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Mike Weber Meeting Expectations for Buckeyes
By Tony Gerdeman

COLUMBUS — The day before Mike Weber signed with the Buckeyes in 2015, his future was a complete unknown simply because nobody was really sure if he was going to end up at Ohio State or Michigan.

Once that portion of his future was figured out, however, then it became somewhat safe to begin thinking about what he could become. As an Army All-American, talent wasn't an issue, and following in the footsteps of Carlos Hyde and Ezekiel Elliott meant that workhorses were welcome.

Weber made his name available to everyone during his first fall camp last season when he displayed the kind of toughness and ability that has become embarrassingly commonplace in the Scarlet and Gray. He became the second Buckeye freshman to have his black stripe removed last year, but a knee injury set him back and he eventually redshirted.

This past spring, however, Weber was splitting first-team reps with fifth-year senior Bri'onte Dunn, and looking good the entire way. He's still obviously young, so he had to fix his share of youthful mistakes. The improvement was readily apparent, however.

"He did [improve]," running backs coach Tony Alford said following spring ball. "Yes, he did. He definitely improved. He definitely has grown up a bunch. He had a really good spring. He's a physical player, which we thought he was, but he really started gravitating toward really trying to learn this offense the way we like him to, so yeah."

 Following the likes of Hyde and Elliott is almost an impossible task, but somebody is going to have to take the ball and run with it this season. Whoever that player is will have some immense expectations placed on them simply because of what running backs have done in Urban Meyer's Buckeye offense.

When it comes to expectations, however, Weber has done pretty well. Especially when you consider what Alford was expecting.

"I won’t say he’s exceeded them," Alford said. "I mean, I expected a lot anyway. I have high expectations for those guys, so he did what I thought he should be doing. So, yeah, I was happy with him."

As to what it was he was doing, Weber improved in his pass protection and continued to display an ability as a powerful slasher. Since his arrival at Ohio State he has also shown a particular trait that all Buckeye running backs need to have.

"He’s explosive," Alford said. "That’s kind of what he showed in the fall and fall camp. Bri’onte’s got a lot of that in him, too. So I think we’ve got two guys that can really play winning football for us right now. That being said, we’ll continue to move and push each other right now and see where we go."

Where Alford ultimately wants them to go is forward for about 1,800 yards between the two of them. Dunn and Weber left the spring as co-starters, which means that the battle will continue into the fall. If Weber does end up winning the job, however, don't expect Alford to be surprised.

After all, nobody has higher expectations for his running back than he does.

Player profiles relevant to story:
25 - Weber, Mike | Coach - Alford, Tony
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