Alford, of course, was referring to the dedication to blocking and route-running that Elliott brought to the table as he racked up 1,878 rushing yards last season, but as the 2015 Heisman front-runner continues to recover from wrist surgery, the new position coach will not get to see his star back with the ball in his hands for six more weeks.
“You know I got my cast off Monday and now it’s just a six-week process to get mobility back and after six weeks I will be full-go,” Elliott said after practice Thursday.
“Right now I’m not really practicing with the team, I’m just getting my speed work in on the side and getting my mental reps when I can, when it’s team workouts.”
Elliott broke his wrist last August and required surgery before the season. Despite the gaudy numbers that Elliott was able to produce last season – highlighted by 696 yards and eight touchdowns in three postseason games – the wrist hampered the running back last season.
The Missouri native said throughout the year that he couldn’t carry the ball in his hand, but the issues ran even deeper.
“I just was basically out there playing with one hand,” Elliott said. “I was one-handed, I couldn’t carry the ball in my left hand, I couldn’t really punch with it. I couldn’t really do much with it. I was pretty handicapped.”
Alford, who said he watched the Buckeyes postseason run while eating pizza with his family, was amazed by the production that Elliott was able to have with just one hand.
While Elliott was impressive last season – he amassed the second most single-season rushing yards by an Ohio State running back in program history – there is still work for the running back to do entering his second season as a starter. It may even be beneficial that his wrist is currently forcing him to approach the game from more of a mental side of things.
“Just continuing to learn the game and the nuances of the game,” Alford said of where Elliott can improve. “The whole concept of the entire offense, not just what he does and how he can fit in more.”
For six more weeks, he must fit in from the sidelines.