Virginia Tech appeared to fix their offensive woes on Saturday and all it took was a replacement at running back. Michael Holmes was the Hokies starter for the first six games of the season and he was unable to make much of an impact in that time; so offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring made the call to make true freshman J.C. Coleman the starter. It couldn’t have yielded a better result.
Coleman ran rampant on Duke’s defense, running for two touchdowns and 183 yards on just 13 carries (14.1 yard average). Virginia Tech simply can’t win if they can’t run the football and Coleman led a potent rushing attack that racked up a total of 266 yards on the ground.
The true freshman became Virginia Tech’s first 100-yard runner in a game this season and it only took seven games. That is unheard of in Blacksburg. Tech fans are used to 100-yard rushers every week, but replacing the likes of David Wilson, Ryan Williams and Darren Evans proved harder than expected. Michael Holmes couldn’t do it, so the coaching staff turned to the smallest player on their roster.
Coleman is listed at 5’8” and 192 pounds but he is probably closer to 5’6”. The Blue Devils defense appeared to have some trouble finding the small tailback in the backfield and Coleman took advantage. The running lanes that Holmes wasn’t hitting earlier in the season, Coleman was exploiting for big plays. His two touchdowns came on runs of 45 and 86 yards respectively and injected the offense with some much needed life.
Saturday’s game against Duke provided many heroes for the Hokies, but none bigger than a 5’8” running back. They say big things come in small packages and it appears that J.C. Coleman has found his niche as the starting running back for Virginia Tech.