“[Big Ten roundtable, which player will be the most dynamic in 2017] Ohio State running back Demario McCall”
- Austin Ward, ESPN
The ESPN crew had their prediction takes on the Big Ten’s most likely candidates for the most dynamic player for the upcoming season. The three players chosen were wide receiver Janarion Grant from Rutgers, running back Demario McCall from Ohio State, and quarterback Trace McSorley from Penn State. All three have great cases when you take a deeper look, starting with McSorley, who is coming off a Big Ten championship and Rose Bowl win. The pairing of him and Saquon Barkley made for quality viewing last season as the Nittany Lions made their run and with McSorley’s ability to heave it down the field and to keep plays alive, it’s not hard to imagine him being great once again.
But McCall on this list was interesting, considering he will likely be the backup to starting running back Mike Weber. There were early talks of him perhaps sliding over to H-back for the upcoming season, but it doesn’t appear to be much of the case anymore. Regardless, the coaches are high on the rising sophomore and will look for ways to get him involved both on offense and in the return game, that is for sure.
“If [Demario] McCall is not the starting H-back, I have to think [Parris] Campbell will be.”
- Dave Biddle, Bucknuts 247Sports
Dave Biddle of Bucknuts and 247Sports was on hand at Ohio State’s spring practice and took quite a few notes down of what he saw on Tuesday. Some of the noteworthy things mentioned included Parris Campbell being a star on the field both as a wide receiver but also when he was at H-back. It seems the Buckeyes are moving Campbell to more of that H-back role than simply being a wide receiver and it might work out with Campbell’s abilities. There are certainly big shoes to fill with Curtis Samuel the last H-back on the team and is now headed to the NFL. While Campbell’s time in Columbus hasn’t been anything special up to this point, perhaps this is the change needed to get him going.
It’s also worth mentioning that it’s a tad bit surprising that McCall isn’t more involved at H-back. Many thought that he was likely the favorite to replace Samuel heading into this season but McCall did say early on that he preferred to stay at running back so that might have something to do with it. Regardless, the coaches will figure out a way to get him on the field, even if it’s in certain packages.
“Meyer has lost only three league games while in Columbus, but they have come at the most inopportune times. The offense also has to prove it can throw the ball more than a few yards downfield.”
- Brian Bennett, ESPN
Ohio State not being a favorite for the Big Ten title each season seems silly but when you consider the Buckeyes have only have one Big Ten championship under Urban Meyer in six years, it does make you raise your eyebrows a bit. Much like the above quote, a lot of it has come down to unfortunate timing of the very few losses Meyer has taken to Big Ten opponents. Brian Bennett took a look at the league as a whole and gave a reason for each team as to why they would not win the Big Ten championship this season. For Ohio State, it’s their previous record and their need to show that the offense has greatly improved from last season.
These are fair points to make, even if it seems crazy to be critical of Meyer’s time in Columbus. He has no doubt been tremendously successful with the Buckeyes bringing home a national championship and Big Ten championship. But as always, expectations are sky high at Ohio State and the Buckeyes will have their work cut out for them if they want to bring home that conference championship trophy.
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