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August 15, 2011

Oglesby excited for the opportunity to show his talent

By: Jimmy Robertson

Josh Oglesby readily admits that he’s a big fan of Twitter, and he would be the first to admit that his volume of “tweeting” has increased over the summer. But that tends to happen when some of your best friends, guys like Tyrod Taylor, Ryan Williams and Darren Evans, for the past four years depart, and you find that certain forms of social media best keep you in touch.

Interestingly, not seeing those guys – well, at least in the case of Evans and Williams – works in Oglesby’s advantage as the 2011 season approaches. Their departures removed a couple of impediments in the logjam at the tailback position, and Oglesby, a fifth-year senior, finds himself with the opportunity he’s long coveted.

“I’m very excited,” Oglesby said of the approaching season. “I finally have a legitimate chance to showcase my skills, and I’m also excited about the group of players we have. I think this team has a chance to be something special.”

David Wilson and Oglesby head into the season as the new tandem at the position and will be counted on to replace two of the all-time best ever to play at Tech. Evans led Tech with 854 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns a year ago, while Williams, missing nearly four games with a hamstring injury, rushed for 477 yards and nine touchdowns. Williams, who set a Tech single-season record with 1,655 yards and 21 touchdowns two years ago and went in the second round of this past April’s NFL Draft, and Evans rushed for a combined 4,251 yards in their careers.

Wilson, who rushed for 619 yards and five touchdowns as the third tailback a year ago, displays a ton of explosive ability and figures to be the starter. Oglesby resembles Evans in that his strengths lie in running between the tackles. Oglesby also excels catching the ball out of the backfield and in pass protection, picking up blitzing linebackers.

“Ryan and Darren had a great skill set, and me and David bring forth similar traits,” Oglesby said. “There will be a change, but the end result will pretty much be the same.”

Oglesby, who has played sparingly in his career, spent last season at fullback and rushed just six times. He played little his first three seasons and contemplated transferring several times, but in the end, he decided to stay put.

“It’s tough not playing at all,” he said. “But getting a degree was real high [he graduated last spring], and I knew transferring would set me back academically. And this is a great program. This is where I ultimately wanted to be, so sometimes, you’ve got to give a little bit.”

Oglesby’s move to tailback opens the door for walk-ons Joey Phillips, Martin Scales and Riley Beiro at fullback. In Tech’s offense, they’ll be used mostly in short-yardage and goal-line situations.

All the running backs will be playing under a new coach after Shane Beamer came aboard last winter, taking over for Billy Hite, who moved into an administrative role. Always preparing himself for what lies ahead, Oglesby got a scouting report of the younger Beamer once the announcement occurred.

“I had four high school teammates who played at South Carolina and they raved about him [Beamer],” Oglesby said. “When he was at South Carolina, they would talk to him. They kept telling me, ‘Coach Shane is cool.’ So I knew it would be a great fit, and I’d have a good feel for his personality. He just brought a new life to the meeting room.

“Coach Beamer has coached at some tremendous football programs, but had never really coached the offensive side of the ball. With that being said, his experience of coaching defense gave us a new look at reading defenses and knowing what the secondary is doing and blitzes that may be disguised. This has been a great opportunity to learn new things.”

4 David Wilson (5-10, 205, Jr.)
2 Josh Oglesby (5-11, 218, r-Sr.)
22 Tony Gregory (6-0, 190, r-Soph.)

14 Dominique Patterson (6-2, 236, r-Fr.)

45 Joey Phillips (5-11, 221, r-Jr.)
25 Martin Scales (5-11, 207, r-Jr.)
32 Riley Beiro (5-9, 221, r-Fr.)


Returning starters: none

Starters lost: Darren Evans (18 career starts), Ryan Williams (18), Josh Oglesby (moved to TB)

Projected new starters: David Wilson, Joey Phillips

Top reserves: Josh Oglesby, Tony Gregory

Newcomer: Dominique Patterson

Breakout candidate: Wilson

Notes: Wilson has averaged 9.3 yards every time he’s touched the ball in two years at Tech. … He has 2,096 all-purpose yards and 15 touchdowns in two seasons … He was an All-American in track, finishing sixth in the triple jump at the NCAA’s outdoor meet in June … Gregory is back at full strength after tearing his ACL at UNC last season … Patterson was moved from whip linebacker to tailback following spring practice.