Spring’s Unanswered Questions for the Ohio State Running Backs

Steele Chambers Ohio State Football Buckeyes Running Back

Every year following Ohio State spring football we recap what happened position by position.

Who stepped up, who stepped back, what got fixed, and what didn’t?

With 12 of the 15 spring practices cancelled due to the pandemic, however, essentially nothing happened, nothing got fixed, nobody stepped up, and no questions got answered.

So since we can’t talk about which questions got answered, we will instead discuss which questions still remain.

Position by position.

We have already discussed the quarterbacks, the specialists, the cornerbacks, the receivers, the defensive ends, and up next are the Buckeye running backs.

What could Steele Chambers have done?

With Marcus Crowley and Master Teague injured this spring, everything was set up for redshirt freshman Steele Chambers to show what he could do. Even though there was a concern among the coaches about wearing him down because he was the lone healthy running back, all eyes were going to be on him and now that opportunity is gone.

When spring practice opened, it was expected that Crowley and Teague would compete for the starting job, with Teague having the obvious leg up. With neither available, this was going to be Chambers’ opportunity to announce his presence in the race. That never happened, and now the Buckeyes have Oklahoma Trey Sermon coming to town to make the race even more crowded.

Chambers looked good in limited opportunities as a freshman. It’s too bad he couldn’t show what he could do as RB1 for the Buckeyes this spring.

Is this the opportunity Demario McCall was looking for?

It was expected once Master Teague went down that Demario McCall would move back from receiver to running back, but that was never confirmed before spring ball was canceled.

McCall sharing reps at running back with Steele Chambers would have been his chance to show that he didn’t need to be just a “matchup nightmare.” Or, more correctly, that every regular snap for McCall can be a matchup nightmare.

The question throughout his career has been his ability to run between the tackles. As one of two healthy scholarship running backs, this would have been a tremendous opportunity to show that he can. Not having that chance means limited opportunities the next time the team starts practicing because everyone — or mostly everyone — will be healthy again.

The Ohio State coaches still have plenty of confidence that they can move McCall around from play to play looking for that matchup. Last year they didn’t do it because it would have meant taking JK Dobbins or KJ Hill off the field. With both of those guys gone now, this spring was McCall’s opening to display his worth.

What is the health of the injured running backs?

Not that Marcus Crowley or Master Teague would have returned to practice at any point this spring after their respective injuries, but as camp goes on and we get to talking to coaches, we tend to get more information out of them.

For as mum as Ryan Day likes to be on injuries, sometimes he or his assistant coaches can slip up when pressed. With no pressing this spring, all we can expect is the original whispered prognoses for both players, which is Crowley should be just fine for a regularly-scheduled camp, and Teague would probably be pushing it to meet that same deadline (but it wouldn’t surprise anybody if he made it).

5 Responses

  1. 1. Picking up Sermon is huge. He is the closest thing OSU has to replacing JKD; Has experience with an explosive O, was part of team of RB’s, has something to prove, can move up in draft clout, and reflects JKD’s mixture of speed and power. As long as he remains healthy,OSU could ride him into the CFB playoffs.
    2. McCall could be used as a PR/KR, and I would like to see him specialize with that. Agree, that his potential has never been reached.
    3. Teague offers a blend of power and fresh legs, and Crowley adds depth, to me they will join a cast of blue chippers after the 2020 season.

  2. Thank goodness we have that transfer portal. Let’s not forget about Tre Sermon.

  3. BTW Gerd – clear, crisp, informative last sentence! ;-{)}

  4. totally committees removed by impactful fluid situations?

    kick the can and you can… be… either totally, or a virus of your choice ‘i can’t imagine’…?

    are we approaching a rhythm to see how the coaches handle this? LOL

    ===there is no end to the fun we can ‘have’ by… shuffling our words by Diversity….

    punctuated randomly by CD-RALAC… every which way but loose….

    YET …in every post there is useful info and/or opinion… for those who seek same by rational &/or faithful… choice. We are blessed by a host…of coaches and players – the ones who keep trying to lay aside their imperfections and try to follow as commanded… by a certain faith, NOT ‘my faith’!

    Mystery: “My power is perfected in weakness….”

  5. Very fluid situation at RB. Teague has an Achilles injury and that will definitely impact his 2020 season. By that same token, Crowley will be less than a year removed from an ACL year when 2020 starts and he has very very little experience…doesn’t sound like a breakout season ahead for him. Demario McCall? Really? Its year 5, just stop.

    Ultimately, its going to have to be a total RB by committee approach. That may make it hard for guys to get a rhythm. RB by committee is not the idealway to play November B1G Football.

    It will be interesting to see how the coaches handle this.

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