Tony Alford of Ohio has a “real talent” in the back hall; All these guys deserve to be played.

Not too many changes from the talented Ohio State attack in 2021 and the group that will take over the field this season. This is especially true in the backroom running, as the Buckeyes’ top three center-backs in 2022 are all familiar names to Scarlet and Gray fans.

While Mr. Tej He is gone – now a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers – and Marcus Crowley Forced to retire medically, they were the top two Ohio runners from last year in Trivon Henderson And the Williams soup they came back. Henderson had a record-breaking new season, rushing to get the best team in 1,248 yards and managing 19 total touchdowns. Williams, despite missing three games, had 507 yards for a rush and three touchdowns.

add to Evan Pryorwho was late to kindergarten after playing minimum pickups in four games during his freshman season as a freshman, and the Buckeyes have an excited trio as fall camp begins this week.

This made the work of the linebacker coach a lot of fun Tony Alford.

“I think we have a real talented room, I do,” he said on Friday. “Great guys, great guys to work with. I enjoy coming to work with them every day. I ask them to make sure they’re professional. They’re veteran guys, they’ve been around. I have to say at least two of them are veterans. But they’ve been on the show now.” , the top three have at least. And so I ask them to be professional in the way they go about their business, when they go to meetings, and walk, and train. So be professional and keep getting better. But I love the room now.”

All three of these running defenders took different approaches to get to this point.

Williams, the eldest of the trio, got a chance to start last season after serving as backup the year before. His time as No. 1 linebacker didn’t last long, as he returned to the backup role after his first two games.

The reason for Williams losing his job was not because of his good performance, but because of Henderson. With him ranking first in the enlistment class for 2021, it was the time, not if, that Henderson would take over as the starter, even though he didn’t play his last year in high school due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This proved to be the right choice, as Henderson finished the top 20 rushes season in Scarlet and Gray history in his first year.

Pryor was the oddball guy in the backroom running last season. Although also a prestigious prospect, Pryor needed time to adjust, as he also did not play his last year in high school. The North Carolina Nationals’ best game came in a landslide victory over Indiana, en route to a new season with a 98-yard, one-on-one touchdown.

Although Henderson remains No. 1 in Ohio State, the talk of the season has been about getting those three players in in 2022.

“Right now, the reps are pretty evenly distributed now through day two,” Alford said after the second day of fall camp. “That’s going to come into play as we go forward. We’re not in the pads now. So for the running back, are you in the right place? Right posture? Advance your eye right? Do you care about football even in shorts? But we’ll see. That’s going to play out.” Course.

“All these guys deserve to play. So I have to make sure that they are all ready to play because they all showed the ability and ability to play winning football.”

There is no doubt that Henderson will have his share of the load and in close matches, he is certainly expected to bear the burden. But Williams and Pryor are not just backup copies.

The assumption is that after Henderson, Williams is second behind and Pryor behind him. Alford hasn’t gotten into a deep chart position, but I’d love to see these two push each other and make tough decisions for him, which could push Henderson as well.

“I don’t think it’s about trying to break up,” Alford said. “I just want the guys to keep getting better. And if you show that you can play winning ball, we’ll find ways. My job, our job is to find ways to put you on the field to help the football team win. And to say there has to be this big chapter, quite frankly, I hope Shouldn’t there be much separation. It means we have some really good men and not one person is superior to another. You would like to have a chance where you have three or four men you can throw and feel comfortable throwing them into the fire.”

With so much talent returning this year from a group that was statistically the best in the country last season, Ohio State offense is expected to return to the elite again in 2022. Much of the discussion about Buckeye’s attack has focused on the passing game, and rightfully so.

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But Henderson, Williams, and Pryor are all factors and hope to prove themselves completely CJ Stroud And the jackson smith ngigba. Alford sees this potential in his most confident and mature group.

“They know what it takes to be a successful college football player,” the coach said. “So their mental makeup has changed. They walk around here with a little more confidence with their chest out a little bit better. When they talk about the game, they make clear the way we play and use our terminology and they understand football a lot more than they ever and any time last year …but that’s just called maturity. That’s how it should be.”

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