This spring, Virginia Tech’s beleaguered offense finally earned some praise, as those within the program have said the Hokies are better and deeper at every position.
Can the Hokies improve as a team if they don’t improve at quarterback?
“Nope,” said offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler. “Absolutely not. It all starts with that guy. It’s like coach [Frank] Beamer always says, ‘If you’ve got a really good team and an average quarterback, you’ll be average.’ What we will do is we will find our guy and develop our guy and make sure that we’re ready to have someone out there so we’re not average in the fall.”
The search begins May 28.
Former Texas Tech quarterback Michael Brewer and true freshman Chris Durkin will both arrive on campus then, and only when they begin to practice this summer will the staff truly have any idea who will replace Logan Thomas this fall. This spring, there were rave reviews about redshirt freshman tight end Bucky Hodges and excitement about the return of tight end Ryan Malleck from injury. There was buzz about freshman running back Marshawn Williams, an early enrollee who has already shown the capability of contributing immediately. None of it, though, will translate to much this fall if Virginia Tech can’t find a dependable starting quarterback who can orchestrate the offense without turning the ball over.
On the most recent depth chart, Brenden Motley jumped Mark Leal for the top spot (based on performance, not Leal’s knee injury, Loeffler said), but Loeffler cautioned not to put much stock into the depth charts until August.
“The depth chart is going to change constantly, and it’s going to change when those two other guys get here also,” Loeffler said. “It’s going to be a daily grind to see who wants the job. At the end of the day, those guys are going to be battling for the position all the way up until we announce the guy in August.”
While the quarterback will be new, the offense will not.
Loeffler, who is entering his second season with the Hokies, said this spring has been “100 percent different” because the players are more familiar with him, his philosophy and expectations. He said Year 3 should “see the biggest jump.”
“The tight end position in that third year can be really outstanding,” he said. “The wideouts are all back, including the four we just recruited. You’re going to have older quarterbacks in the system. All of the running backs are back. The future is bright; there’s no question at all. That third spring is going to be a totally different feel, completely. We should have it by then, for sure. Not to say we’re throwing in the towel this year -- heck no. The standard is to win every game, but I think it’s even going to be easier.”
After back-to-back pedestrian seasons, Virginia Tech fans are ready to see offensive progress now.
“I think we’ll make headway,” Loeffler said. “It all depends on, in my opinion, the quarterback position. If that position can play well, you’ve always got a chance.”