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October 30, 2013

Running Resurgence?

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At least as a whole, the Virginia Tech running game showed life in Saturday's loss to Duke. Of course, the majority of the Hokies' 173 rushing yards came from one player. And he's not a running back.

For the first time in four games, Virginia Tech rushed for over 100 yards as a team. But 101 yards Saturday came from senior quarterback Logan Thomas, who, as has become a norm, pounded the ball continuously up the middle.

The Hokies' two primary running backs, sophomore J.C. Coleman and redshirt freshman Trey Edmunds still didn't reach the century mark in rushing. But both say there's a few breakthroughs, nonetheless, that could finally get the backfield moving.

"It's a variety of things, but I just feel like everybody has to do better doing their jobs, including the running backs ourselves," Coleman said. "It's gonna come. I know I keep saying that every week, but I feel like it's gonna come pretty soon and we're gonna finish out the drive."

The biggest negative affecting the offense against Duke was Virginia Tech's failure to finish drives strong, particularly near or in the red zone. There's still no one answer, but it certainly hasn't slipped the Hokies' minds.

"Regardless of who it is or what the problem is, I just feel like we're not finishing," Edmunds said. "We've just gotta get better with that as a team. When we get close to the red zone area, the 30 and the 25, we've just gotta be able to put the ball in the end zone. We've gotta come out with six points. That's the thing we've gotta continue to work on and stress in practice and every player just has to hold us accountable for that."

It helps that offensive line coach Jeff Grimes is seeing a few positives out of his players that wasn't there in the previous few games. That included senior guard Andrew Miller, who by Grimes' count had 20 knockdowns against the Blue Devils.

"There were times where we got a hat on a hat and got some movement," Grimes said. "What I was most pleased with is I thought we took a step forward, in terms of playing hard and playing physical. We finished more blocks than we had at times in the past."

Letting Thomas run the ball up the gut sounds an awful lot like last season. Against Duke, Thomas ran the ball 24 times, the second time this season he's had over 20 carries. He had 23 carries against Marshall last month.

But whether it's Thomas, the running backs, or the offensive line, Virginia Tech will have to find a way to finish drives in order to avoid a letdown like the loss to Duke.


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