Secondly, the Hokies are probably going to utilize the pistol formation more this season.  The pistol allows the quarterback to hand the ball off quickly to the running back, while shielding the back from the defense’s line of sight.  This will be especially true in the case of Logan Thomas (6’6) and players like Michael Holmes (5’11) or J.C. Coleman (5’7) behind Thomas.

The pistol will also allow Logan Thomas to work on his drop-back faster, kind of like a pseudo shotgun formation.  The faster Thomas can get through his drop-back, the quicker he can release the ball into space to our faster players like Davis or Dyrell Roberts (assuming he’s at full health).

Thomas discussed the use of the pistol during the ACC Kickoff Media Day:

"“We only played around with it for a little bit. I think it’s good for our running backs because they can hide behind me, and at the same time it gives me a threat to be able to run downhill. I think it’s good, I think that we can use it. Hopefully it makes us better.”–Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech Quarterback"

With Logan’s unique blend of size and speed, it’s easy to see how the pistol could be very effective for Virginia Tech.  Out of the pistol, Logan would easily be able to start running vertically and would force the defense to respect the possibility of a quarterback draw.  At the same time, if Logan does get a full head of steam going downhill, he will be almost impossible for defenders to bring down (ask any team the Hokies played last season, including UVA’s entire secondary).

These new looks in Virginia Tech’s offense should play to Logan Thomas’ strengths as a developing quarterback that doesn’t necessarily have a ton of weapons surrounding him on offense.