We continue our look at next season's depth chart with a look at the position with the most talent to spare. In the last two seasons a different Tech running back has sent the ACC freshman single-season rushing record. This past year, Ryan Williams didn't just fill in admirably for Darren Evans, he broke the Hokies' single-season rushing record.
Now the Hokies have to find a way to keep both Williams and Evans happy as well as find time to pass the ball every now and then to keep defenses honest. Let's take a more complete look at the position and then let you discuss how to best distribute carries and what on earth we're supposed to do with Josh Oglesby and David Wilson.
Starter: Ryan Williams, So. (returning starter)
Possible Backups: Darren Evans, Jr.; Josh Oglesby, Jr.; David Wilson, So.
Outlook: The Hokies will go into 2010 with the best backfield in the ACC. However, as we learned with Clemson in 2008, they'll only go as far as their offensive line will take them. The Hokies have received excellent run blocking in recent years, but have to replace left guard Sergio Render. If they can do that and the holes are there, Williams and Evans will find them without problem. Right now I have Williams as the starter because we don't know yet how Darren Evans' knee will react when he gets back to football speed. So until then, Williams is the guy.
After those two, things get hazy. Oglesby backed up Evans in 2008 and Williams in 2009. Every year in spring and fall practice we hear about how Oglesby has turned a corner. Well, it seems that he may just be a practice all-star because his in-game performance has never lived up to the hype. Barring another injury (knock on all different kinds of wood) I doubt he'll get many significant carries in 2010. It may be time for Oglesby to find another position like Justin Hamilton did or make his way to I-AA.
If Oglesby decides to stick it out at running back and be our mop-up duty guy, then David Wilson should probably redshirt. He's probably the fastest in the stable of backs, but with the logjam at both running back and flanker, he probably won't get any touches outside of special teams. My guess is at the end of the 2010 season either Williams or Evans or both will jump to the NFL. That will clear things up for the speedy Wilson in 2011, but he may want to consider sitting out the upcoming year.
If you're wondering about Kenny Lewis, a return from the torn left Achilles tendon he suffered against Western Kentucky in 2008 is unlike. Complications, including the dreaded staph infection, and multiple surgeries likely mean Lewis' career at Virginia Tech is over. Lewis is a team leader and a guy the rest of the team looks up to so his leadership qualities will be missed.
Up for Debate
- Who should start? Williams or Evans?
- What percentage of carries should Evans get?
- Should Josh Oglesby stick it out, change positions or transfer?
- Should David Wilson redshirt?