Land of 10/file photo
J.K. Dobbins (left) and Mike Weber will present a formidable test for defenses in 2018.

How many yards will Ohio State’s running backs rush for in 2018?

Ryan Ginn

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First of all, the fact that this is — in my opinion at least — an obtainable number is a win for Ohio State. Getting that kind of production out of the two primary running backs would be great for the offense, and the fact that it’s at least conceivable is already a good sign.

The even better news for Ohio State fans is that I think it will happen. In 2017, J.K. Dobbins rushed for 1,403 and Mike Weber added 626 to put their combined total just over 2,000. That came in spite of the fact that Weber missed two games entirely because of a hamstring injury and had several more in which he got 5 or fewer carries. Had he gotten a reasonable a 175-carry workload and kept up his 6.2 yards per carry, Ohio State would have met that threshold.

Whether that happens in 2018 will likely depend on what happens to J.T. Barrett’s carries. The Buckeyes couldn’t stop themselves from running the quarterback as often or more than the top tailback each year despite Barrett’s wildly inefficient numbers as a runner by comparison. In 2016, for example, Barrett led Ohio State with 205 carries, nearly 20 more than Weber. So the issue at hand is simply what will happen to those carries.

Some of those will end up being runs by Dwayne Haskins or Tate Martell, because quarterback runs aren’t going to disappear entirely — especially when Martell is in the game. The Buckeyes also might throw the ball more if Haskins can produce through the air, which would eat away at some running back carries. On the whole, though, I expect Weber and Dobbins to get enough carries to surpass that milestone, especially with the transfer of Antonio Williams freeing up some more touches.

Both players have the talent to eclipse 1,250 yards simultaneously, and now they might get the carries to make it happen.

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