March 26, 2014

For sophomore running back Ezekiel Elliott, some of his fiercest competition wears the Scarlet and Gray. With the departure of Big Ten running back of the year Carlos Hyde, the starting position is up for grabs and Elliott is pushing himself to become the next weapon for the Ohio State offense. The St. Louis, Mo., native earned valuable playing time last season for the Buckeyes as a true freshman and is prepped to make a significant impact this fall as he competes with his teammates for the starting spot. Elliott took some time after practice last week to talk about spring practices, his freshman season and the fierce – yet friendly – competition to be the starting running back for the Buckeyes.

 “I think as athletes this is what we play for. We play for opportunities like this. It’s fun to come out here and compete for the starting spot … we all want it. It’s everything to me and I’m going to give it everything I have.”

I think the best part of my game is my versatility. I can do a lot of things: I can run the outside, I can run the tight zone and can catch out of the backfield.”

 “Replacing Carlos [Hyde] is a big hole to fill. We have a lot of capable backs ready to step in and replace what we did last year.”

 “It was good to go out there last year and get some experience. Playing in front of that many people and getting the jitters out was good to get my feet wet as a freshman.”

“(This spring) I’m a lot bigger. I’m a lot stronger, and I’m faster. I also know the playbook, so that helps a lot. I’ve gained about 20 pounds since I got here and I feel faster.”

“Last year I learned to go out there and play fast. Go out there with a clear mind and everything will be fine. Pass protection and anticipating what’s going to happen is what we’ve been working on the most this spring.”

“We’re all brothers. We’re here to help each other and compete each against each other every day and that makes us all better.”

Previous Spring Spotlights:
Pat Elflein
Taylor Decker
Tyvis Powell