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What to do with Hokies' talented duo

How the Hokies use Darren Evans, left, and Ryan Williams will be key to their 2010 season. US Presswire

Let's say you're Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer or running backs coach Billy Hite.

You've got two 1,000-yard rushers in Ryan Williams and Darren Evans.

Assuming Evans makes a complete comeback from his torn ACL, beginning this spring, how do you use them?

It's a popular question these days. There are a lot of Ryan Williams fans out there who'd like to see him get a shot at the Heisman Trophy -- a realistic goal for a player who broke the school’s single-season rushing record of 1,647 yards held by former tailback Kevin Jones. Williams finished 2009 with 1,655 rushing yards and 10 100-yard games. He had 21 rushing touchdowns and 22 total touchdowns -- both ACC records.

But the Hokies will be better served if both Williams and Evans work together in 2010. Here's why:

  • It's a team game. Which is more important, the Heisman trophy or a national title? Williams knows the answer to that. Following the Hokies' win over Tennessee in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, one reporter asked him if his Heisman campaign began with that record-setting performance.

“Nah, there is no Ryan Williams for Heisman,” he said. “There’s only Ryan Williams trying to help this team win.”

  • Different backs, different skills. It gives defenses more to prepare for, and each player can be used in situations that best fits his strengths. It doesn't matter how the carries are divided -- 75-25, 50-50 -- as long as both of them are making the most of their time and getting first downs.

  • Should one of them get injured, the other is already in the flow of the game and ready to fill in.

  • Two weapons are better than one. It's that simple. When one guy gets tired, you've got another 1,000-yard rusher coming off your bench. If that's a problem, Hite will gladly take it.

What NOT to do:

  • Take one of them out just because a series has ended. Remember the whole Tyrod Taylor/Sean Glennon quarterback rotation? Jacory Harris/Robert Marve? Formulas, while intended to keep everyone happy, don't always work. The athletes can't get into a rhythm, and when they finally do, there's no reason to break it up just to appease an upperclassman.

If you're fortunate enough to have two players as talented and established as Williams and Evans, you use them. It worked with Kevin Jones and Lee Suggs, and it will work with this duo, too. Expect Hite to use them in a similar fashion.