Notes and Quotes: Tony Alford and Running Backs Talk Depth and Competition

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State running back coach Tony Alford along with a few of his running backs met with the media on Friday.

In addition to serving as assistant head coach for the offense and running backs coach, Tony Alford took on another role as the run game coordinator in January. Alford, along with veterans TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams, Evan Pryor, and freshman Dallan Hayden, all spoke with reporters. Here are the highlights of what was said.

Tony Alford

+ He’s asking his running backs to be pros. The top three players have been in the program for a few years now.

+ On playing three running backs, Alford said so far they are all splitting the reps equally. The focus is on taking care of the football and being in the right spots. They all deserve to play so he has to make sure they are all ready to play, that’s his job.

+ He isn’t looking for separation between the running backs, he’s looking for them all to get better. “If they all deserve to play, they will play.” He wants to have 3-4 players he can throw in.

+ On a sense of urgency with facing Notre Dame early on, Alford said they are playing a great program so they can’t waddle through a practice, a rep, or a day.

+  TreVeyon Henderson is “lightyears better” than where he was last season. He was banged up late last year and hit a bit of a freshman wall but his maturity and his approach has taken him to another level.

TreVeyon Henderson

+ He likes and needs hard coaching. Coach Alford is tough and wants to push him to his limits to see how he responds.  Alford makes him a better player and person.

+ On facing Notre Dame and feeling a sense of urgency, Henderson said the Oregon loss was a learning moment, losing that early in the season last year. Their mindset has changed a lot and they are more focused than they have ever been. They talk about it each and every day, they train for it each and every day. “We’re ready to go out there and show them who we are.”

+ On not having a senior season and then starting as a freshman, Henderson said it was hard but he wanted to make a name for himself. He wanted to come in and show people that he can produce at a college level.

+ On the running back room, Henderson said it’s competitive. They compete every day in almost everything they do. Coach Alford tells them to never waste a day and that motivates him. They make each other better in so many ways.

Dallan Hayden

+ Hayden feels like he is getting better every day and is picking up the system. July was a hard month of learning.

+ On the level of play at Ohio State, Hayden said “you have to know way more football.” Coach Alford has done a great job of just teaching him more about the game.

+ He is always going full speed and coaches have to tell him to slow down a bit in walkthroughs.

+ The running backs in the room are all unique players, he is learning something from each of them. Learning from them is only making him better and takes a bit of pressure off.

+ On what sets him apart from the other three running backs, Hayden said they’re all different and he has his own style of running which is full speed, down hill, outrun, and make a move.

Miyan Williams

+ His favorite play so far was the play that “got him discovered” against Clemson in the Sugar Bowl. It was a big game and he showed up and showed out. He got a lot of respect from the teammates and coaches after that.

+ He focuses a lot on his body and what he eats. He made a commitment this offseason to change his body. When he got to Ohio State he was 228 pounds and was solid, then he lost weight in the summer and got down to 225 and then last year he was 225-226 at the beginning of the season and 230 at the end of the season, he’s now at 226 but is trying to stay down. His favorite guilty pleasure is wings.

+ On his goals for this season, Williams said they are all just trying to “win the Natty.”

+ On the running backs being able to run the ball when it matters, Williams said that’s important for them to be able to win it all. They have to get the job done. “We all feel like we have the best running back room, so we gotta run the ball.”

+ Everyone in the room motivates each other to “be one” and be the best at what they do.