Posted by Chip Patterson
Virginia Tech running back Ryan Williams has not had the kind of season he was expecting after setting the ACC single-season rushing record as a redshirt freshman in 2009. A slight hamstring tear in the third game of the season has kept Williams out four games before finally returning to the field October 23 for a six carry warm up int he 44-7 victory against Duke. Williams has benefited from the Hokies' off week to continue to heal and prepare for Virginia Tech's primetime matchup with division rival Georgia Tech on Thursday in Blacksburg. After Saturday's practice, the sophomore running back announced himself "85-90 percent" healthy, but some particularly insightful analysis was offered by offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring.
"I thought he made some nice cuts," Stinespring said. "He hit a gear very quickly. I thought he turned it loose a couple times. If you'd have asked me up until this week, I always thought there was a little bit of hesitation in him. But (Saturday), I thought he felt good, looked good. Looked like he had a bounce in his step out there."
Williams' only two complete games all season were the Hokies' only two losses against Boise State and James Madison. At this point in the season, that 0-2 start seems like an ancient memory in the ACC. Since the joining the conference, Virginia Tech has consistently competed for division and conference titles week in and week out. The heart-wrenching loss to the Broncos and upset at the hands of their in-state FCS rivals have no effect on Frank Beamer's pursuit of his fourth ACC title since joining the conference in 2004. At this point, Virginia Tech controls their own destiny in the conference title race. Miami and Georgia Tech are tied for second place in the division with 3-2 records, and the Hokies face both opponents in the final stretch of the regular season. A win over Georgia Tech on Thursday would create a crucial advantage over Miami, allowing some breathing room before the Hokies have to travel to Coral Gables on November 20.