Shane Beamer on the Joel Caleb experiment

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On Monday, Shane Beamer talked about Joel Caleb getting reps at tailback.

Shane Beamer

On Joel Caleb at tailback: “That may be his spot or it may not.  We’ll work the first few days and kind of see.  Knowing that we probably aren’t going to play six receivers in every game, let him work as a tailback right now, see if there’s a spot for him.  He can always go back to receiver.  We’re thin at tailback and we’re thin at receiver, so you’re going to be taking away from one or the other.  If tailback isn’t the spot for him, we’ve already talked about Jerome Wright , he’s a guy that had a great summer in the weight room.  He really looks athletic and his body’s different.  He could be that guy we’re looking for when we need a big tailback.”

On bigger tailbacks: “Coming out of spring, we felt like we had two bigger backs, Michael Holmes and Trey Edmunds .  Your guys on third and one, fourth and one, you can give the ball to them and pound it up in there.  We’ve got some smaller backs in Chris Mangus , Tony Gregory and J.C. Coleman , but as far as guys who are over 200 and have that size, it was Michael and Trey.  When we lost Michael, we were down to one bigger back.  Trey is that guy right now.  But, knock on wood, God forbid something happens to Trey and all of a sudden we don’t want to be in week six and we don’t have a bigger back that’s had reps.  [Joking] Exum told me he wants to be that guy, D.J. Coles tells me every day he wants to be that guy, everybody wants to be that guy.”

On how Caleb feels about the move: “We talked about it as a staff and believe that Joel could be that guy.  He was excited about it.  At the receiver position, he’s had two coaches in the last year.  He had never played receiver before, he was a quarterback in high school.  It was just slow coming along.  We put a lot on our receivers’ plates as far as splits and routes, there’s a lot.  So it was slow coming along.  He might end up being a great receiver, but he was a high school quarterback and good things happen with the ball in his hands.  He’s shown since he’s been here that when the ball is in his hands, things can happen.  He’s a playmaker.  I took him and Deon Clarke out to dinner last week and we were just talking about a couple of things and I brought it up with Joel just to kind of feel him out and see what his reaction was, and he had a big smile on his face and was excited.  He said ‘coach, I just want the ball in my hands.’ So we’ll take a look at it the first few days.  If it’s a fit for him, great, we’ll go down that path.  If it’s not, he can always go back to receiver.

On how he wants to split running back reps this year: “It’s hard to say.  Two years ago we had David Wilson and Josh Oglesby, and David got twice as many as Josh did.  They were rotating.  David was taking two series, and Josh was taking one series.  That may be the case this year.  It may be a deal where we feel like whoever our top two are, they are rotating every series.  I think they’ll kind of decide that over the next few weeks.  So much of our stuff this year is more – not that we weren’t personnel based – we’re more elaborate personnel wise.  Last year if we called one back, one tight end and three receivers, it was whatever tailback was in the game.  This year we’re a little more flexible.  We can designate…we want this tailback in for this play, or another for that play.  It’s more specific from that standpoint.”

On whether it’s easier to make the transition from high school wildcat QB to college RB than transitioning from QB to WR: “Probably.  I went and watched [Caleb] play Cosby High School his senior year, they were doing some of the zone read stuff, and I was thinking to myself, man he’s a really physical runner.  He was getting the crap beat out of him on a couple of hits.  That’s probably an easier adjustment than having to go out there at receiver and now you’re running routes, learning splits and releases and things like that.  He’s more familiar with the ball being in his hands.  The biggest adjustment for him at tailback will be the pass protection stuff.  That’s a whole other world that he never had to deal with in high school.  Running routes will be easier for him.  The footwork that we want on certain plays is simpler than it was last year.  It’s not as many, it’s pretty consistent, so that won’t necessarily be that hard.  The thing for him will be the pass protection schemes.”

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30 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. This quote says it all and explains why they used JC up the middle and Holmes on outside runs, idiots, so glad we have an offensive staff now that know what the hell they are doing.

    Last year if we called one back, one tight end and three receivers, it was whatever tailback was in the game. This year we’re a little more flexible. We can designate…we want this tailback in for this play, or another for that play. It’s more specific from that standpoint.”

