Morning Conversational: What To Expect From Ohio State RB Master Teague In 2019
Running back Master Teague played in three of the Buckeyes’ first four games last season, getting his feet wet under the NCAA’s new redshirt rule.
Ohio State held him back after three games, however, in case they needed him for a game down the stretch.
In those three games against Oregon State, Rutgers, and Tulane, Teague carried the ball 17 times for 106 yards and a touchdown. His best game came in his Buckeye debut where he rushed for 56 yards on six carries, included in that was a 33-yard touchdown run.
With JK Dobbins and Mike Weber as Ohio State’s one-two punch last year, Teague’s opportunities were limited. With Weber off to the NFL, however, there is a sizable role in this OSU offense that is now up for grabs.
In the spring, Teague was the Buckeyes’ No. 2 running back, which meant that he got a good deal of reps with the ones as well. He also led all rushers in the spring game with 75 yards on seven attempts.
Spring game performances aren’t necessarily indicative of performances to come, but leaving the spring as the team’s No. 2 running back is usually a good indicator that carries are going to come your way.
Over the last three seasons, OSU’s No. 2 non-quarterback ball-carrier has rushed for 954 yards, 626 yards, and 771 yards, respectively.
While this current group of Buckeye running backs is deeper than it has been in years, Teague and fourth-year junior Demario McCall are the two most experienced tailbacks behind Dobbins.
Freshman Marcus Crowley was in for the spring and gained some valuable experience, and classmate Steele Chambers didn’t get to town until this summer. Both could end up seeing the same kind of playing time as Teague last year while maintaining their respective redshirts.
The question of what to expect from Master Teague comes down to opportunity. As arguably the biggest (5-11 220) and fastest of the known quantities at running back, there is good reason to put him on the field. In the small opportunities he has had, he has found ways to break into the open.
But when comparing what could happen this year to what has happened in the past, things aren’t exactly equal.
JK Dobbins wasn’t as productive last year switching series to series with Mike Weber, which means he should see a higher percentage of carries than a year ago (provided he does something with them). And with a quarterback at the helm with the ability to run this year — unlike last year — Weber’s 954 yards rushing last season seems out of reach.
But what about Weber’s 626 yards in 2017 or Curtis Samuel’s 771 yards in 2016?
Maybe. But Teague’s season is also going to be impacted by Demario McCall, provided he is healthy.
This is a great problem to have, but that doesn’t make it easy on the players.
In an effort to productively complement JK Dobbins this year, Teague, McCall, and Fields are all going to command carries.
Putting those three at a combined 1,500 yards rushing doesn’t sound outrageous, or even implausible. How many of those yards will belong to Master Teague?
Weber’s example in 2017 of 626 yards doesn’t seem so bad. And he did that while dealing with injuries.
Six hundred yards would be a nice target for Teague, especially with the starting job potentially up for grabs heading into 2020.