ESPN analyst names his biggest concern about Ohio State heading into Week 1
During an appearance on the ESPN morning show, “Get Up,” on Wednesday, former Maryland Terrapin cornerback and current analyst Domonique Foxworth, a three-time All-Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) honoree during his playing days, shared his biggest concern for the No. 5 Ohio State Buckeyes ahead of their season-opener against the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Saturday in Columbus.
“The biggest concern is who’s going to play running back – who’s going to replace J.K. Dobbins,” he said, courtesy of 247Sports’ Sam Marsdale.
“I mean, he was a phenomenal running back. Over 2,000 yards, averaged over six yards per carry. And when Justin Fields struggled – don’t get me wrong, Ryan Day is an excellent play-caller – but J.K. Dobbins was a guy they learned on very heavily.
“They’d just give it to him, and he could break long runs. A guy who’s built low to the ground that had enough breakaway speed that linebackers and safeties couldn’t catch him.
“So how are they going to replace the productivity of J.K. Dobbins is one of the biggest issues I’ve had. I know Justin Fields is an incredible talent, but they don’t have the running back behind him this year that they had in 2019.”
Running for 1,403 yards as a freshman in 2017, Dobbins finished his Buckeye career with 4,459 yards on the ground, the second-best total in program history, trailing only two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin’s 5,589.
In the post-Dobbins era, Ohio State appears primed to rely on redshirt sophomore Master Teague, who rushed for 789 yards and four touchdowns and earned All-Big Ten third-team honors from the coaches and media as Dobbins’ backup last fall, and senior Trey Sermon, a graduate transfer from the Oklahoma Sooners.
The Buckeyes also must replace wide receiver K.J. Hill, cornerback Jeffrey Okudah and defensive end Chase Young, among others, off the 2019 roster, but, as one of the nation’s premier talent-producing programs, they return several standouts, such as redshirt senior linebacker Tuf Borland, Fields, junior wide receiver Chris Olave and redshirt junior cornerback Shaun Wade.
Ohio State’s clash with Nebraska will kick at 12 p.m. ET on FOX.