Virginia Tech running back Darren Evans was a workhorse for the Hokies last year, running for over 1,200 yards. But the 2nd Team All-ACC honoree needed 287 to do it and led the ACC in rushing attempts by 78. Evans received 71. 9 percent of the 399 carries given to running backs last year.
Evans' workload was the result of young players who weren't ready and an early-season injury to Kenny Lewis. Lewis was the second-most used running back with 63 carries despite only appearing in six games.
After Lewis was injured in the Western Kentucky game, the most carries from a Virginia Tech back not named Darren Evans was six, twice by Josh Oglesby.
Not even Maryland's Da'rel Sc'ott received that high a percentage of running back carries. Scott got 209 of his team's 325 RB carries (64.3 percent).
Evans' workload will likely decrease in 2009 with the emergence of freshman Ryan Williams, the reported improvement of Oglesby and the return of Lewis. But how many is the right number or attemps for Evans?
I think he should get closer to Scott's workload, around 60-65 percent of the running back carries. The rest should go mainly to Williams, who can do things Evans can't outside of the tackles and in the open field. Evans should be used to wear defenses down. Williams should be used to break them.
Evans showed that even as a freshman he can withstand a large workload. But I worry about him breaking down if he keeps bashing into the line of scrimmage as many times as he does.