INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - DECEMBER 01: Demario McCall #30 of the Ohio State Buckeyes runs the ball against the Northwestern Wildcats in the first quarter at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 01, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Ohio State football: Veteran 'maybe has leg up' in competition to back up J.K. Dobbins

Coach Ryan Day said junior Demario McCall “maybe has a leg up” on redshirt freshman Master Teague and true freshmen Steele Chambers and Marcus Crowley less than two weeks before the season-opening game against Florida Atlantic. 

“But they'll continue to work today,” he added. “I thought Demario ran better today. Overall he's doing a good job.” 

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The 5-foot-9, 195-pound McCall has flashed tantalizing ability since arriving from North Ridgeville, Ohio, four years ago, but he has had a hard time turning that into production, in part because of injuries. 

He has also spent time at slot receiver and became a receiving threat out of the backfield late last season, a role he could reprise this year depending on how the race to backup Dobbins shakes out. 

Teague (5-11, 220), Chambers (6-2, 215) and Crowley (6-1, 205) are all bigger backs in the more traditional mold for Ohio State, but Day has stressed the most reliable runner will back up Dobbins, who is hoping to add a third 1,000-yard rushing season in as many tries to his resume. 

>>RELATED: Dobbins ready to put 2018 ‘failure’ behind him

Teague was considered the favorite to be the No. 2 back, but an unidentified injury has slowed him in the preseason. 

“Demario has had a good camp,” Day said. “He's done some really good things. I think he can really be a weapon for us. Master has practiced a couple days. When he has, he's looked good. He's been limited all camp, which is hard. I know frustrating for him. Then the two freshmen have been running hard.”

All of the candidates could get looks in games in the early part of the season, especially with the one-year-old NCAA rule allowing players to participate in up to four games without losing a year of eligibility, something Teague did last season. 

Coach Tony Alford shares perspective on the men competing to back up J.K. Dobbins this spring.

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