Brent Venables is not looking forward to playing Virginia Tech’s Khalil Herbert.
“I wish Herbert was still at Kansas,” Clemson’s defensive coordinator said on Monday.
Herbert transferred to Virginia Tech from Kansas in the off-season and currently leads the ACC in total rushing yards (924) and is second in the conference in per game average (102.67) and is just a tenth of a yard out of first place. With the graduate transfer sharing the backfield with quarterback Hendon Hooker, the Hokies lead the ACC in rushing, averaging 250.9 yards per game.
“He is an excellent player,” Venables said. “He has great vision, great instincts and great burst. He is hard to get down. He gets a lot of yards after contact.”
However, Herbert has been limited in the last three games due to a hamstring injury. He tweaked his hamstring on the opening kickoff against Liberty and did not play the rest of the game. He then was limited to eight carries for 49 yards in a one-point loss to Miami and nine carries for 72 yards in a blowout defeat to Pitt.
Virginia Tech lost all three games.
But the Hokies (4-5, 4-4 ACC) hope Herbert is back to hundred percent when they play the third-ranked Tigers on Saturday. He and Virginia Tech had last week off, which gave them a little more time to get healthy.
Besides running the football, Herbert also leads the ACC in all-purpose yards, averaging 167.8 yards per game. He is the leading the conference in kick returns as well, averaging 27.2 yards.
Then there is Hooker, whose ability to run the football from the quarterback position gives the Hokies a lot of run-pass options, more than most teams or anyone else the Tigers have faced this season. Hooker ranks seventh in the ACC in total offense, averaging 279.9 yards per game.
“They do a great job with their presentation and put you in a lot of conflict with their run-pass,” Venables said. “They do a terrific job there and they are really humming on offense.”
Clemson and Virginia Tech will kickoff from Blacksburg, Va., on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
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