COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio State backfield was going to be loaded no matter what Mike Weber decided to do with his future.
But with three simple words posted on Twitter Saturday night, the rising junior effectively gave the Buckeyes an embarrassment of riches at tailback. Now, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer just has to figure out how to use all that talent coming back to run the football in his power-spread offense.
“One more year,” Weber said.
Meyer and his offensive braintrust will get to spend most of it preparing to unleash J.K. Dobbins, Weber, Antonio Williams and newcomers Jaelen Gill, Brian Snead and Master Teague — and that’s even before factoring in the H-backs who command carries in Ohio State’s attack and the threat of the quarterback rush.
Keeping so many players involved can be a tricky juggling act, and the Buckeyes have at times struggled to do it in the past. Look no further than their befuddling upset loss at Iowa for an example of how easy it is to get off track, forcing Ohio State to forever answer questions about why Dobbins and Weber could end that physical game with three fewer carries combined than quarterback J.T. Barrett.
Of course, the next week against Michigan State was perhaps the finest example of what Ohio State can be when it’s rotating running backs, turning Dobbins loose 18 times for 124 yards and complementing that with 162 explosive yards and a pair of long touchdowns from Weber. So, maybe it was just a matter of time before the system clicked into place.
There was also the matter of getting Weber healthy after dealing with a nagging hamstring injury that nearly caused him to undergo season-ending surgery. He clearly wasn’t himself during the first two months of the season, although his top-end speed and game-changing ability were on full display by November in that romp against a respected Michigan State rush defense. His 47-yard burst to open the scoring was followed by an electrifying 82-yard run that offered a clear reminder of why expectations were so high for his redshirt sophomore campaign with the Buckeyes coming into the year.
It also seemed as if it might serve as an audition for NFL scouts, since Weber was draft eligible, had an injury history and was facing the possibility of being overshadowed by Dobbins again in 2018. Instead, Weber appears ready to come back and keep building on the success that partnership with Dobbins was having at the end of the year.
Is there such a thing as too much depth at tailback? Maybe if the roles aren’t clearly defined or Ohio State tries too hard to keep everybody happy.
But that certainly qualifies as a good problem to have for the Buckeyes, who won’t need to worry about a lack of depth at such a critical position.