Wolverines size up VT's Thomas, Wilson

NEW ORLEANS -- Michigan's defense hasn't seen players quite like Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas and Hokies running back David Wilson.

At least not this season.

The 6-foot-6, 254-pound Thomas isn't your typical quarterback. Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison said the hulking Hokie is "bigger than some of our defensive linemen." And Michigan isn't exactly slight of build up front.

Thomas has 2,799 pass yards and has added 416 rush yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground. He's extremely tough to bring down, as Virginia Tech has allowed only 15 sacks all season, tied for 21st fewest nationally.

"He kind of reminds me of Terrelle Pryor when I played against him," Wolverines defensive end Ryan Van Bergen said. "Maybe a little bit less athletic. I don't know if he has the speed that Terrelle Pryor [had], and the elusiveness, but he stands tall in the pocket, delivers a good ball. You've seen times where he's got guys around his legs that are trying to sack him, and he's just looking downfield. It's impressive, it really is.

"It's going to be a challenge, not only to get to him because they have a good offensive line, but to bring him down."

Pryor went 3-0 against Michigan as Ohio State's quarterback but wasn't overly dominant. His best performance came last year when he passed for 220 yards and two touchdowns (with an interception) and added 49 rush yards.

Wilson, the Hokies' junior running back, gives Michigan's defenders a different look. Wilson ranks sixth nationally in rushing average (125.2 ypg) and has 1,627 rush yards on the season, just 28 shy of Virginia Tech's single-season record.

He has been clocked at 4.29 seconds in the 40-yard dash but also brings some power when he runs.

When looking for comparisons to Wilson, Van Bergen again cited a player Michigan hasn't faced since 2010.

"Montee Ball's probably the most comparable running back to him, just because I watched the tapes and stuff," Van Bergen said. "The backs at Michigan State probably rival him in athleticism and stuff, but obviously Michigan State has the rotation. The one thing that's good about [Wilson] is he's just so smart. He knows when to bounce it out, he knows when to cut it up. He gains all the yards some running backs miss out on because they think they can get more by making a move in the hole.

"He's one of those running backs coaches are happy to have because of the way he picks and chooses the way he's going to get upfield."

Ball gashed Michigan for 173 yards and four touchdowns last year in Ann Arbor. He's a much different back now, having slimmed down significantly during the offseason to more closely resemble Wilson in size.

Michigan also is vastly different on defense since its struggles against Pryor and Ball.