Virginia Tech Hokies: State of the Running Backs

By Dale Casler


Bob Donnan- USA TODAY Sports

The Virginia Tech Hokies had no running game last season. Logan Thomas, the teams quarterback led the team in 2012.  After a down year, Head coach Frank Beamer chose to replace long standing offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring with Auburn Tigers coordinator, Scot Loeffler. The new coach should bring some consistency to the running game.

While it’s not uncommon for many college teams to have an athletic quarterback at the top of their rushing charts, a solid, reliable back is always needed.  Logan Thomas will get his fair share of rushing yards but the Hokies need to find a way to incorporate the running back next season. Last season, the team used four separate running backs sparingly with the exception of Thomas.

True freshman, J.C Coleman rushed the ball 109 times for 492 yards and 2 scores.  Against the Duke Blue Devils, Coleman carried the ball 13 times for 183 yards and the two touchdowns mentioned previously. As a freshman, breaking into a team’s lineup can be tough.  I don’t fault Coleman for not getting the ball more than 10 times until that Duke game. Expect Coleman to get more carries early on next season as a sophomore.

His competition for the job should be senior, Tony Gregory.  Gregory has never performed in Beamer’s system. But to be fair, in his freshman season the Hokies went 11-3, appeared in the Orange Bowl and ended the season ranked 16th nationally.  Gregory was swallowed by RBs David Wilson(drafted by the New York Giants), Darren Evans(Tennessee Titans RB) and Ryan Williams(Arizona Cardinals RB).  How do you compete against three future NFL running backs your freshman season? There is nothing in Gregory’s way next year. There won’t be an excuse for him if he doesn’t perform.

Also in the mix will be sophomore Michael Holmes.  He saw the most carries last season until  he went down with an injury with three games left in the season. Holmes didn’t return until the Hokies played in the Russell Athletic Bowl.  He carried the ball one time for negative two yards.  If you had to pick just one player out of the three, Holmes would be called the feature back for the team, I guess.  But that still isn’t saying much.  The Hokies never really gave any one player the ball more than a typical running backs load until Holmes went out with his injury.

The Hokies also picked up recruits Cequan Jefferson, Daniel Reid, and Jerome Wright.  You can bet Frank Beamer and incoming coordinator Scot Loeffler are going to take a good look at these three players after such a dreadful 2012 season. Quarterback Logan Thomas is a special player and will have the most experience on the team. So if he takes off and ends up getting his yards, there isn’t going to be a juggernaut running back on the team once again. You don’t go into a season that way though.  A team has to have some backs in the fold. Let’s see what 2013 brings.


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