If I Was Coach Fickell [Running Backs Edition]

If I was Coach Fickell, the first thing I would do is wrestle Jim Bollman to the ground in 1.3 seconds, choke him with one hand (the other would be high-fiving bro Mike Vrabel) until he’s as purple as Prince’s wardrobe. As pleas for mercy sputter from his cold lips, I laugh and force him to scrawl a jittery, childish signature on a conveniently-prepared resignation letter while I hover over him asking repeatedly if he wants some more of this.

Then, I would make the easiest decision of my life: Pick a starting running back to fill in for Boom Herron for five weeks.

The truth is, the talent at the position is so deep that Fickell could let the Iowa Republican party choose a starter by straw poll and it would probably work out (Ron Paul just keeps those legs churning).

But anyway, since I have to choose, here’s my depth chart, subject to change at any minute:

1A) Jordan Hall

Despite talk of a move to wide receiver, Jordan Hall is still getting plenty of reps in the backfield in practice. There is also a growing sense that the young receiving corps is catching on well. I think this points more to a motion-out role for Hall in the passing game than a full-fledged WR spot, although I do expect him to be involved in five-wide sets. Hall’s versatility (he threw a TD pass to Pryor against EMU last year) and solid running (4.9 yards a carry in 2009-2010) gets him the nod, as this offense will need to be a little more creative than usual in the early games.

1B) Carlos Hyde

I originally had Hyde pegged as a power back who would come in to convert short-yardage situations, but with Jaamal Berry still battling injuries, I have to question his reliability. Hyde has some minimal game experience, putting up 5.9 yards a carry in six games last season and is a punishing runner with a little more athleticism than one generally expects from power backs. There has been some buzz around him in fall camp, and I think he may be ready to break out.

2A) Jaamal Berry

I like Berry, but I’m afraid he’s going to be one of those guys who’s always hurt. His primary contribution to this team will continue to be on kick returns, although he may play a role in the passing game similar to Hall.

2B) Rod Smith

If Berry were healthy, Smith would probably be a solid #3. Still, he has drawn comparisons to the great Eddie George from some observers, and that alone intrigues me. I think he’ll get most of his opportunities in garbage time, but I also think he’ll make the most of them, setting himself up for a shot at the starting job next fall.


Eventually we’ll get to the Nebraska game and the return of Boom. Coach Fickell has made it clear that the suspended players will need to earn their spots back, but I don’t think that’s going to be an issue for Boom. Like Antonio Pittman before him, Herron became a dark-horse 1000-yarder last season and ripped off an awesome 89-yarder against Michigan that would have been even longer if not for one of the worst holding calls ever. I do think the carries will still be spread out a little, but Boom will get the bulk of them for the remainder of the season.


  1. If this was a Twilight movie, I’d be firmly on Team Jaamal but the great thing about this competition is that all Buckeye fans win and everyone else loses!

  2. Jordan Hall will do great and I have faith in him. BUT if he doesn’t next guy in will and so on….

  3. Just to set the mood…


    Jordan reminds me a lot of Pepe Pearson (just a little smaller in stature I believe). Hopefully, he does well, but to SYR’s point…if he doesnt, someone else will…

  4. Believe it or not…Hyde is the fastest RB on the team.

    Scary combination of speed and power.

  5. All of these guys would be starters on 95% of Div. 1 CFB teams.

  6. @YNBA – Did I just watch all five minutes of that? Yes, yes I did.

    @Kade – Believe it or not, Bauserman is the oldest QB on the team. Scary combination of red hair and age.

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