Running Back Depth Issues?

Thinking back on the way carries were distributed during the UNC game, I thought a couple of things were noteable:

1. Keene taking snaps at running back
2. King didn't seem to make an appearance
3. Even with the above being true, McClease was the only "true" running back getting carries all night.

So what's the deal? Is King hurt? Do we really have no other running backs who can step in that we had to have a tight end taking snaps at running back? I think it hurts us that Keene has to do that, he's a true receiving threat that teams have to account for when he's allowed to play his natural position.

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King is banged up, he is a true freshmen who didn't get to campus over the summer. Holston has a injured leg. Beck had surgery. Keene is actually a HB not a TE, think Sam Rogers.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

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Steward and Wheatley?

Yeah he's technically listed as an H-Back, but he is a tight end. In a "traditional" offense he would be a the not a FB like Rogers. He did decently, but he should not be playing RB.

Roger's was an H-back when he played for Fuente.

πŸ¦ƒ πŸ¦ƒ πŸ¦ƒ

I understand that, but there's a spectrum of H-back types. Rogers is on the FB side, Keene is on the the side. If it was a "pro-style" offense they would have different positions.

then I don't get your point. Fireman is right on this one. Both are H-backs. Both are in Fuente offense. It shouldn't really be a surprise surprise that they would be utilized similarly in a Fuente offense.

πŸ¦ƒ πŸ¦ƒ πŸ¦ƒ

They may both be termed H Back, but Rogers was always used more like a quasi-fullback and Keene more like a quasi-TE. Even though they may use the same position title, the roles - and their skill sets were/are - are fairly dissimilar.

In retrospect, I like the use of Keene in the Rogers role with Patterson at QB in the UNC game - it puts an extra hat on the defense when both sides knows the QB is going to run the ball. He's a much better blocker than Rogers was and is serviceable as a runner given the element of surprise. But I don't think it's net plus over the long haul because it takes a true primary runner off the field.

Yeah this is basically what I meant

I heard King tore his AC joint in shoulder. May be done and require surgery (but most likely off-season). Trying to let it rest to see if he can go again this season vs shut down. They are trying to milk Gary's RS until Holston makes return (also heard 3-4 weeks).

We put the K in Kwality

King was in uniform on the sideline Saturday. For what that is worth.

Go Hokies!!

Rogers seemed much more suited for FB with his bowling ball size. Keene is doing alright, but he seems to be too tall. Desperate times I suppose though.

Yeah, I saw something a few days ago that indicated we won't be seeing King for a while

Now finish up them taters; I'm gonna go fondle my sweaters.

Injuries put us in that position. We taking a few backs this cycle though so we trying to patch it up moving forward.

wait, now we want a RB rotation? /s

"Take care of the little things and the big things will come."

I know you put the /s but in all seriousness I just don't like giving Keene carries. It seems like it would be better to make mcclease the bell cow if that's what it really came down to.

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Jet Sweep

Fuente mentioned post game that Keene was given the opportunity to carry because of his size.

I don't think it's a long-term solution, but as much as Fu values ball security, he probably trusts Keene. The irony, Keene fumbling!

Having Hooker or QP running the offense really helps whoever is running.

All that being said, hopefully we have a healthy "stable" of backs going forward.

"Take care of the little things and the big things will come."

At least twice I saw McClease signal for relief and Keene was his replacement. I don't think it was the coaches pulling McClease for the most part.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

Keene seems to just be taking carries to give McClease a rest. We can't have him in for every play.

Does anyone know why Malik Bell has not gotten any playing time this season? He was impressive in the spring game and was a bruiser. I would have loved to see him get some playing time early this season to see what he can do in live action.

He fumbled once in pee wee football and Fuente saw the tape /s

dark horse plaid candidate, imho

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I'm proud to have cast the plaid vote.

No, I *don't* want to go to the SEC. Why do you ask?

We don't love dem Hoos.


Out of all my comments I would have never thought this one but I do amuse myself much more than I amuse other people.

I thought Tahj Gary looked good in the few carries he got against Rhode Island

Think we are trying to preserve his redshirt so trying to use his four games carefully, and we have three left to play with.

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My 2019 Season Challenge: only comment with Star Wars memes. (completed as of Nov. 29)

Unless the injury situation in the RB room is way worse than we're led to believe, this seems like a foolish game to protect Gary's redshirt. It's a game we NEED to win, against a good, but beatable opponent. If you're not going to make this one of his 4 games, what game are you saving him for?

