When talking about running back tandems, the term “Thunder and Lightning” is the standard cliche always thrown about.
A big bruiser complemented by a speedy counterpart. Together, their wonder twin powers combine to form one pretty good running back.
At Ohio State, something similar — but different — is brewing on the horizon.
Mike Weber is now completely healthy and he is ready to become part of an offense that has featured freshman J.K. Dobbins in his absence.
Dobbins is currently third in the Big Ten in rushing, averaging 114.6 yards per game on the ground. Given what Dobbins has done this season, and what Weber has done in his past, the time is now to get them both involved.
Except this won’t be your standing “thunder and lightning” thing. Lightning precedes thunder. There is a flash and then a rumble a few seconds later. No, Urban Meyer wants the thunder and lightning occurring at the same time. And you need a pretty stout storm to make that happen.
The Buckeyes are working to bring this perfect storm into being.
“We’re putting together the ’20’ grouping or ’21’ grouping, and that’s two backs, one tight end; two backs and no tight end,” Meyer said on Monday, seeding the clouds. “So it’s the best 11. I do that myself each week: Who are your best 11 players? If they’re in the best 11, which right now they are, get them on the field.”
Meyer has said repeatedly that he has never had two running backs like this on the same team, so there is a bit of a process in figuring out how best to use them together. The Buckeyes have done some things in the past with Curtis Samuel moving into the backfield with Weber last year, so there might be some more of that this year.
Can this all be put into place in one week, however?
“Absolutely,” said running backs coach Tony Alford. “Absolutely. You tweak some things. You know, every week you’re implementing new stuff every week, so absolutely we can do that.”
The entire offensive staff will be involved in figuring out which tweaks to make.
“Yeah, it’s going to be exciting moving forward,” co-offensive coordinator Ryan Day said of the plans to come.
“I’ve never had two running backs like that. I mean, those are really talented guys. They’re very unselfish. We’re playing fast right now so we’re running a lot of plays, and so those guys are getting plenty of reps and they’re getting touches, and so I think they’re both happy and they’re both pulling for each other. We’re lucky to have both of those guys because we’re going to need them as we roll on.”
Not only could they be pulling for each other shortly, but they will also be blocking for each other. There are any number of things we could see moving forward.
So, any hints of what is to come?
“I don’t know. Ask the head coach that. Ask him,” Alford said. “No, I’m playing. We’ve got some packages that we’re looking at and we’ll see if we can’t get them on the field together. They’re two dynamic players. They’re two of our best playmakers on offense. So he wants to try to get them on the field at the same time so they’re not sitting there watching like me.”