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Who is going to be Ohio State’s top running back this season?

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Is it gonna be Dobbins? Weber? Williams? McCall?

NCAA Football: Cotton Bowl-Ohio State vs Southern California Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

“Running backs coach Tony Alford said he has enjoyed being in the midst of two 1,000-yard rushers and an upstart vying to be the main man in the fall.”

-Tim May, The Columbus Dispatch

In 2016, Mike Weber was the freshman running back that all of Buckeye Nation was salivating over. Then, in 2017, that honor went to J.K. Dobbins, following a Weber injury kept him out early in the season. Then, even after Weber returned healthy, with the Buckeyes blowing out opponents for much of the fall, Antonio Williams had enough opportunities to prove that he was a viable option in the backfield as well.

There is also the case of the disappearance of Demario McCall, who showed tremendous explosion and creativity in 2016, but has become an afterthought due to injuries and a crowded RB room ever since. He is now officially considered either a wide-receiver or an H-back.

So, as Alford surveys his stable of backs as spring practice winds down, he has a ton of top-line options; but the question is, how do you know which option to use when?

“I think it’s just how we feel the flow of the game and how it’s going,” Alford said. As an example, Alford points to how last season’s game against Michigan State played out, with the more elusive Dobbins starting, but the more-physical Weber becoming the primary ball-carrier as the game progressed.

Now look, I am 100% on board with having as many complimentary, NFL-caliber backs on the roster as possible, but over the past few seasons— dating back to at least the bungling of the J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones QB battle— Urban Meyer and his coaching staff have not exactly shown an ability to properly divvy up the snaps for their top players (I’m still salty about how many times Ezekiel Elliott got the ball against MSU in 2015).

So, since neither Dobbins or Weber is likely to blow the other away before the season starts, and completely claim the job as his own, I am a bit concerned about how Alford, Meyer, and the two-headed offensive coordinator monster will spread things out, especially in the season’s biggest games.

I certainly don’t have the answer to what they should do, and I’m not completely sure that there is a correct answer, but this is one area where my confidence in the OSU coaching staff is lower than I would like it to be.

What do you think that OSU should do with the running backs when games begin in September? Let us know in the poll below.

Poll

How should the Buckeyes handle the RB situation this fall?

This poll is closed

  • 42%
    Ride Dobbins
    (155 votes)
  • 9%
    Ride Weber
    (33 votes)
  • 41%
    RB by committee
    (152 votes)
  • 7%
    What the hell happened to Demario McCall?
    (26 votes)
366 votes total Vote Now

“When Holtmann was hired by Ohio State last June, he talked about “closing borders” when it came to recruiting in state. The previous staff had struggled in recruiting, and specifically struggled recruiting the top talent in Ohio on a regular basis.”

-Bill Landis, cleveland.com

With the commitment of five-star power forward Alonzo Gaffney earlier today— and with all due respect to previous commitments—, Chris Holtmann has landed his first big-time recruit while at Ohio State. According to 247sports, Gaffney is Ohio State’s highest rated commit since D’Angelo Russell in 2014, and Ohio’s best player since Jared Sullinger in 2010.

When Holtmann was hired, athletic director Gene Smith made it very clear that the recent recruiting failures of previous head coach Thad Matta were the reason for the change, and Holtmann vowed to keep the best players in state; and with Gaffney, he’s begun to do that.

When paired with the recent commitment of Florida State transfer, C.J. Walker, the makeup of the 2019-2020 squad is starting to crystallize. Barring any unforeseen transfers or NBA declarations, joining these two recently announced pieces will be Kaleb Wesson, Micah Potter, Kyle Young, and incoming freshman Jaedon LeDee on the post; Andre Wesson, Musa Jallow, and 2018 recruit Justin Ahrens on the wing; and incoming freshmen Luther Muhammad and Duane Washington Jr. in the back court.

With that, Holtmann has two scholarship roster spots open for the 2019 recruiting class, both likely being saved for guards. If this mixture of players will be enough to allow the Buckeyes to compete with the nation’s top teams, is yet to be seen. But, after an abbreviated 2018 recruiting cycle, Buckeye fans should be very happy with how the new head coach has quickly been able to set the program up for an exciting future.


“The Ohio State Department of Athletics held the 51st-annual Scholar-Athlete Dinner Monday... to honor its student-athletes for their academic and athletic accomplishments. At the event, a record 692 Ohio State Scholar-Athletes were recognized and a number of senior awards were given out.”

-Ohio State Athletics

Earlier this week, OSU recognized nearly 700 students that exemplify what it means to be a student-athlete at one of the preeminent public institutions of higher learning in this great country of ours.

Included in this select company are men’s basketball team members Andrew Dakich, Musa Jallow, Joey Lane, Micah Potter, Jae’Sean Tate, Kaleb Wesson, and more. From the women’s hoops team, Karlie Cronin, Asia Doss, Linnae Harper, Stephanie Mavunga, Kelsey Mitchell, and Makayla Waterman were amongst the honorees.

The football team was also represented by the likes of Tuf Borland, Nick Bosa, Baron Browning, Drue Chrisman, Jordan Fuller, Elijaah Goins, Dwayne Haskins, Justin Hilliard, Sam Hubbard, DreMont Jones, Demario McCall, Jeffrey Okudah, C.J. Saunders, and more.

To be deemed an OSU Scholar-Athlete, one must achieve a minimum 3.00 cumulative GPA while participating in a varsity sport.

Also at Monday’s event, the university recognized OSU’s Big Ten Medal of Honor finalists; “Irina Andrianova (pistol), Liz Li (swimming), Kelsey Mitchell (basketball), Monica Velazquez-Stiak (synchronized swimming) and Nikki Walts (soccer). For the men, the finalists are Drew Cheezum (rifle), Sean Melton (gymnastics), Kyle Snyder (wrestling), Nicolas Szerszen (volleyball) and Mikael Torpegaard (tennis).”

The winner of the award, which is given “to one male and one female student from the graduating class of each member institution who has demonstrated excellence on and off the field throughout their college career,” will be announced on April 24.

If you want to support some of the incredible student-athletes in sports that don’t often get as much attention as football and basketball, there are a number of options on campus the rest of this week.

Ohio State Athletics

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