Buckeye Breakdown: The J.K. Dobbins Effect

J.K. Dobbins Ohio State Football Buckeyes

Admittedly, I was late to jump on the “Hype Train” that was J.K. Dobbins. I just couldn’t wrap my head around a freshman running back making such an impact at this stage in his career.

But here we are, seven weeks into his career and he has rushed for 775 yards on 100 carries.

He currently sits 11th nationally in rushing yards, but more impressively, he averages only 14.6 carries per game, which is 68th nationally.

Dobbins’ versatility fits the offensive scheme well and allows him to be an every-down back, just like Mike Weber. But more importantly, the offensive brain trust of the Buckeyes is able to play fresh legs on each drive with little or no drop off in production.

As we saw last Saturday night, Dobbins is able to gain yardage when there is otherwise nothing available.

Toss Left

The very next play, the Buckeyes ran to the short side of the field behind Rashod Berry and a key kickout block by Jamarco Jones to spring Dobbins for a 52-yard touchdown run. The cutback ability of Dobbins no doubt had an effect on the Huskers secondary. As you see in the clip below, Nebraska cornerback Lamar Jackson (#21) held on the hash to protect against the cutback, and the small hesitation was all Dobbins needed to hold off the defender for the touchdown.

Berry Lead

Finally, the full view of the “Dobbins effect” on opposing defenses became clear when he lined up next to Barrett in the backfield with pass protection as his primary read. When no pressure was detected, he leaked out to the flats. The key focus here is that Barrett never even looked at Dobbins, yet Dobbins drew the boundary corner as well as a linebacker to the flats which cleared a nice throwing lane to Austin Mack on the sideline.

Mack Reception

Make no mistake about it, this team needs a healthy Mike Weber to maximize its potential, but having a versatile complement such as J.K. Dobbins is an embarrassment of riches for this historic Ohio State offense.

As far as the “Hype Train” stands, I am waiting patiently in line at the train station with hopes that there is still a seat available.

3 Responses

  1. Kyle- the schematics in your article are well conceived, as is your praise of Dobbins and Weber. The problem is that the offensive coaches- specifically, the head coach- tend to abandon producers like Dobbins (and Weber!) when they get a little nervous. They then resort to JT Barrett becoming the primary runner, with unimaginative passing plays sprinkled into the mix. This has proven to be a losing mentality against good opponents. The cream puff procession we’ve seen the past several weeks could just be fools’ gold that fattens the stat sheet, while accomplishing little else. The thing that will truly make this offense “historic”- because its nothing of the sort right now- is totally dependent on this head coach overcoming his own tendencies by allowing these talented backs to carry the load when they are on a roll.

  2. One of the huge bonuses is that the Buckeyes are 4 deep at runningback. Antonio Williams comes on the field as is producing very well when he gets his opportunities. Granted that he comes on generally late in the game, but, his stats look good. 30 carries for 187 yards and 3 TD’s. Anytime your 3 team back comes in and average 6.2 yards a carry and says something about the guys in front of him. He really looks quick AND strong when he gets on the field.

    I know that’s not necessarily the Dobbins effect. I just thought it would be nice to recognize a guy who has finally come on and looks likke a 4 star runningback.

  3. Sorry, Kyle, but you’re badly mistaken. Mike Weber is a great kid and a SERVICEABLE back, but he doesn’t hit holes as well (though just as hard) as Dobbins and he isn’t and likely never will be the home run threat Dobbins is right now (and I expect that to get better with age, as it does most great backs). I feel bad for Mike. I really do. But he’s in the presence of a great back and he doesn’t have the top-end to compete.

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