Alford: Dobbins, Weber both will play a lot for Buckeyes in 2018

Ohio State running backs coach Tony Alford, right, hugs J.K. Dobbins after a victory against Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship on Dec. 2, 2017, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. David Jablonski/Staff

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Ohio State running backs coach Tony Alford, right, hugs J.K. Dobbins after a victory against Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship on Dec. 2, 2017, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. David Jablonski/Staff

Ohio State has rare luxury of having two 1,000-yard running backs on roster

The Ohio State Buckeyes have always been known for producing great running backs — Archie Griffin, Eddie George and Ezekiel Elliott to name a few — but have the rare luxury of having two 1,000-yard back on the roster in 2018.

Mike Weber gained 1,096 yards in 2016 as a redshirt freshman. J.K. Dobbins led the team last season with 1,403 yards in his true freshman season.

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How will Ohio State’s get the most out of both backs this fall? It’s a question that won’t be answered until then.

“It’ll be a week-by-week deal,” running backs coach Tony Alford said Monday after practice at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, “but they’re both going to play, and they’re both going to play lot.”

Ohio State fans can watch Weber and Dobbins, plus junior Antonio Williams and freshman Master Teague, on Saturday in the annual spring game. It starts at 1:45 p.m. at Ohio Stadium and will be televised on the Big Ten Network.

Most of the eyes will be on the quarterbacks — Dwayne Haskins, Joe Burrow and Tate Martell are competing for the starting job — even though the running backs might be the team’s stars. Weber battled an injury early last season, and that allowed Dobbins to seize the starting job. However, Weber had two 100-yard games in November, and he’s been healthy since then.

“When you’re on the field, you get reps,” Alford said. “That’s been a good thing for him and everyone else. All of a sudden, his reps don’t get heaped on anyone else. He’s done a good job of staying healthy and taking care of his body.”

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Although Williams may be buried on the depth chart behind Dobbins and Weber, he’s still a player to watch. He averaged 5.1 yards on 57 carries last season.

“First and foremost, he’s a pro about how he handles his business,” Alford said. “He’s an extremely mature kid. He has improved. He’s probably one of our top three guys on the team as far as improvement.”

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