Hokies running back Ryan Williams returned to practice Monday and could play Saturday at NC State. His official status for the game won't be known until Virginia Tech releases its injury report on Thursday. If Williams does play, he may not be 100 percent, as the Washington Post's Mark Giannotto observed:
Perhaps the most telling part of the session came at the end, when Williams ran wind sprints with his teammates. The Manassas native did not run with the running backs, instead taking it easy by doing his set of sprints with the lineman group. Even while jogging, though, it appeared Williams was favoring his right leg slightly.
Without Williams, Hokies' running backs David Wilson and Darren Evans were held to 97 yards on 30 carries (3.2 ypc). This week they'll face a Wolfpack team that held its first three opponents under three yards per carry and held Georgia Tech to nearly 100 yards below its season average.
The question is: If Williams isn't 100 percent, should he see the field against the Wolfpack?
The argument for playing Williams against NC State is that it's a big conference game and the Hokies need him. If he tweaks his hamstring again, he'll have over a month to rest for Tech's next big game against Georgia Tech Nov. 4. Between NC State and GT, the Hokies face Central Michigan, Wake Forest and Duke at home and then have a bye week.
I think Williams shouldn't play because of NC State's defense. It's a blitzing, attacking defense that sends middle linebacker Nate Irving into the opposing team's backfield with regularity. With the current state of our offensive line, I don't think Williams could be effective if he played. I think he should stay out another week and then be eased back into the lineup the next three games against lesser opponents.
We will need Williams for the tough November stretch against GT, North Carolina and Miami. We shouldn't risk getting him hurt more than he already is if he isn't completely healed.