I think they just wanted to see how Keene would do as a RB. If using Keene in this way was purely a desperation move, why not give Wheatley a few carries? He was healthy enough for KR duty. While I'm ecstatic about the result of the game and reluctant to criticize the staff at this moment, I do feel the RB situation could/should have been handled better.

β€œYou got one guy going boom, one guy going whack, and one guy not getting in the endzone.”
― John Madden (describing VT's offense?)

I believe McClease replaced Wheatley on KR duty early in the game, i heard nothing regarding whether it was performance related or injury related.

I believe they wanted Keene in there once Quincy took over to use him as the lead blocker for the QB running game

I think since they needed both a big back and a blocker, they went with Keene. Really looking forward to Gary but it wasn't a situation for a true freshman with 3 snaps under their belt.

Unless I'm missing something, that's about 3 more snaps than Keene has as a collegiate RB, is it not? I just find that decision perplexing.

β€œYou got one guy going boom, one guy going whack, and one guy not getting in the endzone.”
― John Madden (describing VT's offense?)

Don't forget the blocking.

Is he back from that injury already??

Hey played at the end of the Rhode Island game

I see the reasoning for it as people have mentioned, injuries and trying to preserve Gary's red-shirt. However when we are limited to two backs (even when King was in) they seem to do a lot better. I don't know if they are just better backs (I think King is) or McClease has just grown in his ability to see the field but he's played really well as of late. Hopefully he continues to grow as a back and get better. We need him to be good.

If you don't want to recruit clowns, don't run a clown show.

"I want to punch people from UVA right in the neck." - Colin Cowherd

A big reason McClease is more effective this year is because he's healthy. Going with a 2 back rotation as you suggest will only beat up both McClease and King (when he is back from injury) down the stretch.

Now it helps to have HH & QP take some pressure off (and the extra hat it provides) but HH is beat up too. VT needs to get somebody else in the mix - even if it's not particularly effective. 1 step back, two steps forward.

I thought it was very interesting that McClease hardly got any carries OT. It was all QB draws or a couple of passes.

I just sit on my couch and b*tch. - HokieChemE2016

McClease wasn't in much because our bread and butter in the 2nd half was the QB power and Keene is a better lead blocker than McClease. It worked. QP is a monster and I think UNC was sick of QP running QB power by the end of the game.

McLease is not really the guy you use when you MUST score on a short field. He's much more effective when the playbook is more open.

Exactly. Fuente prefers a bigger back- he loves that inside zone play and wants to use jet sweeps to run outside with the smaller guys. He needs a Darren Evans - the perfect Fuente back- and he was hoping Steward or Holston would be that guy right now. Both are injured though.

McClease isn't in due to the fact they are going to prefer a blocker as the primary ball carrier in that set is QP. I don't think it's a long-term strategy, but a nice short-term adjustment. It worked if you notice on the TD, Mitchell and Keen are both in on the play and make huge blocks to create the hole.

It seemed like they used McClease to pass block, and the three TE set on designed runs. They did pass out of that 3 TE alignment a few times as well.

How about a Notre Dame surprise!!!

With Hooker healthy at QB, Let's put QP and Dalton in the backfield and run an option package!!! Think about the passing options! Imagine a secondary back having to tackle those guys in open field!!!!

It's real football, not a video game. I'd rather a young team spend limited practice time on core game plan plays than on silly gimmick schemes which they might or might not be able to use and often don't work.

It appeared the goal was simple with QP in - keep it simple and downhill. It was interesting to see how the entire team seemed to feed off the physicality of QP and Dalton.

Regarding the other backs mentioned, that starts to be a lot of youth in the backfield with QP, in a game where ball security was likely going to decide it down the stretch.

This observation is spot-on. The offense was simple, and the team executed with violence. And it worked. Something to be said for "lethal simplicity" when violently executed.

Bingo...and if we go up to South Bend and win an ugly game running the "Pattering Ram" all day, I'll take it.

Edit: FIFM

"Take care of the little things and the big things will come."

We all agreed that its the "Pattering Ram" offense. Get on the wagon while there is still room!

Whatever. It was one bad year.

Seasonal Brew means High ABV for football season and standard the rest of the year.

Like Nirvana...all apologies!

"Take care of the little things and the big things will come."

I noticed this too. After QP entered the game it seemed like all of our ball carriers were willing to deliver hits rather than taking hits. It was fun to watch.

Proud author of one plaid comment.

