Some things will be different for Ohio State sophomore Demario McCall next year, but others could look exactly the same.
McCall told reporters Thursday that despite the departure of Curtis Samuel, he has yet to take a rep at H-back all spring and has been spending all of his time with running backs coach Tony Alford, perfecting his skills in the backfield.
"I haven't gotten any reps at H this spring. I have been fully with the tailbacks," McCall said. "We moved a lot of guys to H to get more depth. I like tailback. I have to get better at that and pass blocking, but tailback is where I feel comfortable."
McCall went on to add that he was surprised the coaching staff didn't slide him over to the H-back position, but did say he believes he could slide into the slot once fall camp hits.
The idea of McCall staying at running back shouldn't come as too much of a surprise however, as his name was not one of the first out of Urban Meyer's mouth Tuesday when he discussed the most likely replacements for Samuel.
“We moved Parris (Campbell) inside for a little bit and he’s dynamic. He was a running back in high school, a big dude that can run and can catch," Meyer said March 28. "He’s that guy right now. But K.J. Hill, I’m not sure K.J. Hill is not one of our top two or top three receivers. So we’re still playing around with who is going to play where. That’s a huge position for us.”
As a true freshman in 2016, McCall played in just six games but also scored four touchdowns (three rushing, one receiving). He accumulated 354 yards of total offense on 53 touches, just four of which came on receptions.
Alford said he has seen improvement in McCall's game, particularly in his physical development, but added he is "100 percent" a running back this spring.
"He has really done well. He has gained a bunch of weight, he is 192-193, right in that range," Alford said. "He is a guy that came here at 170 pounds less than a year ago. He is very explosive and we have to find ways to get him on the field."
While there doesn't appear to be a plan to move McCall to H-back or wide receiver anytime soon, there has been some playful banter going on between coaches for McCall's services.
When asked if he would fight to keep McCall in his unit should the coaching staff decide to move him, Alford joked he would take on certain members of the staff, particularly wide receivers coach Zach Smith.
"If I have to fight Urban, no," Alford said with a smile. "But I would fight Zach. I'll fight Zach downtown at city hall."
The following Twitter exchange took place between the two coaches following Alford's comments, as the two jokingly battled (or will battle) for McCall's services at their position group.
While McCall is set to stay at running back for the time being, he will apparently be donning a new number come the season opener against Indiana.
McCall said he will wear No. 2 in 2017, despite wearing No. 30 last season and currently in spring practice. That number was previously taken by Dontre Wilson and has been worn by freshman running back J.K. Dobbins throughout spring camp.
McCall said he is unsure of what number Dobbins will receive once McCall takes No. 2 starting in the fall.
If you enjoyed this story, you will love Buckeye Sports Bulletin, the newspaper “For The Buckeye Fan Who Needs To Know More” since 1981. For four free trial issues of Buckeye Sports Bulletin with no obligation, click here.