COLUMBUS, Ohio - The weather couldn't have been more splendid than it was today on the fields of the Woody Hayes Athletic Center where the Ohio State Buckeyes practiced two hours under blue skies and a nice breeze for the 19th session of fall camp. But who's counting?
Now inside of two weeks before the season opener, fall camp is on the cusp of winding down as the team will have one final scrimmage Saturday before checking out of their Hyatt Place home tomorrow afternoon. Next week the fall semester academic calendar kicks in with classes starting Tuesday and practices for the rest of the fall slated for late afternoon/early evening.
The post-practice focus today was on the youthful position of running back, where Mike Weber returns after a 1,000-yard freshman campaign and is joined by two other scholarship sophomores - Antonio Williams and Demario McCall - and talented true freshman J.K. Dobbins. Weber has been sidelined so far this fall but told the assembled media he'll be ready to go for the Indiana game, set for Aug. 31 at Indiana's Alumni Stadium.
So did his position coach, Tony Alford.
"He's coming along pretty well," Alford said. He'll be fine. He'll be ready."
Alford, now in his third season at Ohio State, also commented Friday on ...
The freshmen Dobbins: "This guy loves football now. He's smart. In my 22 years, and not to take away from anyone else, this guy has picked it up faster than anyone else I've been around, as a true freshman. He's picked, he understands the offense and the nuances of it, and he plays hard. He goes hard in everything he does."
"He can make guys miss. When a lot of players come in they want to run laterally, run away from everything. When he gets in the open field he'll front up the safety and run right down his nose, to get a safety to stop his feet. That's unique for a young guy to come in and do it and do it that fast."
His group of running backs compared to 2016: "I think there's competition because guys understand what we're looking for. Remember, last year when the season started, no one in our room had taken a college snap. Now you've got some guys who have played a little bit, so the competition has ramped up and it's made the room better."
Categorizing Demario McCall: "Very much like Curtis [Samuel] was when we started this deal, when he was kind of back and forth and could do both and he was a hybrid-type player. When he's [McCall] in the game, we're hoping to have a guy who can make some explosive plays for us."
Balancing carries between running backs: "As we progress through the season it'll depend a lot on how Mike is doing, how's he feeling when he's playing, how's the flow of the game. ... To say how you're going to split the carries today when we're still 13 days out, I'm not comfortable yet saying where those numbers are."
SiriusXM was at the Woody Friday taping interviews as part of its College Sports Nation camp tour. Buckeye linebacker legends A.J. Hawk and James Laurinaitis were on site taping interviews for a two-hour show that will be broadcast Friday evening (tonight) starting at 7 p.m. Eastern. SiriusXM Channel 84 will air the show and it features Hawk and Laurinaitis interviews with coach Urban Meyer, coach Greg Schiano, QB J.T. Barrett, DE Tyquan Lewis, C Billy Price, DE Sam Hubbard and WR Terry McLaurin.