Tony Alford is reportedly making a move across The Game rivalry line.

According to reports on Wednesday, Alford has been targeted by Michigan for the vacant running backs coach position under Sherrone Moore. John Brice with Football Scoop initially reported Alford as a target, and ESPN’s Pete Thamel has followed up with a report indicating Alford has informed Ohio State of his intentions to leave Columbus.

Alford is a veteran RBs coach who has long been regarded as a strong recruiter. He originally came to Ohio State as a part of Urban Meyer’s staff in 2015 as an assistant head coach for offense and RBs coach.

Entering the 2022 season, Alford was given the additional role of run game coordinator, and he has previous coaching stops at Notre Dame, Louisville and Iowa State among others.

RELATED: With March Madness tipping off, stay ahead of the game and up to date on the latest odds and trends with Tradition’s Ohio sports betting links.

During his tenure, Alford produced 6 1,000-yard rushers and helped tutor some of Ohio State’s all-time greats, including Ezekiel Elliott and JK Dobbins. He also guided Trey Sermon during the COVID-shortened 2020 season when Sermon set the program’s single-game rushing mark in the B1G Championship.

Impact of Alford’s move

Alford leaving Columbus to join Sherrone Moore’s initial staff in Ann Arbor is certainly a big win for Michigan. As a first-year head coach, Moore gets a proven veteran at the position who should be able to step in and immediately help tutor Donovan Edwards and the rest of the Wolverine backfield.

It also firms up Moore’s offensive staff entering 2024. Alford joins a group that includes offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Kirk Campbell, offensive line coach Grant Newsome, tight ends coach Steve Casula and wide receivers/passing game coordinator Ron Bellamy. It’s a group of familiar faces with some key additions and a strong veteran presence for Moore.

On the other side of the equation, Alford produced a strong track record for Ohio State, but it’s not an entirely unsurprising move.

For starters, consider that the Buckeyes are heading into the 2024 season with Chip Kelly as the new OC. While he will coach the QB position, he is particularly well-regarded for his philosophy and approach of running the ball.

How that all came into play with Alford and his reported move is up for debate, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the Buckeyes were looking at a new system for running back play.

Obviously, Ohio State’s next step is important. Ryan Day now has another post to fill, and getting it right is still important.

However, one cannot deny there is a shortlist of programs that would have been able to hire an OC with the track record of Kelly in short order. The Buckeyes will not lack for options to fill the RBs coach position, and it’s possible Day and Kelly already have an individual in mind for the year ahead.

Once that person is in place, finding the balance to properly utilize TreVeyon Henderson and Quinshon Judkins will be a big key to the offense. If the Buckeyes can do that, they should be in a great position to return the offense to form.