Better Red Zone Performance Key to 2012 Rushing Game

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Today we’re going to talk about the Virginia Tech running game, specifically David Wilson , and compare him to some of Tech’s past tailbacks. Also, how might things be different in the running game in 2012? And finally, were Tech’s red zone struggles this year the fault of the offensive coaching staff, or did certain players share the blame?

David Wilson broke Virginia Tech’s single season rushing record in 2011, gaining 1,709 yards on the ground. Arguably Tech’s most physically gifted running back ever, Wilson was blazing fast and extremely difficult to bring down in the open field. He had hands like a wide receiver, he loved contact, and he broke a lot of tackles.

In short, he’s one of the best running backs the Hokies have ever had … between the 20s. The numbers prove that. Get him inside the 20 though, and the numbers tell a different story.

Wilson in the Red zone

David Wilson averaged 2.3 yards per carry in the red zone this year. He averaged 1.6 yards per carry in the red zone this year against teams not named Appalachian State. If that sounds like a low number to you, that’s because it is.

We ran some numbers comparing Wilson in the red zone to past Virginia Tech running backs, particularly past running backs who ran behind worse offensive lines with no passing games to help them out. The years 2002, 2006 and 2008 come to mind. Here’s how the numbers stack up.

SeasonPlayerRed Zone CarriesYardsYPCTDs
2002Kevin Jones271094.07
2011Josh Oglesby2479
...