Before anyone gets any ideas that this article is going to include a DeLorean that can double as a time machine, I can tell you that the answer is no. I did not rely upon Marty McFly or Dr. Emmett Brown for going back in time, but I am going to use the example illustrated in the “Back To The Future” movie series to use the past to help predict the future, specifically as it relates to this upcoming 2018 Ohio State football season.
Using Kyle Morgan’s recent article about Dwayne Haskins inspired me to contemplate how the Ohio State offense may look this season. Fortunately for me, I was able to reference two specific football seasons that include current Ohio State offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson, and how Wilson used his running backs to complement his overall offensive philosophy.
2008 Oklahoma Sooners: Oklahoma went 12-2, losing in week six to Texas (45-35), then losing in the BCS Championship Game to Florida, 24-14. Florida was coached by some guy named Urban Meyer, for what that is worth. Back to 2008 Oklahoma — the Sooners had a talented quarterback named Sam Bradford (4,720 yards passing, 50 touchdowns, 8 interceptions, 67.9% completion percentage), and a dominant running attack that featured Chris Brown and DeMarco Murray.
Chris Brown led the Sooners with 1,220 yards rushing and 20 touchdowns. DeMarco Murray had 1,002 yards rushing and 14 touchdowns. Both Brown and Murray contributed as secondary receiving options in the offense, with Murray adding 31 receptions and 4 touchdowns, while Brown added 15 receptions and 1 touchdown.
Let us move forward to something a little more recent – the 2015 season, when Kevin Wilson was the head coach at Indiana.
I realize that referencing the 2015 season can still be somewhat of a sensitive subject for Ohio State fans, but I want to keep the focus upon how Wilson used his running backs in his offensive attack.
2015 Indiana Hoosiers: Indiana went 6-6, which was just enough to qualify for the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. This marked Indiana’s first bowl game since 2007. Back to Indiana 2015 — Wilson had a senior quarterback in Nate Sudfeld (3,573 yards passing, 27 touchdowns, 7 interceptions, 60% completion percentage), who was backed up by Zander Diamont, a more mobile and dynamic athlete who was not nearly the passer Sudfeld was.
Does this seem somewhat familiar, Ohio State fans? As for the Indiana running game — Wilson relied upon Jordan Howard (1,213 yards rushing, 9 touchdowns) and Devine Redding (1,012 yards rushing, 9 touchdowns) to complement Indiana’s passing attack. Similarly to the 2008 Oklahoma duo of Brown and Murray, Howard and Redding were also used as secondary receivers, with Redding adding in 12 receptions, and Howard adding in 11 receptions and 1 touchdown.
You might be asking yourself, “How in the name of the flux capacitor does this relate to the 2018 Ohio State Buckeyes?”
Think about it this way: Dwayne Haskins represents the offensive style that Wilson used with Sam Bradford and Nate Sudfeld. As for J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber, these two talented running backs can potentially be used in a similar way as Chris Brown, DeMarco Murray, Jordan Howard, and Devine Redding were.
Instead of J.T. Barrett carrying the ball 149 times, those are carries that can be given to Mike Weber, who had 96 carries in 2017. Will Weber get all of those 149 carries? Possibly, but more than likely the carries will go to Weber, Dobbins, and we have not even contemplated players such as Demario McCall, Parris Campbell, or true freshman Master Teague as options.
It may not be as flashy as a hoverboard, but if the past is any guide to a possible future, it may be enough to have Ohio State fans thinking that they are truly seeing some ‘Back(s) To The Future’ in 2018.