Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders
MTSU kicks off the 2nd half of the schedule for Tech's homecoming game. While many believe the 3-4 defense should be competent in neutralizing the dual threat that is Dwight Dasher, he will continue to be a running threat. If and when Dasher is stopped, the Blue Raiders next-in-command is a fair runner in D.D. Kyles. In 2009, Kyles played in all 12 games but started in only 6. He ran for 857 yards and has touched the ball more than 20 times in a game only once.
Fear Factor: Low. Focus on Dasher instead.
What happens after CJ Spiller? Who knows. All indicators look like it's up to Andrew Ellington to fill those speedy shoes. In 2009, Ellington ran for 491 yards on 68 attempts with 4 touchdowns. Against Georgia Tech he ran 3 times for 21 yards and then 5 times for 63 yards in the ACCCG. ShakinTheSouthland is pretty excited to see him play and it seems he has power to bust through the line of scrimmage. Quick reads and skims in articles paint Ellington as the typical Clemson back who has the potential to quick and powerful. Add this to a probable Kyle Parker absence and the Tigers may have something.
Fear Factor: Medium
Virginia Tech Hokies
The first test will be in Chapel Hill for Georgia Tech. If the Jackets get past UNC, it can be easily argued that we're at 7-0 by the time we head to Blacksburg for a huge Thursday night showdown. But let's not get ahead of ourselves and look at the Hokies as they are by themselves. It's the infamous 100 proof backfield: Darren Evans and Ryan Williams.
Two years ago Darren Evans burst upon the scene only to tear his ACL during practice. What everybody thought was a bad omen for the Hokies actually turned out alright as Ryan Williams took over and became the ACC Rookie of the Year. Take this team of RBs and add it to Tyrod Taylor and you have yourself some Wild Tukey!
Fear Factor: High. Biggest. Game. of. the. SEASON.
Miami's running game is about as consistent as a bowl of Jell-o on the hood of a pimped out El Cumino on a South Floridian Summer day. One game they'll run for 200 yards, the next 25 yards. With the departure of Javarris James, seniors Damien Berry and
Graig Cooper have stepped into the limelight. Both racked up some touchdowns last season but never showed enough consistency to justify a majority of the carries. According to 7th Floor Blog, freshman Storm Johnson will be a work in progress. Lamar Miller and Johnson may see a majority of Miami's carries next season... Randy hasn't shown much loyalty to any particular running back since he started coaching at Miami. I don't foresee any 1,000 yard rusher until Miami brings in better talent along the offensive line.
Fear Factor: Medium to High.
Duke Blue Devils
Duke only rushed for 6 touchdowns last season. Four of the touchdowns were Thaddeus Lewis scrambles. Duke returns 72% of their running back experience from last season but in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't really matter. As team last season, Duke only rushed for 100 yards once. That was against I-AA North Carolina Central. Without the vertical threat of Thaddeus, expect the Blue Devil rushing attack to be equally flaccid.
Fear Factors: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
Georgie's running backs ran for over 300 yards last season on our defense. Considering this was the worst rushing defense since 2006's Purple on Purple massacre, there is definitely a need for concern when Tech travels to Athens. Washaun Ealey, Caleb King, and Richard Samuel all return to Georgie's roster. In fact, Georgie doesn't lose any real weapon in their rushing attack as the entire offensive line returns. The rushing attack congealed at the close of the season last year allowing Georgie to rack up 240 yards/game over their final 5 games. If Georgie can harness any of 2009's rushing momentum into 2010's rushing effort, then Georgie's three headed monster of King, Ealey, and Samuel should be a tough task for Tech to tame.
Fear Factor: High.