The Hokies have made it one of their top goals to get the ground game going this year, and while a large part of that will fall on the offensive line (which has been covered plenty this offseason), a whole lot is also going to be put a lot on an inexperienced crew of running backs to carry the load.
Here’s how the story starts:
BLACKSBURG — Trey Edmunds hears the talk. It’s impossible not to.
The running back knows what people have said or written about Virginia Tech’s ground game, which slogged through the 2012 season, struggling close to as much as it has during the Hokies’ 20-year bowl streak.
All he does is internalize it.
“Us individuals who are in the running back room, we all stick together and we all just work hard,” the redshirt freshman said. “So eventually it has to pay off.”
The Hokies certainly hope that is the case. Running the football doesn’t fall squarely on the shoulders of one group. The offensive line has to block. Receivers too. And a passing game needs to be enough of a threat to keep defenses honest.
But the biggest spotlight always falls squarely on the running backs. And Tech’s didn’t pull their weight last year.
How bad was the running game last year? The numbers ain’t pretty. They also weren’t unprecedented, although they were a little unusual in the range of Virginia Tech’s 20-year bowl streak.
Here are the best and worst rushing seasons during that time, just to show you how big of a gulf existed between last year’s showing and the Hokies’ best rushing years, with their leading rusher in that season:
- 2006: 113.4 ypg, 3.2 ypc, 22 TD, Branden Ore 1,137 yards
- 2007: 133.6 ypg, 3.3 ypc, 22 TD, Branden Ore 992 yards
- 2012: 145.8 ypg, 3.7 ypc, 18 TD, Logan Thomas 524 yards
- 1994: 155.8 ypg, 3.6 ypc, 17 TD, Dwayne Thomas 655 yards
- 2008: 174.4 ypg, 3.8 ypc, 23 TD, Darren Evans 1,265 yards
- 2000: 270.5 ypg, 5.2 ypc, 46 TD, Lee Suggs 1,207 yards
- 1999: 253.9 ypg, 5.0 ypc, 35 TD, Shyrone Stith 1,119 yards
- 1993: 242.6 ypg, 4.6 ypc, 28 TD, Dwayne Thomas, 1,130 yards
- 1996: 227.8 ypg, 4.8 ypc, 19 TD, Ken Oxendine 890 yards
- 1997: 216.1 ypg, 4.3 ypc, 22 TD, Ken Oxendine 912 yards