Inside The Numbers: Offensive Improvement Is Coming, But How Soon?

Virginia Tech, Keshawn King
Keshawn King has come up big for Virginia Tech. (Ivan Morozov)

As promised, here is our second Inside The Numbers article of the week. In this edition, we’ll take a closer look at parts of the Virginia Tech offense.

Injuries To The Playmakers

Virginia Tech’s two highest-grading offensive players through two games are wide receiver Kaleb Smith and running back Keshawn King.

Kaleb Smith: 79.3
Keshawn King: 72.6

King’s running grade is higher than that, but his blocking grades have held his overall grade down. Still, you’ve seen the impact he’s made with the ball in his hands, and playing over half the Boston College game without him certainly hurt the offense. Meanwhile, Smith was injured in the first half of the ODU game and did not return. He gutted through the BC game and made a couple of big plays, but he played fewer than half of the snaps in that contest.

Those two players have combined for only 95 snaps through two games. Against Boston College, that number was just 35 snaps (23 for Smith, 12 for King). The Hokies had the ball for 72 offensive plays against the Eagles, so they had to play the vast majority of that football game without their two most dangerous players on offense.

I can’t judge the offense too severely with these two guys out. No other running back has shown as much ability to force missed tackles like King, and no other wide receiver has come up with as many big catches as Smith.

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To expand, King has 27 touches this year and has forced 13 missed tackles. That’s about one forced missed tackle on every other touch. Meanwhile, Jalen