Williams Named Starting Running Back
Ryan Williams was named Virginia Tech's starting running back for the No. 7 Hokies' game Saturday against No. 5 Alabama in Atlanta.
In preseason practices, Williams, a redshirt freshman, had competed with redshirt sophomore Josh Oglesby and freshman David Wilson for the starting role. Each back should continue to factor into the offense. In a statement, running backs coach Billy Hite said all three running backs would play "early and often."
Meanwhile, fullback Kenny Jefferson will not play against Alabama after being suspended on Aug. 16 for a violation of team policy. Coach Frank Beamer said in the statement that there would be no further comment.
By naming Williams the starter, Virginia Tech ends some of the uncertainty that surrounded its running backs. After Darren Evans suffered a season-ending knee injury on Aug. 11, all three of the remaining running backs have missed time with injuries. The coaches expressed concern about making sure their running backs were prepared to face Alabama.
Without Evans, who led Virginia Tech with 1,265 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns last year, the Hokies opened a competition among their three remaining running backs.
Olgesby, who had been listed second on the depth chart, moved into the starting role when Evans got injured. Among the three running backs, Olgesby was the only one with game experience. He has 38 career carries.
Williams was listed third because he reported to preseason practices out of shape. But Williams worked back into shape and improved his blocking; the coaches redshirted Williams last season because he struggled in blitz protection. Williams, a shifty runner, consistently performed in the Hokies' intrasquad scrimmages.
All three of the running backs missed time with injuries in the preseason, although Williams's minor ankle sprain kept him out the least amount of time. Oglesby missed more than a week of practices because of a sore right hamstring, and then an infection in his left heel. Wilson missed time with a sprained left shoulder.
Posted by: Hokienautic | September 4, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse
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