Ohio State Football: Plenty of Competition in the Offensive Backfield

Oct 1, 2016; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer onfield before the game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 1, 2016; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer onfield before the game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports /

There will be stiff battles for playing time at the Ohio State backfield positions.

Now that spring practices have resumed, one of the more interesting things to watch will be how the Ohio State backfield situation shapes up. Which players will be vying for the running back and h-back positions, and how they will be utilized in Kevin Wilson’s version of the Urban Meyer offense?

Even after losing Curtis Samuel, the Ohio State backfield is loaded with talent. As of now it looks like these six players will be competing for playing time in the backfield next season.

Mike Weber 5’10, 212:  Coming off a 1,000 yard season Weber will definitely start, but as so-called “feature back”? Weber is a very good running back, but I don’t see him as an Ezekiel Elliott type of player. That combined with a revamped offensive scheme, may mean Weber will be sharing playing time with other talented backs.

Antonio Williams 5’11, 210: Williams is an extremely talented young running back. Because of that I thought the only reason he was held back from seeing significant playing time as a freshman was because of an injury situation. Not so sure now.

Here is what running back coach Tony Alford said to Williams during a drill at spring practice, as reported in an article by Eleven Warriors

"“You bitch more than my son, you need to shut your ass up.”"

That may mean the door is wide open for this next guy.

J.K. Dobbins 5’10, 208: The No 2 all-purpose back in the 2017 recruiting class has gained weight recently and is considered a guy who can be used to run between the tackles often now. An early enrollee, Dobbins has drawn rave reviews from coaches and players alike since arriving on campus.

How he will be used is up in the air, but there is no doubt Dobbins will see playing time because he is just too talented to sit.

Demario McCall 5’9, 195: McCall was electric as a freshman in limited playing time and he appears to have just scratched the surface with his talent. With his lightning quickness, he was effective on the outside both running and receiving last season. Now he may be more effective on inside running plays as well, because like Dobbins, it appears McCall has bulked up some in the offseason.

Parris Campbell 6’1, 208: Okay, I’ve predicted Campbell to break out each of the last two years, so here we go again. Finally it appears Campbell will be moved to h-back next season and that’s where he belongs.

I understood why he was moved to wide receiver because Ohio State had a glut of talented h-backs. But putting a talented running back out wide is like trying to put a square peg in a round hole, it just doesn’t fit. I hope he will be a big surprise to Buckeye fans next season, so I won’t be wrong three straight years.

Eric Glover-Williams 5’9, 180: I thought EGW should have been on the offensive side of the ball from his first day at Ohio State. Evidently his defensive buddies thought that’s where he belonged too. This what Chris Worley said during Fiesta Bowl interviews as reported by Land Of 10.

"“Before the games we sit with Coach Smith,” Worley said. “Me, Marshon (Lattimore) and Malik tell him, ‘Y’all need to put him on offense or punt return.’ He’s the real deal with the ball in his hands. At Ohio State, there’s a lot of guys behind the scenes that a lot of people don’t know that help this team in so many ways. Eric Glover-Williams has helped this team in a tremendous amount of ways.”"

I can’t wait to see the ball in EGW’s hands in open space.

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Coach Wilson has been known to use multiple backs in his spread offense and he had a lot of success doing so at Indiana. And he hasn’t had the depth of talent he has now at his disposal since at least his time as offensive coordinator for the Oklahoma Sooners.

Urban Meyer was also known to spread the ball around in the running game, until Carlos Hyde became his first 1,000 yard rusher in the 2013 season. Since then, he had Zeke as the feature back for two seasons and Weber last year.

Must Read: Another Star in the Making?

With the talented running back/h-backs on the roster, there should be plenty of options in the running game for Ohio State next season. How each of the backs perform between now and the Spring Game will go a long ways in determining how the wealth will be distributed in the fall.