‘We came here to run the ball’ - UVA looking for balance with rushing attack

UVA junior running back Mike Hollins
UVA junior running back Mike Hollins(WVIR)
Published: Apr. 15, 2022 at 11:39 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Virginia football team had one of the best passing offenses in the nation last season, and they did not spend a lot of time running the ball.

The Cavaliers were last in the ACC in Yards (1,462), Attempts (339), and Yards Per Game (121.8 YPG).

Quarterback Brennan Armstrong led the team in rushing (486 yards).

But with a new system, and new coaches, the ‘Hoos have a new emphasis on the running back position.

Running backs coach Keith Gaither says, “When I met with each one of my guys, when I first got here, I said, ‘Look, you’re gonna get the ball, we’re gonna run the football,’ and their eyes lit up.”

Junior running back Mike Hollins says, “Everybody in the room, we came here to run the ball. It’s kinda nice to be fed, you know?”

The Cavaliers’ coaches know the importance of getting the running backs involved, as three of them have coached RB’s, and the players are the beneficiaries of that experience.

Gaither says, “They got three running back coaches on staff, with coach (Tony) Elliott, coach (Des) Kitchings, and myself, and every day, every rep, there’s tons of coaching points.”

Head coach Tony Elliott says the key is balance.

“Sometimes that gets misinterpreted,” says Elliott. “Some people think you need to be 50-50 run-to-pass. No, that’s not what we’re saying. When we say, ‘balanced,’ it’s that we’re effective running the ball.

Hollins adds, “Not being a pass heavy offense, and being more balanced, I know it helps (Brennan Armstrong) out. It helps the O-Line out. It helps everybody out.”

The Cavaliers’ Spring Game is scheduled for April 23rd at Scott Stadium.

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