Ohio State football: What will Buckeyes do with all that running back talent?
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Given how loaded the roster already is at running back and with Ohio State potentially on the brink of adding another physical rusher to its stable, it’s tempting to wonder if the program has more players at the position than it knows what to do with next season.
Then again, this is Urban Meyer and an offensive staff that has plenty of experience trying to spread around touches and tinker with formations, so it’s a safe bet it will find a way to make all those pieces fit. In fact, that might make this offseason more fun than usual when the Buckeyes get in the lab trying to figure out the best way to unleash an already potent ground attack.
Will that lead to the return of a full-house backfield? Probably not, since at least this particular formation would leave another stacked unit on the sideline. The veteran wide receivers wouldn’t be big fans of this approach, and considering how desperately Meyer wants to expand the passing attack, Zone 6 probably has no reason to worry about playing time.
But it’s more likely than ever before during Meyer’s run with Ohio State that some of the exotic rushing schemes he’s only mentioned in press conferences could start making their way into action at the Horseshoe.
Remember the much-discussed diamond formation? What about expanded use of the wildcat? How about just last season with the endless speculation over pairing J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber on the field at the same time?
All of those options are going to be on the table once again with Dobbins heading into his sophomore season, Weber’s decision to return, the signing of Jaelen Gill, Brian Snead and Master Teague, the presence of Antonio Williams — and the late developments with Dayton (Ohio) Dunbar’s Tavion Thomas. Ohio State can do just about whatever it wants with its rushing attack, and it probably won’t hesitate to experiment.
Now, there is the possibility that there can be a downside to the talent surplus. There is only one football, and Ohio State won’t magically get unlimited snaps to work with to ensure everybody stays happy and involved. Toying with too many formations or gimmicks can sometimes be a distraction from doing the simpler, standard options in the playbook. And on top of that, the arm of Dwayne Haskins still needs to be used and there’s a multi-purpose threat in Tate Martell clamoring for playing time as well.
So, sure, having too many talented tailbacks is a great problem for Ohio State to have. It should make for a fascinating offseason for the coaching staff and an absolutely loaded depth chart, but it does come with some complications that even a full-house formation won’t solve.
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