- David M. Hale, ESPN Staff Writer
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Sports on Earth put together a list of its 10 players under the most pressure as 2014 gets set to kick off, and the lone ACC representative is Virginia Tech’s Trey Edmunds. On the sophomore tailback:
“With [Logan] Thomas' mobility gone, the onus on the running backs is even greater to jumpstart an aimless offense that has coincided with a 15-11 record the last two years.”
Indeed, Virginia Tech needs some serious help on offense in virtually every phase, but finding some traction on the ground would be a huge first step.
Last year, Thomas, the quarterback, was responsible for 33 percent of Virginia Tech’s carries, 22 percent of its rushing yards (including lost yardage on sacks) and 45 percent of its third- and fourth-down conversions on the ground. The tailbacks, meanwhile, averaged just 3.98 yards per carry, second-worst in the ACC (ahead of only Wake Forest) and well behind the next worst team (NC State). For perspective, conference champ Florida State got a whopping 6.43 yards per carry from its running backs -- nearly 2.5 yards more every time a running back carried the football.
Edmunds, of course, is the face of the group after leading the way for Virginia Tech with 675 yards on the ground before getting hurt against Virginia, but his 4.07 yards-per-carry average ranked 31st among ACC players last year.
It’s tough to pin all the pressure on Edmunds, though. Other tailbacks need to step up, too. Virginia Tech needs to find a quarterback capable of keeping defenses honest. Receivers need to be more reliable to keep the Hokies out of unmanageable down-and-distance situations. Coordinator Scot Loeffler needs to be more creative with his scheme. And if anything, the real pressure here falls on Frank Beamer, who is on his second coordinator and has cycled through myriad running backs and still hasn’t found a definitive answer to Tech’s offensive woes.
Though Edmunds is the lone ACC rep on Sports On Earth’s list, it’s also worth noting the conference should shine a little extra light on their No. 1 choice, Jeff Driskel. Not only will the Florida quarterback’s season be defined by how the Gators’ offense performs, but two other quarterbacks who were stuck behind him on the depth chart -- Jacoby Brissett and Tyler Murphy -- now have starting jobs in the ACC and could certainly upstage their former teammate.
More links, starting with a bunch of Jameis Winston news:
If Winston’s legend began when he chucked a football over a fraternity house, FSU’s newest quarterback, J.J. Cosentino, is well on his way to carving out his own mythology, writes the Tallahassee Democrat.
Tomahawk Nation ran the numbers on what it would mean for Winston to stick around at FSU through 2015, and it’s tough to make the case that he should.
And in Winston’s hometown of Hueytown, Ala., July 5 will officially be “Jameis Winston Day,” writes Yahoo.
Louisville has sold out its luxury boxes for its inaugural season in the ACC, so if you’re planning to attend a game, you’ll be stuck with the commoners.
With Jay Bromley gone, Syracuse is reshuffling its defensive line in hopes of finding some stability, writes Syracuse.com.
Backing the Pack did the research and came up with a rough estimate of the number of alumni each ACC school has playing in the NFL now. Not surprisingly, the results pretty accurately reflect the typical ACC recruiting rankings, too.
576dAndrea Adelson and Heather Dinich
680dMichael DiRocco and David Hale
916dDavid M. Hale
917dDavid M. Hale