Buckeyes: Could Three Backs Be Better Than One?

Kyle StrittholtCorrespondent IJuly 6, 2009

COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 22: Dan Herron #1 of the Ohio State Buckeyes runs for a touchdown during the Big Ten Conference game againt the Michigan Wolverines at Ohio Stadium on November 22, 2008 in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State won 42-7. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Last season there was one Buckeye player that was certainly a problem for opposing defenses, and his name was Chris "Beanie" Wells.

This season would be Beanie's senior season, but he decided to go straight to the NFL and make his millions.

Without Wells, it is easy to think that the Buckeyes won't be as effective in the running game, but that is not the case for this season.

Dan Herron had a very productive season last year, rushing for 439 yards and six touchdowns.

He was really effective in the Michigan game last season, rushing eight times for 80 yards and galloping to a 49-yard touchdown in the Buckeyes 42-7 victory over their rivals.

In the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, Herron had a late touchdown that almost won Ohio State the game, if not for the heroics of Colt McCoy.

It would appear as if he will be the starter this season, and although he isn't Chris Wells, he will cause some problems for opposing defenses.

Wells did not have another player besides Herron to step in and take some heat off him, but Herron now has two other players that will make the Buckeyes' backfield effective.

Not only do they have an athletic quarterback in Terrelle Pryor, but they also have Brandon Saine returning from injury and the young freshman Jaamal Berry who was the Buckeyes' star recruit.

Brandon Saine has been plagued with minor injuries that have caused him to sit much of the last two seasons, but when he did play, he was a threat in the passing game.

His biggest strength is his catching ability out of the backfield, and he can also line up in the slot if needed—this opens things up for different trick plays if needed.

In 2007, he rushed for 267 yards, and like Herron last season, he was the backup to Wells during his best season in Columbus. He added 160 receiving yards in the '07 season, and he averaged 13 yards a catch.

He still has not shown his true potential, but this is the year he can show it. He will not be a backup to one of the best running backs in the nation, so he should get plenty of play-making oppurtunities.

I don't know if Jaamal Berry will redshirt this season, but he would be a valuable asset to the backfield.

He is a back that explodes with speed and has power to back it up. He has great vision, toughness, and power, which makes up for a loss of Chris Wells.

I don't think Berry will be as great as Beanie Wells because Wells had so many gifts and talents that couldn't be replaced.

This year is all about Terrelle Pryor. Teams will be focusing on Pryor and how they can contain him. In a week's time, you can't simulate how Pryor moves, not to mention the three running backs who all add a unique part to this offense.

I think a key to the Buckeyes' offense is to immediately take advantage of their opponents' lack of familiarity with the new Buckeye backfield. If they make defenses fear the running backs, it opens up everything for this offense.

With Wells, you know what you have to deal with, he's only one player. But when you have three running backs you have to prepare for, it will make it harder to defend.