MotSaG Look at the Running Backs

As last season faded into memory and the cold world revolved into the dark abyss that is the off-season, Buckeye fans could wake up each morning content in the fact that, at the very least, we were so solid in the running game for the upcoming year that the school probably should have been mandated to issue daily formal apologies to all other institutes of higher learning and/or football playing.

But as we all know, the off-season is a cruel, dastardly beast that not only robs us of our Saturday afternoon religion but regularly and randomly spews its acidic bile across the college football landscape, wracking our hearts and wrecking our depth charts in its wake.

Yeah. It totally sucks.

Well, not totally. At least not for Ohio State. Not this year. Probably.

Despite suspensions that will keep our top two RBs on the bench in week one (and #1 rock-toter Carlos Hyde riding pine for two more), we still look pretty decent in the Moving The Ball Forward The Old-Fashioned Way department. This is primarily due to…

Key Losses:

Zero. I mean, the suspensions are “losses,” technically, but those will have little impact, due to the incredibly weak schedule we play that you probably haven’t heard anything about.

Last Year’s Performance:

I’m hesitant to use 2012 to draw many conclusions about 2013. First, by all accounts, the training wheels will be off the offense this fall and that means a much different-looking rushing attack. I don’t expect Meyer and Herman to entirely abandon the power running game they leaned on last year, but I won’t be surprised to see it take a back seat in favor of speed from the Pivot (or “Percy Harvin”) position.

It also remains to be seen who will step up now that suspensions have messed with the presumed depth chart. That said, it should be noted that all four primary running backs averaged over 5 yards a carry last year, as did leading rusher Braxton Miller, who adds another layer of complexity to projecting this position.

Expectations for 2013:

High to Extremely High.

Maybe there are some fans with reservations now that Hyde is out for the first three games, but for most of us, that has just meant looking a little more closely at some of the younger guys and thinking about the new scheme and getting really freaking excited. The source of a lot of this excitement is true freshman Dontre Wilson, who will be operating out of the aforementioned Pivot spot. Originally expected to be a backup here, Wilson is likely to start with Jordan Hall sliding back over to RB to fill in for Hyde.

The Wilson talk is more than just fan hype. I don’t think I’ve heard or read a player/coach interview in the past two weeks that didn’t mention his name. Just yesterday morning, Tom Herman appeared on Tim Brando’s SiriusXM show and let out an audible chuckle at the mere mention of Wilson’s name.

Still not convinced? Watch this:

In addition to Wilson, count on returning sophomore Bri’onte Dunn and incoming freshman Ezekiel Elliott to take advantage of early opportunities as well.

RB Depth:

As of right now, we should be looking at something like this for the opener:

RB1: Jordan Hall
RB2: Bri’onte Dunn
RB3: Ezekiel Elliott
Pivot: Dontre Wilson/Ezekiel Elliott

In week two, we can add Rod Smith back in somewhere on that list and then when Florida A&M comes to town, Carlos Hyde should return, and who knows what we’ll be looking at by then. Needless to say, we’re still pretty deep, and that lineup shouldn’t cost anybody any sleep.

Nice try though, off-season.


  1. That is a beautiful, terrifying looking backfield.

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