It was expected to be one of the strengths of the Virginia football team again this season. Instead, it's been one of the biggest sources of frustration.
The Cavaliers have struggled to get production from the running game in 2012 -- particularly in the last two games, when Virginia has rushed for a total of 130 yards on 53 carries.
"We have to do better there because the season, like I said, is just three games into it," said head coach Mike London. "But it'll have to be addressed in a way that, as coaches, we've got to coach our guys and put them in those type of positions to be successful."
The Cavaliers have rushed for 314 yards on 95 carries through three games this season -- with more than half of that yardage (184 yards) coming against Richmond. Virginia is averaging 3.3 yards-per-carry and 104.7 yards-per-game this season. In 13 games last season, the Cavaliers averaged 4.2 yards-per-carry and 162.1 yards-per-game.
The team's top three running backs from last season all returned for 2012, although sophomore Clifton Richardson has been limited to one carry because of a hamstring injury. Senior Perry Jones (27 carries for 81 yards) and sophomore Kevin Parks (36 carries for 128 yards) have both seen their production dip compared to their 2011 stats.
"I don't know. I think it's just more focus; more execution during practice week," said sophomore fullback Zach Swanson. "Then during the game, just getting it done. Knowing your assignments, and then being able to adjust to different things."
London says the coaching staff will explore several ways of increasing production from the running game, from play calling to protection schemes, to changes in personnel.
"We will continue to find ways as specific to this game when we put it together," London said, "to come up with a game plan that we can help them, we can also help ourselves, and we can move the ball, hang onto the ball and score some points. Because we need to do that."