The 2013 is rapidly approaching, with only 4 weeks left until kick off. We’ve been breaking down each position week by week here at Buckeye Empire, this week we took a look at the running backs. With running back being one of the most important positions on the field, because they are the one who is responsible for gaining big yards on 1st down and the one who gets the ball in his hands late in the fourth quarter, to help run the clock out. As well as helping you keep the ball out of the hands of the other team’s offense. Nothing is more demoralizing to a team than a 10-12 play drive with big grind it our runs that notch out 4-5 yards a carry that ends in a touchdown.
There is a lot of talent in the Ohio State backfield this year. This includes Carlos Hyde (El Guapo), who is Thunder to quarterback Braxton Miller’s Lightening, these two form one of the best back fields in the nation. But with Hyde’s recent off field issues and his suspension this leaves a big void that will need to be filled for the first three games. Who that man will be we will have to wait and see, but whoever it may be the Buckeyes will need them to succeed in order for the team to keep their dream of hoisting that Crystal football in the air alive come January. His suspension will also make it that much more difficult to achieve his goal of being the first thousand yard back for Urban Meyer.
Two of the first three opponents (Buffalo and San Diego State) are considered by many to be cupcakes, although the Buckeyes should not over look either team. This presents a good opportunity for Rod Smith, Jordan Hall to take control and become a featured back. Both backs have had their share of ups and downs. Smith has had some issues with holding on to the football; this has been a concern for some fans. He will need to improve upon his ball handling in order to be a successful contributor to the offense. While Hall has just been unlucky in the injury department coming off of a freak accident stepping on glass but also injuring his knee last season. We know what Hall and Smith bring to the table and these two guys will be a nice one-two punch combo for Coach Urban Meyer to utilize early in the season.
Those first two games will also give some of the younger backs like Dontre Wilson, Warren Ball, Bri’onte Dunn and Ezekiel Elliot a chance to earn some playing time. With Ball and Dunn each having a big outing in the Spring Game they should see a good amount of playing time, if Hall and Smith start to struggle. In week 3 the Buckeyes make their first road trip and head to California where they will take on the Golden Bears. This is the last game that Hyde is suspended for, and it will easily be the biggest test for the team early in the season. The Bears stifled the running game last year in Columbus; this year needs to be different. Hall had a good game last year against the bears tallying 87 rushing yards on 17 carries.
After the California game El Guapo should return to the lineup, although there is no telling whether or not he gets playing time immediately. I believe that will depend on how the other backs are doing but the addition of him in the lineup gives the Buckeyes a big bruising back.
For the Buckeyes to remain undefeated the running game is going to have to be successful in every single game, like they were last season averaging 242 ypg. They will also need to limit turnovers, be a factor in the passing game and everyone who gets a chance will need to make an impact. If these backs are up for that challenge and can make impact plays in games this team will be playing for a national title come January.