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Traditionally, Virginia Tech has had a number of running backs who have handled a big load and were a primary option. The list goes back to Ken Oxendine, but certainly includes running backs like Kevin Jones, Darren Evans and David Wilson.
More than likely, the Hokies will not have such an option this season. Though nothing has been set, Virginia Tech could dress six running backs this season, in junior J.C. Coleman, sophomores Trey Edmunds and Joel Caleb and true freshmen Marshawn Williams, Shai McKenzie and Travon McMillian.
It's a conundrum for sure for assistant coach Shane Beamer, but a good one to have. The depth is certainly there, as are plenty of options. And that's with Williams missing a large portion of fall camp after undergoing hernia surgery last month.
"By us not scrimmaging (yesterday) and scrimmaging on Friday, it'll allow Marshawn Williams to get work in the scrimmage," Beamer said. "There's a lot of factors about why we're not scrimmaging (yesterday), that's one of 'em, is he's practiced the last couple of days, but he'll be fully cleared, we expect, (today), which is great for him and for us.
"Let's see where he is and let's see how some of these younger guys continue to come along. But yeah, I've got a pretty good idea of how things may shake out."
Some of that might be in other roles, too. Edmunds was the primary ball-carrier last season before breaking his right tibia. And McMillian could see a bigger place on special teams, where he's been worked in as a returner.
For Beamer, each running back will have a role and each one should be utilized at some point this season.
"There's ways, if we do play Travon, that we want to get him the ball, there's ways that if Shai plays, we wanna get him the ball," Beamer said. "I think we've gotta go into each game and figure out what each guy does well and things like that. We're not gonna come out of the Ohio State game or the William & Mary game and say, 'these two guys have played and they've played every snap in the game.' I'm sorry, but we're gonna get other guys in the game. Some guys are better on third down. Some guys are better at running pass routes than other guys. Some guys you trust more in protection than other guys. We wanna do what each guy does well. Yes, I know the big question is we're gonna have it narrowed down as far as who our primary ball carriers are, but there's other guys we wanna get involved in different ways as well as we go week to week."
Below is Beamer's full interview with the media yesterday morning:
Click Here to view this video.