Patience is the name of the game for Michael Holmes.
From his time at Harrisonburg High School as a back-to-back state player of the year to his current reign as the Virginia Tech starting running back, Holmes has always been known for his distinguished ability to wait for his moment both on and off the field.
When Holmes first arrived at Tech, he was the only running back in his class. His high school career was highly decorated after rushing for over 2,700 yards in both his junior and senior year campaigns.
Those numbers didn’t come early in his career though as he was forced to sit behind a veteran running back, Alex Owah, who is now a running back at East Carolina. While Owah was known for his outstanding speed and ability to change the game with his big plays, Holmes brought an aspect that many scouts struggled to figure out.
“I was just a patient back,” said Holmes. “I was just going by what my reads are.”
Because of his unique style that lacked any outstanding aspect in his game, Holmes was forced to wait around on an offer from a big time program. While other ACC schools did show interest, the two schools that seemed to offer the most came down to FCS school James Madison and Tech.
At JMU, Holmes would appear to have the opportunity to play immediately as a true freshman in his hometown of Harrisonburg. At Tech, the running back situation at the time was loaded with the likes of David Wilson, Josh Oglesby, and Tony Gregory.
Holmes, naturally, chose the Hokies and decided to sit back and learn behind one of the best running backs in Tech history in Wilson.
During his freshman campaign, Holmes turned heads as he excelled on the scout team in practices against the number one Tech defense.
“I was just going out there to every practice and trying to do my best,” said Holmes. “I was just working on scout and showing that I could keep up with the speed and be our next back.”
After the season, Oglesby left to graduation and Wilson was left with a decision of whether or not he was going to forego his senior season and enter the NFL Draft.
Holmes, however, felt like he knew what Wilson was going to do as the season progressed and the veteran continued to earn national recognition.
“I pretty much kinda knew,” said Holmes. “J.O (Josh Oglesby) was a senior and Dave had a good year so obviously he’s gonna go. I wasn’t really focused on it at the time. I was just focused on learning the plays and stuff like that. I was just trying to get better.”
Wilson, did indeed take the route of the NFL Draft and it left much of the Hokie faithful in a panic about the inexperienced Holmes at running back in 2012.
Holmes, however, did not get off to the start he would have hoped as the coaching staff found themselves in quite a bind with four running backs that all appeared to deserve quality playing time.
Up until the game against Cincinatti, Holmes led the team in yardage but had not gotten more than 13 carries in a game. Many critics were questioning the multiple running back system and saying that Holmes was in fact, too patient when running the football.
Last Saturday, against Cincinatti, Holmes appeared to have his break out game. After struggling with just 13 yards rushing in the first half, Holmes broke out and scored a go-ahead touchdown with 8:37 to go that put Tech up 17-13. He finished the game with 11 carries for 60 yards.
“They were just giving me the ball,” said Holmes. “It made me feel good and get comfortable easy. I got more comfortable with each drive and it showed on the field.”