Ohio State football: Dobbins happy to share carries with Weber

Sophomore running back says he’s only concerned about winning

Reporters tried to dive deep into the mind of Ohio State Buckeyes running back J.K. Dobbins on Tuesday.

How could a player who rushed for 1,403 yards in 2017, setting an Ohio State freshman record, be OK with sharing the load with Mike Weber, whose starting job he took last fall? Surely, Dobbins harbors hidden disappointment somewhere — more so the line of questioning went after practice at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.

In reality, that’s just not the case. Dobbins doesn’t mind being part of a one-two punch.

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“Because I’m a team guy,” Dobbins said. “It’s not all about me. Whatever helps the team, that’s what I like. It’s better for me in the long run because I’m fresh. That’s a good thing about it. I try to do what I can with my carries.”

Weber has gained 217 yards on 28 carries in two games. Dobbins has 27 carries for 147 yards. No. 4 Ohio State (2-0) ranks 12th in the nation with 300 rushing yards per game entering an 8 p.m. Saturday game against No. 15 Texas Christian (2-0) at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

“I think it’s working,” Dobbins said. “We’re winning games. That’s all that matters.”

Weekly improvement: The Ohio State secondary didn't allow a catch of more than 13 yards in the 52-3 victory against Rutgers last Saturday after allowing a number of big plays in the 77-31 victory over Oregon State in the season opener.

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Cornerback Jeffrey Okudah said the group is trying to live up to the legacy established by the five Ohio State cornerbacks and safeties drafted in the first round in the last three years.

“A standard’s been set,” Okudah said. “The standard is the first round, obviously. I think so far this season every single week we’ve been taking steps and getting better. I’m excited to see what step we take this week against a really talented group of receivers.”

Different player: Springfield native Demetrius Knox earned a starting job at left guard for the last eight games of the 2017 season. Now he's at right guard, and it's the first time he began the season as a starter. As a player, he said he's "light years" ahead of where he was earlier in his career thanks to the help of his fellow linemen.

“I watched film from a year or two ago, and the player I am now, it’s just night and day,” Knox said. “I just felt like it’s my time, and I felt like I matured on and off the field. Once I started taking more accountability for myself, everything slowed down.”

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College debuts: Sixteen freshmen have played in the first two games. These players can play in two more games and still redshirt thanks to the new NCAA rule that allows freshmen to appear in as many as four games without losing a year of eligibility: defensive linemen Tyreke Smith, Tyler Friday, Taron Vincent and Tommy Togiai; offensive lineman Nicholas Petite-Frere; wide receivers Chris Olave and Jaelen Gill; running backs Brian Snead and Master Teague; linebackers Dallas Gant, K'Vaughan Pope and Teradja Mitchell; tight end Jeremy Ruckert; cornerback Cameron Brown; and safety Josh Proctor.

The redshirt freshmen who have seen their first action this season are: quarterback Tate Martell; offensive linemen Wyatt Davis and Josh Myers; defensive lineman Jerron Cage; wide receiver Ellijah Gardiner; and safety Shaun Wade.

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