Editor's Note: Beau brings up a few good points. What's the state of the running game? And where is it going? Is/will there be a feature back? A couple of quick stats, Tech is tied 74th nationally in rushing yards per game (141.50). No Hokie has netted more than 100 yards this season (Holmes is the leader with 94, Coleman second with 54, Marcus Davis third with 48). --Joe
French is and will be the go to guy for all things analysis. How he simplifies things for us Armchair Quarterbacks to decipher is top notch. Therefore, I am not going to try to duplicate what he does. Rather, in his latest assesment French brings up concern with our run game and having no distinct leader for it. Making somewhat the same realization after perusing stats and footage from the Austin Peay game. I began to delve a little deeper to see what we're up against. This is not a pump the breaks and freak out piece either. After all, we just played two games in less than a week with one opponent being a sizeable rival.
There is a saying in football "If you have two quarterbacks....you have no quarterback" (see: Redskins '11). That adage doesn't quite fit for running backs, as often there is need for guys in rotation or committee. What Ronnie Brown and Cadillac Williams did for the '04 Auburn team is one such excellent example. Their success however, was predicated on a system that used their strengths according to a game plan. Conversely, what we have are two guys who both seem to want to be starters with a game plan that relies on Logan Thomas first, then sees how to fit either in.
Again, this is not to say we have a complete disaster on our hands. Many fans have gotten cozy with the slew of 1,000 yard plus rushers we've had the last five years (save for '10 due to injuries). It doesn't seem, at least to this point, that we'll be seeing that again this year. That is not the issue though. What has stood out to me is how unproductive our gameplan looks with the talent we do have. Our offense has always been heavy on the run, and often wins and loses based on how effectively we execute it. Looking back to 2007 via cfbstats.com, there is an obvious trend with regard to those win/lose columns and how many rushing yards we get in a game. One time we hit over 200 in a game and still lost (rhymes with Hames Radison). On average however, most games we won had us around the 180-200 yard mark whereas we'd hit 120 or fewer in most losses.
Without context those yards are meaningless, but seeing how we've played throughout the years should tell you that our commitment to the run game provides two major things, time of possession and the ability to open up the pass. Without it, as many of us have seen, we end up having to play from behind and rely on the QB to become a blast cannon. Sometimes it works, most times it does not.
Therefore, when you see no more than 17 COMBINED carries by your #1 and #2 backs in the first game then another 15 total in the second there should be some worry. Austin Peay was indeed more of a scrimmage giving time for coaches to further evaluate players and execute new formations. Nonetheless, the questions remain as to why no one is being shown yet as a clear frontrunner and whether or not this is an evolution of our gameplan or a grab at straws? I sure as hell hope that unlike our case, having four or five ball carriers means we have no ball carrier.
Your thoughts below.