Tailback Dan "Boom" Herron hosted the first event this season, and that should not be a big surprise to those close to the team. Herron may not be a senior or a captain, but he is leader on and off the field for the No. 2 Buckeyes.
"Even though I'm not a senior, I came in with the guys who are seniors now and I feel like I'm one of them," Herron said. "I try to lead just as well as they do and be a leader like them."
As expected prior to the season, Herron has split No. 1 reps at tailback with senior captain Brandon Saine. Neither have exactly stood out through the first four games of the season, as quarterback Terrelle Pryor is the Buckeyes' leading rusher with 269 yards on 43 carries. But Herron has been productive this season. Featuring an improved burst this season, Herron ranks second on the team in rushing with 192 yards on 42 carries, an average of 4.6 yards per carry. The junior also leads the team in rushing touchdowns with four.
While Herron is averaging fewer yards per carry than Pryor and the other four scholarship tailbacks on the roster, Herron is happy with his early-season production.
"Last year I was a little banged up earlier in the season and this year I feel pretty healthy," Herron said. "I'm in pretty good shape. I think I'm doing OK, but there's always room to get better. So I'm just going to try to keep getting better and make the most out of the carries I do get."
"Whatever the coaches want to do, as long as we win, fine," he said. "The times we do get it, we're going to try to do our best and try to put points up on the board."
That attitude has served Herron well since he came to Ohio State in 2007 after concluding his prep career at Warren (Ohio) Harding. He has been a steady contributor for the Buckeyes since arriving on campus and has remained focused on improving as a tailback.
"It's not one thing I want to improve on. It's everything," Herron said. "I just want to be a better all-around back: catching the ball, running the ball, blocking, whatever it is. That's why in practice every day I try to get better as much as I can."
The rushing attack has failed to gain traction early this fall, but Herron remains patient. Earlier in the season, Herron said he wanted to show that he can be more than a downhill runner, and while he has not been able to break off a run more than 17 yards, the junior said he and the rest of the tailbacks will eventually get on track.
"Sometimes you may get impatient, but you just have to be patient," he said. Trust the line and let it all come to you. After a while it'll break open."