Nah, just going to # qp4 for 100+ a game, he is built like a mack truck so...

I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction:
β€œI served in the United States Navy"


In all seriousness, assuming HH is good to go as QB1, I would have a package for QP as a running back. He is load going down hill and can break open a play too.

i like the spirit behind what you're saying, but you might as well just use him in the Wild Turkey formation a la Greg Boone (which is essentially what we've been doing anyway).

And which was largely ineffective with Boone and has been largely ineffective with Patterson. There's a reason so few teams even bother with the Wildcat any more.

It's clear Patterson is most effective when he is simply playing QB.

What helps now, though, is that we've seen that Patterson isn't half bad passing the ball. Before with him, and especially with Boone, you knew what was coming once you saw that jersey in the game.

No, I *don't* want to go to the SEC. Why do you ask?

We don't love dem Hoos.

When Keene was at running back Tech was basically running an old singlewing style offense. His primary roll was as a blocking back. In my opinion at that point in the game he was the best man for the job, and occasionally even the blocking back gets to carry the ball just to keep the defense honest.

This. But folks shouldn't confuse this with making Keene an actual RB. He's not and he shouldn't be used that way.

Keen's greatest asset is his versatility and being able to use that as an element of surprise. That's when he's most effective. He is much less effective as a primary target.

Keene was tailback in HS so its not totally foreign to him, and nearly 500 lbs of QB and TB going downhill was pretty darn beautiful

'Its easy to grin, when your ship comes in, and you've got the stock market beat,
but the man worthwhile, is the man who can smile, when his shorts are too tight in the seat'

Something must have happened to Wheatley because after the first KO return he was out and McClease was back returning kicks. Too bad he can't stay healthy - he seems to hit the hole quick and has some burst.

With Wheatley's lineage, you would think he would be able to break into this bunch. His dad is Michigan royalty.

Didn't know he has so many injury issues.

Overheard as Duke assistant coaches took elevator down from press box: β€œGuys, they stopped the run with a three-man front.” - David Teel Tweet 2018

Keene was in for lead blocking reasons.

Understand they want to save Gary's redshirt but not sure I'd have burned it for 1 series vs Rhode Island. I am excited for his future though.

Tyrod did it Mikey, Tyrod did it!!

You can play in 4 full games now and redshirt. So Gary has 3 more games he can play in and still RS.

My guess is Gary definitely sees time vs Pitt & UVa. And perhaps depending upon how the season plays out - either GT or the bowl game.

Right. I meant burn one of his 4 freebie games.

Tyrod did it Mikey, Tyrod did it!!

I think 1) Gary is not 100% so don't want to risk it in bruising game yet and 2) Fuente probably felt better with Keene since he's played more than 3 snaps of college football. I'm really looking forward to Gary and King backfield, but playing the experience was the right call in Saturday's situation.

King had a knock.

I think some off it was gameplaning too. A lot of times we had 2 or 3 TE packages in the game with technically no running back out there. UNC has to decide what personnel to put on the field. Due to our TE's athleticism we're able to go spread with all of them out there, or we can line up and go power run with QP or Keene based off of the defense UNC puts on the field. They go into a nickel package, QP checks to the sideline and we run the ball. They go into a more run preventative defense, we had an opportunity for some pass plays. If you remember, there were several times we would line up and make a last second substitution. You'd see a TE running off and McClease running on. The refs would give UNC an opportunity to make a substition based off of our change, but they didn't seem to be adjusting when we did that. I think Fuente was playing around with personnel packages to create opportunites, which we can definitely do with the depth we have at TE.

Gobble Till You Wobble

We played with 3 TEs almost the entire time QP ran the offense. Many times, Keene was lined up at RB, but Mitchell and Gallo we almost always tight to the line. They just created a numbers advantage on the line and ran downhill.

French - can we see an analysis of this aligment in your write up?

Even saw Tenuta lined up as an extra tackle/tight end in a package.

Yea that's what i'm saying. Our 3 TE's can line up in a hundred different ways. Keene and Mitchell split out with Gallo on the line, Mitchell splits out with Gallo on the line and Keene in the backfield, all three line up on the line in more of an empty set, and so on and so on. It's a challege for defenses to decide what personnel to put out on the field because we can essentially go with a spread offense or a power run game without making a substitution. It's what the Patriots did a ton of over the last few years with Gronk and their fullbacks and its a headache to deal with. I mentioned during the preseason that i hoped we see a lot of this over the course of the season and hopefully this is just the beginning.

