In his career, Ohio State fourth-year junior running back Demario McCall has averaged 7.9 yards every time he’s touched the football on offense.
McCall is one of those guys who you keep your eye on the entire time during a play and only look away once the whistle is blown.
The problem is, however, that there haven’t been as many of those opportunities as anybody would have liked over the last two years.
After 53 touches on offense as a true freshman in 2016, McCall has only managed 33 touches the last two seasons due to injury.
McCall was held out this spring for precautionary reasons due to a slight injury issue, but he has been full go so far in camp.
Plans for McCall have always been in the works, but too often they had to be put on the backburner because of injuries.
There are still plans that head coach Ryan Day and his offensive coaching staff would like to implement this season, but first Day wants McCall to do something that he’s done before, but not since he was a freshman.
“Without giving away too many things, the first thing he’s got to do is he’s got to become the backup running back,” Day said Tuesday after practice. “That’s the first thing he has to do, and that’s what he’s working on right now. But he’s worked at receiver for different camps, whether it was spring camp, bowl practice or preseason. So he has a wide variety of skills, and so there’s a lot of things that we can do with him. You saw that toward the end of last year.”
Day has a list of priorities for his football team and far ahead of “getting Demario McCall involved” is “find JK Dobbins’ backup.”
The good news for McCall, however, is that he could be the stone that kills both birds.
“We’re really just focusing on him being the backup running back because J.K. can’t handle all of that by himself,” Day said. “He’s going to need help. And so if we can find a legitimate backup running back — which we really don’t have right now. We don’t have that. We have a lot of guys battling for it, but we do not have a legitimate backup running back right now. And if he can win that job, then that’ll be his role and then we can expand that as we go. And if he doesn’t, then we have to figure out a package for him. But that backup role right now that is critical for us on offense to try to figure out who that is.”
Demario McCall has made big plays every year of his Ohio State career — even the year he redshirted due to injury.
People have only seen glimpses, but given the plays he’s made, it’s easy to assume that there has to be a spot for McCall.
Asked if he was a guy that Ohio State “had to have on the field,” Day didn’t pull any punches, but will ultimately let McCall answer that question.
“I don’t know if we have to have him on the field, but he’s a weapon,” Day said. “But he didn’t practice in the spring, and he’s done some good things. And again, do I think he has a chance to be a good player? Yes. I just think that he’s got to prove it.“