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Tailback tradition continues

The Buckeyes are once again stocked at one of their perennially strongest positions ‹ tailback. This year’s group of Pepe Pearson, Michael Wiley, Jermon Jackson, and Joe Montgomery, who is recovering from a knee injury, might be the strongest since Robert Smith, Butler By’not’e, Carlos Snow and Raymont Harris played in the early ’90s.The difference with this season’s group is power. Pepe Pearson and especially a healthy Joe Montgomery can run over people.”Running back is a strong position for us,” coach John Cooper said. With so much talent, Cooper refused to name the rotation for next season.”(You have) Pepe and whoever else is second,” Cooper said. “I don’t care who the rotation is.” With all the talent, it may not matter who plays, but more than likely it will not be everybody.”Certainly we’re going to establish a pecking order, and certain guys are going to get more time than others,” offensive coordinator Mike Jacobs said.The rotation is now even more crowded since Michael Wiley, who played cornerback, wide receiver and running back last year, has seemingly found a home at tailback.”That shows I’m a versatile player, but right now it looks like I’ll stay at running back,” Wiley said. “I’m picking it up pretty well, and I’ll have a good career, I hope.”Pearson has already proved his ability on the field. He rushed for 1,484 yards and 17 touchdowns as a first year starter last season. Joe Montgomery and Jermon Jackson chipped in with 460 and 319 yard respectively in backup roles.”Jermon Jackson is a little better football player than people think he is,” Cooper said.Add Wiley’s 7.7 yards per carry in his limited duty last season and the Buckeye’s may have a formidable rushing attack, even with the loss of star offensive tackle Orlando Pace. Seniors, Pearson and Jackson are in their last season of eligibility.”I look to play a lot, hopefully,” said Jackson. “I mean I don’t see why I shouldn’t, I’ve done everything else.”Wiley is keeping his goals realistic.”We got a good crop of guys, it’s going to be very competitive,” Wiley said. “I just want to contribute to the team as much as I can.”NOTES: This Saturday’s spring game, which begins at 1:30 p.m., will be different than in the past few years. In previous years the game was a controlled scrimmage, with points being kept for offensive and defensive plays. This year the game will feature both the Scarlet and Gray with an offense and defense, it will be an actual game.Also on Saturday former OSU quarterbacks will compete in a quarterback skills challenge.

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