Now that Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer confirmed that there’s no chance of a return for Bri’onte Dunn, all eyes have turned to the man Meyer tabbed as the likely beneficiary of Dunn’s ouster: Mike Weber.
The Buckeyes’ running back battle became a one-man contest following the dismissal of Dunn, but Weber’s road to the first snap of the season isn’t a perfectly smooth one. The four-star recruit out of Detroit redshirted in 2015 after batting injuries in fall camp, and junior linebacker Raekwon McMillan used those struggles as an example of why nothing is a sure thing when it comes to projecting what will shake out from now to September.
“To prove it to teammates and to me, you have to make it all the way through camp,” McMillan said.
That’s not to say his teammates don’t trust him, however. McMillan said if Weber survives the gauntlet of fall camp he thinks the running back can reach the production levels of Ezekiel Elliott, and quarterback J.T. Barrett said he’s learning how to depend on Weber.
“Throughout camp and even in the offseason, I have learned to put trust into Mike,” Barrett. “I think that he definitely cares about our team as a whole and I know he cares about me by what he has shown in the offseason. I am not going to try and take away from what he can do just because I haven’t seen him do it in a game. I have to definitely give him the opportunity. Whether it be handing the ball off on a power play and see what he can do with it or also his pass blocking. I am not going to judge him.
“I try to push him every day, I work out with him quite a bit and just try to make sure he understands the work that happens in the offseason is where you win the game. You don’t win the game Sept. 17 when we’re at Oklahoma or we’re down the road playing at a place like Wisconsin, that’s not when you win the game. You win the game in the offseason in the moments that really define who you are and those times. So I’m just gonna keep on pushing him to try to get better. I know I push him, he probably at times hates me. I know he can give so much for this team and I just want him to make sure that he could perform at his best.”