Now with three starts under his belt, the Hokies look to adjust their offense to what the 6-foot-3, 220 pound Motley can do heading into their Atlantic Coast Conference opener against Pittsburgh.
The Panthers (2-1) have one of the nation's top defenses, and have won five of the last six meetings with the Hokies. Motley, more of a dual threat than injured starter Michael Brewer, becomes and X-factor.
''He's a runner. He's a big, physical guy that can throw the ball as well,'' Panthers coach Pat Narduzzi said this week. ''There's a lot of play-action passing. They're a power run team. You're going to see power run from about 50 different ways. They're going to line up in empty, bring motion into the box and run some type of power.
''They have different ways of running it every week.''
That's exactly the mindset Hokies offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler is trying to promote.
Motley ran 19 times for 85 yards last week in a 35-28 loss at East Carolina. The game was played in steady rain, and Loeffler decided having Motley carry the ball was the Hokies' best chance of exploiting running opportunities.
But in 2 1/2 previous games, he ran 26 times for 79 yards, not exactly a huge part if the offense.
It doesn't mean that Virginia Tech will have him carrying the load every week.
''If coach needs me to run 20 to 25 times, or if he needs me to run twice during the game, I'll do whatever we need for the team, for the offense,'' the sophomore said. ''It doesn't matter to me. Everybody's body is going to be hurting the next day, so if he needs me run that many times a game, I'll do it.''
The injury to Brewer in the opening game against No. 1 Ohio State changed the Hokies' offense. It went from being run by a drop passer to a dual threat, and Loeffler has had to adjust on the fly. The conditions against East Carolina dictated that Motley run more, but that doesn't mean the Hokies are changing their philosophy.
''We want to run the tailback as you well know, but we're going to play to our strengths and in that game, we felt the quarterback had the ability to help us obtain rushing yards,'' Loeffler said. ''So ... if we have the ability to run the quarterback, if it's called for, we're going to do it. Do we want to hand the ball to the tailback? Absolutely. That's who we are, but in that game, it was what they were doing and where we were at, we had to play to our strengths and it gave us the best opportunity to run the football on that day.
''There's times that we're going to come in here and the quarterback is not going to run, but we're always going to try to do what's best for our team.''