Oct 4, 2014; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies running back Joel Caleb runs the ball during the second half against the North Carolina Tar Heels at Kenan Memorial Stadium. The Virginia Tech Hokies won 34-17. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports
The Virginia Tech Hokies have seen injuries decimate the running backs and it all started against Western Michigan when Shai McKenzie tore his ACL which ended his season. The loss of McKenzie made the impetus for the Hokies to avoid injuries in the backfield even larger with many fans hoping that the running back position would not suffer any more injuries.
Instead, Virginia Tech’s depth in the backfield will be heavily tested the rest of the season.
The Hokies saw Trey Edmunds pick up a broken clavicle and he will be out 6-8 weeks after climbing to the backup spot with the loss of McKenzie. The bigger loss for now is Marshawn Williams with the freshman picking up a sprained ankle. Williams has a decent chance at returning for the game against Pittsburgh but the freshman is still in a walking boot.
If Williams is out against Pittsburgh, expect Joel Caleb to start over of J.C. Coleman especially after these comments from Frank and Shane Beamer on Caleb.
There is plenty of confidence that Joel Caleb can get the job done and Caleb knows that he can make a big impact as the backup running back. When Caleb has gotten the ball, he has been productive and the stats back that up with 15 carries for 84 yards and an average of 5.6 yards per carry which is the best for any Hokie with at least 15 carries.
Caleb also can do some damage in the passing game as the sophomore has 3 catches for 23 receiving yards. Caleb is not as fast as J.C. Coleman but he is a lot stronger and his size at 6-2 and just over 200 pounds can make him hard to handle. Caleb is more of a jack of all trades back that can be relied on more on first down to get some quality yards.
Joel Caleb has the right combination of power and speed to be productive as a starting running back if Marshawn Williams can’t play. Hopefully, Williams will be able to play but Caleb can get the job done as the starter in his absence with J.C. Coleman as the change of pace backup running back.