Thursday, August 19, 2010

Vlogging and Blogging The Buckeyes: A Top to Bottom Preview of Ohio State's 2010 Running Back Stable

Every Buckeye fan knows that Ohio State has a lot of depth at the running back position, but others outside of the Buckeye Nation don't know about these young men as we do.

As Fall camp is soon to be nearing completion, and with the start of the season just two weeks away, it seemed like a fitting time to let everyone know just how deep and talented (albeit raw in some cases) the 2010 Buckeyes will be by taking a look at each of our backs that will have a chance to contribute on the field this season.

Brandon Saine

Not staying healthy has always been the knock on Saine, but entering this season, all systems are go for Zoom.

There is still likely to be somewhat of a running back by committee approach, but Saine is expected to get the lion's share of the workload.

A year ago, a relatively healthy Saine posted 963 rushing and receiving yards combined, scoring four touchdowns on the ground and two through the air.

This season, not only will he carry the ball, but as evidenced by the Oregon game, he will also be used as a receiver out of the backfield and from the slot at times.

For Saine, plays like the one at 1:25 of this video should become a regular occurrence this season.

If (big if) he can remain healthy, Saine is going to be used a lot like Reggie Bush was at USC, (sans the free house and cash in return) so don't be surprised when he has a big year for the Bucks.

Dan Herron

Two words come to mind when thinking of Boom—very dependable.

By all accounts, Boom is a very hard worker and a great team mate. In 2009, Herron gained 600 yards on the ground for a 3.9 yards per carry average and scored eight total touchdowns (seven rushing, one receiving).

On occasion, he has shown the ability to break a big run, but he's also been somewhat inconsistent at times. One minute he's breaking through for a big gain, then the next it's as if he trips over a blade of grass with nothing but wide open space ahead of him.

Hopefully we see more of what we saw against Michigan in 2008 from Boom this season and the next.

He needs to be more patient and let the play develop instead of running straight into a pile of bodies before the hole opens up. His field vision could also use some fine-tuning.

Doing those things should hopefully (for his sake as far as playing time goes) help him move his game to the next level.

Jordan Hall

The former HS teammate of QB Terrelle Pryor out of Jeannette, Pennsylvania filled in for the then-injured Saine and Herron and showed that he is strong, fast, and explosive out of the backfield.

Somewhat of an afterthought in the class of 2009, the undervalued Hall proved his worth when he had his opportunity and at least for now has been rewarded accordingly as the third running back in the pecking order.

In the six games he saw action in last season, Hall gained 248 yards on 48 carries for an average of 5.2 yards per carry, which was a higher ypc average than both Saine and Herron.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find a video specifically of Hall from last year at Ohio State, but he played very similarly for the Buckeyes as he did for his HS team, the Jayhawks.

He was pretty solid on defense too as you'll see. It probably won't happen, but I wonder if a position change could be in his future given our depth at running back?

Here are a few highlights from his Jeannette days.

If Hall can hold off the surging and highly-touted Jaamal Berry for the No. 3 back behind the oft-injured Saine and Herron, he could find himself playing a key role for the Buckeyes in 2010 and could emerge as an unlikely star.

Jaamal Berry

Miami Palmetto's Jaamal Berry was the most prized recruit in the Ohio State 2009 recruiting class. Saying he was/is considered a can't miss star-to-be is almost an understatement.

But not every highly-regarded prospect lives up to the sometimes ridiculous hype and expectations. The jury is still out on Berry as he took a redshirt in 2009 after battling a nagging leg injury all season.

Although by most accounts coming out of camp, Berry sits at No. 4 behind two upperclassmen and fellow 2009 recruit Jordan Hall on the depth chart, many believe he also won't be down there for long.

He is a game breaker, possessing moves that have been compared to those of Barry Sanders and also is a literal speed-burner with another gear, allowing him to blow past defenders.

Obviously he has not seen any on-the-field action in the Scarlet and Gray as of yet, but take a look at this impressive highlight reel of him from his HS days.

After watching the video, I think it is easy to see why Buckeye fans are chomping at the bit to see Berry on the field this season and for the next three to four years.

He may have to bide his time as the third or fourth option in the crowded Buckeye backfield this season, but he won't be held down for long if he even comes close to performing near the level of expectation we have for him.

Carlos Hyde

Originally a member of the 2009 recruiting class, Carlos was one point shy on the A.C.T. of meeting the academic standard for admission to OSU.

So instead, he followed the path former Buckeye great and 1995 Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George took to Columbus by spending a year at Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia. With the plethora of backs already on campus and in the class of 2009, that might have been the best situation for Hyde.

At 6-1, 230, the former Cincinnati, Ohio native is a big, powerful back who has been compared to both Eddie George (6-3, 235) and Beanie Wells (6-1, 235). He clearly has the physical tools just as they did and if he can carry the rock like those two did, look out!

Like Berry, Hyde has not seen any live game action for the Buckeyes, but he too has a very impressive highlight reel from his days at Naples HS in Florida—take a look.

As you can see from the highlights, Hyde is big, strong, and fast for his and Buckeye fans are very excited to see him on the field as sokn as possible.

Others worth noting

Roderick Smith out of Fort Wayne, Indiana is considered the top recruit from the 2010 class but he is yet to make it on campus. He might be wise to take a similar path as Hyde did and save a redshirt year and a year of eligibility by working out his academic issues then joining the Buckeyes in 2011.

Now-former Buckeye Jermil Martin officially transferred to Ashland University recently because of the abundance of backs ahead of him at OSU. He decided on AU so that he can play right away instead of sitting out a season per NCAA rules.

Also worth mentioning are fullbacks Zach Boren and Adam Homan. Both are great blocking backs, but Boren has also been making his case to actually carry and catch the ball on occasion as well so keep an eye out for that.

There is no shortage of depth, talent, or speed at the running back position in Columbus and it is easy to see why we Buckeye fans feel that we (not USC or Alabama or Florida) have the best stable of backs top to bottom in the nation.

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1 comment:

  1. Great assesment. I agree especially with you on Herron. It just seemed more times than not he would right into the pile and get maybe 2 yards. He just seems so predictable when he runs. I'm excited about Berry if he is able to move up quick enough. Can't wait for the season to star and Go Bucks!


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