Last season for the Virginia Tech Hokies was certainly not one to be remembered. Picked in the preseason to finish somewhere atop the ACC, where they’re generally used to residing, the Hokies finished a lackluster 6-6. The inability to move the ball down the field and score effectively was one of the main reasons for the 2012 outcome. Now, while a lot of the blame is being put on star quarterback Logan Thomas and his inconsistencies, the ground game didn’t exactly contribute effectively neither.
Virginia Tech finished the 2012 season 79th in the country in rushing at 145.85 yards per game. This was their worst finish in that category since 2007. To get back to their winning ways in 2013, head coach Frank Beamer and his son, running backs coach Shane Beamer, need a heavy focus on improving the run game.
Part of the problem last season was that the coaching staff just couldn’t seem to be able to find one guy to carry the brunt of the load. In recent seasons, the Hokies relied on names such as Ryan Williams, David Wilson, and Darren Evans to key their rushing attack. It just seemed as if no one in 2012 could emerge as that guy for VT.
From the running back position, the Hokies’ leading rusher was freshman JC Coleman who managed to muster up just 486 yards on the ground. Quarterback Logan Thomas himself alone ran for 528 yards during the regular season, which also made him the team’s leading rusher. Those two stats combined throw up the red flag immediately that something needs to be fixed. And in fact, help may be on the way.
While Shane Beamer has come out and stated that Coleman is listed to return as the starter this season, we are also going to be treated to the anticipated debut of redshirt freshman Trey Edmunds.
Edmunds was actually slated to see significant time right off the bat last season after his arrival in Blacksburg. However, Frank Beamer felt a few weeks into the season that the young man didn’t have a firm grasp of the playbook and decided to sit him for the year. Considered one of the top backs coming out of high school in 2012, Edmunds’ speed and versatility out of the backfield may be the spark that the VT offense needs to get the ground game going once again.
If Edmunds can emerge as the load-carrier, then that opens up Beamer to utilize other backs like Coleman and returning redshirt senior Tony Gregory to better suit certain situations on the field.
Finding a consistent running game again for Virginia Tech is crucial. With Logan Thomas deciding to return for his senior year, the Hokies are looking to make a run back at the top of the ACC. A solid running game behind him could be the difference between reaching the top of the mountain once again or making a return trip to the Russell Athletics Bowl.