You can point to a lot of strengths on this Ohio State football team this season, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not short on some weaknesses at some positions, and the folks at ESPN seem to believe that one of them happens to be with the running back crew.
With the loss of someone as dynamic as Carlos Hyde to the NFL, it’s really no shock that not just ESPN, but a lot of other outlets may feel this way as well. While Ezekiel Elliott is expected to leave a fairly good mark in his first season as a starter, he’s one of the most inexperienced backs that is returning in the conference.
Again, problem isn’t the right word here, but the truth is all the other Big Ten title contenders — Michigan State, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Iowa — return their top ball carriers from 2013. Ohio State loses bulldozing back Carlos Hyde, who led the Big Ten in rushing average (138.3) and rush yards during league games (1,249). The Buckeyes obviously benefit from Braxton Miller’s running ability at quarterback but must develop backs who can help him. Ezekiel Elliott is in line to start and brings some exciting skills to the field, but Ohio State needs other options to develop likeBri’onte Dunn, dynamic freshman Curtis Samuel and Warren Ball.
But, on a positive note, this is all the more reason for Elliott to play with a chip on his shoulder and show everyone that he could be among the elite in the conference.