But also there were several plays where at the last second you see a TE run off and a running back run on. It's an attempt by Fuente/Corn to create personnel advantages.

Gobble Till You Wobble

Previous to QP's stint this Saturday, we have also lined up with three TEs on goal line a few times this year. With Mitchell, Keene, and Gallo, I really like the options we have out of this. Throw in Patterson and you basically have four TE sized athletes on the field at once.

We have 8 scholarship running backs. Holston and Beck are out for the season. Steward is banged up, King is banged up. Gary and Wheatley are healthy, but didn't get any carries. I'm guessing they are trying to redshirt King and Gary- so keeping the 4 game limit in mind. I think the coaches like Keene running the ball better than Wheatley at this point. Fuente's dream running back is 225 pounds... he loves the big backs. We don't have any healthy ones right now.

King has already played in 6 games, unfortunately. So, no redshirt for him. There seems to be a difference of opinion/sauces as to whether Wheatley is injured. Same with Beck and Holston. There have been some rumblings from people in the know that Holston may not be out for the entire year, especially if they can play 4 and still redshirt. I would also not be surprised to see Beck get a chance at KR at some point if Wheatley is still banged up. We have struggled there and it could be a real shot in the arm. Beck had worked his way up the depth chart at KR before the collarbone injury. #sauces

"That's it guys. Let's get out of here. That cold drink's waitin' on us, let's go." - Mike Young after win no. 300.

Beck is out he had season ending surgery.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

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So did Tony Romo that one time, allegedly.

"That's it guys. Let's get out of here. That cold drink's waitin' on us, let's go." - Mike Young after win no. 300.

Beck is never going to get carries in a real game even if healthy. So moot point.

Was talking KR only for him.

"That's it guys. Let's get out of here. That cold drink's waitin' on us, let's go." - Mike Young after win no. 300.

Is he still on football scholarship? If so, I gotta' wonder if that's a great move...

Holston isn't out for the season. Fuente mentioned he could be back +\- ND.

I don't have any info but Keene seemed to get a decent few yards with each carry.
Was hoping Gary would start to get some more carries though.

If you are going to run, and the opposing team knows you are going to run- ie Quincy Patterson- you should have the best blockers in the game- hence Keene played- 10 on 11, instead of 9 on 11. Hell, if UNC didn't know we were going to slam the ball into the line of scrimmage 95% of the time with QP in there, they need to replace their D coordinator.
Keene also has caught many balls lately, giving the appearance the QP may throw at some point. We were in two TE personnel most of the day- I think it helps Hooker and QP.

It appears having Keene there was for a multitude of reasons. He's a better blocker than McClease, can also run well and has great ball handling skills. His constant presence in the backfield would keep UNC defense honest. On any given play, Keene can be the runner, a lead blocker or run a route; which of the RBs would you say can successfully do all these things?

Rather than a RB health issue, it seems it was just a chess move from Fuente given the limitted playbook that QP was running. Keene is an experienced Jr who Fuente clearly trusts. Even the fumble was when fighting for extra yards and if I remember correctly, his ball security was on point but the UNC defender just hit the ball perfectly and popped it out.

The RB situation is still really troublesome IMO. Ideally King would redshirt while spending an entire year in the strength and conditioning program before taking any hits in a game. But now, he has a shoulder issue which means that not only is he not playing during a season in which he can no longer redshirt, he isn't able to be fully engaged in the strength and conditioning program. I think this is most unfortunate for him and for the RB situation moving forward.

Also, I would love to hear why Dalton Keene was running the football instead of Malik Bell. Keene isn't going to do anything more from a breakaway standpoint than Bell would have. Maybe an issue with blocking?

Is coronavirus over yet?

I thought Saturday was like watching a completely different group of athletes on the OLine. They just imposed their will with violence and force to make way for the ball carrier at times, especially in OT. I think this is due to the Kill Effect. No more of this passive blocking posture and bench pressing guys at contact. Jump up, find a man, and put his ass in the dirt! Kill!

I think it's more the young guys just getting more comfortable with their roles. Thinking less, playing more.

But fans like a magic pill story.

We need line up with Turner and Hazelton on the outside, 6 OL, and QP4, Keene, and Mitchell in the backfield and just Smash the entire game. Shortening the game will cause NDs Offense to press and hopefully make mistakes

I thought Keen danced too much behind the line of scrimmage. He's a little too big for that.

Bring back the Wild Turkey Formation



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