Ohio State's Mike Weber to do what he's always done

The Ohio State Buckeyes have had a long line of successful running backs come through the locker room at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, and that lineage includes four Heisman Trophy winners and countless All-Americans.

The Buckeyes had to replace Ezekiel Elliott after he elected to forgo his senior season and enter the 2016 NFL Draft, where the Dallas Cowboys chose him with the No. 4 overall pick in the very first round, and red-shirt freshman Mike Weber is the man in line to carry out the role of standout rusher.

“I used to think about it a lot, but now, I’m just ready to play football and do what I’ve been doing my whole life,” Weber said.

Although Weber was red-shirted in 2015, he learned a lot from watching Elliott follow up his College Football Playoff National Championship MVP performance with an 1,821-yard, 23-touchdown season in 2015.

Elliott surpassed the 100-yard mark in all but one of the Buckeyes’ games last year, led by the 274 he gained at Indiana and the 214 he posted in a 42-13 road win over Michigan.

“It was nice to be able to step back and just watch his routine,” Weber said. “We’re big on routines here, so to step back and watch how he played the game and how he approached everything -- pass blocking, running the ball, reading defenses -- really helped me a lot.”

And Elliott’s ability to not only stay on the field for all three downs, but be an impactful player whenever he touched the ball, is what motivated Weber to strive for improvement in all facets of his game.

A highly-touted prospect out of Detroit’s Cass Tech High School, Weber missed three games as a senior, but still managed to rush for 2,268 yards and 29 touchdowns in 2014. During a four-game run through the playoffs, Weber ran for 890 yards and 13 touchdowns for the state semifinalists.

Already known for his abilities to successfully carry the ball, Weber has focused on blocking in order to round out his game and add support for junior quarterback J.T. Barrett. And he plans on putting all of that work on display when the Buckeyes welcome the Bowling Green State Falcons to Ohio Stadium for the regular-season opener this afternoon.

“I came in pretty decent at blocking,” Weber said. “Normally, that’s a pretty tough thing to do as a running back coming out of high school, but I’m coming in pretty decent. I’ve learned a lot of different techniques here to make my game better.”


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