Power Outage In The Running Game

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Marshawn Williams
Marshawn Williams

I’ve had a ton of good stuff to watch and write about so far this season.  Even most of the downers (shotgun snaps, I’m looking at you) got fixed.  If there’s one thing that’s been bothering me, it’s been the relative lack of a strong, conventional ground game.  Tech hasn’t been bad by any stretch, but compared to other aspects the highlight reel is pretty short.  Chris Coleman’s column touching on the subject confirmed something was going on.

There’s a spectrum to the college football run-game.  On one end, you’ve got schools like Flexbone-heavy Georgia Tech, where the team’s misdirection and movement confuse and beguile the defense into making mistakes.  These plays can work even if your linemen aren’t much better than speed bumps, and indeed many of these schemes only ask that linemen serve this purpose. On the other end, you have schools like Alabama, and squads from Wisconsin and Stanford of a few years back, that rely on brute physicality to move defenders around and pick up yards even against favorably aligned defenses.  For this article, I’ll call the divergent styles “misdirection” and “brute-force.”

To my eye, the Hokie running game has been more Yellow Jacket jitterbug than it’s been a ‘Bama bulldozer, though before now I haven’t looked at it in depth.  I’ve been itching to dig deeper, and used the bye weekend to do so.  My focus was on the offensive line.

I (very unscientifically) chose to review the first two quarters of the BC and ECU games.  I left out Tennessee