With Both Healthy, Are There Enough Carries For J.K. Dobbins And Mike Weber

With Both Healthy, Are There Enough Carries For J.K. Dobbins And Mike Weber

Football

With Both Healthy, Are There Enough Carries For J.K. Dobbins And Mike Weber


It was supposed to be a break out year in 2017 for Ohio State running back Mike Weber, but injuries derailed best-laid plans. Now that both Weber and J.k. Dobbins are healthy, are there enough carries to keep both happy?


Contact/Follow @markrussell1975

With Both Healthy, Are There Enough Carries For J.K. Dobbins And Mike Weber At Ohio State?

Perhaps it’s a good problem to have, as they say. The Buckeyes have two 1,000 yard rushers ready to kick things off in 2018, and for now at least, both are healthy. But the story veered a little off course than what we all anticipated.

An Unexpected Twist

Rewind back to last year, and the Dobbins story wasn’t even supposed to happen. Sure, the kid from Texas is an unbelievable talent, but Mike Weber was coming off one of the best freshman years all time at Ohio State. He had rushed for 1,096 yards his first year, and the coaching staff continued to tout his improved speed and vision heading into fall camp. It was to be his breakout season.

But then a nagging hamstring injury kept the sophomore-to-be out of practice, and hampered early on in the year.

Meanwhile, an incoming freshman with star potential got the bulk of the reps while Weber was on the mend, and began to show flashes of something special. J.K. Dobbins elbowed his way into the starting spot in the first game in Bloomington, not because he was supposed to, but because Weber still wasn’t quite right.

And so it went for much of the first half of the year. It took Weber longer than anticipated to be fully healthy, and Dobbins began to separate himself as one of the best freshman running backs in the country.

Back In The Fold

Health finally found No. 25, but Dobbins was now cemented as the starter and gave Ohio State a little more dash and flash at the running back position. Weber did have games over one-hundred yards against Michigan State and Illinois, and we saw him display the improved speed when he ripped off the game-clinching TD run at Michigan, but he was once again used sparingly in the Big Ten Championship Game, and then again in the Cotton Bowl.

Weber finished the season with just 609 yards on 96 carries, while Dobbins carried the ball 181 times for 1,364 yards. And with both being healthy, Dobbins got more than twice as many touches as Weber in the final two games.

So what gives?

We’ve heard that Weber and Dobbins are neck and neck in the competition so far, and we’ll likely hear that as we go through fall camp, but what’s this all going to look like when the season begins?

My guess is that it’ll be much of the same, but will be dictated by game plan. Maybe Weber is a little underrated with abilities, and he’s probably the unquestioned guy at most places across the country, but there’s no denying what the eyes and stats see. Dobbins is a bit of an upgrade with more big-play potential.

Look, it’s not like anyone expects Weber to go away and hide, but from what we’ve seen in the past, it’ll likely be a two to one ratio in carries, and you can probably expect Dobbins to be in on first and second downs, and then see Weber in short yardage and red zone opportunities.

That’s not the prescription every time, but unless something changes with the philosophy, will it really differ that much?

The Numbers Don’t Work

Yeah, Weber will get a series all on his own from time to time, and get a shot to show what he can do maybe a little more than last year, but we saw Dobbins get the bulk of the carries in the big games.

On top of that, with Dwayne Haskins expected to be the starting QB, there should be more of an emphasis on passing than when Barrett was under center. In one way, the running backs might get more carries since Haskins isn’t the running threat that Barrett was, but on the other hand, with the top six on the depth chart back at the wide-receiver position, you can expect an effort to push the ball down the field more.

Also, if backup QB Tate Martell does have some packages installed in the offense similar to what we’ve heard from the coaches, those will most likely be run-pass options and also take away from straight hand-offs to the running backs.

You also have the so-called emergence of Demario McCall as another option at H-back, in addition to a concerted effort to get the ball to Parris Campbell more, and we seem to have a problem.

You start to look at the number of plays in a game, with Ohio State averaging about 72 per game last year, and things just don’t add up for both to get the number of carries each would want. At least not with everything else going on in the minds of the coaching staff.

We’ll wait to see how this all plays out, but Urban Meyer is going to have his work cut out for him trying to keep both of these talented ball-carriers happy and engaged on a weekly basis.

but if he can, and if both play up to their full potential, it could be fun to watch this fall.

After all, two is better than one, right?

 

Contact/Follow us @BuckeyeWire on Twitter, and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Ohio State news, notes and opinion.


Latest

More BuckeyeWire
Home
%d bloggers like this: