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Column | Tech, U.Va. can be good again

Roanoke Times columnist Aaron McFarling weighs in with suggested fixes for both teams:

VIRGINIA TECH

Lock in on an offensive identity.

When I think about this season years from now, I'll remember two things: 1) the subpar record, whatever it winds up being, and 2) the fact that the Hokies never really identified and developed a "bellcow" running back.

Can you remember the last time the latter happened?

Shyrone Stith, Lee Suggs, Kevin Jones, Mike Imoh, Cedric Humes, Branden Ore, Darren Evans, Ryan Williams, David Wilson - since 1999, you've known who the Hokies would go to for ground gains.

This is not a knock on any of the running backs they have now; they can't all be Jones and Wilson. The knock is on the coaches' decision-making process, which took way too long. Not zoning in on one running back early and catering the play-calling to his strengths put too much pressure on quarterback Logan Thomas to carry this offense. That can't happen again.

Some will say Tech needs to blow up the offense and start over. Perhaps. But I'd settle for a return to the smashmouth, ground-based attack that worked for years.

If Trey Edmonds, who is redshirting this season, is capable of being that guy next year, the Hokies aren't that far away from being the Hokies we're accustomed to seeing.

VIRGINIA

Get older.

The following is a list of offensive skill position players in the two-deep who are sophomores or freshmen: Phillip Sims (co-starter at QB), Kevin Parks (leading rusher), Clifton Richardson, Khalek Shepherd (leading return man), Zachary Swanson, Darius Jennings (receiving-yards leader), Dominique Terrell (No. 2 in receiving yards), E.J. Scott (No. 3) and Jake McGee (No. 5).

There's also not a single junior or senior in the defensive secondary. Defensive end Eli Harold, who has the makings of a star, is only a freshman.

In other words, there's some talent on this roster, but it needs seasoning. Linebacker Steve Greer was a precocious and productive player as a freshman, but there's no question he's even better now. These other guys deserve a chance to blossom, too.

In two years, if Virginia isn't better than 4-7 at this point in the season, it's a reason to consider massive changes. Until then, relax and watch the kids grow.

Posted to: College Football Sports

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