Virginia Tech ranks 72nd nationally with 157 yards per game. The Hokies have lacked a reliable and consistent rush attack all season. Beamer Co.'s newest solution, distribute the carries among less players.
"I think four backs is too many," Beamer said Monday during his weekly teleconference.
Virginia Tech (4-4, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) ranks fifth in the 12-team conference in rushing yards per game at 157. It's per carry average of 4.3 yards is also fifth in the league.
"I still think consistency in running the football, I think that's our No. 1 priority right now," Beamer said. "If we could get that squared away, I think that would affect other things. We have our moments at times but I think to consistently be able to do that is a key objective for us."
And to get better execution, Beamer said the coaching staff is discussing cutting down the number of tailbacks they're preparing each week. Redshirt freshman Michael Holmes, true freshman J.C. Coleman, junior Tony Gregory and senior Martin Scales had been splitting reps in practice and carries in games. Beamer didn't offer any specifics yet on how the rotation would change.
"I think we've got to narrow it down," Beamer said. "I think they all bring something. They're all great kids, but I do think we need more consistency. Probably getting more precise will help us in that regard. We're talking about it and looking at it, and we'll work with our guys on that."
Here's the breakdown of the carries and rushing production for the entire season.
And now here's the same information over the last two weeks, first for Duke, then Clemson.
Who are the odd men out?
Logan Thomas will continue to be an integral part of the ground game. The coaches designed the offense around him in the offseason, and aren't ready to give up on it. That also leads me to believe the receivers will continue to get their touches, otherwise the jet action and pre-snap motions that became an emphasis this year aren't much of a threat.
Unlike last year with David Wilson, Tech doesn't have a true feature back. So there will probably be at least a two man rotation. Even though he had a forgettable game against Clemson, J.C. Coleman has really impressed me. He runs downhill, and hard. Despite his size, he looks for contact, and when he makes it he keeps his feet moving. He's also one of only a couple playmakers on offense. He needs to keep getting touches.
Based on his carries early in the season, the coaches thought Holmes could develop into a fixture in the backfield. However, he's had the least production with the most opportunities. He's had some good runs this season, the second half against Cincinnati springs to mind, but not enough to justify how much he's been fed.
It seems like whenever Gregory and Scales come into the game, they rip off a big run, then turn around and head to the sidelines. Tech's found a good rhythm when Coleman has been at the slot, Gregory at tailback. And Tony has the speed to take any well blocked play to the house. Martin has been able to line up deep, and hammer down the field. They should both get more touches, but since Scales has been more successful in a traditional Tech attack, I think Gregory might be the guy.
No matter what Beamer Co. does, it's only part of the problem. The offensive line will need to continue to get better if Tech's going to turn it around on the ground.
What do you guys think?