The fullback position at Virginia Tech is known for almost all guts and little glory, a position that spends its time in the trenches doing some major grunt work, week in and week out.
Take Kenny Jefferson for example. During his senior year averaging nearly 11 yards a carry at DeMatha High School, Rivals.com rated the highly touted runner as the nation’s No. 9 fullback.
His career at Tech, on the other hand, consisted of three carries for four yards and five receptions for 28 yards. Jefferson didn’t score a touchdown in his 40 games while donning maroon and orange.
“The old (isolation) fullback plays are gone. We haven’t done those in almost 20 years,” said Tech running backs coach Billy Hite. “The past few years especially we haven’t run much with the fullback because we’ve had those quick hitters we could give it to.”
This season, Tech may be “running” its offense a little differently, as its typical smash mouth position has been taken over by one of the same quick hitters Hite spoke of: redshirt junior Josh Oglesby.
Oglesby, who had 78 carries for 335 yards, scoring two touchdowns last season, has decided to switch over to fullback for the 2010 season, hoping to help diversify the potent offense the Hokies look to field.
“(Coach Hite) called me into his office, showed me some different formations we’d be using and presented me with this opportunity,” Oglesby said. “We don’t really look at it as a fullback. It’s called that on the depth chart but its used more as a B-back position.”
At 5 feet 11 inches tall and 216 pounds, Oglesby doesn’t really fit the bigger mold of a typical fullback. With redshirt junior Darren Evans returning to an already crowded backfield, however, Hite feels that the change will help the Hokies get their best 11 players on the field as much as possible.
“Coach Beamer and I both talked about it and thought it’d be best,” Hite said. “The thing he adds to the fullback (position) is with him, we can basically have two tailbacks back there at the same time.
“We’ve worked some things where he’s ran the ball and looked very good doing it. We’ve moved a tailback to that spot where we can run several plays and he’s got great hands so he can come out of the backfield catching the football,” Hite said.
But it won’t be all play and no work for the Garner, N.C., native. Both Oglesby and his coaches acknowledge that the switch brings added responsibilities in the run game.
Both sides are confident he can transition well into his new role.
“He played with his hand down a lot in high school, so he’s used to that position,” Hite said. “He can do a lot of finesse blocking, and he’ll be fine with the things we’re asking him to do.”
Prior to the position swap, the fullback spot had very little depth. Other than Oglesby, only redshirt senior Kenny Younger has seen playing time at the position, and Younger has yet to receive a carry in his collegiate career.