  2. I remember the David Wilson, Josh Oglesby deal. Wilson was killen em, and then comes Oglesby for the entire next series. A big 3rd and short would arise, and I would look for Wilson again, but it didn’t happen. The Coaches would stay with Oglesby, much to my chagrin. Although a heroic player, Oglesby was stuffed, and Tech punts. Hopefully, these Hard-Headed days of Coaching are over. Let’s not put back in a now fresh Wilson, We’ll stick with the Game Plan. I hope Caleb works out, Tech has to get tricky with whatever works. We no longer have a Horse to ride at Running Back, at least not yet, as last year certainly proved. Try anything, do anything, as anything different will not be so predictable. I wish Shane would take Me out to Dinner, I’d throw in my 2 cents worth, and I aint talkin the tip. For those Hokies going to Atlanta, let’s hope We mix it up real good-might wanna do that with your Pregame libations as well.

    1. I disagree on JO. I think when he was given the chance he made the most of what was given. It was more a matter of what plays he’s was allowed to run or play calling than his skill.

      1. Right. I remember doing an article that broke down redzone carries. Oglesby averaged twice as much YPC than Wilson. Wilson was just an athlete at the time. I think he’s improved in the NFL obviously, but I think Oglesby was the more efficient redzone back.

        1. Wilson may have been the most INeffective RB we have ever had when you look at TD:YDS ratio. He had like 8 TDs the entire year. Low for any starting RB yet he had the most yards ever.

          To be fair, that statistic is not his burden alone.

  3. I tend to think we rotate running backs too much. Whenever it’s just been two strong backs we’ve been good. Whenever we introduce a third back I don’t think the backs are able to get into a rythm because they get switched out too much. When we had Wilson, Evans and Willimas switching out it seemed that way to me. When it was just two of them they seemed better. Thoughts?

    1. Which two would you go with? Coleman has such a different skill set and is really a 3rd down, change of pace and hurry up O guy. It you want someone to spell Edmunds you really need someone that can pound the ball like he can. I think we might really be running a 2 big back plus 1 speed bck system.

      I think this situation is no different than what we are doing on the O line. Caleb is auditioning for a role. Give is a week and see if he continues to get reps. I could easily see him in a Harvin type role – kick returning, 5-6 carries a game plus a few receptions to get him the ball in the open field – I think he could be very productive in such a role.

      I like the idea of Wright getting some reps at RB as well. He is a veyr athletic and physical option to give Edmunds some rest and maybe help out in the short yardage game. He is much more similar to Edmunds than is Coleman.

    2. Why do we have to give the whole series to 1 back or the other ? In the past it has drove me crazy when the lesser of the 2 backs would get a key series just because “it was his turn”. Its big ball football your best back should get the most carries. Also why can we not rotate 2 backs in the same series, according to down and distance? I DO NOT want to see Coleman on 3 & 1 . Other teams do it so why can’t we. It seems as though its to much work for coaches or they are afraid to hurt someone feelings but it needs to change.

      1. You basically Amened my thinking. You Sir, are a Genius, at least in the world of Hokie thinking.

      2. I thought that had left with Hite. Last year was probably an exception with Shane since each game seemed to be test to see who could get in a groove.

    3. My thoughts are that Caleb will not be part of the regular rotation. And that’s not a knock on Joel, he’s a Freshman who is new to the position. So it wont be three guys all getting equal touches like we had with Wilson, Evans and Williams. It will be two, Edmunds and Coleman, with Caleb coming in after games are put away. And he will be there if needed due to injury.

      But that’s just my opinion. You never know until the pads are on.

  4. Great, I just finished reading about Joel thinking this might be a good development for him and now I get a message saying he has been suspended for the first game for a violation of team rules. Whatever that means. Hope it is nothing serious.

  5. Even with Wilson and Oglesby, we were out of whack at times and it was never neat and clean.

    1. Agree with you. Sometimes we were running Oglesby wide and then turnaround and try to run Wilson straight into a wall up the middle. Next series run Wilson 1st and 2nd into the interior middle and then try to flare Oglesby wide on 3rd and forever like he’s suppose to be able to break it open. Like Hokie4ever, i am so happy Tech and Coach have made some significant changes. Hopefully some of the “no clue” call-playing is burnt and buried forever.

