Urban Meyer talks all the time about the joy of calling parents to tell them their son has earned a starting job for the Ohio State Buckeyes.
On Wednesday, fans got a peak at that process. Running backs coach Tony Alford shared a video on Twitter of his phone call to Toni and Mike Weber Sr., the parents of redshirt freshman Mike Weber.
“One of the things we do around here is we stay in touch with parents, as you all know,” Alford told them. “A lot of times, parents get called on negative stuff. This is a different one. I’m calling about something great. The history we’ve had with running backs at this place is freakish. That goes way back before even Eddie George and obviously most recently with Zeke (Ezekiel Elliott) and Carlos (Hyde). Coach Meyer called the running back position the Cadillac position of this school and this football program. You’re son has done a great job, and I wanted to give you a call and let you know today we’re going to name him the starting tailback at Ohio State.”
On the video, Alford hears Mike Weber Sr. say, “Oh my gosh,” as Toni Weber shrieks with joy.
“We appreciate you and your wife’s support,” Alford continues. “We’re really excited for him. I’m fired up about it.”
PREVIEW: Bowling Green at Ohio State
At that point, even Weber didn’t know he had won the job, Alford said. He found out not long later, and Meyer announced the news to the media that night. The Buckeyes listed Weber or Curtis Samuel as the starter on the depth chart Tuesday. Both will get carries Saturday, but Weber will take the field first. Meyer said Weber’s “last 10 days have been outstanding.”
That’s one thing to know about No. 6/5 Ohio State’s season opener at noon Saturday against Bowling Green at Ohio Stadium. Here are six more.
Challenging offense: The Falcons ranked fifth in the country in total offense over the last two seasons. They lost their starting quarterback, Mid-American Conference Offensive Player of the Year Matt Johnson, but return a senior who started 13 games in 2014 when Johnson was hurt. James Knapke passed for 368 yards and two touchdowns in the Camellia Bowl that season.
New coach: Mike Jinks takes over at Bowling Green after coaching three seasons at Texas Tech, where he coached running backs. Texas Tech ranked second in the country last season in total offense (594.5 yards per game).
RELATED: 7 reasons Ohio State can win it all
“The new head coach is in that position because he’s good at what he does,” Ohio State defensive coordinator Luke Fickell said. “He believes in the system. … I’m sure it’ll be system they’re used to, probably the system we’ve seen at Texas Tech, probably with a little bit of wrinkles. That’s the great thing about the first game.”
Player to watch: Ohio State has 18 freshmen or redshirt freshmen on the depth chart. Quarterback J.T. Barrett is most excited to see how true freshman Michael Jordan, a 6-foot-7, 310-pound left guard, performs in the spotlight.
Jordan will be the first true freshman to start on the offensive line for the Buckeyes since Orlando Pace in 1994.
RELATED: Buckeyes face challenging schedule
“I remember (Jordan) looking up during the spring game at 100,000 people,” Barrett said, “and I said, “Yeah, they’re here. They’re not going away. Relax.’”
Depth on line: Meyer expects to play four to five players at defensive tackle and four to five at defensive end. That will be another scrutinized position because there are three new starters.
RELATED: Buckeyes Week 1 depth chart
Tyquan Lewis, who started all 13 games last season, will be in a rotation at defensive end with Sam Hubbard and Jalyn Holmes. Tracy Sprinkle and Michael Hill will start at tackle. Expect to see backups Nick Bosa, Jonathan Cooper, Davon Hamilton and Rashod Berry all taking snaps on the line as well.
Streaks on the line: Meyer is 14-0 in season openers as a head coach. Ohio State is 4-0 against Bowling Green. The Buckeyes and Falcons last played in 2006 with Ohio State winning 35-7. Ohio State has won 40 straight games against in-state schools since tying Wooster in 1924.
Looking for balance: Ohio State averaged 245.2 yards rushing per game and 188.8 passing last season. Meyer wants to average 250 yards on the ground and 250 through the air each game.
“We’ll know more obviously Saturday, but we have depth at receiver,” Meyer said. “We have a returning quarterback that understands what we’re trying to do. …. Last year, it was unbalanced, and we have to be very balanced.”
ARCHDEACON: From walk-on to team captain
Thank you for reading the Dayton Daily News and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Dayton Daily News. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.