- - Monday, September 10, 2012

BLACKSBURG, Va. — There’s nothing like hurrying up to get Virginia Tech’s offense going.

In their first two games, the Hokies (2-0, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) have shrugged off sluggish offensive starts and excelled in hurry-up, two-minute drive situations.

“We’ve practiced it an awful lot,” Virginia Tech junior quarterback Logan Thomas said of the two-minute offense. “It’s something that we’re used to. It makes it a little easier on me because I call my own plays and I know what I’m looking for right at the start.”

On the game-tying drive at the end of regulation against Georgia Tech in the season opener, Thomas went 4-for-4 for 48 yards in just 44 seconds to set up Cody Journell’s 41-yard field goal to force overtime.

Saturday, Thomas went 4-for-6 for 73 yards, driving the Hokies to a touchdown in just 1:06 on their final possession of the first half.

“I think when we hurry up like that and Logan’s in charge, he seems to function very well in that kind of setting,” Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer said during his Monday teleconference. “We’re going to look at all that here in this coming week.”

Beamer said it’s possible Tech will play more shotgun no-huddle snaps Saturday at Pittsburgh.

If the two-minute drills bring out the best in the Hokies’ offense, the beginning of games has brought out the worst.

Virginia Tech has scored on just four of its 14 first-half possessions, compared to six of its 13 possessions after halftime.

The Hokies have scored just twice on their eight first-quarter possessions this year.

As for Thomas, he is completing 62.5 percent of his second-half throws and just 56.7 of his passes in the first half.

“The two minutes, usually you’ve got something you’ve got to do,” Thomas said. “You’ve got to score before the half. You’ve got to score before the end of the game to tie it up or to win it. I think it adds a little something extra, but at the same time, it makes it tough on you as well.”

For comparison’s sake, Florida State, which leads the ACC in points per game at 62, has outscored its first two opponents 104-6 in the first half, scoring on seven of its nine first-quarter possessions. Of course, its first two games have been routs of FCS teams Savannah State and Murray State.

Clemson, which is tops in the conference in offense at 527 yards per game, has outscored Auburn and Ball State a combined 58-20 in the first half, and has put up points on five of its nine first-quarter drives.

The good news this week is that the Hokies are playing against an offense that is equally slow out of the gate. Pittsburgh has been outscored 31-10 in the first half through two games, both losses.

And when he looks at Virginia Tech’s offense, Pittsburgh coach Paul Chryst doubts the Hokies’ coaches are pushing the panic button over first-half production.

“Slow starts are all relative,” said Chryst, whose team fell behind 14-0 in its loss to Cincinnati on Saturday. “I look at them and certainly think Logan Thomas, he’s an unbelievable athlete and quarterback. You can see they’ve got some legitimate talent on offense.”

NOTES:Beamer said senior linebacker Bruce Taylor (ankle) may not play Saturday against Pittsburgh. He missed the Austin Peay game. … Sophomore linebacker Tariq Edwards (knee) is not expected to play against the Panthers.

Read more about the Hokies at TimesDispatch,com

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