Coach Urban Meyer: Freshman RB J.K. Dobbins earned right to play

Coach Urban Meyer: Freshman RB J.K. Dobbins earned right to play
Posted at 1:55 PM, Aug 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-22 13:55:06-04

The parents of true freshman running back J.K. Dobbins will get a call soon from an Ohio State coach to say their son will make his college football debut. 

That's a tradition at Ohio State, and it's also an indication that Dobbins likely will play significant snaps in the opener against Indiana next week.

Everyone from the coaching staff to the defensive linemen is talking about the speed of the kid from La Grange, Texas, and his ability to make defenders miss. His debut is among the most anticipated of any true freshman in recent years.

Coach Urban Meyer said 1,000-yard rusher Mike Weber, recovering from a hamstring injury, went full speed for the first time in camp on Monday. He said Weber will be ready to go next week, but Dobbins is going to play.

"He's earned that right," Meyer said.

Meyer said Dobbins reminds him of Raekwon McMillan in terms of how former Ohio State linebacker arrived on campus already "kind of a grown man."

"J.K. is the same," Meyer said. "He came in here and he's an excellent student, one of the best workers in the weight room and then on top of that, God's gifted him great speed, elusiveness. He's a real one. We're happy he's here."

Dobbins jumped over other backups in preseason camp to secure a role as the No. 2 guy. Running backs coach Tony Alford said he won't rule out regularly using both ball carriers, depending on how Weber is playing.

"He's smart," Alford said. "This is not to take anything away from anybody else, but in my 22 years this guy has picked it up faster than anybody I've ever been around as a true freshman. He's picked it up, he understands the offenses, the nuances of it.

"And he plays hard. He goes so hard at everything he does, which is part of the culture of this program."

Weber acknowledged that it's been hard dealing with the injury and watching Dobbins get the reps in front of him.

"I'm very anxious, I've been anxious since I got hurt," he said. "Coach talked to me about it and he told me to be patience because hamstrings are very important."

Demario McCall, a backup to Weber last year, has been running at H-back behind Parris Campbell. He'll also return punts, along with receiver K.J. Hill.