One thing is certain as Ohio State prepares for the 2010 season: there is big-time depth in the offensive backfield. I have never seen as many quality backs on one team as the Buckeyes boast this year. While there may not be one superstar, there are a lot of bodies to trot out on the field. Let's take a look at each, consider what we might expect from them this season, and then for fun, compare them to an Ohio State runner from the past.
-Brandon Saine: Now a senior, Brandon has progressed nicely, featuring a package of good size and great speed. He is not a particularly instinctive runner, but has made strides in regard to running style, no longer dancing around behind the line of scrimmage like he used to. The bonus is that Saine is an excellent receiver. If he and the line stay healthy I look for him to have a big year, possibly approaching the 1000 yard mark.
Compares to: Maybe Robert Smith because of his speed, though Smith was more of a long strider.
-Daniel "Boom" Herron: Neither big nor fast, Boom makes up for those deficiencies through determination, hitting the hole with a purpose. He does all the little things well, and the coaching staff loves him, especially near the goal line. Although there is plenty of competetion this year, I still look for Boom to get his carries and have a solid season.
Compares to: His build reminds me of Vince Workman but I think Vince was faster. Honestly, his running style, dare I say it, is a lot like Mike Hart.
-Jordan Hall: A pleasant surprise as a freshman, Hall looked great this spring, and will earn playing time. He is quick and shifty, and may be the most instinctive runner the Buckeyes have. He can catch the ball out of the backfield, and should return some kicks this year as well. Jordan will have an impact one way or the other.
Compares to: Pepe Pearson, another smallish back who wasn't jet fast but was quick and smart.
Compares to: Michael Wiley
-Carlos Hyde: Buckeye fans have been waiting for this big guy, who has the kind of size OSU fans love. He looked good this spring and should find the field in short yardage situations, as he possesses size and strength.
Compares to: Some have called him a poor man's Beanie Wells, but he might be more like Raymont Harris
-Jermil Martin: Recruited as a fullback, he appeared a couple times last year as a tailback and looked pretty good. Jermil isn't tall but has nice size and decent straight ahead speed, but he isn't going to make anybody miss. With Hyde on the roster this season, one wonders if he will get much playing time.
Compares to: His touchdown run against Minnesota last year reminded me of Keith Byars, but he isn't in that class.
-Roderick Smith: Fans are excited for this young man to graduate and make his way to campus. He is big and fast, a combination that has the OSU faithful drooling. With all the talent on hand, one wonders if he will redshirt. But if he is as good as advertised, will the coaches be able to resist the urge to play him?
Compares to: You've heard it already, so I'll go ahead and say it - Eddie George.
That's a bunch of backs in the Buckeye backfield, which is a whole lot of B's! Hopefully they will remain healthy, the line will continue to progress, and OSU will be able to play some good, old-fashioned smash mouth football in 2010.