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Such a workmanlike approach fits well at Virginia Tech, which has rattled off eight straight 10-win seasons since joining the ACC in 2004. While the Hokies’ defense returns all but two starters and figures to be the team’s strength, the offense offers some uncertainty.

Thomas, predictably, was unruffled when the subject arose last month at the conference’s kickoff event and asserted the offense could be better — and better early — than it was a year ago.

“I’ve never known him to panic. He’s under control and in control,” Beamer said. “I think what he means to the whole team, not just his athletic ability, but how he’s thought of and how he’s a leader of the team, I think that means a lot, too.”

But guess what means more? The least flustered man in the Hokies’ huddle is at peace entering his second run as the starting quarterback.

“I’m extremely comfortable. ” Thomas said. “This year, I’m not a butterfly. I’m not worried. I’m just excited to get the season started. I know what I can do. I know what this team can do.”