Spring Football Update: Cheeseman Emerges

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A look at the tailback depth chart for Virginia Tech reveals eight names.
That’s a lot of running backs, but the truth is that not every one of them is an
every-down type of running back, and not every one of them can fill Branden
Ore’s role. Figuring out the depth chart and every tailback’s role is the
challenge the Tech coaching staff has this spring. We’ve got some thoughts and
information on that, plus our take on the whip and rover positions.

The Beamerball.com depth chart released on March 23rd shows four levels of
tailbacks at VT:

  • First string: Branden Ore
  • Second string: Kenny Lewis, Jr. and George Bell
  • Third string: Dustin Pickle and Josh Oglesby
  • Fourth string: Devin Radford, Elan Lewis, and Jahre Cheeseman

We hear that depth chart is going to change, and we’ll get to that in a
second. As it is currently written, there’s an inclination to think,
“Branden Ore will start and be spelled by Kenny Lewis, Jr. or George Bell
in Tech’s two-back offense. Pickle is a walk-on who won’t see much playing time,
and Oglesby is a true freshman who will redshirt. Radford, Lewis, and Cheeseman
are not factors in the picture and are buried on the depth chart for now.”

Not exactly. It’s more like this:

Branden Ore is, of course, the starter and the guy who will get most of the
carries. Ore is an “every down” tailback, a guy who can play a lot of
plays, run with the football, catch passes, and block in the passing game.

Kenny Lewis, Jr. and George Bell are #2 on the depth chart, and both have
taken more snaps than any other tailback in the pipeline (with the exception of
Elan Lewis, whom we’ll discuss later). But neither player is locked in at #2,
and they’re getting a serious run from … Jahre Cheeseman.

Cheeseman is a converted cornerback who played in three games as a DB last
year before being switched to tailback after game five against Georgia Tech.
Shortly after the switch, in an October 2nd JV game against Fork Union, he
played as a tailback and suffered a season-ending foot sprain, ending his 2006
stint as a ballcarrier.

That delayed his debut as a tailback until the spring, and though the March
23rd depth chart listed him