Captain's Corner: Buckeye Backfield

This year's crop of Ohio State running backs should be the strongest the Buckeyes have had in years, and to go with it, the Buckeyes have one of the best running quarterbacks in the country in Troy Smith. Yes, the Ohio State backfield should be exciting this year. Jerry Rudzinski breaks it down in this week's Captain's Corner.

It should be a fun year in the OSU backfield. Troy Smith can open things up with the passing game. That fuels Troy using his feet to embarrass defenders. That actually makes for a great opportunity to showcase a traditional running game. A defense that is forced to be three-dimensional usually does not play as physical.

Yes, there are enough snaps in a game to have great passing numbers along with great running stats for our quarterback and tailbacks. I hope we are bored watching the offense do the same thing every series.

1st and 10…Troy from the shotgun hits Gonzo in a seam. 2nd and 6…Troy hands off to Pittman for a routine 4. 3rd and 2…Troy from the shotgun doesn't like what he sees in the coverage so he tucks it for six yards. 1 and 10…see above

If you don't like the order I put those plays in, you put them in order. It doesn't matter. My point is the Buckeyes have an offense than has so many ways to get 4 or 5 yards. They have an efficient passer with a lot of experience. Oh, by the way, he can really run the ball well…especially in the red zone. They also have a stable of great backs.

When looking at the backs, you have to give the nod to Pittman. Despite some injuries keeping him out of action this spring, he will be our No. 1 guy. Yes, I was the one saying Ross will be our go-to guy and Clarett will spell him off the bench in 2002, but I'm sticking with Pittman's experience. He runs vertical. He runs bigger than he actually is. He has great vision and timing. He can accelerate away from people (Minnesota and Notre Dame). He does not become impatient and turn outside too quickly. Pittman is a great back. Expect back-to-back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons.

Beanie Wells will play. He will get touches. I could see 8-10 per game and we will see where that leaves us later in the Big Ten season. I think his performance and style ON THE FIELD is extremely similar to Clarett. Both are big backs with deceptive speed. If you can catch them, how are you going to bring them down? They are bigger and stronger than the defenders. Wells is light on his feet. He is more agile and nimble than Clarett. If he has Clarett's I-am-better-than-anyone-on-this-field mentality, he will dominate college football quicker than any of us can imagine.

Look for those tailback touches to rotate amongst Pittman and Beanie…in that order. Sure Maurice Wells and Erik Haw will be competitive, but with the passing game and Troy tucking the ball so well, those two backs will surely carry the load.


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