Returning running backs J.C. Coleman, Michael Holmes and Tony Gregory combined to average 4.4 yards per carry last season, as the struggling ground game played a part in Virginia Tech snapping the nation’s longest 10-win season streak at eight years in 2012.
After boasting a fearsome rush attack with David Wilson in 2011 — the first year without great running backs coach Billy Hite managing the backfield — the Coleman-Holmes-Gregory RB platoon failed to impress last season as Tech dropped to 74th nationally in rushing.
Coleman enters spring practice as the frontrunner to claim the starting role but could see a challenge from speedy redshirt freshman Trey Edmunds, who matched Coleman’s 4.37 second 40-yard dash time this offseason. Edmunds is also a candidate to play at linebacker and impressed coaches in facing off against linebacker Deon Clark in the T-Time Drill, or as Frank Beamer classically calls it “the toughness time drill.”
“Then I saw (Clark). He was in the locker room smiling,” Edmunds said, via The Roanoke Times. “We went back and forth talking junk between each other. And just from there, our energies just went up. And that went on to how we practice. We both just had an outstanding practice, I think.”
The 6-1, 215-pound Hokie will also see competition from fellow redshirt freshman Chris Mangus. Tech fans won’t be able to see this crowded backfield duel it out on Saturday as the scrimmage was delayed until Monday due to an April snowstorm that hit Blacksburg.
The Hokie faithful will get a chance to see position battles resume in the Monday scrimmage at 4:30 p.m., along with the annual spring game on April 20 in Lane Stadium, which is to be broadcast on ESPN3.