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Scarlet Sunrise: Can Ohio State get its running backs back on track?

J.K. Dobbins-Ohio State-Buckeyes-Ohio State football
JK Dobbins will have a huge role for Ohio State in 2019. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Scarlet Sunrise

Scarlet Sunrise: Can Ohio State get its running backs back on track?

Good morning, Ohio State fans, and welcome to the Scarlet Sunrise! Football will always be our focus, but every day we’ll cover news, notes and analysis from across Buckeyes sports. Join us each morning to get caught up on everything you missed in the world of Ohio State football, recruiting, basketball and more.

5 questions about Ohio State running backs

If there’s been one constant for Ohio State offensively over the last couple years, it’s been J.K. Dobbins.

When the Buckeyes struggled to throw the ball at times two years ago, Dobbins had a 1,400-yard season. When they were looking to get the ground game rolling a season ago, Dobbins still gained 1,000 yards. He’s been the mainstay of the offense that transitioned from J.T. Barrett to Dwayne Haskins, and he’ll be the key as Ohio State moves on to Justin Fields this year.

There are few questions surrounding Dobbins, but there are plenty for the running back position. It’s Running Back Week at Lettermen Row, and we have five burning questions for how things might shake out for the Buckeyes backfield.

2023 standout catches Larry Johnson’s eye

Let’s introduce the next big thing from Mentor. His name is Brenan Vernon, and he’s never played a snap of high school football or stepped foot in a high school classroom. But the 2023 prospect turned some serious heads during the Buckeyes one-day camp last Thursday. He was offered by Kent State at the camp and was pulled aside by Larry Johnson, who asked him for another opportunity to coach him up.

“Coach Johnson talked to me after and said that I have really great potential,” Vernon told Lettermen Row. “It’s just all up to the amount of effort and work I put into being the best I possibly can be. He mentioned that he would like me to come back this upcoming Saturday for the last camp to get some more work in. So that’s exactly what I am going to do.”

Vernon is a 6-foot-4, 235-pound soon-t0-be freshman, and he’s grown up dreaming of Ohio State as a young kid in Mentor. He’ll be tested over the next few years as his recruiting star rises, and he’s in a great program to make sure he doesn’t get ahead of himself.

“It is pretty crazy to me,” Vernon said. “I’m just trying to stay humble and focused while trying to better myself each and every day by working my hardest. Mentor’s coaching staff is making sure that I am working every rep and every moment as hard as I can.”

For more on Ohio State recruiting, check out the Monday edition of Dotting the ‘Eyes.

What will Master Teague’s role be in 2019?

The Monday Ohio State question of the day inquired about Master Teague’s playing time in 2019. Here’s part of what Lettermen Row senior writer Austin Ward had to say about Teague:

Teague made tremendous use of his first year on campus. That developmental season clearly allowed him to work on his body, and he’s walking around the Woody Hayes Athletic Center this summer looking like a completely different guy thanks to all the strength he’s added to his frame. Teague also used the reps he got this spring to show that he can be more than just a short-yardage weapon, and the redshirt freshman appears to have more top-end speed than he has perhaps got credit for previously. On top of that, he’s also bursting with confidence after seeing his hard work pay off both in practice and a productive spring game, where he led the Buckeyes with a couple touchdowns.

“I’ve developed a lot,” Teague said during spring practice. “At the beginning of last season, you know, I wasn’t too happy with my performance. But as time went on, I just grew in the position, got better at my craft and improved a lot. This year, I feel a lot more comfortable on the field.”

D’Angelo Russell is apparently stylish

Former Ohio State basketball star D’Angelo Russell is at the top of his game both on and off the court. The Brooklyn Nets point guard was voted as the winner of GQ’s 2019 NBA Style Showdown.

Counting down

  • Big Ten Media Days: 38 days
  • Ohio State vs. Florida Atlantic (season opener): 82 days
  • Ohio State at Michigan: 173 days

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Ryan Ginn

Ryan Ginn has covered Ohio State football and recruiting since 2013, having done so previously for Buckeye Sports Bulletin and He is currently a student at Tulane Law School and resides in New Orleans, La.

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