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Should TreVeyon Henderson or Chip Trayanum be Ohio State’s RB1? Does it even matter?

There’s been more than a few rumblings about this...

Ohio State v Indiana Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Two games into the season, and there has still not been a solidified starting quarterback. Additionally, there has been no clear-cut starting running back. While the automatic assumption goes toward TreVeyon Henderson being RB1, following the season opener, there were more than a few people around the Ohio State program wondering if running back turned linebacker turned running back Chip Trayanum had earned that honor.

Entering this season, it seemed that Henderson would be atop the depth chart, with Miyan Williams being RB2 and Trayanum/Dallan Hayden being pretty much tied for RB3. So far, Hayden has zero rushing yards, and Evan Pryor hasn’t played.

Williams has rushed for 50 yards on 13 carries and scored 2 touchdowns. Trayanum has rushed for 77 yards on 14 carries, and Henderson leads the team with 103 yards on 17 carries and 2 TDs. In each of the first two games, a different running back has proven to be pivotal. Williams scored twice against Indiana, and Henderson scored twice against Youngstown State. While Chip hasn’t scored, he has performed well when called upon.

Above are some of Trayanum’s runs against Indiana, showing off a different set of skills that he possesses, almost blending the best of his running mates. Trayanum is an extremely versatile player; he is incredibly agile as seen by the jump cut in the first part of the video. He’s also quick and has great hands — shown by the catch he made towards the end of the video.

Yes, he’s still waiting on his first touchdown of the season, but his runs set up both of Ohio State’s rushing touchdowns against the Hoosiers.

However, after looking a bit rusty against Indiana, Henderson showed flashes against Youngstown State that reminded fans of his electric talent. He has proven that he is fully healthy as demonstrated by his hurdle in the second half, and his second touchdown where he juked two or three defenders on his way to the endzone.

Henderson’s longest run on the young season was the 30-yard touchdown and Trayanum’s was for 17 yards. Henderson also edges Chip out for yards per carry, as he is averaging 6.1, while Trayanum’s is at 5.5.

But, if Ohio State wants to establish a solid running game against the best competition in its schedule, perhaps Trayanum’s style is more suited for battling the defensive fronts of Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Penn State, and Michigan. The former linebacker doesn’t get stuffed at the line of scrimmage nearly as often as Henderson seems to, but he also probably doesn’t have Trey’s breakaway ability either. The offensive line didn’t play great against Indiana, which is where Henderson failed to convert on a couple of third downs, but this is still something to take note of.

The o-line will need to continue to improve its run blocking throughout the season for any OSU back to make a significant impact in the biggest games, but which one will end up getting the bulk of the carries in crunch time is still yet to be determined.

Both running backs are having a solid start to the season, in my opinion, but I also don’t see a need to have a true RB1. Why declare one when you have multiple? I haven’t even brought Williams into this conversation, but as he heals up from a training camp injury, he should be right up there with them; providing something different from the other two. They all bring something valuable to the table, and it is nice to rotate them so that each of them can have fresh legs.

Overall, if the offensive line can get some of its issues worked out, then the run game will obviously improve as well, whichever guy is carrying the ball. I would like to see some more of Hayden and Pryor at some point, but for now, I am happy with what I’m seeing from the other three running backs.