Aug. 5, 2014
By Christian Hoppens
OhioBobcats.com - Staff Writer
Tim Albin leaves no doubt as to his opinion regarding Ohio's depth at running back.
The offensive coordinator and running back coach thinks he has the premier group in the Mid-American Conference.
"I've got six guys in my room that are capable," Albin said. "To be honest with you, I can't see anybody in our conference that's got six better backs than me. ... If you take our group, from one to six as a whole, I think they're the best in the conference."
Albin has Daz' Patterson slated to be the featured back of the offense, due to the junior's experience with the offense and how hard he's worked to earn the starting role.
Patterson was explosive in 2013 when he could find get touches behind seniors Beau Blankenship and Ryan Boykin. The Plain City, Fla native averaged 5.6 yards per carry with two touchdowns on 38 carries.
And in front of a hometown crowd at the Beef `O' Brady's Bowl, he proved to be a weapon for the Bobcats with 156 total yards.
The opportunity to start humbles Patterson, but he's not going to relax and become satisfied.
"It feels great to know that I'm the frontrunner right now," he said. "But at the same time, it's a little too early--it's always too early--to get settled, to get complacent. It's just an opportunity that I feel like I need to embrace and work hard to keep."
Right behind him on the depth chart is senior Tim Edmond, who, to steal from the Tennessee Titans' former running back combo of LenDale White and Chris Johnson, is the smash to Patterson's dash.
Edmond is a human bowling ball in the backfield, measuring in at 5-foot-11 and 235 pounds. The Cincinnati-native can bench 381 pounds and squat 528 pounds, meaning arm tackles might not necessarily hold him back.
But even with Edmond's strength, Albin likes what he sees in his open field skills.
"Tim will surprise you," Albin said. "He's got some abilities in the open field that will make you miss. I mean, he gets his foot in the ground and can make cuts like a small guy and he's a big guy. ... He's a powerful guy and he's got some wiggle when he's presented the opportunity."
A player both Patterson and Edmond, a team captain, have chosen to take under their wings is freshman running back Papi White, who came off the field physically worn down and nearly out of breath after the practice on Monday.
"Coming out here, I thought I knew everything," White said. "The first play, I messed up. I ran right into the linebacker when I wasn't even supposed to be over there."
Despite the opening day struggles from a player Edmond claimed to make "fast people not fast," White claimed that he should be more accustomed to the playbook and physicality of collegiate football by the end of the week.
His upperclassmen mentors will aid his adjustment and that of all freshman backs, seeing it as their role to help out and set an example. But their ways of approaching leadership differ.
"I'm more of a quiet guy," Patterson said. "Tim's real excited. He's always excited. I'm more of a quiet, just kind of give you a pointer here and there, just me and you. That's kind of my thing. I don't really like to get loud or yell."
Adding redshirt freshman Dorian Brown and true freshmen Maleek Irons and A.J. Ouellette to the mix, Edmond said that this is the most speed he's seen out of recruiting class in his time at Ohio.
With leadership in place and players with diverse sets of talent, the situation sets the Bobcats up for a dynamic backfield that looks improve upon what was the MAC's eighth best rushing attack in 2013.