After showcasing his talent throughout spring and fall practices, redshirt freshman running back Michael Holmes secured his spot as David Wilson’s heir apparent.
Scoring two touchdowns in the final scrimmage before the season starts, Holmes reiterated that his goals for the season are to continue to improve.
“I’m going to give it all I got and work 100 percent,” he said. “I want to help everyone else get better and I’m just going to keep working each and every day.”
Along with the number one spot, Holmes has also taken up a mentor role to true freshmen J.C. Coleman and Trey Edmunds. Whether it’s helping them with their cuts or blocking assignments, Holmes is doing everything he can to try and keep them improving.
“I’ve been trying to help them as much as I can; they’ve also been helping me,” Holmes said. “We’re just trying to work together as a team to get better.”
The biggest question in the backfield is who will take the number two spot on the depth chart. Coleman is the top contender now, but there are several viable contenders. Edmunds, Martin Scales and Tony Gregory — who’s coming off a knee injury — are all legitimate options.
Running backs coach Shane Beamer is not complaining about the tough decision.
“I wouldn’t call it a problem when you’ve got four running backs that you consider starters; I think that’s a pretty good problem to have. I wish we had that every year,” he said. “The way I look at it, we’ve got four starters. Mike may go out for the first snap of the Georgia Tech game, he might not.”
Coleman has shown steady improvement since spring practices, both on the field and in the weight room.
“He’s a very, very mature guy beyond his years,” Beamer said. “I said that in the spring and even more so now. He’s very focused on what he wants to get done and his goals, and that’s shown on the field and off the field as well.”
The coaches made the decision last month that Trey Edmunds — who played both running back and linebacker in high school — would begin his collegiate career in the backfield. Learning the plays, defensive schemes, blitzes and assignments have been his priorities with the new position.
Physically, the coaches have no worries that Edmunds can perform. He has shown in scrimmages that he has great vision and the ability to burst through holes. Edmunds isn’t reluctant when carrying the ball and attacking
“When he gets the ball in his hands and the play is going on, he’s full speed and isn’t shying away from anybody,” Shane Beamer said.
Edmunds put up good numbers in the last scrimmage, 57 yards on 12 carries, but did fumble the ball twice — a statistic he was not happy about.
“(The fumbles) definitely ticked me off a lot,” he said. “It’s new to me, tucking the ball high and running; I’m used to running with it out. But, it’s college and I know I’ve got to tuck it and there’s different things that I’ve got to work on.”
Tony Gregory has, up to this point in his career at Tech, primarily played on special teams and in a mop-up role at running back. He is one of the fastest players on the team, something he’s shown off on kick returns.
This year, he hopes to make a greater impact in the running game after having to sit out all of spring practice due to his knee injury. Earlier in fall practice, Gregory was able to play with contact for the first time since the Sugar
“It’s been long and I’ve been working,” Gregory said of his layoff from the field. “And I want to show off how much I’ve been working. I just look at it in a different perspective. I can survive through the long days, the long camp. My main goal is to produce.”
Even though he hasn’t gotten many reps behind the first team offensive line, the coaches believe he has the ability to significantly contribute to the team this year after seeing him in practice. His health could be a concern though, having battled injuries throughout his career.
Redshirt senior Martin Scales, who played fullback during his first four years at Tech, will make the transition to running back. At 5-foot-11, 222 lbs., he’s a big guy, but is surprisingly quick on his feet.
Scales adds another dimension to the offense with his size and north-south running style. His physicality will give the Hokies another option on third and short, as well as goal-line plays.
He is working to be a versatile back, improving on his catching and route running this offseason in hopes of confuse opposing defenses depending on where he lines up.
“The thing that I like with Martin is that you can do different things with him,” Beamer said. “He might be a tailback, you might line him up as a fullback some, and that’s a challenge for defenses.”
With five talented, diverse players at running back, it is unlikely for one of them to produce the numbers that David Wilson had last
All of them have the capacity to contribute to the team, but which one will have the opportunity to do so, however, may vary from week to
“We’re going to do what’s best to win games,” Beamer said. “One week a guy might play 30 plays, another week he might play 10 plays. Each week we’re going to do what we think gives us the best chance to win and all four guys are going to be heavily involved in that, and Trey may be as well, also.”