The Ohio State Buckeyes named redshirt freshman Mike Weber starting tailback on Wednesday.
Running backs’ coach Tony Alford called Weber’s parents to announce the news and their reaction, as imagined, was joyful.
Buckeyes RB's Coach Tony Alford Calling The Parents Of Mike Weber To Say Their Son Got The STARTING JOB This Season! pic.twitter.com/aiCdT5vuQX
— The Buckeye Nut (@TheBuckeyeNut) September 1, 2016
Weber has some big shoes to fill, replacing Ezekiel Elliott and although the redshirt freshman has great upside, it’d be unfair to expect him to be as productive as the past few starting running backs have been for Ohio State in recent years.
Even though Weber is listed as the starting tailback, he’s not the only option and his position does not appear as set in stone as running backs of years passed.
Ohio State’s depth chart lists Weber as the first-string running back, but underneath his name, it says “OR” junior Curtis Samuel, followed by senior Dontrae Wilson.
Head coach Urban Meyer can use Samuel in a number of ways, as the versatile playmaker was a running back when he arrived to OSU, but converted to wide receiver because of Elliott’s dominance.
Now that the Buckeyes don’t have that indisputable number one back, it should lead to more carries for Samuel, who will be a weapon on the ground and in the passing game.
The Buckeyes are loaded at wide receiver, have a Heisman candidate quarterback in J.T. Barrett, and a strong offensive line, making running back one of the biggest mysteries of the offense this season.
The lead running back job is Weber’s from the start, but as we saw in 2015, Meyer is more than willing to shuffle the rotation throughout the season, and perhaps this will be more of a “running back by committee” situation than what the Buckeyes used with Carlos Hyde and Elliott for the last four years.