The Fisher Law Firm Friday Q&A: The Transfer Market, and More Tavien Feaster

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Tavien Feaster Virginia Tech
Tavien Feaster could be an impact player for the Hokies. (Ivan Morozov)

1) If Tavien Feaster would choose the good guys and our offensive players stay more or less healthy for this season, just how high is the 2019 offense’s ceiling? – Tech76G 

Chris Coleman: I’ll just let the film speak for itself.  Embedded below is an 11-minute video of Feaster’s “top plays” from the 2018 season. 

I don’t know if that’s all of his plays from this past season, but it looks like most of them.  What I see is a running back with good size and good lower body strength who understands how to run with a low pad level. He pushes the pile, gains yards after first contact, and can also run by people when he has the right angle.

What the video didn’t show is that Feaster is regarded as a very good receiver out of the backfield.  Clemson fans complain (yes, even their fans have something to complain about) that he didn’t touch the ball enough in the passing game during his career.

I think the Hokies are going after him with the view that he would most likely be their top running back of 2019.  Deshawn McClease is a solid player, but he’s too small in the lower body to be a great player, and he’s hurt a lot.  Jalen Holston made a lot of progress this past season, but he’s hurt a lot.  Other backs have had injury problems as well, while Cole Beck has been more focused on track thus far.

I said last week that I want to land Feaster so we can finally get an answer to the Justin Fuente/running backs question.  Has Fuente always rotated backs because he never had a guy who was a clear number one?  Or has he never had a clear number one because he prefers to rotate his backs?  I feel pretty confident that Feaster would be Tech’s best running back, so if the Hokies can land him I believe we’ll finally get that question answered this season.

If Feaster did turn out to be Virginia Tech’s best running back, then it could significantly increase the potency of the offense.  You’re talking 15-20 touches per game (or perhaps more, depending on the opponent) going to a more physically gifted player.  Just playing the percentages, that makes Tech’s offense better.

According to Pro Football Focus, Feaster’s grade in the running game last year was a 79.5.  Only five ACC running backs had a higher grade (minimum of 100 snaps), and unfortunately for Feaster, three of those five played for Clemson. 

Here’s how Feaster compared to Virginia Tech’s running backs in rushing grade and missed tackle percentage (number of missed tackles divided by total number of touches)…

Tavien Feaster: 79.5 rushing grade, 14.4% missed tackle percentage
Steven Peoples: 74.1 rushing grade, 20.6% missed tackle percentage...