  6. I read the 2nd to last paragraph and I’m confused…….

    “On how he wants to split running back reps this year: “It’s hard to say. Two years ago we had David Wilson and Josh Oglesby, and David got twice as many as Josh did. They were rotating. David was taking two series, and Josh was taking one series. That may be the case this year. It may be a deal where we feel like whoever our top two are, they are rotating every series.”

    I recall Coach Shane & Frank candidly say there would be no more Running back rotation or running back by committee philosophy because that philosophy did not let a running back get in to the flow of the game last year because it limits a guys touches and cause guys to be worry about mistakes. It caused an RB rythmn to be “out of wack” to use Frank’s famous saying. Now, one season later, it seems like we are considering the same philosphy again. This 2 & 1 rotation risks putting the wrong player on the field rather than ensuring the player with the right skills is on the filed for the right situation that the defense is giving us (or dictating on us depending on your glass-full point of view). JC would have racked up a lot more yards last year if he didnt have to deal with a running back rotation. In 2013, it sounds like we are going to do it to him again. Folks, what am i missing here? Why can’t we put both players on the field at the same time so defense has to guess whats coming next?

    1. I think we need to better recognize which back is hot/better matchup, BUT it sounds like some of you think we can give it to the “hot” back 40 times a game. You can’t do that in modern football

    2. I don’t remember many games if any that had rythmn..I’m sure there were some series within the games. I think the intention was there in the beginning with Holmes. I can’t imagine being these coaches after that opener last year. Great win but what in the world….I sort of disagree with you on JC. he was thrown down a lot and we continued to send him up the middle. Play calling would have limited him I think and of course the OL situation

    3. Last year, we were trying to give 4 backs carries. In the (very successful running game) past, we’ve most often had 2. Sometimes those 2 were very even splits of the carries (Kevin Jones and Lee Suggs, Mike Imoh and Cedric Humes, Maurice Williams and Eddie Hunter). Other times it’s been the split like described above (starter/’better’ back gets 2 or 3 series, backup gets 1). We’ve been VERY successful running the ball with both of those ways. We haven’t been when we had 4 backs, none of whom really stepped up to be the key guy (though the poor line had a lot to do with that).

      So no problem at all with finding 2 and finding a good split.

  7. This whole coaching staff this year appears to be so much better. Last few years we would pound a small back into the middle of the line because he was in the game. Never made sense from a personnel standpoint. At least this year it seems we are thinking smarter and using the proper personnel for the task at hand. We will never likely know why we did what we did in the past and that miserable show is behind us. I look forward to an offense that has a strategy, knows what they want to do, looks to exploit mismatchecs (remember Michigan game?) and tries to put our best players in position to have a positive game experience. While it took CFB a while to make these changes, at least he did.

  8. CC – what do you think Deon Clarke’s role in that conversation was? Could that be the reason for the extreme weight loss?

    1. Shane recruited Clarke and Caleb. Likely just taking a couple of his former recruits out to eat.

      1. How does that work with NCAA rules? I’m asking because I have no idea? Are coaches allowed to pay for dinner? Are they allowed to visit with players before practice starts?

        1. I have no idea. If Shane was willing to say it in front of the media, I’m sure it’s fine.

        2. We don’t know the circumstances – maybe it was on-campus dining hall. He also didn’t say who paid for dinner – maybe they all paid for their own meals.

        3. Since the school/scholarship covers room and board, I would think that it’s ok for a coach to buy a player dinner.

          I did have a similar question though about the articles where Grimes was having his linemen over for cookouts in the summer. Again, as above, I don’t think this would count as an illegal benefit or anything, because the school is providing food for these guys anyway…but c’mon…you think that they didn’t talk about football at all? How to do a certain block? What Grimes is/was looking for? And that would be illegal.

          But this is likely one of those “everyone is doing it” things, and it doesn’t involve money, so no big deal.

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