COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State’s run game already looked dangerous heading into the team’s matchup Saturday vs. Oklahoma. Now the Buckeyes have their starter at their disposal, too.
Although coach Urban Meyer said he could have played, Mike Weber (hamstring tightness) sat out the Indiana game to make sure he’d be fully healthy for Oklahoma. That gamble appears to have paid off, as freshman J.K. Dobbins rushed 29 times for 181 yards in his debut. Just as importantly, the extra rest seems to have benefitted Weber.
“Mike had a good practice today,” Meyer said in his Monday press conference. “He went full speed today.”
With the Sooners coming to town for a top-10 matchup, the Buckeyes will have a two-headed monster at running back. Meyer said he hasn’t figured out the amount he’ll use each back but indicated that Ohio State will rotate the duo.
Dobbins is the talk of Columbus after setting an Ohio State record for most rushing yards in a freshman debut, but it’s worth noting that Weber would have matched or surpassed that total in six of 13 games last year if he’d received Dobbins’ 29 carries. He rushed for 1,096 yards on just 182 carries, rushing the ball 23 fewer times than quarterback J.T. Barrett did.
“It’s a huge addition for us,” center Billy Price said. “Mike is a huge asset and a huge part of this offense.”
Giving both backs somewhere around 15-20 carries each should keep both players fresh and help wear down opposing defenses.
“I think he’ll be good for us, Mike being able to start us off and J.K. coming in right behind him,” Barrett said. “That was a lot of carries for J.K., and he did a great job protecting the football. Just having those guys rotate in and out to give each other a breather and still be explosive in the run game will be good.”
Weber’s style in particular is suited toward breaking down a defense and opening up things for the Ohio State offense. His physicality is relentless, and he can chip away at a defense and set the table for Dobbins’ explosiveness against a worn-out unit.
“Mike Weber is an old-school back,” Ohio State defensive end Jalyn Holmes said. “That can wear a defense down when you’ve got Mike Weber and J.K. I know personally I wouldn’t want to see those two in a game with them getting the ball 20 times. They can wear a defense down and open up the pass game.”
“J.K. is one of those guys who can kind of get into those crevasses and flip things and roll,” added Price. “Compared to Mike, Mike is that bruiser. He’s that guy who can get in there and if he needs a couple extra yards, on third-and-2 you can run him up the middle. They’re a good complement to each other.
“It’s something defenses have to be able to honor and understand when they scout us.”
The post Mike Weber’s return makes Ohio State even more dangerous vs. Oklahoma appeared first on Land of 10.